Tag:free agency
Posted on: January 3, 2012 4:57 pm
 

Video: Jack Wilson's kicking prowess

By C. Trent Rosecrans

As a University of Georgia graduate, I know how important a good kicker is -- so with that, I sure hope Jack Wilson has some eligibility left. The free-agent shortstop could always go back to school after 11 years in the big leagues, and maybe even earn a scholarship.

Check out this video of Wilson's kicking prowess:

Several failed baseball players have gone back to school to play football after their baseball careers fizzled, guys like Chris Weinke, Josh Booty, Quincy Carter and Quan Cosby, so why not a guy who has already earned more than $40 million playing baseball? Hey Mark Richt, make the right call this time, and see if Wilson wants to stay in Georgia for the next four years.

H/T: Big League Stew

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Posted on: January 3, 2012 4:09 pm
 

Red Sox sign Carlos Silva to minor-league deal

By C. Trent Rosecrans

After spending 2011 in the Yankees' farm system, former Mariners and Cubs right-hander Carlos Silva has signed a minor-league deal with the Red Sox, the team announced on Tuesday.

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Silva was one of 12 players signed to minor-league contracts. The team also signed eight other pitchers -- Rich Hill, Brandon Duckworth, Will Inman, Doug Mathis, Tony Pena Jr., Chorye Spoone, Jesse Carlson, Charlie Haeger and Justin Thomas. The team also announce it had signed shortstop Pedro Ciriaco and utility man Nate Spears.

Silva is really the only reason we're writing this (despite my love of knuckleballers like Haeger), as Silva's had success in the past and the Red Sox are hoping to get lucky with him (kind of like the Yankees did with Freddie Garcia and Bartolo Colon). Silva, 32, went 2-1 with a 2.75 ERA at Double-A and Triple-A with the Yankees last season after being released by the Cubs. Chicago had acquired him in a swap of bad contracts after the 2009 season, sending Milton Bradley to Seattle. He had a nice bounce-back season in 2010, going 10-6 with a 4.22 ERA, but had a disastrous spring training and was released at the end of March.

Hill, 31, had Tommy John surgery in June after nine scoreless outings out of the bullpen for the Red Sox in 2011. The left-hander pitched for the Red Sox in 2010, as well. His best season came in 2007, when he went 11-7 with a 3.92 ERA for the Cubs.

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Posted on: January 2, 2012 2:56 pm
Edited on: January 2, 2012 3:02 pm
 

Prince Fielder-to-Nationals rumors won't go away

By Matt Snyder

Considering he's by far the biggest free agent left unsigned, Prince Fielder's name has been -- and will continue to be -- mentioned all over the place in rumors. The latest comes courtesy of Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. He reports that an "MLB official" says "word is spreading in the industry" that the Nationals are the favorite to land Fielder.

CBSSports.com's own Jon Heyman had previously reported that a Nationals player believes they are "shooting for" Fielder. And Monday, in response to the Haudricourt report, Amanda Comak of the Washington Times brings us the following: "According to team sources, the party line remains the same: Unless the price -- specifically in years -- drops, the Nationals are unlikely to be that landing spot."

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So what to believe?

Well, I'd say all of it. Here's why: The Nationals probably do want the price to drop, but are also interested in signing him if and when the price becomes right. Unless the Cubs or Rangers come out and blow away Prince and his agent, Scott Boras, what club is left to outbid the deep-pocketed Nationals (remember, they have the richest owner in baseball)? The Mariners or Orioles? Please. The Blue Jays? Maybe. If Fielder wants to go to the AL East and north of the border. Or he could join one of the most promising up-and-coming teams in baseball while staying in the NL.

So it seems as though the feeling that the Nationals will end up with Prince Fielder is very logical, and that's why they are continually speculated to be the frontrunner, even if management is telling all the local beat writers they aren't in on him. Just because they reportedly haven't offered him anything yet doesn't mean they won't.

Fielder, 27, hit .299/.415/.566 with 38 home runs, 120 RBI and finished third in MVP voting last season. While many question his long-term durability due to him being rather large, he's played an average of 160 games per season since being up full-time. He hasn't played less than 157 in a season and appeared in all 162 last year.

If the Nationals did land Prince, watch out. He would join Ryan Zimmerman, Danny Espinosa, Wilson Ramos, Jayson Werth and Michael Morse on offense, while they all waited on big-time prospects Anthony Rendon and Bryce Harper to join the party. Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann anchor the rotation while Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard are the back-end of the bullpen. That's a lot of youth and talent.

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Posted on: January 1, 2012 1:08 am
Edited on: January 1, 2012 1:10 am
 

Report: Mariners close to signing Iwakuma

Hisashi IwakumaBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Mariners are close to signing Japanese right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma, according to Nikkan Sports (via YakyuBaka.com).

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The A's won the bidding for Iwamura's posting fee last offseason, but were unable to reach an agreement with him in the 30-day window, so he returned to Japan for the 2011 season, where he went 6-7 with a 2.42 ERA in 17 games. In parts of 11 seasons in Japan, he went 107-69 with a 3.25 ERA and started three games -- including the championship game -- for Japan in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. In the WBC, he finished with a 1.35 ERA in three starts, two against South Korea and one against Cuba.

Iwakuma, 30, was limited by right shoulder problems in May, but went on to pitch well the rest of the season. Iwakuma exercised his international free agent option, allowing him to sign with any Major League team.

There had been reports that as many as five teams had interest in Iwakuma, and then recently the number was listed at four, including the A's, Twins and Mariners. The Pirates and Nationals were also rumored to be interested in Iwakuma at some point.

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Posted on: December 30, 2011 4:00 pm
Edited on: December 30, 2011 4:02 pm
 

Andruw Jones agrees to deal with Yankees

Andruw JonesBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Andruw Jones is coming back to the Bronx, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $2 million and up to $1.4 more with incentives, with the Yankees, CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman reports. The deal is pending a physical.

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Jones hit .247/.356/.495 with 13 home runs and 33 RBI as the team's fourth outfielder in 2011, his first with the Yankees.

Jones impressed the Yankees both on and off the field, accepting his role as a reserve and excelling. The Red Sox and Orioles, among other teams, were interested in Jones, according to Heyman.

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Posted on: December 30, 2011 3:46 pm
Edited on: December 30, 2011 5:22 pm
 

Blue Jays agree to deal with LHP Darren Oliver

Darren OliverBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Blue Jays have agreed to a deal with 41-year-old left-hander Darren Oliver, CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman has learned.

Oliver spent the last two years in Texas, going 6-7 with a 2.40 ERA with three saves in 125 games over the last two seasons as the Rangers advanced to the World Series in back-to-back years.

Oliver appeared in 61 games for the Rangers in 2011, plus another eight postseason games. He started the 10th inning of Game 6 of the World Series, giving up back-to-back singles with the Rangers ahead by two runs and three outs away from the team's first World Series title. He exited after Kyle Lohse's sacrifice bunt put the tying run in scoring position. That run would eventually score in the team's 10-9 loss in 11 innings.

The Blue Jays currently have just two left-handed relievers on their roster, Evan Crawford and Luis Perez. Perez, a rookie in 2011, appeared in 27 games with a 5.12 ERA. Crawford, 23, hasn't pitched above Double-A and was placed on the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule V Draft.

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Posted on: December 28, 2011 12:54 pm
 

Nats' Rizzo says team isn't chasing Fielder



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Mike Rizzo wants you to know that the Nationals aren't interested in Prince Fielder. Really. But…

"As far as are we going to dab our toe in [the Prince Fielder] water, those are decisions we make early on in that process and we've more or less decided that Adam [LaRoche] is going to be our first baseman," Rizzo said Wednesday on MLBNetwork Radio (via the Washington Times). "Unless something extraordinary and out of the ordinary happened, that's how we're going into spring training."

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Last week Rizzo said the team was planning on LaRoche being the team's first baseman in 2012, but didn't exactly elaborate.

The Nationals have been a popular rumored landing spot for the biggest free agent left on the market, as the team has a lot of money to spend, a good history Scott Boras, Fielder's agent, and it has LaRoche at first base.

LaRoche, 32, was limited to 43 games in 2011 before undergoing labrum surgery in June. In the first year of a two-year, $16 million deal with the Nationals, LaRoche hit .172/.288/.258 with three homers and 15 RBI in 177 plate appearances. LaRoche is a career .267/.337/.478 hitter. He hit 32 homers with the Braves in 2006 and hit 25 homers for three straight years from 2008 to 2010 for the Pirates, Red Sox, Braves and Diamondbacks. LaRoche will make $8 million this season and there's a $10 mutual option for 2013, with a $1 million buyout.

"Adam LaRoche is under contract for us, we're paying him a lot of money to play first base for us next year," Rizzo said. "We feel that he's going to have a bounceback season. We just want him to have his career norms: .265, 25, 85-100 RBI and play great defense. We feel that his shoulder is rehabbed, he's 100 percent, and talking to him just recently, he feels great and he's ready to contribute to us in 2012."

As for Fielder, the question, of course, becomes what does "extraordinary" mean to Rizzo? Could it be Fielder open to a shorter contract with a higher average annual value? Or could it be a longer deal backloaded? Or just Fielder saying he's decided he wants to be a National. The longer Fielder stays on the market, the more possibilities can pop up and something out of the ordinary could happen.

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Posted on: December 27, 2011 10:28 am
 

Cubs add Manny Corpas to bullpen

Manny CorpasBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Manny Corpas, who missed all of 2011 after undergoing Tommy John surgery, could earn as much as $2 million with the Cubs in 2012 after signing a one-year deal with the Chicago on Monday, signed a one-year, CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman has learned. In addition to a $1 million base, the big-league deal has appearance bonuses and a bonus for games finished.

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The right-handed Corpas, 29, has 34 saves in his five seasons with the Rockies, including 10 in 2010, when he appeared in 56 games for the Rockies. He had 19 saves in 2007, his second year in the big leagues as the Rockies advanced to the World Series. Overall, he's 12-16 with a 3.93 ERA and 34 saves.

While Corpas' contract does have a clause for more money based on games finished, the team has Carlos Marmol, also 29, under contract for the next two seasons. Marmol blew 10 of his 44 save chances in 2011 and is due a nearly $4 million raise to $7 million in 2012 and then is scheduled to make $9.8 million in 2013 before becoming a free agent.

The Cubs traded its top set-up man, lefty Sean Marshall, to the Reds last week for left-handed starter Travis Wood and two prospects. The team also added to its bullpen depth signing right-hander Andy Sonnanstine on Monday.

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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