Tag:2012 free agency
Posted on: February 8, 2012 1:29 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 8:37 pm
 

Cespedes: 'Hopefully I can play for the Marlins'

Yoenis Cespedes

By C. Trent Rosecrans


There are plenty of differences between life in Cuba and in the United States -- and while I'm no expert on Cuba (besides my two years living in Guantanamo Bay while in elementary school), I'm guessing the free agency process is something Cespedes hasn't experienced before.

Coming to America
One of the keys to this process is leverage -- and if he wants to play in Miami, he's doing it wrong. In Miami on Wednesday to visit the Marlins -- the first leg of what is expected to be a tour -- Cespedes arrived at the airport and briefly spoke to the assembled media.

"It would be good [to play here]" Cespedes told "half a dozen media members" at the airport (via Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel). "There are a lot of Cubans and they would support me a lot. Hopefully I can play for the Marlins."

Or maybe I'm wrong and he doesn't want to play in Miami and he's being ultra-savvy to get the Chicago teams to up their offers.

Rodriguez also notes that in addition to the usual suspects of Cespedes admirers -- the White Sox, Cubs, Orioles and Tigers -- the Indians and Athletics are also interested in signing Cespedes.

The 26-year-old center fielder is going to sign for a lot of money, wherever it is. So far, estimates have been for as "little" as $35 million and as much as $60 million.

Cespedes donned a hard hat for his walkthrough at the almost-completed park in Miami's "Little Havana" neighborhood. In Spanish, he said he believes the Marlins "can compete for a World Series" as early as this season.

Cespedes can't sign with a team until he's cleared by the U.S. Treasury's Department of Foreign Assets Control, but he can negotiate and agree upon a deal. His agent, Adam Katz, has said he expects Cespedes to start spring training on time, but the only question is where.

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Posted on: February 8, 2012 12:20 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 2:00 pm
 

Oswalt, Jackson turned down Pirates' offers

PNC Park

Edwin JacksonBy C. Trent Rosecrans


Remember when the Pirates were accused of hoarding their money and not trying to spend any money to get better?

Well, now they're willing  to pay -- but nobody wants their money.

Well, that's a little extreme. I'd take it, you'd take it. But neither Roy Oswalt nor Edwin Jackson would take it. Both players turned down, despite offers as much as $10 million, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.

Jackson, who took a one-year, $10 million from the Nationals last week, was offered deals for both one and three years, with the three-year deal being "slightly less" per year than the one-year deal.

Roy OswaltOswalt on the other hand, is still unsigned, but turned down the Pirates.

The Pirates' opening-day payroll is expected to be around $48 million -- the lowest in the National League Central.

Pittsburgh led the NL Central -- which send two teams to the playoffs and is home to the World Series champs -- as late July 25, but finished fourth with a record of 72-90, for its 19th consecutive losing season.

One of the reasons the Pirates faltered late was its starting pitching, which stumbled down the stretch. Pirates starters were 35-28 with a 3.62 ERA in the first half of the season and 14-33 with a 5.04 in the second half.

Pittsburgh added lefty Erik Bedard as a free-agent, but his injury history makes him tough to count on for a full season. With Charlie Morton's availability for the start of the season in doubt, Bedard may be the team's opening-day starter. James McDonald, Kevin Correia and Jeff Karstens likely round out the rotation.

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Posted on: February 7, 2012 4:07 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 9:03 pm
 

Yankees sign Bill Hall to minor-league deal

By Matt Snyder

Free agent Bill Hall has signed with the Yankees. The news was broken by Bill Hall, as he just posted on his own Twitter account: "IT'S OFFICIAL IM A YANKEE!!!!!!!! #IwannaRing!!!!" CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman reports that Hall signed a minor-league deal worth $600,000 with incentives.

Hall, 32, spent the first seven years of his career with the Brewers, but he's become a journeyman since then. In the past three seasons, he's played for five teams (including another stint with the Brewers). Last season, he spent time with both the Giants and the Astros, hitting .211/.261/.314 with two home runs and 14 RBI in 199 plate appearances. He did hit 18 homers in just 344 at-bats for the Red Sox in 2010, so there's hope for a decent season.

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Hall played second base and left field last season, but he's spent a lot of time at third base, too. If Hall makes the club, he'll provide infield depth along with Eduardo Nunez.

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Posted on: February 7, 2012 1:06 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 5:44 pm
 

Reports: Marlins to meet with Cespedes Wednesday

By Matt Snyder

And the dance begins ...

Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes has been said to have anywhere from six to 12 suitors at different points this offseason, but he first needed to gain residency in the Dominican Republic. Once that was done, he still had to be declared a free agent by Major League Baseball. He then needed to be "unblocked" by the Office of Foreign Assets Control.

Coming to America
Tuesday, multiple reports surfaced (including Juan C. Rodriguez, Miami beat writer) that Cespedes has acquired a visa and will arrive in Miami either Tuesday night or Wednesday afternoon [UPDATE: He's here, and Rodriguez took a picture of Cespedes in the airport upon his arrival]. Those reports are also stating the Marlins will meet with Cespedes Wednesday in an attempt to woo him.

Cespedes, 26, is an outfielder that some scouts have said could possibly have a Bo Jackson-type power-speed combination. According to Baseball-Reference.com, Cespedes hit .333/.424/.667 with 33 homers, 99 RBI, 11 steals and 89 runs in 90 games last season in Cuba.

"He's a five-tool guy, built like an NFL running back," one scout told Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com in December. "He has tremendous raw power, with all the tools to be a 30-30 guy in the big leagues."

In addition to the Marlins, the Cubs and Tigers have been most heavily connected to Cespedes in rumors.

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Posted on: February 6, 2012 4:31 pm
 

Rangers sign Conor Jackson, Joe Beimel

By Matt Snyder

The Rangers have signed free agents Conor Jackson and Joe Beimel to minor-league contracts, the club announced Monday afternoon. Both players have also received spring training invites.

Jackson, 29, was primarily a first baseman for most of his career, but then last season he played every corner position in addition to serving as a designated hitter. He still played 53 games at first while getting 52 games of action in the outfield (31 in right, 23 in left). Jackson hit .244/.310/.341 with five homers and 43 RBI. He played 102 games for the A's and 12 for the Red Sox.

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Beimel, 34, is a left-handed reliever. He worked 25 1/3 innings for the Pirates last season, putting together a pretty dreadful line -- an ERA of 5.33 and a WHIP of 1.70. He was actually a productive reliever from 2006-10, though, so last year could have been an anomaly.

Both players have a decent chance to make the team.

The Rangers bullpen appears to be full right now, assuming no more moves. However, Koji Uehara is reportedly being shopped (he blocked a trade to the Blue Jays) and Beimel is left handed. Go down the line -- Joe Nathan, Mike Adams, Alexi Ogando, Scott Feldman, Mark Lowe, Uehara, Yoshinori Tateyama, Mark Hamburger -- and you'll find that the Rangers don't have a lefty in the bullpen, unless they wanna turn to Michael Kirkman. So that's where Beimel could find a job, as a specialist.

Jackson also has a shot to make the club. The starting nine is obvious, just as Craig Gentry, Yorvit Torrealba and Julio Borbon figure to get spots on the bench. That leaves one spot, with Jackson, Brad Hawpe, Alberto Gonzalez and several minor leaguers competing for the final spot. And that's barring injuries, which could open more up chances.

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Posted on: February 6, 2012 3:12 pm
 

Cespedes not legally able to sign yet

Yoenis CespedesBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Yoenis Cespedes is not yet able to sign with a big-league team, Cespedes' agent, Adam Katz, said on MLB Network Radio on Sunday (via MLive.com).

"I have had several Cuban players before, but I've never gone through this process before and it is onerous and unpredictable," Katz said. "You just have to breathe into it and not have too many expectations."

Although Cespedes has been declared a free agent by Major League Baseball, the 26-year-old center fielder can't finalize a contract with an MLB team until he is "unblocked" by the Office of Foreign Assets Control, Katz said. Katz and Cespedes are waiting on that action to sign a contract and report for spring training. Katz said he was confident Cespedes would be ready to play for a team when camps start -- but he was still cautious.

"I'm not going to predict or poke the bear in the zoo or have any expectations," Katz said. "We have some optimism and we'll see."

The Marlins, Tigers, White Sox, Cubs and Orioles are reportedly the most interested in Cespedes.

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Posted on: February 6, 2012 12:33 pm
Edited on: February 6, 2012 5:46 pm
 

Mariners to sign Hong-Chih Kuo

Hong-Chih KuoBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Mariners have agreed signed left-handed reliever Hong-Chih Kuo to a one-year deal, CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman confirms. The contract is for $500,000, but becomes $1 million if Kuo makes the active roster and could grow to $2.25 million with incentives.

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Kuo, 30, was dominant from 2008-2010 with the Dodogers, putting up a 1.96 ERA over those three seasons in 133 games and a WHIP of 0.953, striking out 201 batters in 170 innings. Last year, though, Kuo struggled and was put on the disabled list twice, once for back strain and another stint with what was described as an anxiety disorder. Kuo appeared in 40 games and had an ERA of 9.00 in 27 innings. While his strikeout rate stayed high, striking out 36 of the 127 batters he faced, but had 23 walks, the most he had since 2006, despite pitching in the fewest innings since his first year in the United States. His WHIP was 1.741 after recording a 0.783 WHIP in 2010.

Kuo has a history of elbow injuries, undergoing multiple injuries on his left elbow throughout his career, including one after the 2011 season.

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Posted on: February 5, 2012 6:17 pm
 

GM: Reds not actively courting Roy Oswalt

Roy OswaltBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Roy Oswalt is still a free agent, although at least one general manager seems to think the right-hander is headed to Texas.

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"We had discussions with them a while ago," Reds GM Walt Jocketty told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. "The last we heard he was going to Texas. That was on Monday. I don't know if that deal is still in place."

Oswalt had reportedly wanted to sign with the Rangers or Cardinals, but a report on Saturday said neither team had enough money to sign the 33-year-old right-hander. The Reds, who have signed Ryan Madson and Ryan Ludwick this offseason, don't have much left in their budget, either, according to Jocketty. The former Cardinals GM said the Reds would need to move payroll in order to sign Oswalt.

"If he doesn't sign," Jocketty told Fay, "we'd take another look at it."

The Reds currently have Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Bronson Arroyo and Mike Leake penciled in as their first four starters, with Homer Bailey the favorite for the fifth spot and Aroldis Chapman transitioning into a starting role during spring training. The Reds' moves of acquiring Latos, Madson and Sean Marshall show the team is being aggressive in trying to take over the Albert Pujols-less National League Central and adding Oswalt would be another step in that direction. It would also keep the team from having to face Oswalt, who is 23-3 with a 2.81 ERA in his career against Cincinnati.

The Red Sox and Phillies were also reportedly still interested in Oswalt, along with the Reds, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com.

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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