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Cubs, Jays, Rangers among Darvish bidders

It’s been a full day since the deadline for teams to submit their posting-fee bids for Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish has passed, and it’s the Blue Jays, Rangers and Cubs who are generating the most buzz.

The Jays are said to have posted between $40 million and $50 million for Darvish, according to the New York Post on Thursday, making the club the favorite to land exclusive negotiating rights for the Japanese right-hander.

Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos had no comment for MLB.com when asked about Darvish, citing club policy, but multiple reports pinned his club, GM Jon Daniels’ Rangers and Theo Epstein’s Cubs as the teams with heavy interest. CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported a rumor that at least one Darvish bid is supposed to be very high, north of $50 million, but he said that was not confirmed

The latest: What’s up with Yu

It’s been a full day since the deadline for teams to submit their posting-fee bids for Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish has passed, and it’s the Blue Jays, Rangers and Cubs who are generating the most buzz.

Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos had no comment for MLB.com when asked about Darvish, citing club policy, but multiple reports pinned his club, GM Jon Daniels’ Rangers and Theo Epstein’s Cubs as the teams with heavy interest. CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported a rumor that at least one Darvish bid is supposed to be very high, north of $50 million, but he said that was not confirmed.

Very few teams have commented publicly on Darvish in any way — never mind officially confirming a bid.

Going for Gio

The buzz around Oakland starter Gio Gonzalez continues.

On Tuesday, CBSSports.com reported that the Red Sox, Blue Jays, Rangers and Tigers are among the teams pursuing a trade with the A’s to acquire the left-handed pitcher.

According to the Miami Herald, the A’s asked the Marlins for a package that included Logan Morrison or Mike Stanton for Gonzalez. ESPN’s Buster Olney later reported that the A’s did not ask for Morrison.

Oakland doesn’t need to trade Gonzalez this winter and won’t if not offered a sizable return, but the club — in a state of limbo because of an unclear stadium situation — is making all of its players not named Jemile Weeks available. The A’s are open to offers that would net them a handful of prospects who could christen a potential new stadium in a few years.

Indians agree to terms with outfielder Pie

Free-agent outfielder Felix Pie agreed to terms on a Minor League contract with Cleveland, the Baltimore Sun reported on Sunday. The deal would include an invitation to attend Spring Training with the big league club and Pie would have the right to opt out of the pact if he did not make the Tribe’s Opening Day roster. The Indians did not confirm the report.

Sources indicated that the contract with Pie was not complete. Terms were still being worked out and the outfielder would have to pass a physical before the deal could be made official

D-backs bring back Ransom on Minors deal

Veteran Major League infielder Cody Ransom is getting another shot with the D-backs, who re-signed the 35-year-old to a Minor League contract in hopes he could yet approach the stellar Triple-A production he posted last season.

Ransom belted 27 homers and drove in 92 runs in only 372 at-bats at Reno before being added to Arizona’s expanded September roster. In 33 at-bats with the National League West Division champion D-backs, Ransom’s five hits included two doubles and a homer.

In addition to looking for back-up insurance for incumbent shortstop Stephen Drew’s recovery from surgeries for a fractured ankle and hernia, Arizona could use a heavy righty bat on manager Kirk Gibson’s bench, alongside left-handed hitter Lyle Overbay.

Dotel’s list down to two teams

Veteran reliever Octavio Dotel is close to signing and has narrowed his list of choices down to two teams.

The Reds, Cardinals, Brewers, Tigers and Mets have all inquired about the reliever, according to an industry source. The Tigers and Brewers were among the first to meet with Dotel’s representatives at the Winter Meetings in Dallas and could be the front runners. The Rangers and Angels have also reportedly expressed interest.

Dotel, 37, went 3-3 with 3.28 ERA during the regular season in 29 games for the Cardinals and 2-1 with a 2.61 ERA in 12 games during the postseason. He was acquired by the Cardinals from the Blue Jays in late July but the club declined his option at the end of the season.

Showalter, Orioles to visit Cespedes

DALLAS – The Orioles have entered Yoenis Cespedes sweepstakes.

Baltimore manager Buck Showalter and Fred Ferreira, the club’s Executive Director Of International Recruiting, will travel to the Dominican Republic this weekend for a private workout by outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.

The Phillies, Nationals, Tigers, Blue Jays, White Sox, Red Sox, Cubs, and Marlins have all expressed strong interest in signing the outfielder and that number could increase when he becomes a free agent, possibly as early as the end of the month, said Edgar Mercedes, who advises Cespedes.

The outfielder, who is represented by Adam Katz, is currently trying to establish residency in the Dominican Republic.

Cespedes hit .333 with 33 home runs, 99 RBIs and 11 stolen bases over 90 games in Cuba during the 2010-11 season, and many believe he can be inserted into the 2012 Opening Day starting lineup for the team that signs him.

What type of contract Cespedes will command remains uncertain. What is certain is that when he signs, Cespedes will be the latest in a long list of players from Cuba to make the jump to the Major Leagues in the past three years.

The Reds made a splash when they signed left-hander Aroldis Chapman to a six-year, $30.25 million deal in January 2010. Three months after Chapman, infielder Adeiny Hechavarria signed a four-year, $10 million deal with the Blue Jays. Pitcher Yunesky Maya signed a four-year, $8 million deal with the Nationals that July.

Before the start of the 2009 season, Dayan Viciedo signed a four-year, $10 million deal with the White Sox, and shortstop Jose Iglesias signed a four-year, $8.25 million contract with the Red Sox near the end of the season. Last May, the Rangers signed Martin to a five-year, $15.5 million deal, including a $5 million signing bonus.

Market developing for Dotel

The market for veteran reliever Octavio Dotel continues to take shape.

The Reds, Cardinals, Brewers, Tigers and Mets have all inquired about the reliever, according to an industry source. Dotel’s representatives have already met with the Tigers and Brewers at the Winter Meetings in Dallas.

Dotel, 37, went 3-3 with 3.28 ERA during the regular season in 29 games for the Cardinals and 2-1 with a 2.61 ERA in 12 games during the postseason. He was acquired by the Cardinals from the Blue Jays in late July but the club declined his option at the end of the season.

– Jesse Sanchez

Japan’s Kawasaki only interested in Mariners

Japanese shortstop Munenori Kawasaki aims to make the move to the Major Leagues, and would like to join his countryman and former teammate Ichiro Suzuki in Seattle.

The 30-year-old Kawasaki said at a news conference on Thursday that he is considering making the transition to America, but only if it’s with the Mariners. He said he would decline any offers from other clubs.

Kawasaki suggested in the past that he would be willing to accept a Minor League deal and would be flexible in regard to switching positions.

Alderson set to reopen talks with Reyes’ agents

A slow-developing market for free-agent shortstop Jose Reyes could receive some juice as soon as this weekend, when Mets general manager Sandy Alderson plans to reopen the lines of communication with Reyes’ agents at the Winter Meetings, which start Monday in Dallas.

“I certainly would hope that we’ll have conversations … by the time we get to Dallas, or at Dallas,” Alderson said Thursday afternoon, noting that he has not spoken recently with Reyes or his representatives. “I do expect to have them over the next handful of days.”

Publicly at least, Alderson says he does not have any better sense of the market for Reyes than he did two weeks ago, when unconfirmed reports of Miami’s six-year, $90 million offer first surfaced. Though the Brewers and Phillies have also displayed tepid interest in the free-agent shortstop, no reports of additional offers have leaked since mid-November.

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