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Rangers Meet with Shields

The Rangers have turned their attention to free-agent starter James Shields, meeting with the right-hander at the Winter Meetings, according to Chris Cotillo of SB Nation.

With Jon Lester now off the market, plenty of teams are looking for that frontline starter. The Rangers are no different. According to Cotillo, the Rangers met with Shields in San Diego over the weekend.

Right now, Texas has Yu Darvish and Derek Holland at the top of its rotation, but questions about the rest of the Rangers rotation still exist due to injury concerns about Martin Perez and Matt Harrison. Shields would be a definite upgrade.

The team has also reportedly shown interest in free-agent Justin Masterson and possibly trading for Mets right-hander Dillon Gee and D-backs left-hander Wade Miley.

Quinn Roberts

Miley Trade Appears Likely

The D-backs are close to trading left-hander Wade Miley, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports.

While it’s unclear exactly where Miley could be headed, the Red Sox have been in talks with the D-backs. With Boston losing out on the Jon Lester sweepstakes, the team is looking at other options to fill its rotation. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has also mentioned that the Marlins and Rangers have expressed interest in Miley.

USA Today’s Bob Nightengale has reported that Arizona is trying to trim its payroll to $90 million, which is part of the reason why the team is listening to offers for Miley.

Miley is coming off of a down year, in which he went 8-12 with a 4.34 ERA over 33 starts. However, he went 16-11 with a 3.33 ERA in 2012, finishing second in the National League Rookie of the Year voting.

Quinn Roberts

Melky Won’t Return to Blue Jays

The Blue Jays acquisition on Wednesday of outfielder Michael Saunders from the Mariners all but guarantees Melky Cabrera’s exit from Toronto.

The team had interest in re-signing Cabrera, but the two sides were never able to come close to an agreement on a multi-year contract. Saunders will likely take over for Cabrera in left field.

With a number of teams interested in the former All-Star, multiple media outlets have reported that the Royals have been in contact with Cabrera. Other teams said to be in the mix include the Reds, Mariners, Orioles and White Sox.

The Royals need a proven hitter after Billy Butler signed with the A’s earlier this off-season. The team could get that in Cabrera, who hit .301 with 16 home runs and 73 RBIs, along with 35 doubles in 2014.

Already familiar with Kansas City, Cabrera spent the ’11 season with the club, which marked one of the best of his career. He hit .305 with career-highs in home runs (18) and RBIs (87).

Cabrera is reportedly looking for at least a five-year contract, similar to that of fellow outfielder Nelson Cruz, who signed with the Mariners this week for four years and $57 million. Cabrera earned $8 million this season.

Quinn Roberts

Donaldson reportedly headed to Toronto

The A’s are close to completing a trade that would send All-Star third baseman Josh Donaldson to the Blue Jays. Ken Rosenthal of was the first to report the trade.

In return for Donaldson, the A’s are reportedly receiving infielder Brett Lawrie, right-hander Kendall Graveman, Class-A shortstop Franklin Barreto and left-hander Sean Nolin.

General manager Billy Beane said earlier this month that he was not interested in trading any of his younger players, but he seems to have backed away from that thinking with this deal.

Donaldson hit .255 with 29 home runs and 98 RBIs with the A’s in 2014.

– Quinn Roberts

Victorino: ‘I should be the starting right fielder’

After signing Hanley Ramirez earlier this week to become the team’s left fielder, the Red Sox have an even greater surplus of outfielders, leaving many to wonder who will man right field come the start of next season.

Shane Victorino believes it should be him.

“If you think there’s somebody better in right, be my guest,” Victorino told WEEI’s Rob Bradford on Friday. “Obviously health will dictate that. But if I’m healthy if there’s a better outfielder in right field then show me and go out there and do it. I’m not saying that in a cocky or arrogant way. It’s just how confident I am to know I should be the starting right fielder.”

With Ramirez in left and Rusney Castillo expected to be in center field, that leaves Mookie Betts, Yoenis Cespedes, Daniel Nava, Allen Craig, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Brock Holt fighting for a spot in right.

While Victorino manned right field for the Red Sox during their 2013 World Series run, he dealt with back and hamstring issues this past season, limiting him to just 30 games.

The 34-year-old told Bradford that Monday will mark the first time he’ll swing a bat since undergoing back surgery in August.

Victorino is in the final season of a three-year, $39 million deal.

Quinn Roberts

A’s land Davis from Bucs

The A’s acquired first baseman Ike Davis and international bonus slot 86 from the Pirates on Sunday in exchange for international bonus slot 27.

The A’s are hoping the addition of Davis can add depth to their infield, along with some extra pop. Davis hit 32 home runs for the Mets in 2012. He finished the ’14 season hitting .233 with 11 home runs with 51 RBIs.

Davis was designated for assignment by the Pirates on Thursday. He played the first 12 games of the season with the Mets before being traded to Pittsburgh.

The A’s designated outfielder Andrew Brown for assignment to clear a spot on the 40-man roster.

Quinn Roberts

Rangers interested in Justin Upton

With reports surfacing over the last few days that the Braves are shopping Justin Upton, the Rangers look to be one of the teams interested in acquiring the outfielder.

Ken Rosenthal of and Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported on Sunday that the Rangers have spoken with the Braves regarding Upton. According to Rosenthal, this isn’t the first time the Rangers have shown interest in him.The Braves already traded away a piece of their outfield this off-season when they sent Jason Heyward to St. Louis in exchange for Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins.

Upton will make $14.5 million in 2015 and then become a free agent. In 2014, he hit .270 with 29 home runs and 102 RBI.

– Quinn Roberts

Hot Stove Roundup 2/14

Several more teams reported to Spring Training on Friday. However, the Hot Stove was still as busy as ever.

Some of the biggest news of the day came out of Atlanta, where the Braves and Julio Teheran agreed to a six-year, $32.4 million extension that includes an option for the 2020 season.

“We are excited to sign Julio to a long-term contract,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said. “He is one of the best young pitchers in the National League and one of our core of players we expect to be together for a number of years.”

Here’s a look at some of the other top stories:

• The Rangers and designated hitter Mitch Moreland avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year contract worth $2.65 million.

• Texas also signed free-agent pitcher Tommy Hanson to a one-year contract. The deal is worth $2 million plus incentives.

• The Cardinals confirmed that right-hander Jake Westbrook is retiring after 13 years in the Major Leagues. Westbrook, 36, was 7-8 with a 4.63 ERA in 21 games for St. Louis last season.

• Jeff Samardzija would not discuss the possibility of a long-term contract with the Cubs or his name being mentioned in trade rumors.

“We’re not really going to talk about that,” Samardzija said. “We’re worried about the season and getting ready to compete and win some ballgames. We don’t want any distractions, whether it’s with [contract talk] or with trade talks or this or that. For me, it’s a no comment.

“Like I’ve said before, [I want to] put no doubt in anyone’s minds about who I am and what I can be for this organization.”

• Angels owner Arte Moreno confirmed that the club is in talks with Mike Trout on a long-term contract. The team would like to sign the 22-year-old center fielder to a long-term deal shortly after Opening Day, so they don’t have to go through the complex arbitration process next year and his new contract doesn’t count against the team’s Collective Balance Tax payroll until 2015.

• The Nationals and right-hander Josh Roenicke agreed to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training.

Quinn Roberts

Hot Stove Roundup 1/31

Plenty of important news came out of the Hot Stove on Friday, most notably in Chicago. According to FOX Sports, the Cubs have signed free-agent pitcher Jason Hammel to a one-year, $6 million contract.

Hammel, 31, had a break out year in 2012. The right-hander went 8-6 with a 3.43 ERA in 118 innings over 20 starts for the Orioles. However, he took a step back in 2013, finishing with a 7-8 record and 4.97 ERA in 26 appearances. He was on the disabled list during the season with tenderness in his right forearm.

Yet, it wasn’t just Hammel. Plenty of others news occurred throughout the league. Here’s a look at some of the top stories:

* The Tigers avoided arbitration with catcher Alex Avila, signing him to a one-year, $4.15 million contract that includes an option for 2015. The deal finished the Tigers’ arbitration dealings.

* The Angels avoided arbitration with their final two eligible players, agreeing on a $5.05 million contract with third baseman David Freese and a $1,462,500 contract with reliever Kevin Jepsen.

* The Royals signed relief pitcher Aaron Crow to a one-year, $1.475 million contract to avoid arbitration. He asked for $1.7 million, while the Royals offered $1.28 million, the same salary he earned in 2013.

* Not only did the Cubs reportedly sign Jason Hammel, the team signed pitcher James McDonald to a Minor League contract that includes an invitation to Spring Training.

* The Marlins added Reed Johnson into their mix of outfielders, signing the veteran to a Minor League deal with an invitation to Spring Training. Johnson played in 74 games for the Braves last season.

* The Angels signed Yorvit Torrealba to a Minor League contract with an Invitation to Spring Training. The catcher would provide Minor League depth along with Luis Martinez and John Hester.

* Veteran shortstop Alex Gonzalez, who will enter his 16th season, signed a Minor League deal with the Orioles that includes an invitation to Spring Training. He spent the last two seasons with the Brewers, but appeared in only 65 games.

* Roger Bernadina became the Reds latest Minor League signing, inviting the outfielder to Spring Training as a non-roster player. If he makes it out of Reds camp, Bernadina will earn a $1 million salary in 2014.

* Switch-hitting veteran Wilson Betemit agreed to a Minor League deal with the Rays, according to The club has yet to confirm the deal.

* After spending the 2013 season in Japan, first baseman Matt Clark and the Mets agreed to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training.

Quinn Roberts

Hot Stove Roundup 1/25

While the Hot Stove was quite busy on Friday, things were relatively calm on Saturday. However, a few tasty tidbits did come up.

Here’s a look at some of the day’s news and notes from around the league:

* Rangers general manager Jon Daniels told ESPN Dallas’ Richard Durrett that it is unlikely the team will sign former infielder Michael Young. He said the team will look for players within the organization to fill the utility spot.

* If starter Ubaldo Jimenez is unable to get a multi-year contract, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes he could return to the Indians for a one-year deal at or below $14 million.

* While Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski won’t address the team’s interest in outfielder Nelson Cruz, he did tell Jason Beck of that he’d be “surprised if we made any major moves”.

* The Brewers signed outfielder Jeremy Hermida and infielder Joe Thurston to minor league deals on Saturday. Hermida played the entire 2013 season with Triple-A Columbus in the Indians organization. Thurston last appeared in the Majors in 2010 and played in Mexico in 2013.

* Pitcher Barry Enright tweeted that he signed a minor league deal with the Phillies. Enright struggled in 2013, posting a 7.12 ERA in 1161/3 innings for Triple-A Salt Lake in the Angels organization.

Quinn Roberts


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