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Tag:MLB Free Agents
Posted on: November 15, 2011 11:38 am
 

Ryan Howard progressing from Achilles injury

HowardBy Evan Brunell

The Phillies may have signed Jim Thome, but they are still very much counting on Ryan Howard to provide Philadelphia with home-run production.

The team got good news in that area as Howard has been making progress in his recovery from a torn Achilles tendon suffered in the final at-bat of the NLDS.

"The last time I talked to him was probably about 10 days ago," manager Charlie Manuel told the Philadelphia News. "He's going to see the doctor again next week. Right now, he's doing really well. The big test for him will be probably be after about two or three months. That's when he really starts to move around and do things."

The hope is that Howard could be ready for Opening Day, although that's a long shot. A best-case scenario will have Howard returning fairly early on in the season. Any setback could leave Philadelphia trying to fill the position of first base through the All-Star Game or perhaps beyond.

Two other Phillies are recovering from injuries -- right fielder Hunter Pence and third baseman Placido Polanco, who both had surgery to repair sports hernias.

"Polly (Polanco) should be ready for spring training," Manuel said. "He said he'll definitely be ready to go."

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Posted on: November 15, 2011 11:13 am
Edited on: November 15, 2011 12:33 pm
 

Report: Marlins make $90 million offer to Reyes

Reyes
By Evan Brunell

The Brewers need a shortstop, but it's unlikely to be Jose Reyes, who has a lucrative offer in hand from the Marlins.

"One call," Brewers GM Doug Melvin told MLB.com. "No numbers."

Reyes is one of the hottest names on the market and has already received a six-year, $90 million offer from the Marlins, Fox Sports reports. That's not likely to be good enough for Reyes to sign, as the shortstop is seeking a contract north of $100 million. However, Miami's offer is not all that far away from Reyes' magic number, so it's easy to envision the Marlins upping the price and getting Reyes, who is intrigued by the opportunity to play in Miami and under skipper Ozzie Guillen. The appeal of Miami has to do with the city, plus the ability to play in good weather which could help Reyes avoid hamstring problems that have plagued him so far in his career.

The Brewers also need a shortstop, but it's hard to imagine Milwaukee ponying up the money to sign Reyes. In a discussion about first baseman Prince Fielder a couple days ago, Melvin indicated it was extremely unlikely Fielder would return to the Brewers because of payroll constraints. The same constraints will keep Reyes out of Milwaukee.

But Melvin is still on the prowl for a new shortstop, having lunch with Rafael Furcal's agent on Monday and reaching out to Yuniesky Betancourt's agent, MLB.com writes. While Betancourt is an awful shortstop and it was a no-brainer for Milwaukee to decline its $6 million option on Betancourt after the season, at some point, beggars can't be choosers. If Melvin can't entice Furcal or another shortstop (how about Clint Barmes?) to town, Betancourt may represent Melvin's best choice.

"I would think anybody who needs a shortstop and who is a contender has to look at [Furcal]," agent Paul Kinser told MLB.com. "Like I said, he brings the intangibles. The other guys haven't won the championships. ... He might miss a few games during the year, but when he's on the field, he's a difference-maker."

Melvin, for his part, admitted the Brewers won't be part of any free agency moves early on.

"We probably are going to be late in signing players," Melvin said. "I don't know if there's bargains at the start. ... Tell me an early signing that's a good deal."

While an early signing of Reyes by Miami will force the Marlins to give up a pretty penny, it would certainly change the complexion of the team and give the club an offensive dynamo that could be the missing piece for the offense. But would incumbent shortstop Hanley Ramirez move? The Miami Herald's Clark Spencer writes that Ramirez is not pleased about the possibility of changing positions -- and that Reyes and Ramirez aren't as friendly as reports make out.

That could potentially open the door for a Ramirez trade if Reyes is signed. The Marlins' payroll can only hold roughly one big-ticket signing in order to have money to flesh the rest of the team out. But a Ramirez trade could not only help supplement the big-league team, but would free up enough money for the club to chase down its other free agent targets, thought to be Albert Pujols, Ryan Madson and Mark Buehrle.

Those wondering if Reyes could end up back with the Mets? GM Sandy Alderson said his team wasn't out of the race to resign the shortstop.

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Posted on: November 14, 2011 11:47 pm
 

Agent: Ivan Rodriguez accepting of backup role

Ivan RodriguezBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Ivan Rodriguez wants to play long enough to get to 3,000 hits, but his agent said he understands he's a backup at this point in his career.

Rodriguez, who will turn 40 later this month, is 156 hits from 3,000 -- a number that could take several years as a backup to accomplish. Last season in Washington, he managed just 27 hits, a year after 106 in 111 games.

"I know Pudge wants to get to 3,000 hits, that's an important dimension for him," Rodriguez's agent, Scott Boras, told the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore. "I think it's clear [he] understands [he's] not going to be an everyday player."

Boras said his client has "received a high-level of interest" on the market, including his last team, the Nationals. Kilgore also notes the Twins, who drafted Rodriquez's son, Dereck, as another possibility.

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Posted on: November 14, 2011 11:16 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2011 11:31 pm
 

Mets GM says team isn't out of Reyes race

Jose ReyesBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson isn't counting his team out of the Jose Reyes sweepstakes. Alderson said Monday that he is still talking with Reyes' agent, Peter Greenberg.

"I still think it's early, notwithstanding all the background noise of the past week," Alderson told reporters, including the New York Daily News' Andy Martino

Alderson, of course, was talking about the reports last week of Reyes signing with the Marlins. The Marlins are perhaps the most vocal of their courtship of the former Mets shortstop, with owner Jeffrey Loria acknowledging the team's offer to Reyes.

MIlwaukee general manager Doug Melvin said he's spoken with Reyes' representatives, although he said he hasn't decided whether the team was interested in pursuing Reyes. When asked the extent of his dealings with Reyes, he told reporters, "One phone call, no numbers," according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The Brewers are also interested in Rafael Furcal, the paper reported.

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Posted on: November 14, 2011 9:01 pm
 

Japanese shortstop Nakajima to be posted



By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Seibu Lions of Japan's Pacific League have agreed to post shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima, Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com tweets.

Nakajima asked to be posted last offseason, but the team denied his request.

The 29-year-old hit .297/.354/.433 with 16 home runs and 27 doubles in 2011. The right-handed hitter hit .364/.500/.545 in seven games in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, including a 2-for-5 performance with two doubles and two RBI in Japan's 9-4 victory over the United States in the semifinals.

While Nakajima is a shortstop in Japan, most of the Japanese shortstops to come to the United States have switched positions to either second base or third base. Last season the Twins signed Tsuyoshi Nishioka, fresh off of a batting title and Gold Glove in Japan, for a $5 million posting fee and a contract worth $9 million over three years. Nishioki hit just .226/.278/.249 in 68 games for the Twins last season, starting 59 games at shortstop. He suffered a broken fibula in April, missing most of the season. The Twins have agreed to sign Jamey Carroll this week, hoping to play him every day at shortstop, moving Nishioka to second.

Nakajima has a longer track record (meaning he's older) than Nishioka, but also has more power.

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Posted on: November 14, 2011 8:19 pm
 

Agent says Aramis Ramirez won't return to Cubs

Aramis Ramirez

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Free agent third baseman Aramis Ramirez won't be returning to the Cubs, his agent told MLB.com.

"That ship has sailed," Paul Kinzer told Carrie Muskat of MLB.com

Kinzer said Ramirez, 33, is looking for a three- or four-year deal with a new team, and is in no hurry to sign with a new team.

"As the market establishes itself and people find out if they're in or not on [Albert] Pujols or [Prince] Fielder, and who's in on [Jose] Reyes, Aramis is going to be there," Kinzer said. "He's not looking at an eight-year contract. He's going to be looking in the four-[year] ranger, and maybe three with an option. It's going to be his choice."

Ramirez hit .306/.361/.510 with 26 home runs and 93 RBI in 2011 and is a .284/.342/.500 hitter in his career. Ramirez struggled in 2010, but bounced back last season to be the Cubs' most productive hitter.

Ramirez is coming off a five-year, $71 million deal with the Cubs he signed after exploring free agency following the 2006 season. He was traded to Chicago in 2003 from Pittsburgh.

"There's no problems there, but it's the point where it's the end of an era," Kinzer told MLB.com. "They have some things they have to do, and at this point in his career, [Rafael Furcal] got his ring, and now Ramy wants his. He wants to go somewhere where he has a shot at a competitive team. He loves Chicago and it hurts for him to leave, but that's part of the sport."

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Posted on: November 14, 2011 3:40 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2011 10:03 pm
 

Dodgers agree to 2-year deal with Mark Ellis

Mark EllisBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Matt Kemp is the big news in Los Angeles today, but the Dodgers may have made a smaller move as well. The team has agreed to sign second baseman Mark Ellis to a two-year deal worth $8.75 million, CBSSports.com senior writer Scott Miller confirms. Miller adds the Dodgers have a third-year option on Ellis.

The Dodgers' previous second baseman, Jamey Carroll, has agreed to a contract with Minnesota. Justin Sellers is the only second baseman on the Dodgers' roster.

Ellis, 34, hit .248/.288/.346 with seven home runs and 41 RBI with the Athletics and Rockies last season, hitting much better (shocker) once he arrived in Denver, hitting .274/.317/.392 with six home runs and 25 RBI in 70 games with the Rockies.

Keep up to date with all the comings and goings with CBSSports.com's Free Agent Tracker. 

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Posted on: November 13, 2011 11:13 pm
 

Report: Diamondbacks to sign Aaron Hill

HillBy Evan Brunell

Aaron Hill will be back with the Diamondbacks next season, agreeing to a two-year deal worth $11 million, SI.com's Jon Heyman reports.

Hill was left for dead in Toronto, coming to Arizona on a lark. Once someone who bashed 36 homers (2009), the 29-year-old had slid to .225/.270/.313 for Toronto this season, after yet another poor year in 2010, although he did hit 26 homers that season. Hill was sent to Arizona along with backup infielder John McDonald for another underperforming second baseman in Kelly Johnson. He liked the dry heat, breaking out for a .316/.386/.492 line in 142 plate appearances the rest of the way, slugging two homers.

However, that wasn't enough for 'Zona, who declined Hill's two-year option and set him into free agency. GM Kevin Towers declined to pay Hill an additional two years and $16 million. But a $5 million paycut was enough for Hill to agree to return as the second baseman. But Arizona won't lack for replacements just in case Hill gets off to a poor start. The club also resigned McDonald, as well as Willie Bloomquist as a hedge against Stephen Drew coming back healthy in time for Opening Day.

The team also has infielder Geoff Blum, who missed much of the season with injury. In addition, Ryan Roberts' job security at third is tenuous, so while there are quite a few infielders under contract, they don't have a sure bet at any infield position. That includes first base, which may be handed to Paul Goldschmidt after being called up in August.

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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