Tag:AL Central
Posted on: December 9, 2011 7:33 pm
 

Tigers, Nationals swap right-handed relievers

Collin BalesterBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Tigers and Nationals exchanged right-handers, with Collin Balester headed to Detroit and Ryan Perry going to Washington.

Balester, 25, was 1-4 with a 4.54 ERA in 23 appearances with the Nationals, striking out 34 batters in 35 2/3 innings. He was 2-1 with a 4.35 ERA in 28 appearances with Triple-A Syracuse, striking out 46 batters in 39 1/3 innings.

Ryan PerryPerry also split 2011 between the big leagues and Triple-A. In Detroit, Perry appeared in 36 games with a 5.35 ERA. He struck out 24 in 37 innings. At Toledo, he recorded seven saves in 20 appearances, going 3-0 with a 3.03 ERA. He struck out 30 batters in 32 2/3 innings with the Mud Hens.

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Posted on: December 9, 2011 5:40 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2011 6:41 pm
 

Best free agents left after winter meetings



By C. Trent Rosecrans

The winter meetings are over and some of the biggest names on the free-agent market are off the table, but that doesn't mean the hot stove has died out. So, the day after Albert Pujols and the Angels shocked the baseball world, here's a look at the top five position players and pitchers left on the market:

Postition players

Prince Fielder1. Prince Fielder -- The 27-year-old Fielder is the biggest fish left on the market, averaging more than 38 home runs in his six full seasons in the big leagues and posting a .929 career OPS. Whoever lands Fielder will get a shot to the lineup. The knock is Fielder's weight and the length of a contract.

Possible landing spots: Brewers, Blue Jays, Cubs, Mariners, Marlins

Carlos Beltran2. Carlos Beltran -- Beltran's been a bit of a forgotten name in all the winter meetings talk. Beltran will be 35 in April and just finished a seven-year deal with the Mets. After being limited by injuries in his last two seasons, Beltran had a bounce-back year, hitting .300/.385/.525 with 22 homers and 84 RBI and doing that in two home ballparks not known to be friendly to hitters, Citi Field and AT&T Park. He can still play center field, but is probably better suited on a corner.

Possible landing spots: Cardinals, Nationals, Red Sox, Tigers, Braves, Mariners, Cubs

Aramis Ramirez3. Aramis Ramirez -- Even though he has 14 years in the big leagues under his belt, Ramirez is just 33 and coming off a .306/.361/.510 season with 26 homers and 93 RBI. A two-time All-Star, he's by far the best third baseman on the market -- and it's not even close.

Possible landing spots: Brewers, Phillies, Marlins

Michael Cuddyer4. Michael Cuddyer -- Cuddyer will be 33 in March and can play both the corner outfield and infield spots, offering teams a versatile player. He hit .284/.346/.459 with 20 homers last season and hit 32 homers in 2009 before the Twins moved to spacious Target Field. The Twins have reportedly already offered him a three-year deal, as have the Rockies.

Possible landing spots: Rockies, Twins, Phillies, Giants, Red Sox

Jimmy Rollins5. Jimmy Rollins -- It seems odd to consider the 2007 MVP in anything but a Phillies uniform, but Pujols is now in California, so anything's possible. Rollins' offensive numbers have dropped off since his MVP season, but he still plays a premium position -- and one a couple of teams need to fill. A three-time Gold Glove winner, Rollins turned 33 last month. If he re-signs with the Phillies, it could be his last contract. Rollins is reportedly searching for a five-year contract, a tactic that may scare away every team other than the Phillies.

Possible landing spots: Phillies, Cardinals

Pitchers

Yu Darvish1. Yu Darvish -- The 25-year-old Japanese right-hander will reportedly be posted and has been seen as perhaps the best starter available. There's no shortage of teams that could be interested in Darvish, but the history of recent big-ticket Japanese pitchers could scare off some suitors and keep the posting fee lower than expected. Once his team in Japan, the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighers, accept the posting, the winning team still has to negotiate with Darvish. The posting system, though, gives a chance for a surprise team to emerge the winner.

Possible landing spots: Rangers, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Yankees, Nationals, Royals

Hiroki Kuroda2. Hiroki Kuroda -- There's no question of how Kuroda will perform in the big leagues -- he's gone 41-46 with a 3.45 ERA in four seasons with the Dodgers. Kuroda had a 13-16 record in 2011, despite putting up just a 3.07 ERA. He told the team he wouldn't give up his no-trade protection at the trade deadline, but the Dodgers have already found replacements for him in the rotation. He has one offer on the table already from the Hiroshima Carp in Japan, but would make more money in the U.S.

Possible landing spots: Cubs, Rockies, Diamondbacks, Yankees, Red Sox, Carp

Edwin Jackson3. Edwin Jackson -- The fact that Jackson has already played for six different teams and he's just 28 may raise some flags, but he's also had six teams want him at some point and for good reason. Although Jackson has battled inconsistency, he's still had results at times. He was 12-9 with a 3.79 ERA for the Cardinals and White Sox last season. He's not a No. 1, but he's younger than some of the other second-tier starters on the market, increasing his value.

Possible landing spots: Twins, Rangers, Yankees, Cubs, Royals, Nationals, Pirates, Rockies, Orioles

Ryan Madson4. Ryan Madson -- Even though there were reports the right-hander had agreed to return to the Phillies earlier this offseason, the team turned to Jonathan Papelbon instead. The Red Sox, who along with the Reds, are still searching for a closer could end up signing Madson and seem the best fit. In his firs tseason as the Phillies' closer, Madson recorded 32 saves, going 4-2 with a 2.37 ERA, striking out 62 batters in 60 2/3 innings.

Possible landing spots: Red Sox, Reds, Phillies

Francisco Cordero5. Francisco Cordero -- Like Madson, Cordero seems to be on the outside of the closer game of musical chairs. The Red Sox and Reds are the only team left looking for a closer. The Reds were interested in bringing back Cordero with a discount after declining their $12 million option on the 36-year-old right-hander. Cordero converted 37 saves last season and 150 in four years in Cincinnati.

Possible landing spots: Red Sox, Reds, Twins

Follow all the free agent moves with the CBSSports.com Free Agent Tracker 

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Posted on: December 8, 2011 5:39 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2011 5:46 pm
 

12 players taken in Rule 5 Draft

By C. Trent Rosecrans
MLB Winter Meetings

You may have missed it -- and for good reasons -- but 12 players were taken in the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday, in what usually signals the end of the winter meetings. It was the fewest number of players taken in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 draft since 2005

The Rule 5 Draft allows teams to take eligible players left unprotected on other teams' 40-man roster for $50,000. A player has to stay on a team's active Major League roster for the entire next season or be offered back to the original club for $25,000. Teams can also work out a trade with their old team to keep the player and send him to the minors. There have been some huge names selected in the Rule 5 Draft, including Josh Hamilton, Jose Bautista and Dan Uggla, but more often than not, players don't even make it out of spring training. Chances are one or two of the 12 selected on Thursday will make it on an opening day roster, but it's unlikely any of them will stick, based on previous numbers.

But hey, it happened today and some teams got some guys -- while the Angels added Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. So, who are the 12? Here we go, listed by their new team and their old team in parentheses:

Astros: RHP Rhiner Cruz (Mets) -- A reliever, Cruz when 5-3 with seven saves and a 3.89 ERA at High-A and Double-A.

Twins: RHP Terry Doyle (White Sox) -- Doyle went 8-10 at High-A and Double-A with a 3.07 ERA in 26 starts, striking out 122 and walking 33 in 173 innings.

Mariners: LHP Lucas Luetge (Brewers) -- In his second year in Double-A, he struck out exactly a batter an inning and finsihed with a 3.13 ERA.

Orioles: 2B Ryan Flaherty (Cubs) -- A former first-rounder, the left-handed hitter hit .305/.384/.523 with 14 homers at Double-A, but then struggled at Triple-A, hitting .237/.277/.399 with five home runs.

Yankees: LHP Cesar Cabral (Red Sox) -- Actually picked by the Royals, but traded to the Yankees for cash, Cabral struck out 70 batters in 55 innings, walking 21. He was 3-4 overall in 36 games in relief with a 2.95 ERA at High-A and Double-A.

Cubs: RHP Lendy Castillo (Phillies) -- A former infielder, Castillo started two of his 21 games at Low-A Lakewood in 2011, going 4-2 with a 2.54 ERA, striking out 46 batters in as many innings.

Pirates: SS Gustavo Nunez (Tigers) -- The switch-hitter hit a combined .276/.333/.386 at High-A and Double-A, but struggled at the higher level.

Braves: LHP Robert Fish (Angels) -- Fish throws 95 mph and struck out 44 batters in 33 1/3 innings in Rookie ball and Double-A. Most of his time was spent at Double-A where he was 1-0 with a 3.26 ERA and two saves.

Cardinals: OF Erik Komatsu (Nationals) -- The Nationals acquired the speedy outfielder in the middle of 2011. He hit a combined .277/.367/.382 with seven home runs and 21 stolen bases between two different Double-A teams. 

Red Sox: SS Marwin Gonzalez (Cubs) -- The switch-hitter hit .288/.343/.400 with 30 doubles between Double-A and Triple-A. 

Diamondbacks: RHP Brett Lorin (Pirates) -- The 24-year-old stands 6-foot-7 and went 7-6 with a 2.84 ERA at High-A Bradenton, striking out 7.6 batters per nine innings.

Yankees: RHP Brad Meyers (Nationals) --  The starter pitched at three different levels in 2011, the majority coming at Triple-A, where he was 6-5 with a 3.48 ERA and struck out 74 in 95 2/3 innings.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: December 8, 2011 4:25 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2011 5:43 pm
 

News, notes from final day of Winter Meetings

By Matt Snyder

MLB Winter Meetings
DALLAS -- Other than the two gigantic signings Thursday morning, the activity at the Winter Meetings has slowed to a crawl as everything wraps up. Still, there is never a complete void of buzz, so here are some of the latest news and notes from the media room, courtesy of CBSSports.com senior writers Scott Miller and Danny Knobler.

• The Marlins are going to be in on top remaining free agent Prince Fielder and Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes. One thing to keep in mind, the Marlins were ready to spend almost $100 million on C.J. Wilson, so there's no reason to believe they're done spending -- or at least trying to spend.

• One Nationals person said there's a "95 percent chance" prospect Bryce Harper opens the season with the big-league club.

• The Angels are not trading anyone. They're all in with what they have. They are expecting Kendrys Morales to start the season injured and Mark Trumbo can either play third base or be the designated hitter.

• The Reds are heavily pursuing starting pitching via trade, with their top targets being Jair Jurrjens and a few guys from the Rays' staff. No real progress was made during the meetings, however.

Also of note:

Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports the Rockies have become a serious suitor for free agent outfielder/corner infielder Michael Cuddyer. The Twins have reportedly offered Cuddyer three years and $25 million, but Renck says the Rockies are willing to go three years as well. 

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: December 8, 2011 4:06 pm
 

Pujols won't join exclusive Hall of Fame club



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Albert Pujols will most likely wear a St. Louis Cardinals hat when he's ultimately inducted into the Hall of Fame, but there still may be a question. We just don't know at this point. There are those players who go into the Hall without a doubt of which hat they'll wear, because it's the only one they ever wore. 

While the Hall of Fame is an elite club, there's a more elite club -- one of Hall of Famers who played their entire career with one organization. Currently there are 47 such players in Cooperstown, with the possibility of one more joining their ranks if Barry Larkin is voted in when the next class is announced in January.

It seemed like Pujols would be one of those guys -- there was even talk of a statue being built at Busch Stadium while he was still active. That statue will have to wait -- and it could be a long time before he's honored like that in St. Louis. 

So, if Pujols isn't going to join that club, who may? Here's four who may be able to claim they spent all of their entire major league career with one team.

Both Derek Jeter and Mariano River are first-ballot Hall of Fame players, both are nearing the end of their careers and both received new contracts with the Yankees last season. Jeter, 37, has two more years on his contract, plus a player option for 2014. He may play after he turns 40, but there's an almost zero percent chance the Yankees let him do it in another uniform. The same can be said for Rivera, 42. The all-time saves leader is under contract for 2012 and is unliekly to play anywhere else.

The third guy is Chipper Jones, who will turn 40 on April 24 and is under contract through 2012 with a club option for 2013 that becomes guaranteed if he plays 123 games this season. Jones has been on the verge of retiring the last two years. Like Jeter and Rivera, it seems unthinkable he'd ever wear another uniform as a player.

And that leads us to the fourth player, who will not only have an asterisk on this list if he does go into the Hall with his current team, but also the one of this group most likely to play for a different team (but even that chance seems slight -- but not as slight as the other three), and that's Ichiro Suzuki. The asterisk is that of course he played the first half of his career for the Orix Blue Wave in Japan before coming to the Mariners in 2000. Some will debate whether he'd be in the Hall if he retired today, but I find it hard to believe he could be left out. Suzuki is in the final year of his five-year extension he signed in 2007 and with the Mariners going through a rebuilding phase, he may not fit into their plans. Another team could be interested, or he could return to Japan. However, it's been suggested he really wants to get to 3,000 hits in the United States. He's at 2,428 right now and would need at least three more years to get there -- that could be two with a different team.

There are some other players that aren't sure-fire Hall of Famers that could still get there and do it with one team, but there's still a lot to be proven. The closest to the end of his career is the Rangers' Michael Young, who would need to get to 3,000 hits before he had a shot at the Hall. Young, 35, has 2,061 hits, so even that seems unlikely. Then there are the young, talented players who have a lot more to prove before getting there. However, Troy Tulowitzki, Ryan Braun, Evan Longoria and Matt Kemp all have one thing in common -- long-term contracts with their current team. 

Here's the list of Hall of Famers who played for just one team, sorted by team:

Yankees: Earle Combs, Bill Dickey, Joe DiMaggio, Whitey Ford, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Phil Rizzuto.

Dodgers: Roy Campanella, Don Drysdale, Sandy Koufax, Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Robinson.

Giants: Carl Hubbell, Travis Jackson, Mel Ott, Bill Terry, Ross Youngs.

Pirates: Roberto Clemente, Bill Mazeroski, Willie Stargell, Pie Traynor.

Red Sox: Bobby Doerr, Jim Rice, Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski.

Indians: Bob Feller, Addie Joss, Bob Lemon.

Orioles: Jim Palmer, Cal Ripken, Brooks Robinson.

White Sox: Luke Appling, Red Faber, Ted Lyons.

Cardinals: Bob Gibson, Stan Musial.

Reds: Johnny Bench, Bid McPhee.

Tigers: Charlie Gehringer, Al Kaline.

Brewers: Robin Yount.

Cubs: Ernie Banks.

Padres: Tony Gwynn.

Phillies: Mike Schmidt.

Royals: George Brett.

Senators: Walter Johnson.

Twins: Kirby Puckett.

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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 10:16 am
Edited on: December 7, 2011 10:41 pm
 

MLB Winter Meetings rumors: Wednesday

By Matt Snyder

MLB Winter Meetings
DALLAS -- We're live from the media room, lobby or anywhere else in the Dallas Hilton for Major League Baseball's annual Winter Meetings. Tons of rumors will continue to circulate throughout the meetings, so we'll keep this as a landing spot for anything and everything. Check back for updates all day Wednesday. We'll timestamp updates made after the initial post.

6:54 p.m. ET: Breaking news: The Marlins are out of the running to sign Albert Pujols, per Scott Miller of CBSSports.com.

Buehrle, Marlins, Nats

10:48 a.m. ET: If the Marlins lose out on the Albert Pujols sweepstakes, they'll go hard after free agent left-hander Mark Buehrle, reports Clark Spencer.

12:59 p.m. ET: Buehrle talks are "heating up" and he's narrowed the list to three teams, Danny Knobler reports.

4:19 p.m. ET: The Nationals have made what they believe is a "legit, fair, market-value offer" to Buehrle that they are hoping he expects, general manager Mike Rizzo told Washington beat writers (Amanda Comak).

5:11 p.m. ET: Buehrle has signed with the Marlins. Full story.

7:39 p.m. ET: Rizzo told the Washington beat writers he wasn't willing to go to a fourth year on Buehrle. Now the club will shift its focus to free agent pitcher Roy Oswalt or trading for Gio Gonzalez (Bill Ladson).

Red Sox, A's talk Bailey

• The closer-less Red Sox appear to be interested in Bailey, but the price could be too high, as Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes the A's are asking for a package including prized third base prospect Will Middlebrooks in exchange for the closer. Peter Gammons of MLB Network says the Red Sox are dangling outfielder Josh Reddick in return for Bailey.

Rangers, Angels, Wilson

• The Rangers met with Bob Garber, the agent for free-agent lefty C.J. Wilson, on Tuesday. Garber told ESPNDallas.com that he was "pleasantly surprised" by the Rangers' offer to keep their former No. 1 starter.

12:55 p.m. ET: The Angels are pushing hard for Wilson, Knobler has learned. Full story.

Rockies, Street, Padres, Lidge


11:31 a.m. ET: The Rockies have agreed in principle to trade Huston Street to the Padres. The deal is basically done, but not yet finalized. Full story.

12:05 p.m. ET: The Rockies have "mild" interest in free agent reliever Brad Lidge, reports Danny Knobler.

Dotel

12:07 p.m. ET: The Tigers have interest in free agent reliever Octavio Dotel, but he prefers to stay with the Cardinals, Knobler reports.

Phillies, Tigers, D-Backs, Gio Gonzalez

• The Athletics are one of the prettiest girls at this ball, dangling starter Gio Gonzalez and closer Andrew Bailey, and apparently both the Tigers and Phillies are looking to get in and bust a move on Billy Beane. The Tigers are in on Gonzalez, but aren't sure they can match the package the Yankees can offer for the left-hander, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. And then there's the Phillies, who are dangling perpetual outfield prospect Domonic Brown in exchange for Gonzalez, according to Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network.

10:44 a.m. ET: Two reporters say Middlebrooks' name never came up in talks between A's and Red Sox.

12:24 p.m. ET: Knobler reports the Tigers asked about Gonzalez but didn't like the price. Cross them off the list of serious suitors.

12:25 p.m. ET: The Diamondbacks are pushing hard for Gonzalez, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

2:51 p.m. ET: The A's will not trade Gonzalez during the Winter Meetings, per Joel Sherman.

Kuroda

1:31 p.m. ET: The Cubs, Rockies and Diamondbacks are all after free agent starter Hiroki Kuroda, reports Jon Heyman. It had been previously believed that Kuroda would either stay with the Dodgers or go back to Japan -- and a return to Japan is still entirely possible.

2:50 p.m. ET: The Yankees and Red Sox are also in on Kuroda, reports Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.

Cubs, Rockies, Stewart, Colvin

2:52 p.m. ET: The Cubs and Rockies are discussing a swap of Tyler Colvin (Cubs' outfielder) and Ian Stewart (Rockies' third baseman), reports Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

Mets

4:11 p.m. ET: The Mets are shopping everyone on the roster except David Wright, Joel Sherman reports. Andy Martino circles back and says Ike Davis is also off limits, though. Sherman now reports that the Mets are mostly talking about moving Jonathon Niese, not Davis.

5:56 p.m. ET: The Mets are "talking to three or four teams" about Niese, reports Heyman, who notes they seek "multiple pieces" in return, such as an infielder, catcher or prospect.

7:36 p.m. ET: The Mets are "absolutely" listening to trade proposals on Niese and Daniel Murphy, but "their asking price is high," reports Andy McCullough.

Dotel

5:45 p.m. ET: The Tigers are the frontrunner for Octavio Dotel, reports Ken Rosenthal, who also notes an NL team is involved as well. It's very possible that team is the Cardinals, but the Reds and Brewers have been connected to Dotel also.

7:17 p.m. ET: It's between the Tigers and Cardinals, says Knobler.

9:50 p.m. ET: The Tigers are nearing a deal with Dotel. Full story.

Madson, Phillies

10:40 p.m. ET: Ryan Madson has declined arbitration, so he's definitely available for bidding (Knobler).

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: December 6, 2011 12:18 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2011 9:38 pm
 

MLB Winter Meetings rumors: Tuesday

By Matt Snyder

DALLAS -- We're live from the media room, lobby or anywhere else in the Dallas Hilton for Major League Baseball's annual Winter Meetings. Tons of rumors will continue to circulate throughout the meetings, so we'll keep this as a landing spot for anything and everything. Check back for updates all day Tuesday. We'll timestamp updates made after the initial post.

2011 Winter Meetings
Wilson, Buehrle, Nationals, Angels, Marlins

• Please remember that any rumor passed along is merely a rumor. If we report something, we feel it's legit. If not, we're just letting you know it's out there. This warning is given with a great example. Monday evening, Jim Duquette of MLB Network radio tweeted that C.J. Wilson had received a six-year offer from the Nationals. If that was true, considering everything we've heard, Wilson would probably have signed on the spot. Instead, his reaction was laughter -- via Twitter -- and he jokingly said: "In unrelated news, I haven't been offered contracts from FC Barcelona, the Mavs or the Lakers." Meantime, all Nationals beat writers summarily shot down the rumor. In fact, CBSSports.com's Scott Miller reports the Angels are hot after Wilson while many reporters have noted the Nats actually prefer Mark Buehrle.

2:57 p.m. ET: Buehrle has narrowed the field of teams he's considering to five, reports Jon Heyman. Buehrle has previously been connected to more than a dozen teams in rumors.

4:20 p.m. ET: The Marlins are in pursuit of Wilson and might even try to sign both Wilson and Albert Pujols, reports Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Jon Heyman disputes this, however, saying the Marlins would not go after Wilson if Pujols is signed.

4:36 p.m. ET: Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo told reporters he hasn't spoken with Buehrle's agent Tuesday, but felt "good" in their chances of landing the left-hander. (Mark Zuckerman)

5:49 p.m. ET: CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler speculates the aforementioned five teams could be the Nationals, Marlins, Rangers, Angels and Cardinals.

6:25 p.m. ET: Amanda Comak of the Washington Times confirms the Nationals are indeed one of those five teams still in the running for Buehrle.

7:00 p.m. ET: Heyman reports the Rangers' offer for Wilson is believed to be four years and $60 million.

Pujols, Fielder

• The Marlins are optimistic they'll land Albert Pujols. Full story.

• The Cubs prefer Prince Fielder to Pujols, reports Jon Heyman. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports backs it up and says the Cubs would prefer to offer less years and more dollars per year. Remember, in the past few weeks, reports surfaced that the Cubs preferred Pujols to Fielder. I have a sneaking suspicion Theo Epstein is doing a great job of driving up the price on his rivals' big-name free agents, but that's purely speculation.

1:45 p.m. ET: Worth mentioning here is that Allen Craig had knee surgery and will likely miss the first month of the 2012 season.

4:59 p.m. ET: The Marlins are pushing Pujols' camp, as they want a decision very soon. Miller reports it may not happen Tuesday, however, as some earlier reports indicated.

6:58 p.m. ET: The Mariners appear to be in on Fielder. Check out this quote from general manager Jack Zduriencik, via Geoff Baker, on whether or not the Mariners are the frontrunner: "I have no clue how many clubs are in on any free agents I'm talking to."

9:31 p.m. ET: Scott Miller has the latest on the Pujols sweepstakes -- including the introduction of a dreaded "mystery team."

9:35 p.m. ET: Heyman tweets that the Cubs' interest in Fielder is "sincere."

Mariners, Pirates, Twins, Francis

• The Mariners will meet with representatives for starting pitcher Jeff Francis, Geoff Baker reports.

2:31 p.m. ET: The Pirates and Twins will also meet with Francis' rep, Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com reports.

Twins, Cuddyer

• The Twins have made a three-year, $25 million offer to Michael Cuddyer, reports Heyman.

Blue Jays, White Sox, Santos

1:04 p.m. ET: The Blue Jays have acquired closer Sergio Santos from the White Sox. Full story.

Giants, Lincecum

1:47 p.m. ET: Giants ace Tim Lincecum is absolutely off limits via trade, even if he doesn't sign a contract extension. (Extra Baggs)

Nats, Rays, Upton

1:48 p.m. ET: The Nationals and Rays have discussed the possibility of a B.J. Upton trade, reports Morosi.

3:20 p.m. ET: The Nationals don't feel pressure to move for a center fielder, reports Comak. She notes that general manager Mike Rizzo feels comfortable with the thought of Jayson Werth playing center field and soon-to-be major-leaguer Bryce Harper taking over in right. Manager Davey Johnson said virtually the same thing Monday during his media session.

D-Backs, Saunders

1:55 p.m. ET: The Diamondbacks could extend or trade Joe Saunders. Full story.

Rockies, Street, Padres

2:45 p.m. ET: The Rockies continue to shop closer Huston Street on the trade market, reports Jayson Stark of ESPN.com, also mentioning the Padres as a possibility.

4:30 p.m. ET: Miller reports Street is "very available" and the Rockies are looking for starting pitching in return.

Mets

3:42 p.m. ET: The Mets are "closing in" on a late-inning reliever, though not Francisco Cordero, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

Red Sox, Ortiz, Miller

3:43 p.m. ET: The market for designated hitter David Ortiz has dwindled down to basically the Red Sox, reports Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. There aren't many teams looking for just a DH, for one, and also note that a team would have to cough up a compensatory draft pick for Big Papi. So he's likely destined to stay in Boston.

5:24 p.m. ET: The Red Sox have signed pitcher Andrew Miller to a one-year contract, the club announced. He'll get a shot to compete for the starting rotation at this point.

7:02 p.m. ET: Ortiz plans to accept arbitration and remain with the Red Sox, reports ESPN Deportes (via MLB Trade Rumors). That means he'd be back on a one-year deal.

Brewers, Ramirez

4:16 p.m. ET: The Brewers are the favorite to sign third baseman Aramis Ramirez, reports Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. The residual effect of such a signing would completely elimate any remaining chances of retaining Fielder.

Reds, Braves, Jurrjens

6:23 p.m. ET: The Reds are showing interest in Braves starting pitcher Jair Jurrjens, but the Braves are content to let the starting pitching market develop past this week, Knobler reports. Once the top free agents are signed, the Braves will have more leverage in a potential trade.

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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