One of the top remaining free agent starters is Bronson Arroyo, but his 2014 landing spot could come into clearer focus soon, ESPN.com‘s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.
Crasnick tweeted on Friday that the Dodgers and D-backs are “in the mix” for Arroyo, but the Orioles “still aren’t out of it.” He also said Arroyo “could have a clearer picture where he’ll land by the end of [Friday].”
The right-hander went 14-12 with a 3.79 ERA in 32 starts for the Reds last season.
– Joey Nowak
The A’s and outfielder Coco Crisp have agreed to a two-year extension that will run through the 2016 season, with a vesting option for 2017.
The 34-year-old leadoff hitter will enter his 13th Major League season this year, and his fifth with the A’s. He’s a career .272 hitter with 108 home runs, 531 RBIs and 278 stolen bases over 1,294 games between the Indians, Red Sox, Royals and A’s.
In 131 games last year, Crisp hit .261 with 22 doubles, 22 homers, 66 RBIs and 21 stolen bases. It made him just the 10th 20/20 player in A’s history and the first since Ruben Sierra in 1993. He’s 141-for-162 in stolen base attempts as an Athletic (at 87 percent, it’s the best in franchise history) and all of his career-best 22 homers last season came in the leadoff spot, the most in the Majors.
– Joey Nowak
The Mets planned to send scouts to watch reliever Joel Hanrahan throw a bullpen session Friday in Texas, general manager Sandy Alderson told season ticketholders at an event Thursday evening.
Hanrahan, 32, is coming off surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right arm. He posted a 9.82 ERA in nine appearances for the Red Sox prior to his injury last season, but over the two previous seasons collected 76 saves with a 2.24 ERA for the Pirates.
The Mets recently signed Kyle Farnsworth to a Minor League deal, and already have Bobby Parnell at closer. But they are looking for veteran depth to compliment the young arms in their relief corps.
The Hot Stove saw a flurry of activity involving relievers on Thursday, most notably closer Fernando Rodney reportedly agreeing to a two-year contract with the Mariners worth at least $14 million.
Rodney was the top bullpen arm on the market entering Thursday. Over the past two seasons with the Rays, he collected 85 saves and posted a 1.91 ERA. Seattle has not confirmed the deal, which won’t be official until he passes a physical.
Meanwhile, the Marlins and Carlos Marmol reached an agreement on a one-year contract worth $1.25 million. A former All-Star closer with the Cubs, Marmol transitioned to a middle relief role last season after being traded to the Dodgers. The veteran is expected to compete for a setup role this year. Miami added further depth to its bullpen in Chaz Roe, who agreed to a Minor League contract that includes an invitation to Major League Spring Training.
The Cardinals were also in on the action, signing veteran Pat Neshek to a Minor League deal with an invitation to big league camp.
In other news from around the league:
• Despite interest from at least a dozen teams, the Nationals are in no rush to trade second baseman Danny Espinosa, writes MLB.com’s Bill Ladson. Although he’s coming off a down year, Washington still has faith in Espinosa and will give him every chance to make the club this season.
• The D-backs inked outfielder Mark Trumbo to a one-year deal, avoiding arbitration.
• The Cubs and second baseman Darwin Barney won’t be going to arbitration after agreeing to a one-year contract. The deal leaves right-handed starter Jeff Samardzija as Chicago’s only arbitration eligible player.
• Catcher Matt Wieters and the Orioles also avoided arbitration by coming to terms on a one-year deal.
• Infielder Brett Wallace was designated for assignment by the Astros in a move to open a roster spot for pitcher Jerome Williams, who agreed to a one-year pact earlier this week. Houston has 10 days to trade Wallace, outright him to the Minor Leagues or release him.
• Tampa Bay signed five players to Minor League contracts with invitations to Major League Spring Training: infielder Wilson Betemit, outfielders Justin Christian and Jeremy Moore, catcher Eddy Rodriguez and right-hander Juan Sandoval.
The Mariners might have found a new closer on Thursday, signing free-agent right-hander Fernando Rodney, according to multiple reports.
Grantland’s Jonah Keri was the first to break the deal, which reportedly will be worth $14 million over two years, with another $1 million available through incentives. The club has not confirmed the signing.
Rodney, who turns 37 in March, saved 48 games for the Rays in 2012 and 37 last year, when he posted a 3.38 ERA in 68 games.
Danny Farquhar finished last season as Seattle’s closer, racking up 16 saves.
– Andrew Simon
It’s almost here.
Wednesday, the day before the D-backs are the first team to have pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, was relatively quiet.
A few Minor League deals were made as the Indians signed former All-Star first baseman Bryan LaHair to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training. The Nationals inked veteran catcher Koyie Hill to the same, as did the Dodgers with infielder Justin Turner.
The Braves and first baseman Freddie Freeman also officially announced their eight-year, $135-million deal.
“For them to believe in me with this kind of contract, it’s truly an honor and humbling,” Freeman said. “But having it this young, I never thought it would be possible or could imagine that.”
Freeman’s deal was announced on the 80th birthday of Braves Hall of Famer and legend Hank Aaron.
But there was some sad news on Wednesday, as former Major Leaguer Curt Schilling announced he has cancer.
Other news and notes from Wednesday:
- Former pitcher and current YES Network analyst David Cone thinks highly of new Yankee right-hander Masahiro Tanaka.
- Within this Rays notebook is right-hander Jake Odorizzi’s take on stepping up for the injured Jeremy Hellickson.
- Orioles reporter Brittany Ghiroli answers questions in her inbox.
- Blue Jays reporter Gregor Chisholm does the same here.
- Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens and Nomar Garciaparra, along with radio broadcaster Joe Castiglione, will be inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame.
- Current Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe is focused on the now while also taking top prospect and fellow third baseman Miguel Sano under his wing.
- Cleveland outfield prospects Clint Frazier and Tyler Naquin hope to live up to the hype.
- Former Tiger Lance Parrish will manage in Detroit’s system at Double-A Erie.
- A’s reporter Jane Lee answers questions in this inbox.
- The Rangers sold their ballpark naming rights. They now play in Globe Life Park in Arlington.
- Mets outfielder Chris Young has used the phone to get to know his new teammates.
- Marlins reporter Joe Frisaro fields questions in this inbox.
- Former Phillies Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs are among those who Comcast SportsNet could add to the booth.
- The Braves unveiled military appreciation jerseys.
- Pirates center fielder and reigning NL Most Valuable Player Andrew McCutchen is entering his 10th season of pro ball.
- Clint Hurdle isn’t satisfied despite helping the Pirates break their postseason drought.
- Rinku Singh, the left-hander who won the “Million Dollar Arm” contest in 2008, is ready to showcase his stuff at Pirates’ Spring Training.
- A number of former Cubs shared their memories of Wrigley Field, which turns 100 this year.
- Padres right-hander Tyson Ross is ready to be a full-time starter.
- The Giants are hoping Michael Morse is a steady contributor in left field.
- The Dodgers are hoping small tweaks to last year’s team will lead to the next step.
- The D-backs are ready for Spring Training.
- Cash Kruth
Arbitration hearings are never the most enjoyable part of Hot Stove season. And now, two high-profile young players won’t have to worry about them anymore.
The Braves made Tuesday’s biggest splash, avoiding arbitration with two of their three remaining eligible players. While closer Craig Kimbrel still is headed toward a hearing, the club signed outfielder Jason Heyward to a deal that buys out his final two arbitration years, while inking first baseman Freddie Freeman to a franchise-record eight-year, $135 million extension.
In other news from around the league:
- The Mariners could be on their way to adding another power source to a lineup that already has gained the services of Robinson Cano, Corey Hart and Logan Morrison this offseason. Reports surfaced on Tuesday that Seattle is discussing a multiyear deal with free-agent outfielder Nelson Cruz, who clubbed 27 home runs in 109 games for the Rangers last year.
- Seattle also avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal with Morrison.
- The Rangers are among several teams interested in Korean pitcher Suk-Min Yoon, who worked out for the club in Arizona.
- The Orioles are interested in Yoon, too, and in fact have made the righty an offer. But they also are pursuing a more established arm, such as A.J. Burnett or Bronson Arroyo.
- The Marlins added a veteran right-handed bat, bringing in Jeff Baker on a two-year deal. Baker could platoon with Garrett Jones at first base and also could see time at third and second.
- The A’s signed former Rays outfielder Sam Fuld to a Minor League deal that includes two opt-out dates if he has not been added to the active roster.
– Andrew Simon
Here’s a Hot Stove riddle: Two starting pitchers who posted ERAs of 3.30 or below last season, two hitters who combined for 50 home runs, and a shortstop with a strong all-around game — what do they have in common?
The answer is that they all remain free agents, with Spring Training lurking on the horizon. Sure, Ubaldo Jimenez, Ervin Santana, Nelson Cruz, Kendrys Morales and Stephen Drew all have their flaws. But there is something else at work, too.
All five players are tied to Draft pick compensation, a situation MLB.com’s Phil Rogers outlines in his latest column. The Frozen Five, as Rogers calls them, still figure to find multiyear deals, but the clock is ticking, and their options are dwindling.
In other news from around the league:
- MLB.com’s Doug Miller takes stock of what remains on the market this offseason in The Week Ahead.
- The D-backs have come up empty so far in their search for a starting pitcher, watching Masahiro Tanaka and Matt Garza sign elsewhere, but team president and CEO Derrick Hall said the club will continue looking. Bronson Arroyo is one potential target for Arizona.
- The D-backs also reached a one-year deal with outfielder Gerardo Parra, avoiding arbitration.
- Will the Yankees sign Drew or reliever Fernando Rodney? MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch tackles that question and more in his latest inbox.
- In his inbox, Indians beat writer Jordan Bastian examines the situation involving Justin Masterson, who is headed toward an arbitration hearing and is set to become a free agent after this coming season.
- Agent Scott Boras told FOXSports.com’s Jon Morosi that he is “very close” to getting deals for relievers Oliver Perez and Francisco Rodriguez, utility man Jeff Baker and Korean pitcher Suk-min Yoon. Several teams reportedly have interest in Yoon, with the Orioles one of those making an offer, according to The Baltimore Sun.
- The Astros added another veteran arm to their staff, agreeing to a one-year deal with right-hander Jerome Williams.
- Monday’s Minor League deals included a trio of relievers, with Kyle Farnsworth going to the Mets, and Armando Galarraga and Daniel Bard to the Rangers.
– Andrew Simon
With pitchers and catchers scheduled to report to Spring Training in less than two weeks, time is running out for free-agent starters A.J. Burnett, Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez and Bronson Arroyo to find work. However, the Orioles are rumored to be in talks with those big-name arms, writes MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli.
Baltimore executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said Saturday his club has “some more work to do this offseason.” In addition to talking to several free-agent starters, Duquette and the Orioles would also like to avoid an arbitration hearing with catcher Matt Wieters. For his part, Wieters said he’s staying out of the contract negotiations.
Perhaps once Burnett, Santana, Jimenez or Arroyo reaches a deal with a club, the rest will follow suit. Although that quartet remains on the market, there was still movement on the Hot Stove on Saturday:
• The Nationals and right-handed starter Doug Fister agreed to a one-year deal, avoiding arbitration. With Fister under contract for 2014, reliever Tyler Clippard is the only player expected to take Washington to arbitration this month. Clippard seeks $6.35 million, while the Nationals have offered $4.45 million.
• In a similar development, the Dodgers and catcher A.J. Ellis avoided arbitration by coming to terms on a 2014 contract worth $3.55 million plus incentives. That leaves closer Kenley Jansen as the only remaining Dodgers player eligible for arbitration. Jansen is looking for $5.05 million and the club has offered $3.5 million.
• Veteran utility man Emilio Bonifacio was designated for assignment by the Royals in a move to clear roster space for left-handed starter Bruce Chen, who recently inked a new contract. Kansas City has 10 days to place Bonifacio on waivers, release him or trade him.
• Giants head of baseball operations Brian Sabean said the organization would still consider signing a veteran reliever, though “it would have to be at a minimal price.”
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 CBSSports.com. 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