Archive for November 2012

Ryan Dempster Rumors: Red Sox, Brewers, Angels Interested

Ryan Dempster had an impressive season while he was still with the Chicago Cubs in 2012.  However, he struggled after being traded to the Texas Rangers.  Yet, he is one of the hottest free agent pitchers on the market right now.  And at 35 years old, he is still looking for a three-year contract.  The crazy thing is, he might get it.

According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, there is plenty of interest and teams know Dempster is seeking a three-year contract.

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Wilton Ramos Trade to Phillies on Hold After Physical, Could be an Elbow Issue

Yesterday, the Philadelphia Phillies were on the verge of trading for reliever Wilton Lopez.  Lopez was to be sent over from the Houston Astros pending a physical.  However, after the physical, the deal failed to go through.  It hasn't been killed altogether, but it seems unlikely that Philadelphia would make the acquisition now.

According to Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly, the physical may have revealed a continuing problem with Lopez's elbow.  Lopez missed time this past season due to an elbow injury.

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Royals Out on Ryan Dempster, Missed on Scott Feldman

Both Ryan Dempster and Scott Feldman battled injuries in 2012, but that has not deterred the Kansas City Royals one bit.  The Royals were previously interested in signing Dempster, but now they have apparently turned their focus to Feldman.  Neither pitcher suffered severe injury in 2012, but they both missed time.

Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star says the Royals, who have made it clear they want to upgrade their starting pitching for 2013, have given up on their pursuit of Ryan Dempster now that his price tag has risen.  The Royals had offered Dempster a $26 million deal, but bidding for the aging pitcher escalated beyond Kansas City's comfort level and they pulled out of the negotiations.  Dutton also says the Royals tried to land Feldman before he ultimately signed with Chicago Cubs.  The Cubs gave Feldman $1.5 million more thane the $4.5 million the Royals were willing to pay him.

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David Wright and Mets Agree to Contract Extension

David Wright will spend his entire career with the New York Mets.  Or at least he'll come close.  The Mets and Wright have agreed to a eight-year, $138 million contract according to what sources have told Adam Rubin of ESPN New York.  The deal is not quite as big as had originally been suggested earlier in the week.

Toward the beginning of the week, it was suggested that Wright was about to sign a deal worth $130-$140 million.  However, Wright and his agent put an end to those rumors saying an extension was not close.  Clearly, an extension was close, it was just for a different amount.  The originally rumored deal hit a snag based on deferred payments of the salary.


The Mets would like Wright to finish his career in New York and become "an ambassador" for the team.  The new CBA does not allow for teams to add front office jobs in the future to current contracts, otherwise this deal may have included that.  Albert Pujols got such a deal in Los Angeles.

Wright provides more than just his on-the-field skills to the Mets.  He provides consistency.  In his nine-year career, Wright has only had two seasons in which he played less than 144 games.  One was his rookie season and the other was the 2011 season.  The 2011 season was the first in which Wright had to miss a large chunk of time due to injury.  He suffered a stress fracture in his lower back and only played in 102 games.

Wright is a career .301/.381/.506 hitter.  He is a six-time All-Star and will likely finish his career as the Mets all-time leader in every offensive category.  Wright already leads the Mets organization in hits, runs, walks, and RBI.

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Yankees Injury News: Mariano Rivera Signs One-Year Deal

Mariano Rivera is officially coming back.  The 43-year old closer missed almost the entire 2012 season with a torn ACL, and he contemplated retirement.  However, Rivera and the Yankees reached an agreement for the future Hall of Famer to pitch one more year.

According to Andrew Marchand of ESPN, the Yankees and Rivera agreed to a one-year, $10 million deal.  The contract is $5 million less than he made in 2012, but considering Rivera's age and the injury, it's a fair price.  Marchand says the deal could be announced today.

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White Sox Rumors: Chicago Hopes to Trade Gavin Floyd

The Chicago White Sox are targeting a “lower-end” starting pitcher at the right price this winter that would provide them the flexibility to trade right-hander Gavin Floyd, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.



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Yankees Rumors: NY Not Targeting Mike Napoli, A.J. Pierzynski

Now that the New York Yankees former starting catcher and reported offseason target Russell Martin has signed a contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates, it’s not clear where the team will turn to find backstop help this winter. While things can certainly change, the Yankees are currently not in on free agent Mike Napoli, and veteran A.J. Pierzynski “is unlikely to be the team’s next move,” according to Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York.


The Yankees are not in on Napoli, and a source indicated that Pierzynski is unlikely to be the team's next move.

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Zack Greinke Rumors: Dodges Meet with Free Agent

The Los Angeles Dodgers are rumored to be the favorite to sign right-hander Zack Greinke, and they took the first step in that process yesterday as they met with the free agent, reports Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports.



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Yankees Injury News: Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter

The New York Yankees have not been heavily involved in the trade rumors this season, but their name has certainly been linked to some players.  It seems right now the team is focused on re-signing their own free agents, and they did so with one of them yesterday.  Beyond that, the team is trying to get healthy and look down the road at what the future might hold.  Here are your Yankees injury news updates:

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B.J. Upton Signs With Atlanta Braves

The Atlanta Braves never seemed to have much interest in bringing Michael Bourn back.  He was fantastic while he was with them, but it's understandable that the club wanted to go younger.  And they did yesterday - just not much younger.  The Braves signed free agent B.J. Upton, and the eight-year veteran will now be patrolling the Braves' outfield.

According to Dave O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Braves and Upton agreed to a five-year, $75.25 million contract.  O'Brien says it is the largest free agent contract in Braves history.  Upton will be announced as the team's new center fielder today as long as he passes a physical.

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Royals Rumors: KC Attempting to Trade Luke Hochevar, Bruce Chen

The Kansas City Royals are “calling everyone” in an effort to trade right-hander Luke Hochevar and left-hander Bruce Chen, reports Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports.



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Angels Rumors: Jordan Walden ‘Very Available’

Now that the Los Angeles Angels have reached an agreement with right-hander Ryan Madson the team is letting other clubs know that former closer Jordan Walden is “very available,” reports Jayson Stark of ESPN.


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Twins Rumors: Denard Span Trade ‘Coming’

The Minnesota Twins are expected to have an “active” winter meetings next week in Nashville, and there’s belief that a trade of center fielder Denard Span “is coming,” reports 1500 ESPN.


The same source said of next week's winter meetings in Nashville: "Look for an active meetings." The belief is a trade of center fielder Denard Span is coming.

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Josh Hamilton Rumors: Could Phillies Surprise and Sign Slugger?

One prominent agent said the Philadelphia Phillies could “surprise everyone” and sign free agent outfielder Josh Hamilton this offseason, reports Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.



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Dodgers Rumors: LA Interested in Kyle Lohse

The Los Angeles Dodgers are showing interest in free agent right-hander Kyle Lohse, reports Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles.



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Former Cubs and Reds Super Sub Jimmy Stewart Dies at 73

The Leaf Chronicle, a Tennessee based newspaper, today reported that former Major League utility man Jimmy Stewart passed away on Saturday November 24.  Stewart was 73 years old.

Jimmy Stewart, a native of Opelika, Alabama,  attended Austin Peay State University, and was inducted into their Athletic Hall of Fame in 1978-79. A multi-sport star at APSU, Stewart not only played third base for the Governors, he also led their basketball team to the NCAA  Div II South Central Regional Tournament, being named All-Regional in 1961.  For the University track team, he set a then record 22.6 seconds for the 220 yard event.

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Mets Rumors: David Wright Extension Not a Done Deal

David Wright is the face of the New York Mets' franchise.  There aren't many people who would dispute that.  He has given that team everything and done so for a reasonable salary.  Now, he could be due for a huge payday.  However, the team and Wright will have to get past a snag in the contract to get the deal done.

Yesterday, news broke that the Mets and Wright were on the verge of a mega-contract.  The team was looking to extend their third baseman through the 2020 season and was to be worth between $135-140 million.  However, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post, the deal hit a snag on deferred dollars.  Wright's agent, Seth Levinson, spoke yesterday and said a deal was not close.

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Yankees Injury News: Mariano Rivera Could Sign This Week

Mariano Rivera and the New York Yankees could have a new deal in place by the end of this week.  According to Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York, the Yankees are hopeful they can re-sign the long-tim closer before next week's winter meetings.  The winter meetings start on December 3rd and go through December 6th.

Rivera, 43, contemplated retirement not too long ago.  He has been recovering from a torn ACL in his right knee, and while he initially vowed his return from the injury, life without baseball started to settle in.  However, after consideration, Rivera told Yankees' GM Brian Cashman he would be back.

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Jeff Keppinger Rumors: Cubs, Diamondbacks, Rays "Aggressive" Suitors

The Chicago Cubs, Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Rays had all been “aggressive” suitors for free agent infielder Jeff Keppinger before he broke his leg, reports Buster Olney of ESPN.



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Phillies' Carlos Ruiz Suspended 25 Games

The Philadelphia Phillies will be without their All-Star catcher, Carlos Ruiz, for the first 25 games next season.  Ruiz was suspended for testing positive for a banned stimulant.  He will serve the suspension at the start of the 2013 season, but he will be able to participate in spring training.

According to David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News, Ruiz tested positive for Adderal, a drug commonly used to treat ADD.  The drug is common among football players, and a few have been suspended this year for using the amphetamine.  Under baseball's drug testing policy, a player who tests positive for an amphetamine is not immediately suspended.  The player is tested again, and a second positive test will result in the suspension.  Such is the case for Ruiz.  He did not dispute the positive test.

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Red Sox Rumors: Boston Favorites to Sign Cody Ross?

Yesterday we learned that catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli was the Boston Red Sox “No. 1 target,” but friends of free agent Cody Ross believe the team is in the lead in negotiations for the outfielder, reports Buster Olney of ESPN.



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Rockies Rumors: Colorado Interested in Kevin Correia, Jeff Francis

The Colorado Rockies are “working on multiple fronts as they attempt to bolster” their starting rotation, and the team is interested in numerous free agent pitchers, including right-hander Kevin Correia and left-hand Jeff Francis, reports Troy Renck of The Denver Post.


While a trade remains possible, Colorado has expressed interest in numerous free agents, including right-hander Kevin Correia and left-hander Jeff Francis, according to sources.

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Zack Greinke Rumors: Dodgers Favorites; Angels Out?

While the Los Angeles Angels are now viewed as unlikely to re-sign right-hander Zack Greinke this winter, the Los Angeles Dodgers are seen as the frontrunner for the market’s top starter, reports Jim Bowden of ESPN.



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Yankees Rumors: Andy Pettitte Committed to Pitch in 2013

While left-hander Andy Pettitte hasn’t reached a deal with the New York Yankees yet, he “has committed to pitch next year,” reports Mark Feinsand the New York Daily News.



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Marvin Miller, Players Union Pioneer, Dead at Age 95

 The Major Leagues Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) sadly announced today the passing of former union leader Marvin Miller at age 95.  Miller died at his New York City home at approximately 5:30 am, after being diagnosed with liver cancer in August.

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Royals Rumors: James Shields or Jon Lester Possible

The Kansas City Royals are looking to add a starting pitcher who can instantly move to the front of the rotation, possibly someone who could be a true ace.  To do so, though, they would likely have to give up a young prospect.  The question is whether it is worth it to do so, and whether the Royals can afford a front of the line starting pitcher.

Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star thinks the team could dangle outfield prospect Will Meyers as trade bait for a starting pitcher.  He says the team is looking for a pitcher who can take over at the front of the rotation - someone like James Shields or Jon Lester.  However, the Royals would have to find a way to get their desired pitcher without blowing too much on payroll.

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Reds Interested in Re-Signing Jonathan Broxton

The Cincinnati Reds probably don';t have to do much this offseason.  They marched their way to 97 wins in 2012 and look poised to defend their National League Central crown in 2013.  However, minor moves could help pave the way to another successful season.  One of those moves could b the re-signing of Jonathan Broxton.

According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports and Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Reds are talking to Broxton about a new deal, and it seems it will be a multi-year contract.

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Red Sox Rumors: Mike Napoli Boston’s ‘No. 1 Target’

Catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli appears to be the Boston Red Sox “No. 1 target” over fellow free agents Nick Swisher and Adam LaRoche, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.


Napoli, at the moment, appears to be the team’s No. 1 target over outfielder/first baseman Nick Swisher, a switch-hitter, first baseman Adam LaRoche, a left-handed hitter, and others.

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Padres Rumors: San Diego May Be Interested in Joe Blanton

The San Diego Padres were hit hard by injuries in 2012.  They may have been the hardest hit team in baseball.  They used more starting pitchers throughout the season than any other club in the league.  They called up players early because they had no choice.  Yet, the team still finished with a better record than the year before.  Now, it's not surprising that the team is interested in adding starting pitching depth - as long as that depth does not come with a high injury risk attached.

One pitcher the Padres may be interested in is Joe Blanton.  According to Corey Brock of MLB.com, a pitcher like Joe Blanton may be of interest to the team.  Blanton's durability over the years would be an attractive quality.  Blanton, who is a free agent this offseason, does not quite fit into GM Josh Byrnes' plans for pursuing trades over free agents, but he could still be an option.

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Zack Greinke Rumors: Angels, Dodgers, Rangers Eyeing RHP

Baseball executives see free agent Zack Greinke, who’s drawn interest from the Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers and Washington Nationals, commanding a contract for at least six years and perhaps as much as $25 million per season, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.


Baseball executives see star free-agent right-hander Zack Greinke landing a deal for at least six years and perhaps as much as $25 million a year, which could bring Greinke's total haul to $150 million.

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Giants Injury News: San Francisco Expected to Non-Tender Brian Wilson

The San Francisco Giants and former closer Brian Wilson are “not exactly seeing eye to eye” when it comes to contract talks, and the club could non-tender the right-hander later this week, reports Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.


From what I hear, Wilson and the team are not exactly seeing eye to eye.

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Russell Martin Rumors: Yankees, Rangers, Mariners, Pirates Interested in Free Agent

While the New York Yankees remain the favorite to sign free agent catcher Russell Martin, he’s also drawing interest from the Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners and Pittsburgh Pirates, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.


The free-agent catcher also is drawing significant interest from the Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners and Pittsburgh Pirates, according to major-league sources.

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Mets Injury News: Tim Byrdak to Gauge His Post-Surgical Process

Tim Byrdak is veteran.  He's had a long career, so no one would fault him if he were to retire after his injury-plagued 2012 campaign.  However, it doesn't seem Byrdak is ready to do so.  At least not yet.  Byrdak is going to consult with his doctor to see where he is post-surgery.

According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, Byrdak, who is a player representative, will be in New York for meetings.  But he will also see his doctor.

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Tampa Bay Once Again Sets the Standard With Evan Longoria's Extension

In the early 1980's Apple Computers came onto the scene.  It was a small operation, one that didn't figure to rival the larger, more established companies like Microsoft and IBM.  But they looked at the market from an angle others couldn't see.  They found inefficiencies in their own market, exploited them, and became one of the most successful companies in the world.  What the Tampa Bay Rays are doing may be more impressive.

Yesterday, the Rays extended third baseman Evan Longoria's contract.  The new deal is for six years and is worth $100 million.  That's a lot of money for a small-market club like the Rays.  However, for the second time in his career, Longoria may have been locked up for a bargain.

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Mets More Likely to Extend David Wright Than R.A. Dickey

The New York Mets have more interest in getting a long-term deal worked out for David Wright than they do for R.A. Dickey.  This is obvious based on the players' ages.  However, they would like to get both of them locked up, and the fans would love it.  They just can't overspend in their quest to do so.

As Ken Davidoff of the New York Post writes, the Mets could use Ryan Zimmerman's deal with the Washington Nationals as a guide for working out something with Wright.  But they won't stretch themselves thin to re-sign both Wright and Dickey.  At least they shouldn't, he says.

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B.J. Upton Rumors: Braves, Phillies, Nationals, Reds Interested in Free Agent

We learned yesterday that free agent center fielder B.J. Upton is expected to make a decision on where he’ll be playing next season in the near future. While the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies are viewed as the frontrunners to sign Upton, the Cincinnati Reds and maybe even the Washington Nationals also have interest in the free agent, reports David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.



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Red Sox Rumors: Negotiations Ongoing Between Nick Swisher, Boston

The Boston Red Sox have had ongoing negotiations with free agent outfielder Nick Swisher, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.


The Red Sox have had ongoing negotiations with Swisher and his agents.

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Plenty of Interest for Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton

The dismantling of the Miami Marlins may not be complete.  At least that's the thought among many fans and members of the media.  They have already dumped all the high-payroll players.  Now, they may try to dump the player who could eventually cost them a lot.  That includes Giancarlo Stanton.

According Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, interest in Stanton is reaching a fever pitch.  He says the Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, and Chicago Cubs have called on Stanton.

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Yankees Shifting Alex Rodriguez to DH as Primary Role?

Alex Rodriguez took a big step back in 2012.  To be fair, he suffered a fractured hand thanks to a Felix Hernandez fastball.  However, Rodriguez was struggling before and after the injury.  The Yankees still owe the slugger $114 million over the next five seasons.  They'd like to use him in some capacity and hope that his numbers improve back to his career averages, or somewhere close, rather than ship him off somewhere and eat the salary.  Their first step may be to use him less in the field.

According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Yankees may be preparing to shift Rodriguez to more of a designated hitter role.  It would be a big change for the career-infielder.  ARod started his career as a shortstop, then he moved to third base.  Now, at the age of 37, the Yankees may ask him to lighten his workload in the field and become the team's primary DH.

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Rangers Injury News: Team Still Negotiating With Mike Napoli

While there have been plenty of other teams interested in Mike Napoli, the Texas Rangers have not given up on him.  They are still talking with Napoli despite the rumored teams interested in the All-Star catcher says Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News.

Napoli, who is coming off a quad injury, struggled in 2012.  However, he had a phenomenal year in 2011, and teams are hoping he can get back to a production level somewhere in line with that season.  In 2011, Napoli hit .320/.414/.631.  He came crashing back to a .227 batting average this past season.  Much of that could have been related to his injury, but a good portion is also due him slumping from the start of the season on.

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B.J. Upton Rumors: Free Agent Expected to Sign Soon

B.J. Upton can be many things.  He is a versatile player, that's for sure.  In the free agent market, he can be many things as well.  He can be an upgrade, a lateral replacement, or an injury filler.  If he is the latter, the team signing him must make sure they want Upton as their replacement long-term, and they have to make the decision fast.

According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, Upton wants to make a decision on where he plays this week.  He has had numerous suitors so far this offseason, but it seems the Philadelphia Phillies and the Atlanta Braves jumped out as the frontrunners.  In both cases, the move would be to replace and re-tool.  However, there are other teams in the mix.

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Ryan Madson Rumors: Reds, Angels, Blue Jays, Brewers Could Be Landing Spots

The Cincinnati Reds suffered what seemed to be a big loss at the beginning of the 2012 season.  Their new, expensive closer, Ryan Madson, went down to a torn UCL in his elbow.  He underwent Tommy John surgery in March and is expected to be ready to return early next season.  Of course, the injury and subsequent surgery make him a wild card on the free agent market.  However, it seems there could be some fits out there for him.

According to Jack Moore of CBS Sports, Madson could end up returning to the Reds, but the team seems to have found themselves a long-term, dominant closer in Aroldis Chapman.  Madson could still help improve an already good bullpen in Cincinnati.  Moore also suggested the Angels, Blue Jays, and Brewers as potential suitors.

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Daisuke Matsuzaka Rumors: Could Padres Be a Fit?

With Yu Darvish's success this season, it's easy to forget there was another Japanese phenom who was supposed to light the Majors on fire.  Well, actually there have been numerous Japanese pitchers with high ceilings who fell well short of expectation.  But one such pitcher, Daisuke Matsuzaka fell so famously flat, his name will forever be linked with Japanese pitchers coming to the states.

After getting a huge contract from the Boston Red Sox, Matsuzaka never quite lived up to expectations.  Then came the injuries.  He missed aalmost all of the 2011 season when he blew out his elbow and had to undergo Tommy John surgery.  He returned this season only to be sidelined again with a muscle strain.  Now, the Red Sox are finally out from under his contract, and Matsuzaka is looking for a new home.  Could that home be Petco Park?

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Brandon McCarthy to Start Throwing in December

After passing his latest tests to return from a fractured skull suffered late into the 2012 season, right-hander Brandon McCarthy is expected to resume throwing in December, reports Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports.


After passing his latest tests to return from a gruesome comebacker, right-hander Brandon McCarthy is expected to start throwing in December.

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Twins Rumors: Minnesota Interested in Brett Myers

There’s a growing sense within the Minnesota Twins organization that free agent-right hander Brett Myers could be a good fit, reports Joe Christensen of the Star Tribune.


"They're interested, or perhaps even very interested," Myers’ agent Craig Landis said. "And that's about as far as we are right now."

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Yankees Rumors: Ichiro Suzuki Hopes to Return to New York

Although he’s drawn “a lot of interest” from other teams, free agent outfielder Ichiro Suzuki is waiting to see if the New York Yankees want to bring him back before deciding where he’s going to play next season, reports George A. King III of The New York Post.


“They are going after pitching first which is what the Yankees normally do,’’ Tony Attanasio, Ichiro’s well-respected agent, said yesterday. “There has been a lot of interest [from teams], but he enjoyed playing for the Yankees so much it’s hard for him to say no to the Yankees. His preference is to stay there instead of going someplace else, but we will wait and see.’’

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Can John Lackey Rebound to Fill Red Sox Void?

With division rivals Baltimore and Tampa  already deep in young pitching ( and the Orioles in the market for more), and the Blue Jays acquiring two bona fide starters already ( Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson), it is apparent that the Boston Red Sox are going to have to improve their rotation in 2013 if they hope to return to the AL playoffs.  One possible solution, John Lackey, is already in their fold.  But what can they hope for from Lackey in the season ahead?

Lackey, signed by the Sox following the 2009 campaign for five years and a sum of some $82 million, has been far from worth it so far.  While his won-lost record doesn't quite reflect the full disappointment he has been ( Lackey has not had a losing season since his sophomore campaign, 2003, when he went 10-16 in his first full season), he has not met the standards of his pay scale at any time as a Red Sox.

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Yankees Interested in Utility Man Jeff Keppinger

Jeff Keppinger may be playing for his seventh team in nine years if things work out with the New York Yankees.  Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports says the Yankees are showing renewed interest in Keppinger.  The utility infielder could provide some depth for the aging Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.

Keppinger played for the Tampa Bay Rays last season.  He appeared in 118 games and hit .325/.367/.439.  In his career, Keppinger has hit .288/.337/.396.  He has been more than decent in his eight Major League seasons.

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Dodgers, Clayton Kershaw Have Not Begun Extension Talks

The re-tooled, re-build, money-rich Los Angeles Dodgers failed to reach the play-offs in their first season under new ownership.  This despite spending money left and right on new players and contract extensions.  One extension they have yet to get too, though, is Clayton Kershaw's.

According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Dodgers have yet to initiate contract extension talks with Kershaw's new agency.  However, the team has made it clear that extending the All-Star lefty is one of their top winter priorities.

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Matt Harrison, Texas Rangers Talking Extension

Matt Harrison was arguably the Texas Rangers' best pitcher in 2012.  He was dominant at times and had a nice year despite landing on the disabled list about half-way through the season.  Harrison, obviously, was able to come back and perform well.  Now, the Rangers would like to reward him for his performance with a contract extension.

According to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Rangers and Harrison have begun discussions in regards to a contract extension (sorry, the news hit in the midst of Thanksgiving preparations, so it's a couple days old).  As the winter meetings approach, it's a good topic to cover.  The Rangers have made Harrison's extension a priority, so it could be done before Christmas.

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Phillies Rumors: Philadelphia Targeting Upton, Bourn, Pagan and Victorino

While the Philadelphia Phillies are focusing on adding a center fielder and have been most heavily tied to free agents B.J. Upton and Michael Bourn, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com that the team is also considering Angel Pagan and former center fielder Shane Victorino.


Amaro mentioned Upton, Angel Pagan, Michael Bourn and Victorino, all free agents, as centerfield candidates. “It’s just a matter of which guy stands out for us and which one helps us put all the pieces together,” he said.

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Padres Rumors: San Diego Eyeing Dan Haren, Shaun Marcum

The San Diego Padres are interested in free agent right-hander Dan Haren, and they’re listing Shaun Marcum as their secondary pitching target, reports Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune.


The Padres are still interested in Haren. It's going to be a wait and see game. I'm sure the Padres have a ceiling on what they might spend for Haren.

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Giants Rumors: Angel Pagan, Marco Scutaro

While the San Francisco Giants are unsure they’re willing to commit what it will take to re-sign center fielder Angel Pagan this winter, they are confident they’ll be able to bring back second baseman Marco Scutaro, reports Buster Olney of ESPN.


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MLB Rumors: Mariners, Red Sox, Rangers in on Mike Napoli

Yesterday it was reported that the Seattle Mariners and Boston Red Sox were in the hunt for free agent slugger Mike Napoli. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com confirms that the Mariners and Red Sox are pursuing the catcher/first baseman while adding the Texas Rangers to the list of suitors.



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Red Sox Rumors: Nick Swisher on Boston’s Radar

The Boston Red Sox have free agent outfielder Nick Swisher “on their radar,” reports George A. King III of The New York Post.


According to a person with knowledge of the situation the Red Sox have an interest in the switch-hitting right fielder who can also handle first base.

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Cardinals' David Freese Escapes Injury in Car Accident

David Freese had one extra thing to be thankful for on Thanksgiving.  He escaped a single-vehicle accident without injury.  Freese swerved to avoid a deer yesterday afternoon and struck a tree says Joel Currier of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Police investigated the accident and confirmed the St. Louis Cardinals' third baseman was not injured.  Police also confirmed alcohol was not a factor in the accident.  Freese did not hit the deer, but his Range Rover was severely damaged.

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Motorcycle Accident Leaves Ex-Red Frank Pastore in Critical Condition

Former Cincinnati Reds and Minnesota Twins starter Frank Pastore was critically injured Monday night when he was tossed from his motorcycle after colliding with a Hyundai Sonata .  The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports that Pastore, 55, was riding on Interstate 210 near Duarte, California, approximately 25 miles from Los Angeles at the time.  California Highway Patrol officers said no crime was suspected.

Pastore, a popular Christian radio personality, was heading home after his show on KKLA, when he was struck , shortly after 7.30 PM.  At last report, he was in a coma in intensive care at the  Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center.

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Orioles Rumors: Baltimore Targeting Starting Pitcher, Bat

The Baltimore Orioles are hoping to add a starting pitcher and their list of targets includes in-season acquisition Joe Saunders, and while the team is in the market for offense this winter they are not going to be aggressive in their pursuit of free agent outfielder Josh Hamilton, reports Buster Olney of ESPN.


But there is a different feeling about the Orioles in these first months after they made the playoffs for the first time in 14 seasons. Agents and players are waiting on them, with some players hoping to work out deals with Baltimore.

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Yankees Injury News: Andy Pettitte to Make Decision on Future Next Week

Andy Pettitte is a phenomenal pitcher.  There's no questioning that.  He retired while still pitching at the top of his game, and it seems he realized that.  After one year away from the game, Pettitte came back this year.  He got back into shape, tossed a couple minor league games, then joined the team he has known best, the New York Yankees.  The only down side to Pettitte's storybook return to baseball was the fractured leg he suffered as the result of a line drive.  Pettitte was able to come back from that, but now he must make a decision about whether he will hang up the glove for good or continue pitching.

According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, that decision should come by the end of next week.

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Phillies Rumors: Philadelphia Focused on Adding Center Fielder

Agents and executives who have spoken to the Philadelphia Phillies say the team has put everything else on hold until they sign a center fielder, and among their targets are free agents B.J. Upton and Michael Bourn, reports Matt Gelb of philly.com.


Numerous agents and executives who have spoken with the Phillies say everything else is on hold until they sign a centerfielder.

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Extension Debate: Should the Phillies Extend Roy Halladay?

When the Philadelphia Phillies brought Roy Halladay on, they believed he was part of the solution and would help net the team a World Series title.  They were right.  In 2008, the Phillies won it all.  However, they have struggled and feel short of expectations since.  Halladay on the other hand, has been a portrait of consistency until this season when he hurt his shoulder.  That shoulder injury may have cost him an extension with Philadelphia.

According to Jayson Stark of ESPN, the Phillies had considered an extension earlier in 2012 for Halladay.  However, they tabled discussions when Halladay hurt his shoulder.  Now, any talk of an extension is in its preliminary stage.

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Mike Napoli Rumors: Mariner and Red Sox Trying to Land the Free Agent Catcher

Both the Boston Red Sox and the Seattle Mariners are serious about landing free agent Mike Napoli.  Napoli became a free agent when the Texas Rangers decided against even giving him a qualifying offer.  Now the All-Star catcher is seeking a four-year deal, and it seems the Mariners may be more interested in giving that many years than the Red Sox.

According to ESPN's Jim Bowden, Napoli wants that fourth year on any deal he signs.


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What Jonny Gomes Means to the Red Sox

Yesterday, the Boston Red Sox reportedly added another player in their rebuilding effort.  Susan Sussler of the San Francisco Chronicle first reported the details of the contract, and Gomes is expected to receive a two-year, $10 million deal.  The signing is just another move to realign the clubhouse's passion and desire to win with the front office's goals.  Things went badly in 2011, but they were so much worse in 2012.  The Red Sox can't afford another step back, and quite honestly, they can't afford a small step forward.  Gomes could help them take a big step forward.

Sussler, who covers the Oakland Athletics closely (Gomes' former team), made the case that Gomes is a team leader, the kind of guy the Red Sox need in their clubhouse.

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MLB Rumors: Marlins Should Trade Giancarlo Stanton

If the Miami Marlins are truly serious about rebuilding their team they should put All-Star right fielder Giancarlo Stanton on the trade block, says Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports.


Were Loria not some megalomaniacal charlatan, he already would've complemented the Marlins' latest salary dump with a move that makes far more baseball sense: trading Giancarlo Stanton, the power-hitting leviathan whose value never will be higher than it is right now.

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Rays Rumors: Tampa Bay ‘Open’ to Trading James Shields, David Price

While the Tampa Bay Rays are willing to listen to trade offers for several of their starting pitchers, they would need to be “overwhelmed” to trade either right-hander James Shields or left-hander David Price, reports Jayson Stark of ESPN.


"Oh, they're open to it," said an official of one team that checked in with the Rays. "They're open to being overwhelmed."

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Josh Hamilton Rumors: Free Agent No Longer on Phillies’ List

Earlier this week it was reported that the Philadelphia Phillies considered free agent slugger Josh Hamilton as a “backup option” in their pursuit of outfielders. However, Hamilton is no longer on the team’s list, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN.


Agents who have spoken with the Phillies say that despite their pursuit of both a center fielder and right fielder this winter, one option who apparently is no longer on their list is Josh Hamilton.

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Cubs Designate First Baseman/Outfielder Bryan LaHair

In a relatively surprising move, the Chicago Cubs have designated first baseman Bryan LaHair.  LaHair was an All-Star in 2012, but he had a rough second half of the season.  With Anthony Rizzo's promotion to the big leagues, the team had to shift LaHair to the bench with occasional outfield duties.  Now they are likely going to release him.

LaHair is trying to go play in Japan and the Cubs plan to help him says Toni Ginetti of the Chicago Sun-Times.  The team has ten days to trade, release, or outright LaHair.  He will be released if he is going to play in Japan.

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Yankees Injury News: Andy Pettitte Still Considering Retirement

The New York Yankees have not even been able to begin negotiating a 2013 contract with Andy Pettite because they aren't sure if he will return to pitch in 2013.  The 40-year old lefty isn't even sure if he'll pitch next year.  Pettitte is still thinking things over and has not made a decision whether to return to the game or retire.

According to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, Pettitte will likely wait until after Thanksgiving to make a decision about his future.  The Yankees are waiting patiently, but they need to know Pettitte's plans so the team can adjust as necessary this offseason.

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Seattle Mariners Designate Chone Figgins For Assignment

Chone Figgins was given a lot of money when he came to Seattle from Los Angeles.  The 34-year old outfielder is making $8 million next season, but he will make be making it in Seattle.  The Seattle Mariners announced yesterday that they were designating Figgins for assignment.

According to Greg Johns of MLB.com, the Mariners decided to part ways with Figgins because of his lack of production and to make room on their roster for other players.  Seattle has ten days to trade Figgins, release him, or outright him to Triple-A.  It is likely that he'll be released.

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Yankees Rumors: New York Targeting Veteran Starters

The New York Yankees will continue to offer “bold” one-year contracts, like the one they signed right-hander Hiroki Kuroda to yesterday, to veteran pitchers this winter, reports Joel Sherman of The New York Post.



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MLB Rumors: Phillies Targeting Rangers RHP Koji Uehara

The Philadelphia Phillies are searching for a late-inning reliever to setup closer Jonathan Papelbon, and they’ve contacted the Texas Rangers regarding right-hander Koji Uehara, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.


The Phillies, in their search for a setup man, are asking around about Rangers righty Koji Uehara, whose $4 million salary in 2013 might be more than Texas is willing to pay.

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Diamondbacks Rumors: Trade Jason Kubel Instead of Justin Upton?

The Arizona Diamondbacks continues to send mixed signals on the availability of outfielder Justin Upton, and some wonder if the club will instead trade veteran Jason Kubel, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.


Others wonder if the D-Backs eventually might trade left fielder Jason Kubel instead of Upton, even though they would receive a lesser return.

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Red Sox Rumors: Kyle Lohse, Josh Hamilton, Hiroki Kuroda

The Boston Red Sox have inquired on free agent right-hander Kyle Lohse, remain interested in outfielder Josh Hamilton and “made a really strong push” to sign veteran starter Hiroki Kuroda before he re-upped with the New York Yankees, reports Rob Bradford of WEEI.com.



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MLB Rumors: Tigers, Yankees, Red Sox Interested in Stephen Drew

The Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are among the teams that have expressed interested in free agent shortstop Stephen Drew, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.


The Tigers, Red Sox and Yankees are among teams to have interest in free-agent shortstop Stephen Drew.

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Brandon McCarthy Cleared to Play After Head Injury

A mere seventy days after his teammates wondered whether the life, never mind the career of Brandon McCarthy had just ended in front of them, The San Francisco Chronicle reports that McCarthy has recuperated sufficiently for his doctor, Dr. Michael Collins,  director of the Sports Medicine Concussion Program at the University of Pittsburgh to clear him to return to playing baseball.

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Braves Rumors: Atlanta ‘Making Strong Push for’ B.J. Upton

The Atlanta Braves are pursuing multiple options to fill their void in center field, both through trade and the open market, but outfielder B.J. Upton continues to be the team’s “top free agent choice,” according to Carrol Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.


The Braves are pursuing multiple options at center field, both through free agency and the trade market, but B.J. Upton has emerged as their top free agent choice.

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Josh Hamilton Rumors: Slugger a ‘Fallback Option’ for Phillies

The Philadelphia Phillies view free agent outfielder Josh Hamilton as a “fallback option” in the case they aren’t able to sign center fielders B.J. Upton and Michael Bourn, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.


The Phillies are believed to have superstar outfielder Josh Hamilton as a fallback option in case B.J. Upton and Michael Bourn can't be signed. So Hamilton is at least on their radar.

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Padres Sign Kyle Blanks to a One-Year Deal

The San Diego Padres are still trying to figure out what they have in Kyle Blanks.  It seems everything the young first baseman/outfielder gets a shot, that shot is taken away or he is injured.  Injury was the reason for his shortened 2012 campaign.  However, San Diego avoided arbitration with the 26-year old by signing him to a one-year deal.

The deal is said to be worth $650,000 says ESPN's Jerry Crasnik.

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Yankees Rumors: Mutual Interest Between Raul Ibanez, New York

The New York Yankees have expressed interest in re-signing postseason hero Raul Ibanez this winter, and the veteran has indicated that his top choice would be returning to the Bronx, reports Ken Davidoff of The New York Post.


Ibanez hopes the fun will continue. The 40-year-old, a free agent, said he intends to keep playing and his first choice is to re-sign with the Yankees.

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Cardinals Injury News: Rafael Furcal Gets Good News About Elbow

The St. Louis Cardinals made another deep run in the 2012 playoffs, much like they did in 2011.  However, the did so without their veteran shortstop Rafael Furcal.  Furcal went down with an elbow injury in August.  He missed the rest of the season.  However, Furcal and the St. Louis Cardinals got encouraging news yesterday about the elbow.

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, a scan of his elbow revealed that the damaged ligament was completely healed.  This means Furcal should be able to return to the team next spring.

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Mariners Injury News: Anthony Vasquez Has Emergency Brain Surgery

Anthony Vasquez was working through his offseason throwing program and working his way back from a shoulder injury he suffered in 2012.  Now, he will be working his way back from something far more serious.  After having headaches for the last ten days, Vasquez started experiencing vision problems when throwing last Wednesday.  He was evaluated by doctors who discovered a rupture blood vessel in his brain.

According to Greg Johns of MLB.com, Vasquez was admitted for emergency brain surgery on Friday and underwent a 5 1/2 hour procedure.  The surgery was successful, and Vasquez was able to leave the hospital with his life and his pitching career in tact.  Johns says Vasquez will miss at least 6-8 weeks, but will be able to resume a normal offseason program.

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Rumors: Red Sox, Rays, Phillies, Astros Interested in Lance Berkman

As we discussed yesterday, Lance Berkman still hasn't made an official decision about whether he will retire or return for a 15th season.  However, that has not stopped teams from talking with him.  He met with Houston Astros' owner Jim Crane, but he has also been contacted by numerous other teams.

Berkman has been contacted by the Boston Red Sox, the Philadelphia Phillies, and the Tampa Bay Rays in addition to the Astros says Joseph Duarte of the Houston Chronicle.  Berkman has been contemplating retirement for a while now, and he is not necessarily inclined to return in 2013.

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R.A. Dickey's Achievment Dwarfs the Would Be Disabled

This past week's crowning of R.A. Dickey as National League Cy Young award winner sets the Tennessee native near the top of another rather select list of major leaguers…those who succeeded despite physical deformities.  These men didn’t overcome bad knees, a la Mickey Mantle, or end a dominant career with a bone on bone elbow like Sandy Koufax…. No these men had actual missing (or in 1 case extra) parts.  Some achieved great things in their careers, but few have been feted as immortally as Dickey has been for his 2012 performance.


Mordecai (Three Fingers) Brown was a pitcher who excelled for the Cubs in the early 20th century, winning 20 or more games in six consecutive seasons, including totals of 29 and 27 in consecutive years, while winding up with a career ERA of 2.06.  Brown suffered his disability (memorialized by his thoughtful nickname) as a result of accident (or two in his case) as opposed to birth.  An Indiana native, Brown lost most of his index finger and mangled the others in a farm machinery accident.  Before the hand had fully healed, Brown took an unfortunate fall which broke his middle finger.  That finger was never set properly and remained bent forever.  Still the former coal miner managed to lead his Cubs to consecutive World Series victories over the Detroit Tigers (1907 and 1908) while forging a Hall of Fame career. He was enshrined for his 239 wins in 1949, a year after his death.

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Scott Rolen Weighing Retirement, But Reds Not Done Talking to Him

Scott Rolen is expected to retire.  This news is not recent or new.  The possibility of his retirement broke in early October.  However, the Cincinnati Reds' GM Walt Jocketty is expected to speak with Rolen after Thanksgiving.

According to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Rolen has not yet officially retired, so the team wants to talk with him and see if he will return to the game.  Rolen has battled shoulder and other injuries for his entire career.  That has weighed in his decision and cause him to lean toward retirement. But there's still a chance Rolen could return.

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Adam LaRoche Healthy, Looking for Three-Year Deal

Adam LaRoche played in 154 games for the Washington Nationals in 2012.  It was the most games he's ever played in one season in his career.  And it's been a long career.  LaRoche battled through injuries 2011 and only played in 43 games, so 2012 was a breath of fresh air.  So much so that LaRoche is looking for more of a long-term deal.

According to Bill Ladson of MLB.com, LaRoche is talking with the Nationals about a new contract.  The veteran first baseman is looking for a three-year deal, something the Nats may not be willing to do. Ladson says negotiations are going slowly, but LaRoche's top priority is re-signing with Washington.

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Scott Hairston Drawing Interest From Yankees

Scott Hairston has become a mainstay as a utility player, but last season he played 134 games for the New York Mets.  It was the most games he's played in a single season in his career.  This speaks to his health last season and the Mets' injury problems.  They were not as deep in the outfield as they would have liked to be, so Hairston got more playing time than he otherwise may have.  Regardless, Hairston has performed well throughout his Major League career, and because of this the New York Yankees are interested.

Hairston is one of the Mets' many offseason targets, but they will have competition when trying to re-sign him.  The 32-year old outfielder is drawing interest from the Yankees.  According to Dan Martin of the New York Post, the Yankees have been talking to Hairston.  The Mets have so many players they are targeting for contract extensions, signing, and re-signings, it makes it difficult to focus on any one player.  But they will have to, because Hairston won't be available forever.

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Red Sox Rumors: Boston Interested in Asdrubal Cabrera, Stephen Drew

The Boston Red Sox have some level of interest in a pair of shortstops that are thought to be available, free agent Stephen Drew and Asdrubal Cabrera of the Cleveland Indians, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.


The Red Sox have been tied to several shortstops this offseason, as it appears they are not confident crowing prospect Jose Iglesias as their starting shortstop entering 2013. While his glove is major league-ready, he didn’t hit in the bigs (.391 OPS) or minors (.631 OPS) last season.

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Blue Jays Rumors: Toronto Eyeing Edwin Jackson, Anibal Sanchez?

We learned last week that the Toronto Blue Jays may be targeting one more starting pitcher even after their blockbuster deal with the Miami Marlins brought in elite arms Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle. It appears that the Blue Jays may not target just any arms, but those at the top of the market as Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald reports two free agents “that could come into play” are Anibal Sanchez and Edwin Jackson.

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Dodgers Favorites to Sign Zack Greinke; Angels, Rangers ‘Outside Looking In’

The Los Angeles Dodgers are the favorites to sign free agent starting pitcher Zack Greinke, according to an industry insider, while the Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers are “on the outside looking in,” reports Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald.


According to an industry insider, the Dodgers are the favorites to wind up with top free agent starter Zack Greinke, with the Angels and Rangers on the outside looking in.

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DBacks Say Justin Upton Probably Won't Be Traded, So He Probably Will Be

Justin Upton should get a good realtor.  He has been renting space on the hot stove for years now.  He might as well buy himself a nice place where he can be comfortable - you know, where he can raise a family of trade rumor children.  All jokes aside, it seems the Arizona Diamondbacks use the threat of trade as a motivational tool for Justin Uptin.  At some point, they are going to just have to pull the trigger.  And that time may be now despite owner Kyle Kendrick's claims that the team probably won't deal him.

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that Upton has a 90 percent chance of starting next season with the Diamondbacks.  After months of trade speculation, Arizona is trying to put some of the rumors to bed.  Kendrick didn't put a percentage on Upton's chances of returning, but a team employee did.  Kendrick simply said there's a high likelihood of Upton being their starting right fielder in 2013.

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Kevin Youkilis Rumors: Phillies, Dodgers, Indians Targeting Slugger

There has been a “good-sized market” for free agent corner infielder Kevin Youkilis so far this offseason, according to his agent, and the teams that have checked in on the slugger include the Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Dodgers and Cleveland Indians, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.


Good-sized market so far for Youkilis, at both third and first base, according to his agent, Joe Bick.

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MLB Hot Stove: Injured Free Agent Update

Every site that covers baseball (and doesn't shut down during the offseason) is talking about the hot stove.  Trade rumors, real or manufactured, seem to sprout almost by the minute.  Included in these rumors are the 2013 free agents.  We want to update you with all the 2013 free agents who are currently injured or coming off an injury.  We gave you the initial list as the season came to a close, but we thought it would be good to keep you updated.  So here you go:

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Mets to Make R.A. Dickey a Two-Year Offer

The news broke yesterday that the New York Mets, in their attempt to keep their 38-year old Cy Young Award winner, would offer R.A. Dickey a two-year deal.  The deal would be a two-year extension as Dickey is still under contract with the Mets through next season.

According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, Dickey would be looking for at least $20 million over the two-year extension.  He will make $5 million next season, but after his 2012 performance, Dickey is due a hefty raise - even at his age.

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Michael Bourn Could Be the Solution for Numerous Teams

Michael Bourn is the top free agent outfielder in the National League.  He is drawing interest from just about everywhere, especially the National League East says Jon Heyman of CBS Sport.  The Phillies, the Nationals, and the Braves are all interested in the center fielder's services.

The Phillies struggled through injuries last season and finished just 81-81.  They also lost outfielder Juan Pierre, a former center fielder himself.  They may have been able to compete more throughout the  season had they had more production and less injuries from their outfield positions.  The Atlanta Braves, of course, know what Bourn can do.  They would love to re-sign him, but they won't break the bank to do so.  The Washington Nationals are an interesting contender.  They have Bryce Harper in center, but they've been using Michael Morse in right field.  Morse could shift back to first base is Adam laRoche ends up signing elsewhere, leaving the Nats in need of an outfielder.  And Morse has an injury history.  It's difficult to count on him playing in more than 140 games per season.  

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Reds Injury News: Billy Hamilton Injured During Arizona Fall League Championship

Cincinnati Reds top prospect Billy Hamilton exited the Arizona Fall League Championship game yesterday afternoon after leaping into the outfield wall. Fortunately for the Reds and fans alike, Hamilton was able to walk off the field with assistance and the injury sustained was later diagnosed as lower back spasms.

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