Results tagged ‘ Rays ’

1/23 Roundup

The theory went that once Masahiro Tanaka signed, the rest of the free-agent market would loosen up after weeks at a near standstill. Well, the Yankees won the bidding for the Japanese right-hander on Wednesday, and on Thursday — as if on cue — more action followed.

Although several significant free agents remain available — pitchers such as Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana, for instance — the chips began to fall in Tanaka’s wake. With the Rays signing closer Grant Balfour and the Brewers drawing close to a deal with starter Matt Garza, Thursday was a signal that the Hot Stove could once again be sizzling.

Here’s a look at news from around the league:

  • Garza reportedly had agreed to a four-year, $52 million deal with the Brewers on Thursday, but the club later announced that negotiations were “ongoing.” If the contract goes through, it will qualify as a strong move for Milwaukee, writes columnist Mike Bauman.
  • Balfour had a deal with the Orioles fall through earlier in the offseason after issues arose with his physical, and that allowed the veteran to wind up back with Tampa Bay, on a two-year deal. Balfour was a setup man for the Rays from 2007-10 but returns as the club’s ninth-inning man after a successful stint in Oakland.
  • Tanaka held a press conference with the Japanese media in Tokyo and said the Yankees gave him the “highest evaluation,” and he is “going there to win the World Series.”
  • Tanaka’s new general manager, Brian Cashman, said his offseason “heavy lifting” likely is complete, although there still are areas for him to address. According to Jon Heyman of and MLB Network, the club is considering adding free-agent shortstop Stephen Drew, now that it won’t be able to stay under the luxury tax threshhold. Drew could play second base or move back to short if Derek Jeter is injured.
  • With Clayton Kershaw’s massive extension with the Dodgers now about a week old, two other All-Star pitchers expressed their desire for long-term contracts that would allow them to stay put. Reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer told reporters at the Tigers’ Winter Caravan that he hopes to get something done by this spring, or if not, after the season. Meanwhile, Red Sox lefty Jon Lester stated his desire to remain with the only organization he has known for the rest of his career.
  • On the topic of extensions, the Marlins have interest in signing slugger Giancarlo Stanton to one, now that they have avoided arbitration with a one-year contract for 2014.
  • This has been a much more patient type of offseason for the Angeles, writes’s Alden Gonzalez, who also takes a look at five free-agent starters whom the team could target.
  • Elsewhere in the AL West, the Mariners also are looking to add a starter, preferably a veteran who could fill the No. 3 slot in their rotation behind Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma.
  • Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said he thought his club was going to be able to sign outfielder Grady Sizemore but that Sizemore, “changed his mind at the last minute,” before signing with the Red Sox on Wednesday.
  • Thursday also brought some Minor League deals for veteran players, with righties Jon Rauch and David Aardsma signing with the Royals and Indians, respectively, lefty Aaron Laffey going to the Orioles and outfielder Endy Chavez returning to the Mariners.
  • The Giants avoided arbitration with infielder Joaquin Arias, signing him to a two-year deal.

— Andrew Simon

Reports: Rays plan to announce Balfour signing

The Rays sent out a notice on Thursday morning that the club would be making a major announcement this afternoon, and multiple reports have surfaced now that it will be to announce newly-signed reliever Grant Balfour.

The former A’s closer was close to reaching an agreement with the Orioles earlier this offseason, but the deal fell through because of issues with his physical. Andrew Rickli first reported this bit of news on Thursday, and‘s Ken Rosenthal tweeted the agreement is for two years. 

Balfour, 36, has spent 10 seasons in the Majors but has become a real force the last two seasons with Oakland, when he has combined for 62 saves.

— Joey Nowak

1/20 Roundup

When Clayton Kershaw signs a contract extension worth $215 million or Japanese free agent Masahiro Tanaka chooses which Major League team will enjoy his services, there is no question the consequences will be significant.

But on the Hot Stove, even small pieces of news can carry big ramifications.

Take the Braves’ inability to reach one-year deals with arbitration-eligible stars Craig Kimbrel, Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward last week. The club exchanged salary figures with each player on Friday and appears unlikely to work out any agreements prior the hearings that will come during the first three weeks of next month. As’s Mark Bowman writes, these cases could impact the franchise’s course for several years to come, with its crop of young standouts growingly rapidly more expensive — and possibly too expensive to keep in the long term.

In other news from around the league on Monday:

  • The Rays settled on a 2014 contract with ace left-hander David Price last week, avoiding arbitration and taking another step toward keeping the former American League Cy Young Award winner in Tampa Bay for another season. While the always creative Rays still could find an enticing trade for Price, it’s looking more and more like he will be the club’s Opening Day starter, as columnist Anthony Castrovince writes.
  • The Mariners struck one of the big blows of the offseason by signing free-agent second baseman Robinson Cano, but as columnist Tracy Ringolsby discusses, they continue to search for ways to improve following a 71-win season.
  • Rumors have swirled around Tanaka all offseason, through negotiations over a new posting system, the Rakuten Golden Eagles’ decision about whether to let him go, and then the current bidding war among MLB clubs. But the issue of the right-hander’s U.S. destination finally will be settled this week.
  • Minor League signings don’t tend to get much attention, but at Sports on Earth, Jack Moore discusses six who could make an impact this season, including the Rangers’ Colby Lewis and the Brewers’ Mark Reynolds.
  • Milwaukee added another veteran first baseman on a Minor League deal, bringing in Lyle Overbay for his second stint with the club.
  • Rangers lefty Matt Harrison, coming back from an injury-plagued ‘13, is on track to begin the season in the team’s starting rotation, which needs all the help it can get with Derek Holland likely sidelined for the first half. As T.R. Sullivan writes, Texas is mulling its fifth-starter options, which include internal candidates, as well as free agents.
  • With Kershaw’s signing done, the Dodgers could have Hanley Ramirez next on their agenda.
  • In his latest inbox, Indians beat writer Jordan Bastian explains why the Tribe is unlikely to trade either shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera or pitcher Justin Masterson before the start of the season, despite both players being one year from free agency.
  • Yankees beat writer Bryan Hoch tackles several topics in his own inbox, including the possibility of a Stephen Drew signing or an Ichiro Suzuki trade.

— Andrew Simon

1/17 Roundup

On a day when the Dodgers announced their seven-year, $215 million contract extension with ace left-hander Clayton Kershaw, numerous smaller deals were completed across the Major Leagues.

Friday was the deadline for teams to exchange salary figures with arbitration-eligible players, leading many to work out compromises, albeit none that carry the financial impact of Kershaw’s. For those who didn’t reach agreements, negotiations can continue until hearings take place from Feb. 1-21, at which point the decisions will be in the hands of three-judge arbitration panels.

Here is a look at some of Friday’s big arbitration-related news:

  • The Nationals signed five of their seven eligible players, including All-Star right-hander Jordan Zimmermann and shortstop Ian Desmond. Washington bought out the final two years of arbitration for both players, locking them up for $24 million and $17.5 million, respectively.
  • Reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer agreed to a $15.525 million contract with the Tigers, who still have a lot of work to do if they want to prevent him from reaching free agency next offseason.
  • Chris Davis headlined the Orioles’ five signings, getting a raise of roughly $7 million in his second year of arbitration after leading the Majors in home runs and RBIs. Catcher Matt Wieters, also two years from free agency, has yet to reach a deal.
  • Third baseman Chase Headley was among the players to settle with the Padres as he readies for his final season before free agency.
  • While the Braves were able to sign four arbitration-eligible players, they will have to exchange figures with closer Craig Kimbrel, first baseman Freddie Freeman and outfielder Jason Heyward.
  • The Marlins put a stop to all three of their arbitration cases, handing $6.5 million to slugger Giancarlo Stanton in the process. Stanton’s salary will jump from $537,000 in his first year of arbitration.
  • The Yankees also locked up all of their arbitration-eligible players, as outfielder Brett Gardner led the way with a $5.6 million settlement.
  • Another club set to sit out the hearings is Toronto, which rewarded center fielder Colby Rasmus’ strong 2013 with a $7 million deal in his final year of club control.
  • Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer, who bounced back in a big way after going through a rough ‘12, settled on a $3.6 million contract in his first year of arbitration.
  • Josh Reddick is the only A’s player who remains unsigned after the club came to agreements with four more players on Friday, including offseason acquisitions Craig Gentry and Luke Gregerson.
  • Pedro Alvarez and Neil Walker were among the players to come to terms with the Pirates, who closed all of their arbitration cases.
  • A day after settling with ace lefty David Price, the Rays avoided arbitration with each of their six remaining players, including righty Jeremy Hellickson.
  • The Reds have negotiating left to do with starter Homer Bailey and closer Aroldis Chapman and are hoping to ink Bailey to a long-term deal.

— Andrew Simon

1/16 Roundup

With Major League teams scheduled to exchange salary figures with arbitration-eligible players on Friday, Thursday’s most popular Hot Stove activity was finding a way to prevent the awkwardness of continuing the arbitration process.

The Rays’ David Price was the most high-profile of several players who agreed to one-year deals, thereby avoiding arbitration. The 2012 American League Cy Young winner will make $14 million in his second-to-last season of club control.

Price, the subject of frequent trade rumors, told reporters during a conference call that he wants to remain with Tampa Bay, although the deal does not guarantee the club won’t trade him before or during this season.

In other news from around the league:

  • Others who avoided arbitration with one-year deals included Ike Davis with the Mets, Jim Johnson and John Jaso with the A’s, Chris Heisey with the Reds, Ross Detwiler with the Nationals, Wilton Lopez with the Rockies and Tim Collins with the Royals.
  • Even with Clayton Kershaw locked up with a massive contract extension, the Dodgers could be far from done making big moves, writes’s Ken Gurnick. Los Angeles remains a possible destination for Japanese free agent right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, and shortstop Hanley Ramirez could be in line for his own extension heading into the last year of his contract.
  • Kershaw’s seven-year, $215 million deal could have implications for the other defending Cy Young Award winner, the Tigers’ Max Scherzer. As’s Jason Beck writes, Scherzer figures to benefit as he enters his third year of arbitration. The Tigers will have to pay up big if they want to keep him off next winter’s free-agent market.
  • Cubs manager Rick Renteria said he was part of a contingent that met recently with Tanaka in California. Many MLB owners apparently are convinced the Cubs will “blow away the field and sign Tanaka to a monster deal,” according to ESPN’s Jayson Stark.
  • The Orioles and free-agent righty Bronson Arroyo are engaged in “ongoing discussions,” according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports, who adds that the Dodgers are also involved.
  • The Brewers have drawn close to signing first baseman Mark Reynolds to a Minor League contract. Reynolds would figure to compete for playing time at first base, a weak spot for Milwaukee.
  • The Indians announced their Minor League deal with outfielder Nyjer Morgan, who is bringing his Tony Plush persona back to the U.S. after spending 2013 in Japan.
  • The Mariners added to their catching depth by signing veteran John Buck to a one-year deal.
  • The Royals brought in a pair of veteran pitchers on Minor League contracts, signing righties Brad Penny and Guillermo Mota.
  • Other Minor League signings on Thursday included catcher Michael McKenry with the Rockies, infielder John McDonald with the Angels, pitcher Henry Rodriguez with the Marlins and infielder Chris Getz with the Blue Jays.

— Andrew Simon

1/3 Hot Stove Roundup

With cold weather and snow blanketing much of the country as the calendar turns over to 2014, baseball fans are growing more and more excited for Spring Training.

The Hot Stove quieted down over the holidays, but you can expect things to heat up again as teams make final pushes for the remaining free agents and cross the final items off their to-do lists before reporting to either Arizona or Florida. Here’s a recap of Friday’s Hot Stove action:

  • The biggest news of the day came out of St. Petersburg, where the Rays officially inked first baseman James Loney to a three-year deal. It’s the largest deal awarded to a free agent by the Rays under the current ownership and was a priority for the team coming into the winter, executive vice president Andrew Friedman said.
  • The other deal of the day came out of Baltimore, where the Orioles signed speedster Quintin Berry to a minor league deal. The outfielder has been valuable in stints with the Tiger and Red Sox, with whom he’s demonstrated a prowess in stealing bases. Berry, 29, has played all three outfield spots and is a close friend of Orioles center fielder Adam Jones. But, perhaps most importantly, he is 29-for-29 in career stolen base attempts.
  • The Reds, down an impact outfielder since losing Shin-Soo Choo to free agency, have reportedly explored adding Grady Sizemore,‘s Mark Sheldon reported today. Sizemore hasn’t played in the big leagues since 2011 but has showed plenty of potential while healthy in his time with the Indians.
  • Shortstop Stephen Drew remains a free agent, which comes as a bit of a surprise now that he’s proven healthy and capable of helping a club, Marc Nordmandin writes for Sports on Earth. There’s been more chatter about who Drew will not be playing for, Normandin writes, than who he will be playing for.
  • CBS Sports‘ Jon Heyman reported the details of Houston’s one-year deal with reliever Jesse Crain on Friday, noting that the right-hander will receive $3.25 million in guaranteed money.
  • There figure to be plenty of teams in the running for Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, and Fox Sports‘ Ken Rosenthal reports the D-backs will most assuredly be one of them. He writes that the money the team had earmarked to potentially spend on Choo is now available for other uses — namely a top-tier starting pitcher.

— Joey Nowak

1/2 Roundup

The Hot Stove tends to focus on what teams can add. But sometimes, a team’s best move could be to prevent one of its players from joining next offseason’s Hot Stove discussion.

The Tigers might be one of those clubs, writes’s Jason Beck. While Detroit is no stranger to making significant trades or signings after Jan. 1, general manager Dave Dombrowski could choose to focus on a contract extension for reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer. It will take a sizable offer to lock up the right-hander for the long term, but that might prove preferable than letting Scherzer hit the open market next winter.

In other news from around the league on Thursday:

  • After turning the calendar to 2014,’s Doug Miller surveys the Hot Stove scene and takes stock of who remains available.
  • Baseball America’s Ben Badler made a list of the 10 teams most likely to sign Japanese righty Masahiro Tanaka and put the Mariners at No. 1, followed by the Yankees and Dodgers. Wherever he goes, Tanaka is likely to taste plenty of success, writes our Mike Bauman.
  • The Twins are “kicking tires” on another free-agent righty, Matt Garza, according to Darren Wolfson of
  • The Phillies and Tigers are among at least six teams that have tried to trade for Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner this offseason, according to Peter Gammons of However, Yankees GM Brian Cashman will only part with Gardner if he has to do so in order to acquire starting pitching, Gammons writes.
  • The White Sox announced their one-year deal with free-agent left-handed reliever Scott Downs, who will make $4 million and have a club option for 2015.
  • The Rays claimed left-handed reliever Pedro Figueroa off waivers from the A’s, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
  • The Mariners signed a trio of players to Minor League deals, including veteran reliever Ramon Ramirez.

— Andrew Simon

12/24 Roundup

Major League general managers got perhaps their biggest Christmas present a little early, when Nippon Professional Baseball’s Rakuten Golden Eagles reportedly announced late Tuesday night that they will post star pitcher Masahiro Tanaka.

The right-hander, who went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in Japan this season, is certain to command serious interest from several teams, who can submit a maximum bid of $20 million in order to earn the right to negotiate with him. ESPN’s Jim Bowden listed the Yankees, Angels, D-Backs, Rangers and Dodgers as some teams to watch as the situation develops.

The Eagles’ decision also could open the floodgates for the starting-pitcher market. With Tanaka in limbo, the likes of Bronson Arroyo, Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana remained unsigned.

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick talked to Arroyo and reported that the Yankees have “touched base” with the durable 36-year-old righty, while the Angels, Orioles and D-backs also could be good fits. Arroyo told Crasnick that his last team, the Reds, has not offered him a one-year deal, and that he hasn’t been close to signing with the Twins, although those clubs still could be options.

In other news from around the league:

  • The Dodgers announced the signings of free agents Juan Uribe, Chris Perez, J.P. Howell and Jamey Wright, and general manager Ned Colletti said after those moves he is “pretty much done” tweaking his roster for 2014. Colletti also deflected a question about his club’s interest in Tanaka and reiterated his belief that center fielder Matt Kemp, recovering from a broken ankle, will be ready for Opening Day.
  • The Blue Jays re-signed infielder Munenori Kawasaki to a Minor League contract, with an invitation to Spring Training. A fan favorite in Toronto last season, when he hit .229/.326/.308 in 289 plate appearances, Kawasaki will compete for a bench spot and possibly playing time at second base.
  • Left-handed reliever Jordan Norberto has agreed to a Minor League deal with the Rays, according to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser. Norberto posted a 2.77 ERA in 39 appearances for the A’s in 2012 but didn’t pitch in the Majors last season, undergoing Tommy John surgery in June, a month after Oakland released him. Slusser also reports that Norberto still must serve his 50-game suspension that came as a result of the Biogenesis investigation.
  • There is mutual interest in a reunion between the Phillies and reliever Ryan Madson,’s Jim Salisbury reports. Madson played for Philadelphia from 2003-11 and saved 32 games with a 2.37 ERA in his final season there before having his past two years wiped out by elbow injuries. According to Salisbury, Madson will audition for teams soon after New Years and likely will have to take a Minor League deal.

— Andrew Simon

12/22 Roundup

The free-agent market lost one of its biggest names on Saturday, when outfielder Shin-Soo Choo agreed to a seven-year, $130 million contract with the Rangers.

As the list of unsigned impact players continues to shrink, the big question hanging over the Hot Stove is whether Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka will join the fray. The highly touted right-hander’s Nippon Professional Baseball club, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, has yet to decide whether to make him available via NPB’s recently revised posting system with Major League Baseball.

But the situation appears to nearing a resolution, with Baseball America’s Ben Badler reporting that the Eagles are expected to inform Tanaka of their decision by Wednesday.

In other news from around the league on a quiet Sunday:

  • Former A’s closer Grant Balfour saw his two-year, $15 million deal with the Orioles fall through after issues arose with his physical, but as many as four teams — including the Rays — appear to have interest in the veteran righty.
  • Former All-Star left-hander Mark Mulder, who is making a comeback attempt, has worked out for the Giants, Padres, D-backs, Angels and Phillies, according to The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Mulder last pitched in the Majors in 2008 but is working with a new delivery after injuries derailed his career.
  • Cafardo also writes that free-agent shortstop Stephen Drew seems likely to return to the Red Sox, due in large part to a lack of other strong fits.
  • Agent Scott Boras is trying to get the Mets interested in two of his remaining free agents, Drew and slugger Kendrys Morales, according to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. However, Crasnick says Drew’s price could be too high for New York, which doesn’t appear to have much interest in Morales.

— Andrew Simon

12/13 Roundup

Baseball’s Winter Meetings ended on Thursday, but that doesn’t mean the Hot Stove came to a halt on Friday.

Even with general managers, agents and media members gone from Lake Buena Vista, Fla., the action continued, and the free-agent market continued to grow thinner. A pair of players reportedly agreed to new contracts, with first baseman James Loney set to return to the Rays on a three-year deal and second baseman Omar Infante heading to Kansas City on a four-year agreement.

In other news from around the league:

  • The Yankees introduced new center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, making his seven-year, $153 million contract official.
  • Former Yankee Robinson Cano saw two pieces of lineup protection added to his new club, as the Mariners held an introductory press conference for Corey Hart and Logan Morrison. Those additions do not signal the end of Seattle’s offseason shopping, however.
  • The Rockies finalized their two-year agreement with first baseman Justin Morneau and also have reportedly signed lefty reliever Boone Logan to a three-year pact.
  • The Red Sox made their two-year deal with Mike Napoli official. Teammate David Ortiz, whose contract with  the Red Sox expires after the 2014 season, is looking for a one-year extension.
  • The Pirates announced a pair of one-year contracts, re-signing shortstop Clint Barmes and adding right-hander Edinson Volquez.
  • The Tigers announced their one-year agreement with reliever Joba Chamberlain.
  • Our Paul Hagen runs down the top names still available after the Winter Meetings.
  • With free-agent options dwindling, the Brewers could turn to the trade market to fill their need for a first baseman, our Adam McCalvy writes.
  • Might the Braves really trade stud closer Craig Kimbrel? Our Mark Bowman tackles that question in his latest inbox article.
  • Outfielder Jason Kubel, coming off a rough 2012 with the D-backs and Indians, is returning to the Twins after signing a Minor League deal with an invitation to Major League Spring Training.
  • The D-backs signed right-hander Daniel Hudson and catcher Henry Blanco to Minor League deals with Spring Training invites. Hudson, who hasn’t pitched since early ‘12 due to injury, was non-tendered earlier this month.
  • The Marlins continue to have interest in free-agent third baseman Juan Uribe, writes our Joe Frisaro.

— Andrew Simon


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 812 other followers