The Marlins are showing interest in free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez, reports MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro.
Miami has been in contact with Rodriguez’s agent, Scott Boras, though nothing is imminent, according to Frisaro.
Rodriguez, 33, saved 44 games with the Brewers last season. He would add a quality and proven arm to the back of the Marlins’ bullpen. Steve Cishek remains the closer, but Rodriguez would be a strong fallback option.
The Marlins actually came into $1 million when they won their arbitration hearing with Mat Latos. The pitcher filed for $10.4 million, and Miami countered at $9.4 million. The ruling went in favor of the club.
Soriano, 35, had 32 saves with the Nationals last season. He’s totaled 117 saves over the last thee years with the Nats and Yankees. The right-hander has a lifetime 2.85 ERA over 13 seasons in the Majors.
Reds general manager Walt Jocketty downplayed a report that his club was pursuing free agent outfielder Dayan Viciedo, who was released by the White Sox earlier this week.
“We talked to his representative but I don’t know if we have a fit for him,” Jocketty said on Saturday. “They’re looking for more playing time. With our outfield the way it is, I don’t see it as a good fit.”
Viciedo, 25, could have been a fit in other ways. He would still under club control for three more years and would be a right-handed power bat off the bench that hit 25 home runs in 2012. He hit 21 homers last season for Chicago but batted .231/.281/.405 in 145 games.
*Also — talks are continuing with the two remaining Reds arbitration players — 3B Todd Frazier and closer Aroldis Chapman.
“We’re going to keep working on it this weekend and see if we can make some progress,” Jocketty said. “Until it’s over, we don’t really know.”
— Mark Sheldon
It took nearly the entire off season, but it appears James Shields is nearing a decision.
Earlier Saturday it was reported that although the Padres are the favorites to land the right-hander, several teams are still in the race.
When Shields ultimately does decide to sign, it looks like his price will have dropped again. The finals numbers are expected to be below 4-years and $80 million, according to ESPN.
Shields, 33, went 14-8 with a 3.21 ERA in 34 starts last season.
– William Boor
San Diego has been the main team linked to Shields in the last few days, and talks between the two sides were “gaining momentum,” according to Scott Miller of Bleacher Report on Saturday morning.
Miller notes Shields likes the idea of pitching in San Diego and Petco Park, a notorious pitcher’s park. Shields has spent his entire nine-year career in the American League and has only pitched in San Diego once — throwing seven shutout innings.
Shields was 14-8 with a 3.21 ERA in 34 starts for the Royals last season and has logged at least 200 innings in each of the last eight years.
— Cash Kruth
It’s been no secret that the Phillies have been trying to move veterans this offseason. They’ve already traded SS Jimmy Rollins and they’re reportedly open to dealing starting pitcher Cole Hamels and closer Jonathan Papelpon.
On Friday, ESPN’s Jayson Stark reported that lefty starter Cliff Lee could also be on the move as soon as Spring Training, if Lee is healthy.
MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reported earlier this month that Lee could be a valuable trade chip for Philadelphia around the July 31 Trade Deadline. But it seems possible that the timetable has moved up.
Lee was limited to 13 starts last season because of a left elbow injury. He is owed $25 million in 2015 and has a $27.5 million vesting option for 2016 with a $12.5 million buyout. The option becomes guaranteed with 200 innings pitched in 2015.
— Mark Sheldon
The Padres might have one big move left in an eventful offseason.
A day after Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler told MLB.com via email there is room to add payroll, ESPN’s Buster Olney tweeted there is growing speculation that free-agent right-hander James Shields will land in San Diego.
The Padres’ current payroll currently sits just shy of $90 million, which was their 2014 Opening Day payroll and a franchise record.
Shields was believed to have been seeking a contract in excess of five years and $100 million earlier in the offseason, but as time wears on his price tag appears to have dropped.
Shields, 33, was 14-8 with a 3.21 ERA last year and has been one of the game’s most durable pitchers over the past several seasons.
— Cash Kruth
The Brewers are still talking to the Phillies about potentially acquiring Jonathan Papelbon, though Milwaukee is also considering a contingency plan that would involve re-signing Francisco Rodriguez, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman.
The Brewers have been linked to Papelbon for weeks, but Heyman reports that any potential trade continues to be hung up by the Phillies’ desired return. Philadelphia is apparently unhappy with the Brewers’ current offer for Papelbon, who is due $13 million this season and also has a vesting option for 2016 worth same amount, assuming he finishes 48 games in 2015.
Papelbon is coming off another strong season in which he racked up a 2.04 ERA while saving 39 games for the Phils. The 34-year-old reliever has posted a sub-3.00 ERA in nine of his 10 big league seasons and has a 2.37 career ERA overall.
As for Rodriguez, who just turned 33 last month, he’s also coming off an impressive 2014 campaign. He notched a 3.04 ERA and 44 saves for the Brewers, while finishing an NL-best 66 games. Rodriguez also posted a 1.09 ERA over 25 appearances with the Brewers in 2013 before being traded to the Orioles and later re-signing with Milwaukee in the offseason.
— Paul Casella
The Cubs significantly upgraded their starting rotation earlier in the off season when they signed Jon Lester, but it turns out the club is considering signing another top-flight arm.
According to a report from Comcast Sports Net Chicago, the Cubs are ‘kicking the tires’ on James Shields.
Multiple reports have suggested Shields is likely to make a decision by the end of the week, with multiple teams in contention.
Shields, 33, posted a 3.21 ERA last season while going 14-8.
The right-hander was believed to have been seeking a contract in excess of five years and $100 million earlier in the off season, but as time wears on his price tag appears to have dropped.
Shields is now expected to sign a four-year deal worth roughly $70 to $80 million.
– William Boor
Though it’s unclear whether or not they are a frontrunner in the James Shields sweepstakes, the Marlins at least “remain in talks” to potentially sign the free agent right-hander, according to MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro.
Shields’ market has started to develop rapidly this week, with FOX Sports’ Jon Heyman even reporting that Shields has “multiple offers in hand” and could sign somewhere by the end of the week. It obviously remains unclear which teams exactly have extended those offers, though reports have suggested that neither the Red Sox nor the Royals are among those suitors.
Along with the Marlins, the Padres and Blue Jays have both been mentioned as potential landing spots. There have also been conflicting reports regarding the Yankees’ interest, with Joel Sherman of the New York Post saying they are “not in play” for Shields and Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweeting that he is hearing the Yanks are “now actively pursuing” him.
It should also be noted that Shields apparently prefers to play on the West Coast near his home in San Diego. That report would obviously suggest that the Padres have an advantage in that regard, but it’s unclear whether or not that will factor into Shields’ final decision.
Though there may not be a frontrunenr as of right now, Shields’ situation should continue to come into focus in the coming days.
— Paul Casella
Now that he’s officially been declared a free agent, top Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada told MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez that he hopes to “sign with a team soon.”
The 19-year-old Moncada has already held private workouts for the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Padres, Giants, Rangers, Rays, Tigers and Brewers. Other teams could also make a push to sign Moncada now that he’s actually allowed to sign a deal.
“My goal is to sign with a team soon, start training with them, and make it to the Major Leagues as fast as I can with whichever team that might be,” Moncada said in Spanish to MLB.com in his first interview since arriving in the United States in late November. “I know I’m going to do the best I can for as long as I can in this sport.”
Naturally a shortstop, Moncada can also play second or third base. The Yankees and Red Sox have long been mentioned as the potential favorites to sign Moncada, but the Dodgers have also been floated as one of the most likely landing spots.
— Paul Casella