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Tag:MLB rumors
Posted on: January 12, 2012 5:28 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2012 6:30 pm
 

Red Sox moving toward signing Vicente Padilla

By Matt Snyder

The Red Sox and free agent pitcher Vicente Padilla are in serious discussions about a contract and appear headed toward a deal, CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman has learned.

While it seems like Padilla has been around forever, he's still only 34 and has reportedly been throwing upwards up 96 miles per hour in winter ball. Padilla only pitched 8 2/3 innings out of the Dodgers bullpen last year before a neck injury ended his season. In 2010, Padilla was a starter for the Dodgers and went 6-5 with a 4.07 ERA and 1.08 WHIP.

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The Red Sox are obviously eyeing starting pitching depth with John Lackey out for the season and Daisuke Matsuzaka still recovering from his 2011 season-ending injury. The Red Sox recently signed Aaron Cook to a minor-league contract and now appear close to landing Padilla. Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz are obviously the front three of the rotation. Daniel Bard is going to be converted to a starter and the fifth spot might come down to Alfredo Acevas, Cook and Padilla.

On another note, if Beckett and Padilla were both in the rotation, I believe the Red Sox would boast the two slowest-to-home pitchers in baseball (in terms of how long they take between pitches).

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Posted on: January 12, 2012 4:01 pm
 

On birthday, Chris Ray signs with Indians

By Matt Snyder

The Cleveland Indians have announced that they've signed right-handed relief pitcher Chris Ray to a minor-league contract, which includes an invitation to spring training. Thursday just happens to be Chris Ray's 30th birthday, too.

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Ray had a 4.68 ERA and 1.38 WHIP with 22 strikeouts in 32 2/3 innings last season for the Mariners. He didn't pitch after August 1, as he was on the disabled list with a strained muscle in his shoulder. He was actually throwing the ball well at that point in time, too, as Ray got off to an atrocious start but had a 2.13 ERA and  1.11 WHIP in his last 21 outings.

Don't expect Ray to fit prominently into the Bullpen Mafia, but he could perhaps work his way into the mix as the seventh man.

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Posted on: January 11, 2012 8:08 pm
 

Giants lock up Vogelsong with extension

By Matt Snyder

Ryan Vogelsong has agreed to a two-year contract with a third-year option to stay with the Giants, CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman has learned. Vogelsong wasn't going anywhere for the 2012 season, as he was still arbitration-eligible, but this deal eats up the last year of arbitration in addition to his first year -- and maybe second -- of free agency.

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Vogelsong, 34, was one of the feel-good stories of the 2011 season. He hadn't pitched in the majors since 2006, having spent three years in Japan and 2010 in Triple-A. He only got a shot in the Giants rotation due to an injury to Barry Zito. Vogelsong took the opportunity and ran with it, finishing 13-7 with a 2.71 ERA. He made his first All-Star team and finished 11th in NL Cy Young voting.

Vogelsong was good enough to convince the Giants to trade Jonathan Sanchez for possible offensive help in Melky Cabrera. Vogelsong is now slotted as the Giants' fourth starter behind Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner.

Of course, this isn't the contract extension to a pitcher Giants fans are clamoring for. General manager Brian Sabean reportedly is working toward locking up Lincecum and Cain long-term, but news on that front has been very slow of late.

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Posted on: January 11, 2012 3:02 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2012 3:39 pm
 

Astros claim Fernando Martinez off waivers

By Matt Snyder

Former highly-touted prospect Fernando Martinez was released by the Mets earlier this week and he's now been claimed by the Houston Astros, CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman has confirmed. Since the Astros had the worst record in the majors last season, they were first in the order of waiver claim priority. Heyman reports that the Astros were not the only team that placed a claim, so several other teams still hold Martinez in high regard.

Martinez was a top 30 prospect in all of baseball, according to Baseball America, for three consecutive seasons (2007-09) before falling to No. 77 in 2010 and then out of the rankings prior to last season. The 23-year-old outfielder has hit .183/.250/.290 with two homers and two steals in 145 plate appearances for the Mets in the last three seasons. In Triple-A, Martinez has hit .265/.326/.465 with 28 homers, 91 RBI and 43 doubles in 179 games.

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The Astros currently appear to have Carlos Lee, Jordan Schafer and J.D. Martinez forming their starting outfield with Brian Bogusevic serving as the fourth outfielder. It's entirely possible Martinez finds his way into that mix at some point, maybe even right out of the gates in 2012. Still, there is no hurry, as Martinez has an option remaining on his contract and could be sent to the minors to begin the season.

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Posted on: January 11, 2012 1:37 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2012 12:40 pm
 

Luke Scott signs with Rays

By Matt Snyder

Free agent Luke Scott has agreed to sign a one-year contract with an option for 2013 with the Tampa Bay Rays, the club announced Thursday. The deal will pay Scott $5 million in '12 and the option for '13 is worth $6 million with a $1 million buyout.

Scott, 33, played in just 64 games last season as he was battling a torn labrum in his shoulder. He's undergone surgery to fix the issue and should be ready to go come spring training. If he's not, this deal won't happen, as it is still pending a physical.

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Scott was actually a pretty underrated power hitter prior to injury. In 2010, he hit .284/.368/.535 -- good for a 144 OPS-plus -- with 27 homers, 72 RBI and 29 doubles in just 131 games in 2010. He hit 75 total home runs from 2008-10 for the Orioles after going to Baltimore in the Miguel Tejada trade.

Where Scott fits on the Rays remains to be seen. He can play left field, first base or serve as the designated hitter. The Rays are set in the outfield with Desmond Jennings, B.J. Upton and Matt Joyce, but still appear to have possible holes at first and DH. Scott can fill either of those voids, with DH being much more likely.

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Posted on: January 10, 2012 10:58 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2012 1:43 pm
 

Reds to sign Madson to one-year contract



By Matt Snyder


Free agent closer Ryan Madson has agreed to sign a one-year, $8.5 million deal with the Cincinnati Reds, CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman has learned.

Madson, 31, was reportedly very close to signing a four-year deal worth over $40 million to stay in Philadelphia a few months ago and the deal apparently fell through, with the Phillies instead landing Jonathan Papelbon. Since then, the market for closers completely eroded to the point where a team like the Reds -- who didn't have much money at all to spend in free agency this season -- were able to jump into the bidding late and grab what appears to be a huge bargain.

Madson to Reds
Madson successfully converted 32 of his 34 save attempts in 2011 for the Phillies with a 2.37 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 62 strikeouts in 60 2/3 innings.

He most certainly moves into the closer role for the Reds, who will now allow free agent Francisco Cordero to walk via free agency. Newly-acquired left-hander Sean Marshall will serve as a setup man, along with Bill Bray and Nick Masset. The plan with hard-throwing Aroldis Chapman is reportedly to convert him into a starter. Still, with Marshall and Madson being added, the Reds appear to have a strong back-end.

The fallout for two free agent pitchers is very evident here. First of all, as alluded to above, Cordero is now not going to remain in Cincinnati, so he'll have to look elsewhere. Also, the Reds had been connected to Kerry Wood in rumors this week, but that is no longer an option. So Wood is down to the Phillies and Cubs, using past reports as a guide.

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Posted on: January 10, 2012 7:20 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 7:25 pm
 

Quick hits: Madson, Wood, Cubs, more

By Matt Snyder

It's been one of those "slow news days," but there have been a handful of minor moves and reports, so let's just grab a bunch and get them out in the open here.

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• First of all, this is far from minor, but my esteemed colleague Jon Heyman already blogged on it. Go check out his post on Ryan Madson and the Reds' interest -- along with several other teams still in the mix.

• It once seemed like a foregone conclusion that Kerry Wood would finish his MLB playing career with the Cubs after returning "home" last season, but it's at least a possibility that isn't necessarily the case now. From multiple different reports (MLBTradeRumors.com has them), the Phillies and Reds are also in on the bidding for Wood's services with the Cubs. The Reds would be out of the bidding if they sign either Madson or Francisco Cordero. Wood could serve as closer for the Reds with Sean Marshall setting up, while Wood would be a setup man in Philly for Jonathan Papelbon. Brad Lidge would be the other setup option for the Phillies, should they not sign Wood.

It's interesting that the Cubs want Wood back. Any other veteran is being allowed to walk via free agency or traded -- or at least being rumored to be on the trading block. Instead, general manager Jed Hoyer told XM Radio Tuesday that the Cubs have offered Wood a substantial raise to stay put. He is a special case, with his strong ties to Chicago and to the Cubs' organization. Cubs president Theo Epstein recently said Wood has the type of personality the Cubs hope will spread in the locker room. Wood will reportedly make a decision by Friday.

The situation seems to be one of those that is a catch-22 for Cubs fans. On one hand, Wood stands a much better chance of winning a World Series ring if he leaves -- considering the massive rebuild the Cubs are undertaking. On the other, he's a favorite son to fans of the franchise. If he does walk, I'd suggest Cubs fans hope he gets a ring in the next year or two much like Mark Grace got one with the Diamondbacks. If he does stay, that shows how strongly he feels like a Cub.

• Speaking of the Cubs, Alfonso Soriano is likely to open the season as the starting left fielder, reports CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman. Not for lack of trying, of course, it's just that with $54 million left on Soriano's colossal contract, the Cubs can't seem to find any takers willing to take on a decent portion of the remaining salary.

• The Red Sox signed starting pitcher Aaron Cook to a minor-league contract earlier this week. With injury woes in the rotation, this is merely an organizational depth signing and nothing more. There's no way it would preclude the Red Sox from making a trade for a starter or adding someone else -- like Hiroki Kuroda, who the Red Sox have reportedly discussed.

• Backup catcher Koyie Hill has signed a minor-league deal with the Cardinals, according to Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports.

Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez has avoided arbitration, signing a one-year deal worth about $2 million, reports Morosi.

• Relief pitcher Aaron Heilman has signed a minor-league contract with the Mariners, the team announced.

As for Prince Fielder, I've got nothing for you (that was done in my best Jeff Probst voice). I guess Prince has to sign with someone eventually, right?

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Posted on: January 9, 2012 7:34 pm
Edited on: January 9, 2012 11:17 pm
 

Garza-to-Tigers rumors persist

By Matt Snyder

Just over an hour ago, I surmised that the Cubs' reportedly strong interest in Paul Maholm was a true sign that they were set to deal Matt Garza (UPDATE: The Cubs have indeed signed Maholm). Sure enough, a report from Dave Kaplan of Comcast Chicago says that the Cubs and Tigers are "down the road in discussions" on a trade proposal that would send Garza to Detroit.

At this point, it wouldn't be surprising if Garza just wanted to be traded in order get the rumors overwith. His name has been bouncing around the rumor mill for the better part of six weeks. The Blue Jays and Yankees have also been mentioned quite heavily in Garza rumors. In any of those respective rotations, he would most likely slot as a No. 2 starter.

If the Cubs did trade Garza and sign Maholm, the best bet is their five-man rotation for the 2012 season is set with Ryan Dempster, Randy Wells, Travis Wood, Maholm and Chris Volstad (with Andy Sonnanstine as the injury replacement). The season is going to be one of transition anyway, so the Cubs would then see what they had in the latter four while Dempster would be a free agent following the season -- and perhaps he fetches a prospect or two before the trade deadline in July.

As for the Tigers, they're built to win right now, having lost the ALCS to the Rangers last season. Garza bolsters the rotation behind reigning Cy Young and MVP winner Justin Verlander, along with Doug Fister, Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello. Would the Tigers cough up top prospect Jacob Turner? There have been conflicting reports on that, but it's a good bet that's who Cubs bosses Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have their eyes on.

Turner, 20, is a right-handed pitcher who had a 3.44 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 110 strikeouts in 131 minor-league innings last season, across Double- and Triple-A. Many scouts believe he profiles as a frontline starter once his development is complete.

Garza, 28. was 10-10 with a 3.32 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 197 strikeouts in 198 innings pitched. Between poor run support and a pretty terrible defense behind him, however, Garza pitched much better than his raw numbers would indicate.

Even if this report is inaccurate, don't expect Garza's name to be removed from rumors until either he is traded or the Cubs' season begins.

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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