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Tag:free agency
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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Posted on: February 5, 2012 5:50 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2012 5:56 pm
 

Nationals sign Rick Ankiel to minor-league deal

Rick AnkielBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Rick Ankiel is returning to the Nationals -- or their camp, at least. Washington has signed the outfielder to a minor-league deal with an invite to the big league camp, Amanda Comak of the Washington Times tweeted and CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman confirmed.

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Ankiel hit .239/.296/.363 with 9 home runs in 122 games last season for the Nationals, his first year in Washington. He'd signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Nationals after spending 2010 with the Royals and Braves. Ankiel won the starting center field job out of spring training, leading to the Nationals' trade of Nyjer Morgan to Milwaukee. Washington, though, continues to search for a center fielder for the future and has been tied to the Angels' Peter Bourjos in some rumors that would have the Nationals sending right-hander John Lannan to Anaheim, allowing the Angels to make way for Mike Trout in center. Roger Bernadina is currently slated to start in center for the Nationals and they've also added Mike Cameron. Jayson Werth could also start in center if Bryce Harper makes the team out of spring as the right fielder.

The 32-year-old is a career .246/.309/.423 hitter in five seasons as a full-time outfielder after originally coming to the big leagues as a starter with the Cardinals. After suffering control problems, he went back to the minors and returned to St. Louis as an outfielder in 2007. In 2008, he hit 25 home runs, his best as a big leaguer.

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Posted on: February 5, 2012 12:17 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2012 3:42 pm
 

Brad Penny signs with Japan's Softbank Hawks

Brad Penny

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Brad Penny is indeed headed to Japan, agreeing to a deal with the Softbank Hawks of Japan's Pacific League, according to the team's official website.

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According to the Yomiuri Shimbun (via NPB Tracker), Penny signed a one-year deal worth $3 million plus performance bonuses, however, FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal tweets the deal is worth $4 million with another $3.5 million in performance bonuses and a $4.5 million mutual option for 2013. It's the largest contract given to an American pitcher without prior NPB experience, Rosenthal added in another tweet. Sanspo (again, via NPB Tracker) notes Penny will leave for Japan this week in time to do join the team's camp on Feb. 9.

NPB Tracker suggests Penny will be expected to fill the No. 2 spot in the Hawks rotation, which lost three starters from 2011.

Penny, 33, was 11-11 with a 5.30 ERA for the Tigers last season, making just one appearance in the ALCS, giving up five runs in what was already a rout in the deciding Game 6 against the Rangers.

A two-time All-Star, Penny has a career record of 119-99 with a 4.23 ERA in parts of 12 seasons with the Dodgers, Marlins, Giants, Cardinals, Red Sox and Tigers. He was third in Cy Young voting as a member of the Dodgers in 2007 when he went 16-4 with a 3.03 ERA.

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Posted on: February 4, 2012 9:33 pm
 

Giants won't bid on Yoenis Cespedes

Yoenis Cespedes

By C. Trent Rosecrans


One team that won't win the Yoenis Cespedes sweepstakes is the Giants, because, like Lotto, you gotta be in it to win.

Giants general manager Brian Sabean said at the team's FanFest on Saturday (via the San Francisco Chronicle) that his team would not bid on the Cuban outfielder.

"The price tag is probably beyond what his talent is," Sabean said.

The Cubs, Marlins and White Sox are considered favorites for the 26-year-old, with the Orioles and Tigers also seen as possible landing spots.

On Thursday, Marlins president David Samson told MLB.com that his team is "aggressively negotiating" a contract with Cespedes.

At this point it seems Cespedes will likely land a deal larger than Aroldis Chapman's six-year, $30.25 million deal signed in 2010. Cespedes could command $40 million or more.

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Posted on: February 4, 2012 12:16 pm
Edited on: February 4, 2012 12:19 pm
 

Yankees could bring back Damon or Matsui



Raul IbanezBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he'd still like another bat for his lineup and would be interested in two former Yankees returning to the Bronx.

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"Johnny [Damon] has been a great player for a long time," Girardi told Dan Martin of the New York Post. "There's been a bunch of names talked about, and they're all good players. [Raul] Ibanez, he's had a great career, and [Hideki] Matsui has had a great career. Obviously, we know what Johnny and [Matsui] have meant to this organization and Ibanez has had success wherever he's been. … I can't tell you it's going to be one of those three guys, but we know they know how to play here."

The Yankees had been counting on Jesus Montero as their main designated hitter, but he was traded to Seattle for Michael Pineda. Instead of the 22-year-old Montero as the DH, it appears the Yankees want to go with a much older player and expect the new DH to be more of a complementary player than an impact bat like Montero. Matsui, Damon and Ibanez are 37, 38 and 39, respectively.

Matsui, a Yankee from 2003-2009, hit .251/.321/.375 with 12 home runs for the A's last season. Damon, a Yankee from 2006-2009, hit .261/.326/.418 with 16 homers for the Rays last season. Ibanez has never played for the Yankees, but spent the last three seasons in Philadelphia. He hit .245/.289/.419 with 20 home runs in 2011.

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Posted on: February 3, 2012 4:57 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2012 5:31 pm
 

Dodgers add Todd Coffey to bullpen

Todd CoffeyBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Dodgers have agreed to a one-year deal with right-handed reliever Todd Coffey, CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman reports.

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Coffey will earn $1.3 million in 2012 with $350,000 worth of possible incentives.

Coffey, 31, was 5-1 with a 3.62 ERA in 69 games for the Nationals last season, striking out 46 batters in 59 2/3 innings. He had a WHIP of 1.257. In parts of seven seasons with the Reds and Brewers, Coffey is 24-18 with a 4.08 ERA and 11 saves.

Right-hander Javy Guerra finished the season as the Dodgers' closer and looks to be the favorite going into 2012, with Kenley Jansen there if he falters. Coffey can help in a setup role, along with right-hander Matt Guerrier and lefty Scott Elbert.

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Posted on: February 2, 2012 4:41 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 5:04 pm
 

Casey Kotchman to sign with Indians

By Matt Snyder

The Cleveland Indians have agreed to sign free agent first baseman Casey Kotchman, CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman has learned. Heyman reports the deal is for one year and worth $3 million plus incentives.

Kotchman, 28, will now join his fifth team since the start of the 2009 season. Last season, he hit .306/.378/.422 with 10 homers and 24 doubles for the Rays. He's a bit overlooked offensively because he's a first baseman with little power, but the .378 OBP is great. For a club with little money to spend like the Indians, this is a good signing.

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Expect Kotchman to be the everyday first baseman for the Indians, meaning Matt LaPorta and recent acquisition Russ Canzler will be fighting for backup jobs.

With the addition of Kotchman, the Indians should have their opening day lineup set. Carlos Santana will catch with Kotchman, Jason Kipnis, Asdrubal Cabrera and Lonnie Chisenhall around the infield. Michael Brantley, Grady Sizemore and Shin-Soo Choo will man the outfield while Travis Hafner will DH. 

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Posted on: February 2, 2012 1:39 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 7:07 pm
 

Edwin Jackson signs one-year deal with Nationals



By Matt Snyder


Edwin Jackson is entering his 10th major-league season, and he'll do so with his seventh team. He is an agreement with the Washington Nationals on a one-year contract, the team announced Thursday. The deal, which was first reported by CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman, is pending a physical and Heyman reports it's believed to be between $8 million and $12 million.

"We saw an opportunity here to acquire a young, hard-throwing, power-pitching, innings-eating type of starting pitcher, and we thought it was good value at a good term," general manager Mike Rizzo said during a telephone conference call.

Jackson, 28, went 12-9 with a 3.79 ERA, 1.44 WHIP and 148 strikeouts in 199 2/3 innings last season for the White Sox and Cardinals. He was dealt to St. Louis in late July and ended up winning a World Series ring with St. Louis. Also, while control was an issue early in  Jackson's career, his walk rate was a career-low 2.8 per nine innings in 2011.

"His walks are trending in the right direction," Rizzo said.

Jackson had a .339 opponents' batting average with the bases empty and a .239 average with runners on last season, but the Nationals think they can work with the issue.

"We're going to make a few tweaks to his delivery," Rizzo said. "Last year he was a different pitcher out of the windup than he was from the stretch."

Washington offseason
The Nationals won their arbitration hearing with fourth starter John Lannan this week, but the signing of Jackson could be a signal Lannan is on the move via trade. In fact, Fox Sports reported earlier Thursday the Nats are "aggressively shopping" Lannan. The Nationals now have a very strong front four in Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez and Jackson with either Chien-Ming Wang or Lannan filling the fifth spot. No matter who it is, that's a formidable top to bottom rotation.

Note that Strasburg is on an innings limit and the Nats can't be sure if Wang will hold up all season, so it wouldn't hurt to have extra starting pitching. If they did deal Lannan, they could still turn to Ross Detwiler, Craig Stammen or Tom Gorzelanny in a pinch. But for now, it's all about adding Jackson.

Jackson has been unable to find a permanent home in his career, but he's always been a productive pitcher. He doesn't profile as a frontline starter, but Washington doesn't need him to be one. He has great experience for his age, with over 1,000 regular-season innings pitched and seven postseason appearances, including four starts. Also good for Jackson is that Nationals Park profiles as a slight pitchers' park.

Jackson had been asking for a three- to five-year contract, but when the market dried up, agent Scott Boras and Jackson looked for a one-year deal so they could hit the market again next season. Washington bit.

"It made it much more palatable to us," Rizzo said.

The Nationals are coming off an 80-81 season in which they finished third place in the NL East for the first time since moving to Washington. With a full season of Strasburg and the additions of Gonzalez and Jackson, they appear eager to compete in a loaded division.

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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