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Report: M’s still considering bringing back Chavez

Though the Mariners have a plethora of outfielders heading into Spring Training — Nelson Cruz, Justin Ruggiano and Seth Smith are all now in the mix, along with incumbents Dustin Ackley and Austin Jackson — they are reportedly still interested in reuniting with Endy Chavez.

ESPN.com‘s Jerry Crasnick reported Tuesday that Chavez, 36, would likely have to sign a Minor League deal with an invite to Spring Training and try to win a spot.

The veteran utility man has spent his last two seasons with Seattle, appearing in 177 games. He also spent time with the Mariners in 2009. Last season, he hit .276 with a .688 OPS and saw action at all three outfield spots.

— Joey Nowak

Reports: Strasburg, Hellickson among those to avoid arbitration

A number of players have reportedly agreed to terms with their clubs, thus avoiding arbitration. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported Friday morning that Arizona’s Jeremy Hellickson, San Diego’s Alexi Amarista and San Francisco’s Yusmeiro Petit all agreed to contracts.

The Nationals also tweeted from their team account Friday morning that they’ve reached an agreement with right-hander Stephen Strasburg for the 2015 season, thus avoiding arbitration with one of their most recognizable players. They did not specify terms of the agreement. Strasburg, 26, made $3.975 million in 2014.

Heyman reported that Hellickson, 27, will make $4.275 million in 2015 — his first year with the D-backs. He was 40-36 in his five-year career with the Rays, making $3.625 million last season.

Amarista, Heyman says, agreed to a two-year deal with the Padres worth $2.5 million. Petit will make $2.1 million next season in San Francisco.

— Joey Nowak

Cuban RHP Lopez could earn record bonus

Young Cuban right-hander Yoan Lopez is apparently so highly sought-after that he could break the $8 million bonus record for an international prospect, according to MLB.com‘s Jesse Sanchez.

Sanchez tweeted that Lopez is “mulling offers” but could very well break the record that Angels infielder Roberto Baldoquin set in November.

Lopez, 21, held a showcase for scouts in the Dominican Republic on Nov. 8 and has begun private workouts for teams. The Yankees, Dodgers and D-backs are among the teams that have already expressed interest in the 6-foot-4, 190-pound pitcher.

Lopez, who established residency in Haiti and has been declared a free agent by Major League Baseball, must still be cleared by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Department of the Treasury before he can sign with a team.

— Joey Nowak

Report: Giants, Rockies, Padres interested in Gee

A handful of West Coast teams are reportedly interested in trading for Mets starter Dillon Gee, according to FOXSports.com‘s Ken Rosenthal.

The Rockies, Giants and Padres are all “looking at” a trade for the right-hander, who is arbitration-eligible this year. Gee, 28, went 7-8 last year with a 4.00 ERA. He has spent his entire five-year career with the Mets.

According to the report, the Rockies are also inquiring about free agent Ryan Vogelsong.

— Joey Nowak

Report: Cardinals considering moves for top-line SPs

The Cardinals may not yet be done wheeling and dealing this winter, with FOXSports.com‘s Jon Morosi and Ken Rosenthal reporting that St. Louis is “exploring” trades for Cole Hamels and David Price, and considering signing free agent Max Scherzer.

The report cautions that “no deal appears close on any front” but says that it’s a reflection of the team’s lack of confidence in the rotation beyond veteran Lance Lynn. Still, the Cards also have Adam Wainwright, John Lackey, Michael Wacha, and Jaime Garcia returning from injury. Marco Gonzales and Carlos Martinez will also likely factor in.

Hamels is set to make $23.5 million each of the next four seasons with the Phillies before a $20 million team option/$24 million vesting option/$6 million buyout comes into play. Price, a fellow left-hander, is arbitration eligible and his contract status with the Tigers could be determined by Scherzer’s free agent status. Scherzer (a Missouri native) has spent the last five seasons with Detroit, but it’s been unclear where the highly sought-after right-hander will sign this offseason.

— Joey Nowak

Report: Rays have interest in Rasmus, could deal Zobrist

Outfielder Colby Rasmus remains one of the top free agent targets left on the market, and the Rays appear to be interested.

FOXSports.com‘s Jon Morosi tweeted that the Rays “have had discussions” with the free agent, and could be especially willing to add the outfield bat if they trade Ben Zobrist.

Rasmus, 28, appeared in 104 games for the Blue Jays last year, batting .225 with a .735 OPS.

The Rays currently have an outfield depth chart that features Desmond Jennings in center field, David DeJesus in left, Stephen Souza (recently acquired from the Nats) in right and Zobrist — who can play multiple positions — at second base.

— Joey Nowak

Report: Red Sox agree to Minor League deal with Boggs

The Red Sox have reportedly reached an agreement for a Minor League deal with right-handed reliever Mitchell Boggs, according to WEEI.com‘s Rob Bradford.

Boggs, 30, has pitched out of the back end of the St. Louis bullpen for the majority of his career (and nine games for the Rockies in 2013). The right-hander didn’t pitch in the Majors last season, though he spent time with the White Sox and Giants organizations.

Over his career, Boggs is 13-15 with a 4.12 ERA. His best season came in 2012 with the Cardinals, when he posted a 2.21 ERA over 78 games.

— Joey Nowak

Phillies sign veteran Harang

The Phillies have signed right-hander Aaron Harang, one of the biggest standout surprises in baseball last season, to a one-year, $5 million contract.

Harang, 36, went 12-12 with a 3.57 ERA for the Braves last year, and gave up more than two earned runs in just two of his first 12 starts of the season. He logged 200+ innings for the fourth time in his career (204 1/3 last year).

“Aaron brings a wealth of experience and durability to our rotation,” Phillies GM Ruben Amaro said in a statement.  “He had a very solid season for the Braves last year and will complement the left-handers in our rotation nicely.”

The contract also includes performance and awards bonuses.

— Joey Nowak

Report: Bonifacio, White Sox agree for 1 year

Emilio Bonifacio is reportedly returning to Chicago, having agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the White Sox.

FOXSports.com’s Jon Morosi first reported the deal, which he says is worth $4 million. Bonifacio spent 69 games in Chicago last year with the Cubs, then was traded to the Braves on July 31.

CBSSports.com‘s Jon Heyman reported the deal also includes a club option for 2016.

In that time with Chicago, he hit .279 with two homers, 18 RBIs, 35 runs and a .692 OPS.

The veteran utility man has played for seven teams in his eight-year career, batting .262 with a .660 OPS.

— Joey Nowak

Market for James Shields thinning?

The Red Sox reportedly have not had much recent discussion with free agent starting pitcher James Shields, according to ESPN and Sirius XM’s Jim Bowden, leaving the remaining market for the sought-after right-hander largely unknown.

After the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo reported in late December that the Giants and Red Sox were still “in the picture” for the right-hander, Bowden has reported this week that the Giants are out on the him and the Red Sox now do not seem to be significant players in the sweepstakes.

Bowden tweeted Saturday night that the “Red Sox met with James Shields at the Winter Meetings but haven’t had substantive talks with him or his agent.”

Shields, 33, had a 3.21 ERA in 34 starts (227 innings) last year for Kansas City, helping the Royals to the playoffs.

— Joey Nowak

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