Tag:MLB Rumors
Posted on: January 9, 2012 5:55 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 9:13 am

Paul Maholm agrees to sign with Cubs

By Matt Snyder

Free agent starting pitcher Paul Maholm has signed with the Cubs. The news was broken by, well, Maholm. On his own Twitter feed, following a tweet where he thanked the city of Pittsburgh, Maholm said: "I hope to get to continue some great things when I visit [Pittsburgh] and start some great things as I start my Cubs career."

He also added that he'll be at the Cubs Convention to meet fans starting Friday.

The contract is one year, worth a reported $4.25 million with a $6.5 million club option for 2013 (ESPN Chicago). Maholm had a $9.75 million option declined by the Pirates.

Maholm, 29, has spent his entire seven season career in the NL Central with the Pirates, so he's certainly familiar with the terrain. The left-hander went 6-14 with a 3.66 ERA and 1.29 WHIP last season, fighting off some pretty bad luck in terms of run support -- in 14 of his 26 starts the Pirates scored two runs or less.


New Cubs president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer have maintained throughout the offseason they are looking to build organizational pitching depth. Adding Maholm comes on the heels of signing Andy Sonnanstine while also trading for Travis Wood and Chris Volstad.

Then again, Maholm is a big-league starter -- even if you want to just say he's a fifth starter -- and the Cubs already have five in their prospective rotation: Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster, Randy Wells, Volstad and Wood. And Sonnanstine is there to provide a fill-in should injuries arise. So what does adding Maholm on the cheap accomplish? Well, the Garza trade rumors won't go away, so there's probably something to them. Adding Maholm could possibly be a tell-tale sign Garza is headed elsewhere for prospects.

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Posted on: January 9, 2012 12:46 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 2:49 pm

Orioles agree to sign Wei-Ying Chen

By Matt Snyder

The Orioles have reached a three-year agreement to sign Taiwanese left-handed pitcher Wei-Ying Chen. The deal is for three years and $11.338 million.

Chen gets a $250,000 signing bonus and salaries of $3,072,000 this year, $3,572,000 in 2013 and $4,072,000 in 2014. The Orioles have a $4.75 million option for 2015 with a $372,000 buyout.

He is 26 years old and Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette says Chen has "exceptional command" with a 92 to 94 mph fastball and a hard breaking ball as his "out pitch."

Chen went 8-10 with a 2.68 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 94 strikeouts in 164 2/3 innings pitched last season for the Chunichi Dragons. In his career, he's 36-30 with a 2.48 ERA and 1.06 WHIP.

Here's a video with Chen in action.

As far as how Chen fits in the Orioles' starting rotation, it's a tough call. The O's have Jeremy Guthrie, Zach Britton, Jake Arrieta, Tommy Hunter and Brian Matusz coming back. They've also signed Tsuyoshi Wada this offseason and there's even been talk of Jim Johnson moving into the rotation. The guess is he doesn't, but it's still awfully crowded in terms of possible starters.

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Posted on: January 7, 2012 4:13 pm

Report: Orioles, Jays to look at Manny Ramirez

By Matt Snyder

Could Manny Ramirez be headed back to the AL East? According to a report from ESPN Deportes (via Hardball Talk), the controversial slugger will soon hit in a batting cage for scouts from the Blue Jays and Orioles in Miami. He will be having a workout later this month for any interested clubs, so this might be a sign the Jays and O's are more serious than others.

Ramirez will have to serve a 50-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance last season -- before he retired it was set to be 100 games, but since he sat out basically all of last season it's been reduced to 50 -- before hitting the diamond.

Also, Ramirez isn't exactly young. He'll turn 40 before his 50-game suspension is completed.

When he's motivated and not suspended, Ramirez can probably still hit the ball. He was one of the best right-handed hitters of all-time for a long stretch. His career line of .312/.411/.585 with 555 home runs and 1,831 RBI would certainly be a lock to get him into the Hall of Fame had he not tested positive for PEDs twice.

He does have a history of "Manny Being Manny," well, everywhere, but one of his best moments of tomfoolery came in Camden Yards. See below.

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Posted on: January 7, 2012 10:59 am

Rangers have 'checked in' on Ryan Madson

By Matt Snyder

With the market for closers being pretty thin at this point, would Ryan Madson sign with the Rangers? They already have their back-end set up with Joe Nathan as the closer and Mike Adams as the eighth-inning guy. CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman reports the Rangers have "checked in" on Madson.

If the market was so dried up for potential closers that Madson did have to accept an offer from the Rangers, they would have to be thanking their lucky stars. Madson, 31, saved 32 of 34 games last season with a 2.37 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 60 2/3 innings. He's actually a better closing option than Nathan at this point.


Nathan had 14 saves with a 4.84 ERA last season as he returned from Tommy John surgery. He was an elite closer from 2004-09, but he's also 37 years old.

The interesting issue is that the Rangers signed Nathan to a two-year deal, presumably to be the closer. If they moved on Madson, do they end up with a disgruntled Nathan?

Meantime, the most important thing on the two-time defending AL champs' plate is signing Yu Darvish, who would join the starting rotation with Colby Lewis, Derek Holland, Matt Harrison and former closer Neftali Feliz.

Hypothetically speaking, if the Rangers did sign both Darvish and Madson, that's one stellar pitching staff, top to bottom. And we already know how good the offense and defense are.

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Posted on: January 6, 2012 5:02 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2012 5:30 pm

Mets, Ronny Cedeno agree to one-year deal

By Matt Snyder

The Mets and utility infielder Ronny Cedeno have agreeing upon a one-year contract worth about $1.2 million, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.


Cedeno, 28, hit .249/.297/.339 for the Pirates last season as their everyday shortstop (for most of the season), the same role he held in 2010 for Pittsburgh. He's spent all but 59 games of his big-league career in the NL Central, as he played for the Cubs for four years and the Mariners for about a half season.

Cedeno is a decent defensive player and his value stems from being able to play second, short or third. While it's true Jose Reyes is gone, don't mistake this signing as a replacement. Ruben Tejada will be the Mets' shortstop while Cedeno serves as a backup option for Tejada, second baseman Daniel Murphy and third baseman David Wright. Justin Turner is also a backup option, so Cedeno's playing time won't be easy to come by, unless the Mets have another season chock full of injuries.

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Posted on: January 4, 2012 11:11 am

Mariners close to signing Iwakuma

By Matt Snyder

The Mariners are very close to signing Japanese right-handed pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma, CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman has learned.

Iwakuma, 30, was 6-7 with a 2.42 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 90 strikeouts in 119 innings last season for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. In the past five years, he's 55-31 with a 2.67 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. He has twice thrown over 200 innings in a season while racking up 16 complete games in the past four years.


The Mariners obviously have the top two of their rotation firmly set, with Felix Hernandez and Michael Pineda. Jason Vargas and Charlie Furbush are there, too, so Iwakuma would likely be the fifth starter.

Of note here: The Mariners open the season in Japan. And we already know about Ichiro's popularity in Seattle.

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Posted on: January 4, 2012 10:42 am

Rodney signs one-year deal with Rays

By Matt Snyder

The latest bullpen reclamation project in Tampa Bay? Walk-plagued Fernando Rodney. The 34-year-old right-hander will sign a one-year contract worth $2 million with the Rays either Wednesday or Thursday, CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman has learned.

Rodney has been a late-innings reliever throughout his career with flashes of promise. He's always had a good strikeout rate and sometimes it's been outstanding (10.9 K/9 in 2008). Rodney's also saved 87 games in his career. However, he just can't stay out of his own way, allowing far too many baserunners (career 1.46 WHIP). Last season, it got worse, as he walked 28 hitters while striking out just 26 in 32 innings. He also hit three batters and threw two wild pitches. Poor control has led to a 4.29 career ERA and a 4.50 mark last season. Advanced stats (FIP, xFIP, WAR) show Rodney was even worse last season than those numbers indicate, too.


Then again, we've seen the Rays turn things around for struggling relievers before. Last season's biggest example was Kyle Farnsworth. Rodney certainly won't be the closer or initially leaned upon as strictly an eighth-inning guy. He'll just be in the mix late with the likes of Joel Peralta, Jake McGee and J.P. Howell.

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Posted on: January 2, 2012 2:56 pm
Edited on: January 2, 2012 3:02 pm

Prince Fielder-to-Nationals rumors won't go away

By Matt Snyder

Considering he's by far the biggest free agent left unsigned, Prince Fielder's name has been -- and will continue to be -- mentioned all over the place in rumors. The latest comes courtesy of Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. He reports that an "MLB official" says "word is spreading in the industry" that the Nationals are the favorite to land Fielder.

CBSSports.com's own Jon Heyman had previously reported that a Nationals player believes they are "shooting for" Fielder. And Monday, in response to the Haudricourt report, Amanda Comak of the Washington Times brings us the following: "According to team sources, the party line remains the same: Unless the price -- specifically in years -- drops, the Nationals are unlikely to be that landing spot."


So what to believe?

Well, I'd say all of it. Here's why: The Nationals probably do want the price to drop, but are also interested in signing him if and when the price becomes right. Unless the Cubs or Rangers come out and blow away Prince and his agent, Scott Boras, what club is left to outbid the deep-pocketed Nationals (remember, they have the richest owner in baseball)? The Mariners or Orioles? Please. The Blue Jays? Maybe. If Fielder wants to go to the AL East and north of the border. Or he could join one of the most promising up-and-coming teams in baseball while staying in the NL.

So it seems as though the feeling that the Nationals will end up with Prince Fielder is very logical, and that's why they are continually speculated to be the frontrunner, even if management is telling all the local beat writers they aren't in on him. Just because they reportedly haven't offered him anything yet doesn't mean they won't.

Fielder, 27, hit .299/.415/.566 with 38 home runs, 120 RBI and finished third in MVP voting last season. While many question his long-term durability due to him being rather large, he's played an average of 160 games per season since being up full-time. He hasn't played less than 157 in a season and appeared in all 162 last year.

If the Nationals did land Prince, watch out. He would join Ryan Zimmerman, Danny Espinosa, Wilson Ramos, Jayson Werth and Michael Morse on offense, while they all waited on big-time prospects Anthony Rendon and Bryce Harper to join the party. Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann anchor the rotation while Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard are the back-end of the bullpen. That's a lot of youth and talent.

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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