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Overnight Rumor Mill Roundup

-Buster Olney tweeted that the Mets are asking for a top prospect for Carlos Beltran, but the Giants’ interest in Beltran – and a big bat in general – may be decreasing given their growing divisional lead
-Olney wrote on his Insider page (the section that I could read) that the Phillies have “talked about” Heath Bell, Mike Adams and Chad Qualls (all Padres). 


-Olney writes that after talking with an unspecified AL GM, the action is expected to heat up after July 24.


From MLBTradeRumors.com

-Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reported that the Mariners are “receiving calls” about Jamey Wright and Adam Kennedy. 

-Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the A’s have “received calls” about Andrew Bailey. 

-Jon Paul Morosi reports that the Rockies and Pirates “are among teams showing continued interest” in the Twins’ Kevin Slowey.

Uecker healthy, ready for Brewers’ opener

Bob Uecker called his 40th consecutive Brewers Opening Day game on Thursday and revealed that, if not for one fortuitous doctor’s visit, his streak would have ended at 39.
Uecker underwent major heart surgery last April to repair a leaking aortic valve, and his return was slowed by a staph infection. By October, Uecker was feeling well enough to accept an invitation to speak at a dinner in Florida, but before traveling, he went in for one last check-up. That’s when his doctor discovered that the infection had opened another leak in Uecker’s aorta. He immediately scheduled a second surgery.
“Had I not gone for that check-up, I would have died,” Uecker said. “No doubt. Oh, no doubt. They found that hole where the staph infection had settled in and ate a hole in the new valve they put in. It was pumping blood out of my heart chamber.”
The second surgery was difficult, but deemed a success, and Uecker returned to a normal broadcast schedule in Spring Training. He’s scheduled to call all 162 games in 2011 with broadcast partner Cory Provus.
“I don’t know if I’m back to normal,” Uecker said. “My chest is a little sore yet, where they break you open. once was OK, twice is a little harder. Other than that, I feel good. … I feel stronger. I’m back swimming again [one mile per day]. I love doing that. I felt strong this spring, working-wise.”
After dropping 24 pounds last season, Uecker is back to an Opening Day weight of 190.
“That was my ‘sitting weight’ when I played,” he deadpanned.
That sense of humor never suffered during Uecker’s trying 2010. He’ll put it to work on the Brewers Radio Network this season, just like he’s done every season since stepping into the booth midway through the 1971 season. He’s done every Opening Day game since, and calculated that Thursday marked his 56th Major League opening day if you count his days as a player.
“Fifty-six years,” he said wistfully, “and I’m still not in the lineup.”
– Adam McCalvy

Aussie Brad Thomas feeling Opening Day cold

Those aren’t Opening Day jitters for Tigers reliever Brad Thomas. He’s just that cold.
Thomas likes to brag that he never has a winter. The Australian left-hander enjoys summers pitching in the United States, then returns home in time for the warm season there.
Opening Day weather like Thursday’s cold, rainy conditions in New York really get to him. Heck, even the sunny, mid-40s conditions for Wednesday’s workout got to him.
“This is cold for me,” Thomas said as he debated how many layers of clothing to put on under his jersey. “I’ve had summer all year round for 15 years.”
There are parts of Australia that get snowy conditions, he said, mainly around the mountainous areas. But he lives on the coast, and he doesn’t ski, so he doesn’t go there.
“This,” he said, “is the coldest winter day at home.”
Thomas’ last real bout of winter, he said, would’ve come when he first signed to play in Japan in 2005.
– Jason Beck

Brewers begin 43rd season

The Brewers are in chilly Cincinnati to begin their 43rd season as a franchise and 14th in the National League. The franchise is 23-18-1 on Opening Day, 15-13-1 on the road and 7-5-1 overall since joining the NL. The tie was right here in Cincinnati, on April 3, 2000, when Davey Lopes’ managerial debut was called in the top of the sixth inning with the teams tied at 3.
This is only the team’s fourth regular-season game in March. Here are the others:
3/31/98 at Atlanta — Lost, 2-1
3/31/03 at St. Louis — Lost 11-9
3/31/08 at Chicago Cubs — Won, 4-3
John Axford, Zach Braddock, Brandon Kintzler and Erick Almonte are Milwaukee’s first-time members of a Major League Opening Day roster.
– Adam McCalvy

Tigers not in on Michael Young

Michael Young has asked the Rangers for a trade after shifting positions
three times in recent years. The Tigers don’t have a clear-cut starter
at second base, one of Young’s old positions, nor do they have a clear
No. 2 hitter in the lineup. Sounds like a match, right?

Not
happening, for a few very big reasons. Word from the Tigers is that
they’re not in on that. Team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski
told MLB.com Tuesday morning that their infield is set, the same as it
was a couple weeks ago. They’re not pursuing any deals.

Though
Dombrowski didn’t go into detail — can’t talk about players from other
teams for fear of tampering — several reasons show why it wouldn’t
happen. First, Young has veto rights on trades to all but eight teams,
and the Tigers aren’t one of those teams, according to MLB.com’s TR
Sullivan. The Rangers are dealing with just teams on that list, Texas GM
Jon Daniels told reporters Monday. Young reportedly would consider
teams outside that list on a case by case basis, but at the end of the
day, there’s a reason for the list.

Second, and just as
important, is Young’s contract — $16 million a year for the next three
seasons. For any player, that’s a huge obligation, even if the Rangers
end up willing to pay part of that. It’s not just about the money, but
the years. For a 34-year-old infielder, it’s especially about the years. The Tigers
let Polanco walk as a free agent at the same age two years ago, even
declining the chance at arbitration.

When it comes down to it, the Tigers are serious about trying to leave
room for developing young talent, and second base is one area where they
have it between Scott Sizemore, Will Rhymes and Danny Worth, plus
Brandon Douglas on the horizon.

Dodgers Sign Aaron Miles

The Dodgers signed journeyman middle infielder Aaron Miles to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Major League camp. Miles is a longshot to make the Opening Day roster with Jamey Carroll the primary backup middle infielder. Miles will be competing with Ivan DeJesus Jr. and Juan Castro. – Ken Gurnick

Dodgers, Kuo Settle

The Dodgers and reliever Hong-Chih Kuo reached agreement Wednesday on a one-year, $2,725,000 contract to avoid salary arbitration.

Kuo, coming off a 2010 salary of $975,000, was asking for $3.075 million and the club was offering $2.55 million.

James Loney is the only remaining Dodger eligible for salary arbitration. He is asking for $5.25 million and the club is offering $4.7 million. – Ken Gurnick

Volquez, Reds sign one-year deal

The Reds announced that RHP Edinson Volquez has signed a one-year contract to avoid arbitration. Terms were not revealed but when numbers were exchanged, Volquez’s side submitted for $2 million while the club countered with $1.3. The midpoint was $1.6 million.

Volquez returned from Tommy John surgery rehab after the All-Star break and was 4-3 with a 4.31 ERA in 62 2/3 innings. The 26-year-old walked 35 and struck out 67 batters and was also charged with four runs on four hits and was pulled after 1 2/3 innings in Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the Phillies.

“We’ll see if they’re up for doing more later,” GM Walt Jocketty told me on Sunday from the Reds Caravan stop in Lexington. “We tried to do a multi-year deal. They just wanted to concentrate on the one year now. [The agent] had a few cases and wanted to get the arbitration thing out of the way.”

– Mark Sheldon

Roundup: Sizemore rumors addressed

Sometimes a trade rumor is nothing more than a rumor.

Cleveland general manager Chris Antonetti addressed the recent rumors regarding Grady Sizemore on Thursday night, when he and Indians manager Manny Acta fielded questions from fans during a Town Hall meeting in downtown Cleveland.

“I normally don’t get into individual rumors,” Antonetti said. “This one time, I will comment on it. We have not had a single discussion about potentially trading Grady Sizemore. Now, there are teams that call us all the time to ask about our players — that’s just the nature of the business.”

“They’ll ask about almost everyone on our roster at different points in the offseason, but I can tell you at no point have we contemplated trading Grady, and we have no intention of trading Fausto (Carmona), either.”

Antonetti’s comments came after an online report surfaced Monday on MASNsports.com, citing a scout, claiming that the Indians and Nationals have had “conversations” about dealing Sizemore and Carmona to Washington. The rumor gained steam as the week went on, leading Antonetti to shoot it down publicly.

 

Around the league:

* The Orioles have taken a step toward adding a significant bat to their lineup, as they have made an offer to designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero, MLB.com confirmed on Thursday.

The amount and terms of the offer have varied from $2 million to $5 million, although FoxSports.com, which first reported the offer, estimated that the deal was in the low $3 million range.

At one point this offseason, Guerrero requested a two-year deal worth $16 million before dropping his price to one year and $8 million. The O’s had a lower figure in mind, and multiple media outlets have reported that the veteran is not pleased with Baltimore’s offer, which a Major League source told MLB.com was a far “more reasonable” figure.

 

* White Sox general manager Kenny Williams talked to Freddy Garcia’s camp about the White Sox rotation situation, although no numbers were exchanged and Williams said there haven’t been talks with Garcia for at least two or three weeks.

 

* Joe Beimel is signing with the Pirates, The Denver Post reported on Thursday. According to the report, Beimel said his role on the staff, manager Clint Hurdle and his family in the area were factors in the decision to go with Pittsburgh.

Beimel, who will turn 34 in April, went 1-2 with a 3.40 ERA in 71 appearances for the Rockies last season. He has a home in the Pittsburgh-area, the report said.

 

 

Roundup: Wells, Angels an open-ended story

As much as the 2011 offseason will be remembered for Cliff Lee and his suitors, for the Red Sox’s offensive overhaul and for even the Royals and Zack Greinke, it stands to be remembered for the Angels, too.

 

A week ago, that memory would have been of a team that seemingly sat idle. The Angels’ well-known top target, Carl Crawford, was scooped up in front of their eyes at the Winter Meetings in Florida. Their next free-agent mark, Adrian Beltre — who plays third base, a position where they sorely needed improvement — went to a division rival that seemingly had less of a need at the hot corner, Texas.

Then came Friday, when Los Angeles struck a deal with the Blue Jays to bring in outfielder Vernon Wells. Wells, 32, thus far hasn’t lived up to a seven-year, $126 million deal thus far, and $86 million and four years remain on the deal. The Angels are assuming all of that contract, with Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera sent away in the deal.

On Wednesday, Wells was officially introduced in Anaheim, and the Angels have now officially made a significant move.
Whether they’re significantly improved, though, and improved in a cost-effective manner — that’s still unknown, and is probably the most open-ended storyline of the offseason.

Around the league, others were busy around the Hot Stove Wednesday, even with Spring Training less than three weeks away:

? The Reds and right-hander Johnny Cueto finalized a four-year, $27 million contract, allowing them to skip arbitration. The 24-year-old went 12-7 with a 3.64 ERA in 31 starts last season, setting several career high marks.

? Coming off the worst season of his to-be Hall of Fame career, Yankees captain Derek Jeter started working out in Tampa, Fla., with hitting coach Kevin Long. The 36-year-old shortstop signed a three-year, $51 million deal this offseason after hitting a career-low .270 batting average in 2010 — 44 points below his lifetime mark of .314 — with 10 home runs and 67 RBIs in 157 games.

? Adding another veteran, the Yankees inked right-hander Bartolo Colon to a Minor League deal that reportedly could pay him as much as $900,000 if he makes the Major League club out of camp. Colon, 37, did not pitch in the bigs in 2010, but pitched well in the Dominican Winter League.

? Left-hander Andy Pettitte, could be on his way back to New York. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that the door remains open as Pettitte works out in Texas, and according to SI.com, the club’s latest contract offer stood at one season for $12 million. This season would be the 17th for the 38-year-old Pettitte.

? One of the Mets’ marquee names, Johan Santana, has not begun his throwing program as part of his rehabilitation from left shoulder surgery last September, general manager Sandy Alderson said. Santana was cleared Jan. 14. “I think the [physical therapists] recommended that he continue to do certain exercises, and when he feels like he’s ready to toss, he will,” Alderson said. “He’s medically cleared, but to my knowledge, he hasn’t actually started throwing yet.”

? The Mets introduced Chin-lung Hu, a utility infielder on Wednesday, a move that got more attention than might be expected because of the cultural draw. Hu, 26 and acquired from the Dodgers in a trade last month for Minor League pitcher Mike Antonini, would become the Mets’ first Taiwanese-born player if he makes the team. There have only been six Taiwanese-born players in Major League history.

? The Angels and ace right-hander Jered Weaver are discussing a contract extension. Weaver, an All-Star for the first time in 2010 while leading the Majors in strikeouts, has requested $8.8 million in salary arbitration, with the Angels offering $7.3 million. Weaver is eligible for free agency after the 2012 season. Scott Boras is his agent.

? Yasiel Balaguer, an 18-year-old Cuban outfielder, is to work out for the Marlins. Balaguer arrived in Miami in November after leaving Cuba while traveling to Mexico. His athleticism and defense have drawn comparisons to Andruw Jones.

? The Astros and right-hander Wandy Rodriguez, who turned 32 last week, avoided arbitration with a three-year deal that guarantees him $34 million. It also contains a vesting option for 2014 that could bring the total value to $44.5 million.

? The Twins added another experienced arm to their bullpen competition by claiming left-hander Dusty Hughes off waivers from the Royals. Hughes, 28, was 1-3 with a 3.83 ERA, 24 walks and 34 strikeouts over 56 1/3 innings for KC in 2010.

? The Rockies brought back utility man Alfredo Amezaga on a Minor League contract with an invitation to big league camp. The Rockies also signed veteran catcher Chad Moeller to a Minor League deal as a non-roster player.

? San Diego signed Jorge Cantu and also reportedly signed right-handed reliever Greg Burke. Burke is on a Minor League deal.

? The D-backs and catcher Miguel Montero <a href="" http:="" arizona.diamondbacks.mlb.com="" news="" article.jsp?ymd="20110126&content_id=16514398&vkey=news_ari&c_id=ari"avoided"" arbitration="" with a one-year, $3.2 million contract.

– Evan Drellich

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