The Rockies have signed infielder Daniel Descalso to a two-year contract, the club announced on Tuesday.
Descalso’s deal includes $3.6 million in guaranteed money over two years and an additional $500,000 each year in performance bonuses, reports ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick.
Descalso, 28, became a free agent when he was non-tendered by the Cardinals earlier this month. He had a .242/.333/.311 slash line with St. Louis over 104 games in 2014. He has played all over the infield during five seasons in the Majors, but has seen the most action at third base and second.
“We are extremely excited to welcome Daniel to the Rockies family,” Rockies senior vice president/general manager Jeff Bridich said in a statement released by the team. “We believe his versatile skill set, his experience level and his veteran leadership will be great additions to our Major League process.”
Descalso has appeared in 44 postseason games over his career with the Cardinals, helping the team win the World Series in 2011.
The Rockies’ 40-man roster is now full.
Brad Penny is back in baseball. The veteran right-hander has agreed to a Minor League contract with the White Sox, according to multiple reports.
Penny, 36, finished the 2014 season with the Marlins, posting a 6.88 ERA over eight appearances (four starts) after signing with Miami in June. He was out of baseball in ’13.
Primarily a starter over a 14-year career in the Majors, Penny pitched exclusively out of the bullpen with the Giants in 2012. It’s unclear if the White Sox will give him a look as a starter. Penny has a lifetime 4.29 ERA and has won 121 games since debuting with the Marlins in 2000.
Chicago’s current rotation includes Chris Sale, Jeff Samardzija, Jose Quintana, John Danks and Hector Noesi.
The Yankees and left-hander Chris Capuano have agreed to a one-year, $5 million contract, reports Jack Curry of the YES Network.
Capuano finished the 2014 season with the Yankees, going 2-3 with a 4.25 ERA over 12 starts. He began the year with the Red Sox and had a 4.55 ERA over 28 relief appearances before being released in July.
Capuano provides overall depth to the Yankees’ staff, and versatility as both a starter and reliever. Over 10 seasons in the Majors, he is 76-87 with a 4.28 ERA.
The Padres remained active on the Hot Stove Tuesday, signing right-hander Brandon Morrow to a one-year deal, a baseball source told MLB.com’s Corey Brock.
The Padres have not confirmed the deal. Morrow became a free agent when the Blue Jays declined his $10 million option for 2015. His deal with San Diego includes $2.5 million in guaranteed money, with a chance to earn $5 million in bonuses for starting and $1 million for relieving.
Morrow’s addition could help the Padres land another bat. He adds depth to the rotation, which would help facilitate a trade for offense, as the club would likely need to move a starting pitcher.
The Padres have a number of starters: Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross, Ian Kennedy, Odrisamer Despaigne, Jesse Hahn and Robbie Erlin. Prospect Matt Wisler also has a chance to crack the rotation in 2015.
Over eight seasons in the Majors with Seattle and Toronto, Morrow is 42-43 with a 4.28 ERA. But he has a history of health issues and has been on the disabled list at least once in each of the last four years. He’s also been limited to a combined 87 2/3 innings over the last two seasons due to injuries.
Last week, the Padres made a blockbuster trade to land Matt Kemp from the Dodgers. It appears they might not be done dealing this offseason.
The Marlins and free agent slugger Michael Morse are close to a two-year deal, according to reports surfacing Tuesday morning.
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal was the first to report that the two sides were nearing an agreement, and the Miami Herald‘s Barry Jackson reported the terms of the agreement. Sources have also confirmed to MLB.com that it’s a two year deal pending a physical.
Morse has played primarily outfield, but it seems more plausible that he’d play first base — possibly platooning with Garrett Jones, or taking over the job entirely — for the Marlins in their spacious ballpark.
In 131 games for the Giants last season, Morse hit hit .279 with 16 homers and 61 RBIs.
– Joey Nowak
The Royals have found the outfield help they’ve been looking for this winter, agreeing with veteran Alex Rios on a one-year deal reportedly worth $11 million.
The terms were first reported by CBS Sports‘ Jon Heyman on Monday night, and an MLB.com source has confirmed it.
The 33-year-old Rios will be returning to the AL Central after spending the last season-plus with Texas. He played about four full seasons (2009-13) with the White Sox before being traded on August 9, 2013.
With the departure of free agent right fielder Nori Aoki and the retirement of veteran bench player Josh Willingham, the Royals were expected to procure a corner outfielder this winter to join lineup regulars Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain. They were said to be in on talks with Melky Cabrera (White Sox) and Torii Hunter (Twins), who signed elsewhere in the division.
– Joey Nowak
The Astros continued their busy offseason on Monday, signing shortstop/infielder Jed Lowrie to a three-year deal through 2017, with a club option for 2018.
Though primarily a shorstop over his first big league seasons, Lowrie expressed a willingness this offseason to also play either second or third base, if needed. He projects to be the Astros’ starting shortstop in 2015, though he could be called upon to make occassional appearances at third base.
The Marlins and Giants had been previously linked to Lowrie at various points this offseason.
Instead, Lowrie chose to return to Houston where he hit a career-best 16 home runs during his lone season with the Astros in 2012. He hit a career-best .290 the following season with the A’s before struggling to a .249/.321/.355 batting line with six home runs and 50 RBIs this past season in Oakland.
– Paul Casella
Third baseman Chase Headley has reportedly agreed to a four-year, $52 million deal with the Yankees, pending a physical, according to multiple industry reports.
Headley was reportedly choosing between the Yanks, Giants, Marlins and Astros this offseason, with New York and San Francisco long considered the two frontrunners. Headley certainly helps fill a need for the Yankees, as utility man Martin Prado is now free to play elsewhere and the club can focus on bringing back Alex Rodriguez as the designated hitter.
It’s been a disappointing offseason thus far for the Giants, meanwhile, as Headley becomes the club’s latest target to ultimately sign elsewhere. The Giants lost third baseman Pablo Sandoval to the Red Sox earlier this offseason, while marquee starter Jon Lester — the next name on San Francisco’s wish list — chose to sign with the Cubs last week.
– Paul Casella
After missing out on their main target in free agent outfielder Melky Cabrera, the Mariners are now considering a number of alternatives — both on the trade market and within the organization — to fill their void in right field, according to MLB.com’s Greg Johns.
It’s not clear at this point exactly how the Mariners rank the remaining free agents or potential trade targets, but Johns reports that there is still a plethora of options to be considered. For starters, the list of remaining free agent outfielders includes right-handers Alex Rios, Michael Morse, Chris Denorfia, Jonny Gomes and Delmon Young, as well as left-handers Nori Aoki, Colby Rasmus, Ichiro Suzuki and Endy Chavez.
Morse, Denorfia, Suzuki and Chavez have all spent time with the Mariners in previous years, including this past season when Denorfia and Chavez primarily covered right-field duties after the All-Star break with Michael Saunders injured. Saunders, of course, was traded to the Blue Jays earlier this offseason in exchange for left-hander J.A. Happ.
Given the lack of options remaining in free agency, it’s more likely that the Mariners will look to fill their need via the trade market. Braves outfielder Justin Upton remains one of the top players being shopped around, though Seattle is firmly against parting with young right-hander Taijuan Walker in exchange for a player entering the final year of his contract, such as Upton.
Aside from Upton, outfielders known to at least be available via trade include Gerardo Parra of the Brewers, Seth Smith of the Padres, Andre Ethier of the Dodgers, David Murphy of the Indians, Travis Snider of the Pirates, Drew Stubbs of the Rockies and Marlon Byrd of the Phillies. The Red Sox could still move another outfielder even after trading away Yoenis Cespedes last week, meaning Seattle could try to make a play for the likes of Daniel Nava, Allen Craig or Shane Victorino.
As for in-house options, the Mariners could turn to either Nelson Cruz or Logan Morrison for the right field job, though Cruz was signed with the intention of using him as a designated hitter and Morrison is viewed as more of a first baseman. That leaves James Jones and Stefen Romero, each coming off respectable rookie campaigns this past season.
All things considered, the Mariners would ultimately prefer to keep Cruz and Morrison in their expected roles, while bringing in a more established player to man right field for the time being. With Cabrera off the board, the Mariners are leaving no stone unturned as they seek an alternative, but nothing seems imminent at this time.
– Paul Casella
The Astros are reportedly being considered a “sleeper team” in trade talks regarding the Phillies’ Cole Hamels, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
The Cubs, Red Sox, Dodgers, Padres, Rangers and Giants have all been linked to Hamels this offseason, though Cafardo believes the Astros could swoop in and make a push to work out a deal with the Phils. That said, Hamels does have a no-trade list and it’s unclear at this point whether or not the Astros are on it.
Either way, there is speculation that Hamels might be willing to waive his no-trade clause for any of the aforementioned teams, if said team agrees to pick up his $20 million club option for 2019. He’s currently owed $90 million over the next four seasons before that option year comes into play.
The Giants’ interest likely depends on whether or not they’re able to sign James Shields, while the Cubs could fall out of the race as well after signing top free agent starter Jon Lester last week. The Red Sox and Dodgers are widely believed to still be the frontrunners for Hamels, but it appears they may have more competition than initially expected.
– Paul Casella