Results tagged ‘ Dodgers ’

Report: Cuban INF Olivera impresses at showcase

When it comes to Cuban infielders, much of the attention has focused on 19-year-old Yoan Moncada, who is expected to sign with a team by the end of the month.

Another Cuban, Hector Olivera, can’t match Moncada’s young age or sky-high potential. But the 29-year-old second baseman is generating plenty of interest in his own right.

Olivera played a showcase game in front of hundreds of scouts in the Dominican Republic on Wednesday, with Baseball America’s Ben Badler tweeting that the Dodgers, Giants, A’s and Padres were among the teams with a “notable presence” at the event. Olivera did not let them down, reaching base in all five of his plate appearances, including two doubles.

This was the third showcase for the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Olivera, who has played second and third while displaying power and above-average speed, according to Badler. He has a strong track record in Cuba, where he hit .316/.412/.474 with seven homers in 73 games during the 2013-14 season, after missing the previous year. Olivera is expected to be declared a free agent by Major League Baseball sometime soon and figures to have plenty of suitors when he does.

— Andrew Simon

Moncada hoping to sign with team soon

With James Shields off the board, there isn’t much impact talent left on the free-agent market. Yet one player continues to generate significant speculation, despite a lack of professional experience in the United States.

Yoan Moncada, the dynamic 19-year-old switch-hitting infielder from Cuba, recently was cleared to sign with a big league club. His agent, David Hastings, told the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday that the plan is for Moncada to take offers over the next two weeks. At that point, Hastings hopes he and his client will “have a much clearer picture” of Moncada’s destination.

The goal is for Moncada to sign soon after so he can report to Spring Training with that team and get started in its farm system.

The Dodgers, one of the clubs to hold a workout for Moncada, are believed to be a serious contender for his services, along with the Yankees, Red Sox and several others.

— Andrew Simon

Moncada working out for Padres, mixed reports on interest

Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada is reportedly working out for the Padres on Monday, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

While Passan adds that San Diego “plans to be aggressive” in pursuing Moncada, a source tells MLB.com’s Corey Brock that the Padres might be done with their offseason spending spree after signing James Shields to a four-year, $75 million deal on Monday.

As for Moncada, the five-tool infielder is also believed to be receiving serious interest from at least 10 other teams — a list that includes the Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox, A’s, Giants, Rangers, Cubs, Tigers, Phillies, and Cardinals. The Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers have all been mentioned as potential frontrunners to land Moncada at various times this offseason.

Though naturally a shortstop, the 19-year-old phenom can also play second or third base. Along with bolstering the rotation by signing Shields on Monday, the Padres have already added Matt Kemp, Wil Myers and Justin Upton to their outfield corps this offseason.

While Moncada would just be the latest blockbuster move for the Padres this offseason, it’s unclear at this point whether or not the club is willing to spend big on yet another player after signing Shields.

— Paul Casella

Moncada hoping to sign somewhere soon

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

Blue Jays close to adding bullpen help

The Blue Jays could still use some help in the bullpen, as MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm writes, and the club is making progress on a contract with right-hander Ronald Belisario, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports.

While a deal with Belisario is not yet finished, he would appear to be a solid fit in Toronto.

Belisario, 32, has closing experience, but has been better in a middle relief role over a five-year career in the big leagues. He’s coming off a bit of a down season, though, after going 4-8 with a 5.56 ERA in 62 appearances with the White Sox in 2014. Chicago designated him for assignment in November.

Belisario’s best season came in 2012 with the Dodgers, when he went 8-1 with a 2.54 ERA in 68 relief appearances covering 71 innings.

There are still a number of proven relievers available on the free-agent market, including Francisco Rodriguez, Rafael Soriano, Alexi Ogando and John Axford.

–Austin Laymance 

Joe Blanton coming out of retirement?

Veteran starting pitcher Joe Blanton is on the comeback trail. The right-hander will hold an open workout and bullpen session for interested clubs on Feb. 4, tweets Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors.

Blanton, 34, retired from baseball in April and did not pitch in the big leagues last season. He last pitched in the Majors in 2013 with the Angels, going 2-14 with a 6.04 ERA over 28 appearances, including 20 starts.

Over a 10-year career with the Phillies, A’s, Dodgers and Angels, Blanton is 85-89 with a 4.51 ERA. He’s pitched at least 191 innings in six different seasons.

At this point, Blanton’s best bet to get back to the Majors would seem to be as a fifth starter on a Minor League deal. If he can go to Spring Training with a club, he could have a shot.

–Austin Laymance

Nationals, Blue Jays interested in Burke Badenhop

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.

–Austin Laymance

Dodgers miss out on Lopez, turn focus toward Moncada

The Dodgers are reportedly turning their sights toward pursuing Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada after missing out on right-hander Yoan Lopez, according to MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez. Lopez elected to sign with the D-backs on Tuesday morning, despite being “aggressively pursued” by the Dodgers.

Though Moncada is still yet to be cleared by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, the 19-year-old has plans to hold seven private workouts this month with undisclosed teams. Sanchez expects the Dodgers to be one of those clubs, while Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel has also mentioned the Yankees and Red Sox as potential landing spots.

Moncada, a middle infielder who can also play third base, is widely considered one of the top international prospects in the game right now, with Sanchez ranking him atop his list of Cuban players to watch.

— Paul Casella

Red Sox, Dodgers showing interest in Ogando

The Red Sox and Dodgers have been “aggressive” in their pursuit of free agent right-hander Alexi Ogando, according to Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com.

Though Ogando’s injury history has presented a serious concern for some clubs, the righty reportedly impressed at least some scouts at his workout last week, attended by approximately two dozen teams. The Red Sox and Dodgers were both among the clubs represented at that showcase.

Ogando struggled to a 6.84 ERA over 27 injury-hampered appearances with the Rangers last season. He was 7-4 with a 3.11 ERA over 23 outings (18 starts) in 2013, while again being slowed by injuries.

Ogando, who can serve as either a back-end starter or a reliever, is expected to make a decision next week. It’s unclear what it’ll take to sign him, but he’ll likely settle for a contract loaded with performance-based incentives after being limited by shoulder and elbow injuries in each of the last two seasons.

— Paul Casella

Orioles have talked to Dodgers about Ethier

The Orioles have reportedly “engaged in trade talks” with the Dodgers regarding outfielder Andre Ethier, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com.

The O’s have spent much of this offseason trying to fill the outfield void left by the departures of Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz, but they are yet to land one of their targets. Along with reaching out to the Dodgers about Ethier, Kubatko adds that the club also remains interested in free agents Colby Rasmus and Nori Aoki.

The same report mentions that manager Buck Showalter actually met in-person with Rasmus this past weekend in order to get a sense of whether or not the 28-year-old would be a good fit in Baltimore. Formerly one of the game’s top prospects, Rasmus has struggled to reach his potential over parts of six Major League seasons. After hitting .276 with a career-best .501 slugging percentage in 2013, Rasmus hit just .225 with a career-low 40 RBIs this past season with the Blue Jays.

Aoki, meanwhile, turned 33 years old today and is coming off a subpar defensive season with the Royals. As for Ethier, the former All-Star is set to also turn 33 years old in April and has $53.5 million remaining on his contract over the next three years. The Dodgers would likely pay off some of that remaining money, though the amount would ultimately depend on what the O’s send to Los Angeles in return in any potential deal.

The most likely scenario remains that Baltimore signs either Rasmus or Aoki, but the club’s talks with the Dodgers are certainly worth monitoring in the coming days.

— Paul Casella

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