Tag:MLB Rumors
Posted on: December 7, 2011 11:43 pm

Angels agree to sign LaTroy Hawkins

By Matt Snyder

DALLAS -- The Angels have signed themselves a free agent pitcher. Nope, not C.J. Wilson (yet?). Relief pitcher LaTroy Hawkins has signed with the Angels for one year and $3 million, reports Scott Miller of CBSSports.com.

Hawkins, 38, will join his ninth team, which is quite remarkable since he'd only played with one (the Twins) through age 30. He was terrible for the Brewers in 2010 before putting together a great bounce-back season in 2011. He had a 2.42 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in 48 1/3 innings.

Unless the Angels swing a deal for a closer -- which feels unlikely -- Hawkins will serve as the setup man for young Jordan Walden.

Full Winter Meetings Coverage | Free Agent Tracker

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Posted on: December 7, 2011 10:52 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 11:30 pm

Cubs, Rangers talking Matt Garza trade

By Matt Snyder

DALLAS -- Cubs starting pitcher Matt Garza is being discussed in a possible trade with the Texas Rangers, sources have told Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. Garza has been rumored to be on the trading block throughout the offseason, though at other times he's been rumored to be part of the Cubs' future plans. Basically, new Cubs' braintrust (Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer et al) seem to be keeping everything very close to the vest.

The Rangers' interest is obvious. Though still in the running for free agent starting pitcher C.J. Wilson, the Marlins and Angels appear to be the obvious favorites. Rangers general manager Jon Daniels told reporters Wednesday that he wouldn't be surprised to lose Wilson.

Full Winter Meetings Coverage | Free Agent Tracker

While Neftali Feliz is moving to the rotation, the Rangers still only have four definite starters in Feliz, Colby Lewis, Derek Holland and Matt Harrison. They can use either Scott Feldman or Alexi Ogando, but acquiring Garza would allow them to keep the bullpen very strong in front of new closer Joe Nathan and setup man Mike Adams.

Garza, 28, was 10-10 (with awful run support and defense behind him) with a 3.32 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 197 strikeouts in 198 innings for the Cubs last season.

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Posted on: December 7, 2011 10:33 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2011 1:46 am

Francisco Rodriguez accepts arbitration

By Matt Snyder

DALLAS -- Relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez has accepted arbitration, the MLB Players Association has announced via press release. This means he'll stay with the Brewers on a one-year deal. Last season, Rodriguez made over $12 million, so he's likely due a modest raise through the arbitration process.

With no World Series championship to show for 2011, it might be fair to say the Brewers' midseason trade for K-Rod has now backfired, to an extent. He's a special Type-A free agent in this new CBA agreement, so the Brewers would have gained a compensatory draft pick had he left. Not only that, they'd have that eight figures of payroll free to use elsewhere. Now, they are going to have a very expensive eighth-inning pitcher.

Full Winter Meetings Coverage | Free Agent Tracker

It is worth noting that the Brewers could trade Rodriguez. A situation like this happened a few years ago when Rafael Soriano accepted arbitration from the Braves, who then traded him to the Rays.

Rodriguez, 29, is a four-time All-Star and holds the single-season record for saves with 62 (2008). After being traded to the Brewers, he was dominant, putting together a 1.86 ERA, 1.14 WHIP with 33 strikeouts in 29 innings. He also had a baserunner strand rate of over 80 percent.

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Posted on: December 7, 2011 9:40 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 9:54 pm

Tigers, Octavio Dotel nearing deal

By Matt Snyder

DALLAS -- The Detroit Tigers are closing in on a deal with free agent relief pitcher Octavio Dotel, sources have told CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler. Dotel wanted to play for a winner, so re-signing in St. Louis would have worked, just as going to the defending AL Central champion Tigers fits the bill.

Dotel, 38, split last season between the Blue Jays and Cardinals, moving to St. Louis in a three-team trade that involved Edwin Jackson and Colby Rasmus, among others. In all, he had a 3.50 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 62 strikeouts in 54 innings. Opponents only hit .181 off him and he stranded 68.7 percent of baserunners.

MLB Winter Meetings
Adding Dotel gives the Tigers a very strong back-end of the bullpen, with Dotel, Al Alburquerque and Joaquin Benoit setting up for closer Jose Valverde.

Dotel was signed by the Mets as an amateur free agent all the way back in 1993. The Tigers will become Dotel's 13th team as a big leaguer. He played parts of five seasons for the Astros, but was with no other team for more than two. His stint in St. Louis lasted just a few months, but he did get his first World Series ring.

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Posted on: December 7, 2011 5:02 pm
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Posted on: December 7, 2011 5:00 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 6:55 pm

Marlins sign Mark Buehrle

By Matt Snyder

DALLAS -- The Miami Marlins are dead serious. After signing both Jose Reyes and Heath Bell, they've added a third All-Star via free agency. Starting pitcher Mark Buehrle has been signed to a four-year, $58 million contract by the Marlins, CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler has confirmed. The news was first reported by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. This means the Marlins have now spent a total of $191 million on Reyes, Bell and Buehrle combined.

Buehrle rejoins manager Ozzie Guillen, who managed him with the White Sox from 2004 to late last season. The story broke during Guillen's session with the media.

MLB Winter Meetings
"I'm very happy to have that kid," Guillen said. "He's one of my favorite players. We have what we want [in Reyes, Bell and Buehrle]. Now how about three more? Let's shoot for the moon, just in case."

"Buehrle is an unbelievable family kid."

Buehrle, 32, had previously played all 12 of his big-league seasons with the White Sox. He'll now head to South Beach and serve as the number two pitcher behind Josh Johnson -- assuming Johnson is healthy. Buehrle was 13-9 with a 3.59 ERA and 1.30 WHIP last season. He also won his third consecutive Gold Glove. He's a four-time All-Star, last making the game in 2009. Also of importance, Buehrle brings championship ring credibility to Miami, having won with the White Sox in 2005.

"He pitched in the big scenarios, big moments, very tough city to pitch," Guillen said. "When people love you in Chicago, that means something."

Buehrle's biggest value lies in his durability. In the past 11 seasons, he has never made fewer than 30 starts or thrown fewer than 201 innings. And keep in mind, he's been pitching in the American League. Against NL teams during interleague play, Buehrle has a career record of 24-6 with a 3.32 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in 271 innings.

"Him moving from the American League to the National League, it's a big step for us," Guillen said.

Also, we don't yet know how the new Marlins ballpark will play in terms of hitter- or pitcher-friendly, but we do know how Chicago's U.S. Cellular Park played. It's been one of the most hitter-friendly stadiums for years.

The Marlins now have a strong top four in Johnson, Buehrle, Anibal Sanchez and Ricky Nolasco, assuming none of them are traded (Nolasco's name has been in rumors this offseason). And, amazingly, Knobler is hearing the Marlins are still in the bidding for C.J. Wilson.

If you think about it, there's some sense in that. Remember, the Marlins were reportedly hot after first baseman Albert Pujols, reportedly offering up to $220 million. They are now out of the Pujols sweepstakes, says Scott Miller of CBSSports.com. If they were planning on spending that much money, giving $58 million to Buehrle means they should still have more money they were planning on spending. It would seem that Pujols is no longer a possibility, but Wilson can fit within that budget. Prince Fielder? Maybe. Who knows at this point.

The only thing we know is that, yes, the Marlins are very serious about transforming into a large-market team -- now that they have their new stadium.

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Posted on: December 7, 2011 2:35 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 3:40 pm

Bedard, McLouth to sign with Pirates

By Matt Snyder

DALLAS -- The Pittsburgh Pirates have agreed to terms with free agent starting pitcher Erik Bedard, CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler has learned. Jon Heyman reports the deal is one year for $4.5 million. Also, the Pirates have agreed to bring back outfielder Nate McLouth on a one-year, $1.75 million deal, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Bedard, 32, figures to have rounded out the Pirates' starting rotation for the 2012 season along with James McDonald, Jeff Karstens, Kevin Correia and Charlie Morton (who is recovering from hip surgery). With that mix, it's entirely possible Bedard is the opening-day starter for Pittsburgh.

MLB Winter Meetings
The left-handed Bedard finished fifth in AL Cy Young voting back in 2007, but has been unable to stay healthy since then. He's made 54 starts in the past four seasons, including zero in 2010. Last season, he went 5-9 with a 3.62 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 125 strikeouts in 129 1/3 innings. He began the season with the Mariners and then was shipped to the Red Sox in a deadline deal.

One item of note: Bedard has always played in the American League. The switch in leagues should benefit him. He is 8-3 with a 1.82 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 133 strikeouts in 113 2/3 career innings against the National League during Interleague play. It's not the largest sample and much of that came pre-injuries, but it's still reason to believe he'll improve with the shift.

McLouth, 30, was an All-Star and 20-20 guy for the Pirates, but has been awful for the Braves the past two seasons. It's possible he competes with Alex Presley for the left field job or simply serves as a fourth outfielder (I'd guess the latter is more likely).

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Posted on: December 7, 2011 12:44 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 5:21 pm

Angels 'pushing hard' for Wilson, Marlins in, too

By Matt Snyder

DALLAS -- The Angels are pushing hard to try to sign free agent pitcher C.J. Wilson, with the goal of getting something done before the Winter Meetings end Thursday, sources told CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler. Knobler has also learned the Marlins have offered Wilson a six-year contract. [UPDATE: The Marlins have signed Mark Buehrle. Unbelievably, sources have told Knobler that they are still in on the bidding for Wilson.]

Wilson has long been a favorite of new Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto, and the team has been pursuing him since last month's general managers meetings. The Marlins have also pursued Wilson, and some believed that he would be their first backup choice if Albert Pujols decides to stay in St. Louis, which seems entirely possible.

MLB Winter Meetings
The Rangers talked regularly to Wilson's agent, but it was always believed that they would be willing to see him sign elsewhere.

Wilson, 31, is a California native. He went 16-7 with a 2.94 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 206 strikeouts in 233 1/3 innings during the 2011 regular season, qualifying for his first All-Star Game. Also keep in mind the Rangers played in the most hitter-friendly park in the majors in 2011, and Wilson's road ERA was a sparkling 2.31. On the flip-side, Wilson had a bad showing in the postseason and has only been a starting pitcher for two years.

As for the Marlins, we know they're serious about throwing money around, so it's not surprising they've gone with a big offer.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com