When the off season started, there were three frontline starters looking for a team. Now that Jon Lester has inked a deal with the Cubs and Max Scherzer has joined the Nationals, James Shields is the lone man standing.
Shields, 33, has been linked to several teams – including the Diamondbacks, Blue Jays and Tigers – throughout the off season, but now that he’s the last big name pitcher left, things are starting to get interesting.
“What I see now is a lot of teams jumping back in,” an executive told ESPN. “But part of the reason is, they’re saying, ‘We know now he’s not getting $110 million, so why not jump back in?’ But the problem is, now everyone is bottom-feeding. And when you’re someone like him, that’s the last thing you want, is a lot of teams bottom-feeding on you in late January.”
On Sunday, USA Today reported that Shields has been seeking a five-year deal worth $125 million, but that offers were falling short of that.
Shields posted a 3.21 ERA in 227 innings last season and has made 31 or more starts in eight straight seasons.
- William Boor
The Braves are still pursuing free-agent outfielder Jonny Gomes, according to MLB.com’s own Mark Bowman.
Atlanta reportedly believes Gomes would be a good platoon option with Zoilo Almonte in left field.
Gomes, a veteran outfielder who’s spent nine years in the Majors, played for the Red Sox and A’s last season. He combined to hit .234 with six home runs and 37 RBIs.
– Quinn Roberts
About a half-dozen teams — including the Yankees, Blue Jays and Padres — are reportedly considering signing free agent left-hander Johan Santana, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
Santana needed just 17 pitches and worked two perfect innings for his start on Jan. 13, his first since June when he tore an Achillies tendon in his left foot while pitching for Baltimore in extended Spring Training. His fastball ranged between 86 and 89 mph and he faced three Major League hitters: Yangervis Solarte, Josmil Pinto and Avisail Garcia.
His next start is scheduled for Thursday.
Santana is a former two-time American League Cy Young award winner (2004 and 2006) but has undergone two major shoulder surgeries since September 2010 and has not pitched in the majors since August of 2012 with the Mets.
Santana will turn 36 in March, but is hoping to earn at least an invite to Spring Training. Darren Wolfson of ABC Minneapolis has reported Santana already has one offer, although it is not from the Twins.
Top Cuban infield prospect Yoan Moncada cannot sign with a Major League team until he is cleared by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Department of the Treasury, but he has already participated in several private workouts for teams.
According to industry sources, Moncada, 19, has held private workouts for the Brewers, Rangers, Giants, Yankees, Red Sox, and Padres in Florida. The Dodgers, Rays, Cubs, and Phillies are also showing strong interest.
Moncada remains the most celebrated young prospect to leave Cuba since Jorge Soler, who signed with the Cubs in 2012. Moncada debuted for Cienfuegos in Cuba’s Serie Nacional at age 17 and hit .277 during parts of two seasons. He made a name for himself by dominating the 16-and-under and 18-and-under leagues in Cuba.
Because he is under 23 and did not play in a Cuban professional league for at least five seasons, Moncada is subject to the international signing guidelines. In accordance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each team is allotted a $700,000 base and a bonus pool based on the team’s record in 2013 for the international signing period, which started on July 2.
The Yankees, Rays, Red Sox along with the D-backs and Angels have all spent more than 15 percent of their allotted bonus pools and are in the maximum penalty range for the 2014-15 signing period. The penalty includes a 100 percent tax on their pool overage and prohibits them from signing any pool-eligible player for more than $300,000 during the next two signing periods.
Moncada was granted his release from his Serie Nacional Cienfuegos team last year and later cleared by Cuba’s National Baseball Commission. He was granted a visa and a passport by the Cuban government and left on an airplane to Central America.
Moncada had a showcase for 60-70 scouts in Guatemala on Nov. 12.
– Jesse Sanchez
The Red Sox, Nationals, Blue Jays and Rays have shown interest in free-agent reliever Ronald Belisario, according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports.
Belisario, 32, spent time as a closer for the White Sox in 2014 and recorded eight saves. The right-hander had a 5.56 ERA in 62 appearances. The White Sox designated him for assignment in November.
The Red Sox are looking for a right-handed option to fill out their bullpen, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, so Belisario could be a fit in Boston. Meanwhile, the Nationals and Blue Jays have also shown interest in free-agent reliver Burke Badenhop.
The Astros have signed free-agent outfielder Colby Rasmus to a one-year contract for the 2015 season, the club announced on Tuesday.
Rasmus’ deal is for $8 million, a source told MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart.
Houston was in need of an established outfielder after trading Dexter Fowler to the Cubs on Monday. Rasmus is close with Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, who drafted him in 2005 when Luhnow was the scouting director for the Cardinals.
A left-handed hitter, Rasmus was a free agent for the first time in his career. He’s spent the last three-plus seasons in Toronto after beginning his big league career in St. Louis. The 28-year-old had a .225/.287/.448 slash line with 18 home runs and 21 doubles in 104 games last season.
To make room for Rasmus on the 40-man roster, the Astros designated catcher Carlos Corporan for assignment.
There a number of clubs still looking for bullpen help on the free-agent market. The Nationals and Blue Jays are among those teams and have both shown interest in veteran right-hander Burke Badenhop, reports Jon Morosi of FOX Sports.
Badenhop, 31, made 70 appearances with the Red Sox last season and had a 2.29 ERA. He’s pitched for four different clubs in each of the last four years.
The Red Sox were linked to Badenhop earlier in the offseason. Boston remains in the market for right-handed relief, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Dodgers and Brewers are still looking for bullpen help, too.
After trading for slugger Evan Gattis last week and adding infielder Luis Valbuena and pitcher Dan Straily in a trade Monday, the Astros are still in the market for another starting pitching.The Astros are in “serious discussions” with free agent right-hander Ryan Vogelsong, FOX’s Ken Rosenthal tweeted Monday.
A source told MLB.com the team has interest in Vogelsong,who went 8-13 with a 4.00 ERA in 32 starts for the World Series champion Giants last year. He has a career 49-57 record with a 4.42 ERA in 10 Major League seasons with the Pirates and two stints with the Giants. His best year was in 2011 when he made the All-Star team in a season in which he finished 13-7 with a 2.71 ERA with the Giants.
Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said Monday: “There are still some free agents we have interest in and there’s still some potential trade opportunities.”
– Brian McTaggart
The Rangers consummated their rumored deal with the Brewers on Monday, trading for right-handed pitcher Yovani Gallardo.
In return, the Brewers receive three players — infielder Luis Sardinas, right-handed pitchers Corey Knebel and Marcos Diplan.
The Rangers will also receive cash in the deal to, presumably, offset the $13 million Gallardo will earn in 2015, the final year on his contract, according to MLB.com.
Gallardo, 28, has spent his entire career with the Brewers, breaking into the big leagues in 2007. He’s 89-64 with a 3.69 in 214 games (211 starts). He was 8-11 with a 3.51 ERA in 32 starts a year ago.
Knebel was the eight-best prospect in the Rangers system according to MLB.com. Diplan was ranked No. 20.
Sardinas made his big league debut last season, hitting .261 in 43 games.
– Corey Brock
After a full day of speculation, it appears Yovani Gallardo has in fact been traded to the Rangers.
Multiple media reports have confirmed that the Brewers are sending Gallardo and cash to the Rangers in exchange for infielder Luis Sardinas, pitcher Corey Knebel and 18 year old pitcher Marcos Diplan.
Gallardo, 28, is eligible for free agency after the 2015 season, but went to high school in Fort Worth so there is a chance he may want to remain in Texas long term.
The right-hander went 8-11 with a 3.51 ERA in 32 starts for the Brewers last season and is 89-64 with a 3.69 ERA across eight Major League seasons.
– William Boor