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Report: Royals agree with Madson on Minor League deal

The Royals have reportedly agreed to terms with reliever Ryan Madson on a Minor League contract, according to’s Jerry Crasnick.

Madson, 34, hasn’t pitched since the 2011 season because of elbow injuries but saved 32 games for the Phillies that year. He signed with the Reds for $6 million before the 2012 season and with the Angels for $3.25 million before the 2013 season but did not appear in a game for either team.

His deal with the Royals reportedly comes with an invitation to Major League Spring Training.

Over nine seasons with Philadelphia, Madson went 47-30 with a 3.59 ERA primarily out of the bullpen. He saved 52 games, but will be fighting for a spot in Kansas City’s formidable bullpen.

— Joey Nowak

Reports: Orioles an option for Swisher, Rasmus

As the Orioles get set to enter the 2015 season with a lineup that doesn’t feature Nick Markakis or Nelson Cruz, the team is on the lookout for offensive pieces to fill those voids.

They’re reportedly speaking with outfielder Colby Rasmus — “among other left-handed-hitting outfield options,” FOX Sports‘ Jon Morosi reports — who is a free agent and could help to take Markakis’ place.

Rasmus, 28, has appeared in 373 games for the Blue Jays over the last three full seasons and has hit .234 with a .728 OPS over his four seasons in Toronto. He has played center field there, but would likely have to agree to a corner outfield change to fit in Baltimore.

The Orioles are also among the teams interested in Nick Swisher, who is reportedly being shopped by the Indians since the acquisition of Brandon Moss from the A’s

The Boston Globe‘s Nick Cafardo has reported that the Rays, Blue Jays, Orioles, Padres, Brewers, and Cubs are teams that would be interested in Swisher for the right price (he’s set to make $15 million each of the next two years, with a $14 million vesting option for 2017).

Swisher, 34, was signed by the Indians prior to the 2013 season and has hit .231 with 30 homers and 105 RBIs in the last two years (he batted just .208 with eight homers and 42 RBIs in 97 games last year).

— Joey Nowak

Padres at it again, this time landing Upton

The Padres continue to be the busiest team in baseball this offseason, and now have reportedly traded for Braves outfielder Justin Upton.

That places Upton in a significantly upgraded lineup that now includes former MVP candidate Matt Kemp, All-Star Derek Norris and former AL Rookie of the Year Wil Myers.

Multiple outlets reported that a trade was close on Friday morning, and Ken Rosenthal first reported that the mystery team to land Upton was the Padres. Rosenthal tweeted that the Braves’ return in the deal figured to include “at least one of three top prospects.”

It obviously creates a bit of a logjam in the Petco Park outfield, with incumbents Will Venable and Carlos Quentin in the mix with Myers, Upton and Kemp.

— Joey Nowak

Report: Odds of Tulo-Mets deal at ‘5 percent’

The Mets have been exploring their options at shortstop all winter, and there are few who play the position better than Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.

While there have long been rumors that the Rockies would consider shopping Tulo, and that the Mets and Rockies have been in conversation this offseason,‘s Adam Rubin handicaps the odds of Tulo ending up in the Big Apple at “5 percent at best.”‘s Jon Heyman also wrote Friday that the teams have been “quietly discussing” such a deal for weeks, but that it wasn’t known if there was any chance the deal would go down.

Tulowitzki, a four-time All-Star at 30, is set to make $20 million this season. He is under contract through 2020 and has a $15 million team option/$4 million buyout for the 2021 season.

— Joey Nowak

Reports: Peavy staying in SF

Jake Peavy will return to the Giants rotation, according to reports Friday morning from FOX Sports‘ Ken Rosenthal and‘s Jerry Crasnick.

The veteran right-hander was traded from the Red Sox to the Giants on July 26 and went 6-4 with a 2.17 ERA in 12 outings with San Francisco to finish the regular season.

According to Crasnick, the two-year, $24 million contract includes a base salary of $7 million in 2015 and $13 million in 2016. It also reportedly includes a $4 million signing bonus, a full no-trade clause and an awards package.

— Joey Nowak

Marlins hearing about 1B Jones

With the Marlins set to announce the signing of slugger Michael Morse,‘s Joe Frisaro is reporting that the team is now getting calls on first baseman Garrett Jones.

Morse has been primarily an outfielder for his career, but spent significant time at first base last season in San Francisco and figures to be at least a platoon player there, if not the full-time first baseman for the Marlins.

Frisaro also said that “Miami may decide to keep Jones, and use him as a left-handed bat off the bench, either at first base or in right field.” But the Marlins have Justin Bour as a cheaper lefty first base bench option, and Jones “most likely” will be dealt.

— Joey Nowak

Report: Dodgers listening on League

The Dodgers are reportedly interested in making more moves, as Ken Rosenthal is reporting that Los Angeles is listening to trade offers on veteran reliever Brandon League.

Rosenthal tweeted that the Dodgers are willing to pay “almost half” of League’s $7.5 million salary this upcoming season.

The 31-year-old has 74 career saves (37 of them coming in his 2011 All-Star season with the Mariners) but did not record any last year with Los Angeles. He did go 2-3 with a 2.57 ERA in 63 appearances.

League also has a vesting option for 2016: $7.5 million if he finishes 55 games 2015; $8.5 million if he finishes 55 games in 2015 and 100 games in 2014-15; $9 million if he finishes 55 games in 2015 and 150 in 2013-15. He finished 35 games in 2013 and 12 games in 2014.

—  Joey Nowak

Morse, Marlins close to deal

The Marlins and free agent slugger Michael Morse are close to a two-year deal, according to reports surfacing Tuesday morning.

FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal was the first to report that the two sides were nearing an agreement, and the Miami Herald‘s Barry Jackson reported the terms of the agreement. Sources have also confirmed to that it’s a two year deal pending a physical.

Morse has played primarily outfield, but it seems more plausible that he’d play first base — possibly platooning with Garrett Jones, or taking over the job entirely — for the Marlins in their spacious ballpark.

In 131 games for the Giants last season, Morse hit hit .279 with 16 homers and 61 RBIs.

— Joey Nowak

Rios agrees to one-year deal with KC

The Royals have found the outfield help they’ve been looking for this winter, agreeing with veteran Alex Rios on a one-year deal reportedly worth $11 million.

The terms were first reported by CBS Sports‘ Jon Heyman on Monday night, and an source has confirmed it.

The 33-year-old Rios will be returning to the AL Central after spending the last season-plus with Texas.  He played about four full seasons (2009-13) with the White Sox before being traded on August 9, 2013.

With the departure of free agent right fielder Nori Aoki and the retirement of veteran bench player Josh Willingham, the Royals were expected to procure a corner outfielder this winter to join lineup regulars Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain. They were said to be in on talks with Melky Cabrera (White Sox) and Torii Hunter (Twins), who signed elsewhere in the division.

— Joey Nowak

Twins reportedly serious about Santana

The Minneapolis Star Tribune‘s LaVelle E. Neal is reporting that the Twins have been in contact with starting pitcher Ervin Santana, and are willing to give up a draft pick to sign the free agent.

For the second consecutive year, Santana received a qualifying offer — this year from the Braves, and last year from the Royals — which he turned down.

Neal says Santana “would definitely upgrade the Twins rotation.”

The right-hander went 14-10 with a 3.95 ERA in 31 starts for Atlanta last year. He has started at least 23 games in each of his 10 seasons since he came up with the Angels in 2005.

— Joey Nowak