Rangers sign Fujikawa

The Rangers have signed free-agent right-hander Kyuji Fujikawa to a one-year deal with a club option for 2016, the club announced on Tuesday.

Texas also signed first baseman Kyle Blanks and infielder Tommy Field to Minor League deals with invitations to Major League Spring Training.

Fujikawa, 34, made his big league debut with the Cubs in 2013. Over two seasons in Chicago, he was limited to 27 total appearances due to Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in June 2013. He’s been effective when healthy, though, striking out 31 in 25 career innings.

Blanks, 28, split time with the Padres and A’s last season. He hit a combined .309 with two home runs in 26 games. In 260 career games in the big leauges, Blanks has a .234 average with 30 homers.

Field was in Triple-A in 2014 with both the Angels and Pirates organizations. The 27-year-old appeared in 33 games with the Rockies and Angels from 2011-12.

–Austin Laymance

Angels trade Jepsen to Rays for Joyce

The Angels traded homegrown reliever Kevin Jepsen to the Rays for outfielder Matt Joyce, the latest in a string of moves this offseason.

Joyce, a 30-year-old left-handed hitter with experience at both outfield corners, is one year away from free agency and projected to make roughly $5 million. Jepsen was in his third of four arbitration years and projected to make about $2.5 million.

Joyce has batted .252/.341/.428 over the last four years, hitting 63 homers, driving in 233 runs and stealing 26 bases while averaging 136 games in that stretch. On the Angels, Joyce projects as a fifth outfielder who can platoon with the right-handed-hitting C.J. Cron at designated hitter.

Jepsen, originally a second-round Draft pick by the Angels in 2002, is coming off a breakout season, one that saw the 30-year-old right-hander post a 2.63 ERA and strike out 10.4 batters per nine innings in 74 games. But on an Angels team with lots of right-handed-relief depth, Jepsen was no more than a seventh-inning guy, making him expendable in their quest to make up for the loss of Howie Kendrick.

With Jepsen gone, Fernando Salas and Mike Morin look like the leading candidates to take over the seventh inning.

– Alden Gonzalez

Rockies sign Descalso

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.

–Austin Laymance

Report: Brad Penny signs with White Sox

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.

–Austin Laymance

Yankees bring back Capuano

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.

–Austin Laymance

Morrow to Padres

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.

–Austin Laymance

Morse, Marlins close to deal

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

Rios agrees to one-year deal with KC

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

Lowrie returning to Astros

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

Headley reportedly signing with Yankees

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


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