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Report: Nationals sign Casey Janssen

The Nationals bolstered their bullpen on Wednesday, reportedly agreeing to a one-year deal with free-agent reliever Casey Janssen.

FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal first reported the agreement, which is for one year with a mutual option and a total guarantee of $5 million. The club has not confirmed the report.

Janssen, 33, went 3-3 with a 3.94 ERA and 25 saves for the Blue Jays last season. Over the past three years in Toronto, he compiled 81 saves while posting a 2.94 ERA and 0.99 WHIP in 168 appearances.

Janssen could compete for the setup role made available when the Nationals traded reliever Tyler Clippard to the A’s in exchange for shortstop Yunel Escobar earlier this month.

In parts of eight seasons with the Blue Jays, Janssen went 29-24 with a 3.52 ERA and 90 saves in 493 innings.

-Adam Berry

Snider headed to O’s in trade with Pirates

Outfielder Travis Snider is headed to Baltimore in exchange for left-handed pitching prospect Stephen Tarpley. The Pirates will also receive a player to be named later in the deal.

To make room on their 40-man roster, Baltimore designated catcher Michael Ohlman for assignment.

The two clubs reportedly discussed a deal involving Snider and Orioles left-hander Brian Matusz last month, but those talks apparently never gained enough traction. Instead, it’s Tarpley, who spent last season with low Class A Aberdeen, heading to Pittsburgh in the trade.

Snider, who turns 27 next week, had a breakout season of sorts last year, particularly after the All-Star break. He posted a .288/.356/.524 batting line with nine home runs and 24 RBIs in just 60 games during the season’s second half.

“Snider is a solid, dependable, power-hitting outfielder and is an excellent fit for Camden Yards,” Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette told MLB.com via text. “[He] should be a good addition to the club, at bat and in [the] field.”

Despite Snider’s potential, there was a logjam blocking him from consistent playing time in Pittsburgh. The Pirates currently have Starling Marte and highly-touted prospect Gregory Polanco slated to man the corner outfield spots alongside perennial MVP threat Andrew McCutchen in center.

Meanwhile, acquring Snider helps Baltimore fill the void left by the departures this offseason of Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz. The O’s have been tied to a number of outfielders this offseason, both via free agency and potential trades, but hadn’t yet reeled in a replacement.

The 21-year-old Tarpley, who was a third-round pick in the 2013 Draft out of Scottsdale Community College, had a 3.68 ERA in 13 appearances last season (12 starts). He posted a 1.41 WHIP, while fanning 60 hitters in 66 innings.

– Paul Casella

Rockies not planning to move Tulo, Gonzalez

Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich reportedly told FOX Sports’ Jon Heyman on Tuesday that it is “highly, highly unlikely” that either Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez will be traded prior to Opening Day.

Both players have been mentioned frequently as potential trade pieces this offseason, but nothing has come of it thus far. Tulowitzki, in particular, was tied to a number of teams earlier in the offseason, including both New York clubs, but those talks never gained much traction.

The Yankees instead acquired Didi Gregorius from the D-backs and the Mets insisted they are content on entering the season with Wilmer Flores as their starting shortstop. There have been virtually no other rumors involving Tulowitzki over the past month.

Though the Rockies were said to at least be listening to potential offers for the duo, it’s unlikely that they’ve heard the type of substantial offer they’re looking for. Not only are both Tulowitzki and Gonzalez coming off injury-plagued seasons, but Tulowitzki — who’s had a number of injury concerns throughout his career — is owed $114 million over the next six seasons and Gonzalez is due $53 million over the next three years.

Whether it’s because the Rockies truly want to keep both players or they simply couldn’t find a suitable trade partner, it appears for the time being that both Tulowitzki and Gonzalez will begin the season in Colorado.

– Paul Casella

Astros trying to shore up rotation, looking at Correia

The Astros are “among the teams” that are showing interest in right-hander Kevin Correia, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman.

After missing out on free agent starter Ryan Vogelsong, who ultimately elected to return to the Giants last week, the Astros are now turning their focus toward other back-end starters to fill out their rotation. Houston had also been linked to free-agent right-hander Kyle Kendrick prior to missing out on Vogelsong, so he could be another option.

Correia racked up a 5.44 ERA over 32 appearances between the Dodgers and Twins last year, while Kendrick posted a 4.61 ERA over 32 starts with the Phillies.

As of right now, the Astros’ rotation consists of Scott Feldman, Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh, Brett Oberholtzer and recently-acquired Dan Straily. Straily is currently slated into the fifth starting spot after being acquired from the Cubs last week as part of the Dexter Fowler trade, but the Astros could add some depth and create competition before Spring Training. Brad Peacock could also join the mix at some point, though he’s unlikely to be ready for Opening Day after undergoing offseason hip surgery.

– Paul Casella

Moncada reportedly works out for Dodgers

Highly-sought-after Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada worked out for the Dodgers on Monday morning, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reported on Twitter, adding that the Dodgers “remain a significant threat because of deep pockets.”

This is just the latest in a slew of showcases held for Moncado, who previously worked out for the Brewers, Rangers, Giants, Yankees, Red Sox and Padres in Florida, MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez wrote. The Rays, Cubs and Phillies are also showing strong interest for the 19-year-old, according to Sanchez.

Moncada could garner a signing bonus of up to $40 million, which would become nearly an $80 million commitment due to the dollar-for-dollar overage tax on teams exceeding their spending pools. Before signing, though, Moncada must be cleared by the Office of Foreign Assets Control.

– Alden Gonzalez

Brewers could be interested in K-Rod reunion

Brewers owner Mark Attanasio has reportedly had talks with Francisco Rodriguez’s agent, Scott Boras, about a potential return to Milwaukee, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

This report comes a day after Attanasio said he would be “very surprised” if the Brewers did not make another signing before Spring Training. The Brewers had been mentioned in potential trade talks involving the Phillies’ Jonathan Papelbon, but those talks seem to have died down in recent days.

As it stands now, the Brewers are limited to Jonathan Broxton when it comes to potential closer options. Rodriguez, meanwhile, is coming off an impressive 2014 campaign in which he locked down 44 saves, while racking up a respectable 3.04 ERA and 0.99 WHIP over 69 appearances.

The market for Rodriguez has been rather quiet this offseason, so a return to the Brewers could end up being the best option for both sides.

– Paul Casella

Royals monitoring Shields’ situation, unlikely to sign him

Royals general manager Dayton Moore said he is “still monitoring” the market for James Shields, but added that the club is unlikely to sign him, according to Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star.

Though Shields’ price tag is likely to drop a bit in the near future, if it hasn’t already, the right-hander will likely remain out of the Royals’ price range. Along with the financial limitations, the Royals already have six pitchers set to compete for the five rotation spots in Yordano Ventura, Jason Vargas, Jeremy Guthrie, Edinson Volquez, Kris Medlen and Danny Duffy.

The market for Shields is still largely unclear at this point, but the Marlins, Diamondbacks, Padres and Blue Jays are all among the teams that have been linked to him, one way or another, in recent days.

– Paul Casella

Report: Papelbon trade hits snag

Trade talks between the Phillies and Brewers regarding closer Jonathan Papelbon have “dissipated,” Brewers general manager Doug Melvin told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Saturday.
“It doesn’t appear there’s any momentum to it right now,” Melvin told the newspaper. “It could be revived later, I guess, but right now there’s nothing happening.
“Whatever traction there was seems to have dissipated.”
The biggest hang-ups, according to the report, are Papelbon’s contract and his no-trade clause. The right-handed closer can block deals to 17 teams, one of which includes Milwaukee. He is also due a $13-million option for 2016 should he finish 48 games. Papelbon has finished at least 48 games in every year but his rookie season.
The potential for a deal is not yet off the table, a source told CSNPhilly.com, but those issues complicate it.
Papelbon, 34, has 325 saves in 10 seasons with the Red Sox and Phillies.
– Cash Kruth

Marlins still considering making push for Shields

The Marlins are “still discussing” the possibility of pursuing free agent right-hander James Shields, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.

The market for Shields remains mostly unclear at this point, with numerous teams being linked — and then unlinked — to him this offseason. The Marlins are certainly one of those teams, as the club has been mentioned as a potential landing spot at times this winter, but ESPN’s Jayson Stark reported earlier this week that the chances Miami will sign him are currently “zero.”

That, of course, could change rapidly, especially if Shields’ price tag begins to drop. The 33-year-old is said to be seeking a five-year, $125 million deal, while some reports have suggested that teams are leaning more towards offering him a four-year pact in the neighborhood of $80 million.

While the market portion of things will shake out in the coming days, the Marlins could certainly use Shields in their rotation. Shields could provide the team with an ace-caliber pitcher until Jose Fernandez is ready to return from Tommy John surgery, at which point the Marlins would figure to have one of the stronger starting pitcher duos in the National League.

It would also bolster the postseason chances for a team that is clearly looking to make a push into October after a busy offseason. Those postseason hopes also get a lift in the short-term by the fact that the Marlins play in the NL East, a division that currently features three teams that are in various stages of rebuilding in the Braves, Mets and Phillies. All signs point toward trying to build an immediate contender in Miami and adding a pitcher of Shields’ caliber could make a significant impact.

– Paul Casella

Marlins reportedly sign Ichiro to one-year deal

The Marlins have reportedly agreed to a one-year deal with outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, according to Craig Mish of MLB Network Radio.

The 10-time All-Star will provide the Marlins with added depth as a fourth outfielder behind starters Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich. Suzuki, whp turned 41 in October, still hit a respectable .284/.324/.340 over 143 games for the Yankees last season, while also stealing 15 bases.

Though he has played primarily right field since 2009, Suzuki did make brief appearances in both left and center field with the Yanks last season and could make appearances at either spot for the Marlins, if needed.

Most notably, Suzuki is just 156 hits shy of 3,000 for his Major League career. While it’s unlikely that he’d rack up that many hits this season, given his limited role, another solid campaign could position him for another one-year deal and a shot at 3,000 in 2016.

– Paul Casella

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