Tag:MLB Free Agents
Posted on: January 13, 2012 4:58 pm
Edited on: January 13, 2012 5:44 pm
 

Fielder in Texas meeting with Rangers

Prince Fielder

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Rangers are meeting Friday with Prince Fielder at a Dallas-area hotel, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweeted and CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman confirms. Heyman, though, notes not to read too much into the meeting, that the Rangers the first stop on the Princeapalooza Tour 2012 -- with future stops left in as many as three more cities.

Prince Fielder

Fielder's the last big free-agent name on the market, and the Rangers could use a first baseman, making them a perfect match. O course, there could be the matter of the money and length of contract, but on the field, it would be hard not to see a match made in heaven between Fielder and Texas. Not that this meeting means anything is happening right now, but the Rangers are thinking about the possibility, it seems.

The Rangers currently have Mitch Moreland playing first right now, and saying Fielder would be an upgrade is an understatement. Moreland's a decent player. The 26-year-old hit .259/.320/.414 with 16 homers in 512 plate appearances, which is hardly middle-of-the-order stuff, but the Rangers didn't need a middle-of-the-order guy at first base. Fielder at first base, though, would make the potent Rangers lineup that much more potent.

The Angels' signings of Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson has made Los Angeles a favorite in some quarters. If the Rangers could sign Fielder and Yu Darvish, it would be tough to pick even the improved Angels over the Rangers as a pre-season favorite in the AL West.

However, the meeting could be a mirage of some sort. If the Rangers don't want to spend the money for Fielder, they could be posturing as a negotiation tactic as the deadline for signing Darvish nears. Many have seen Fielder as a backup plan for Darvish for Texas. Without spending for Darvish, Texas could afford to shell out the big bucks for Fielder. Rangers officials have told people they can't afford both Darvish and Fielder, but there have been bigger surprises before.

It could also be posturing on the part of Fielder and agent Scott Boras to show the Nationals that Fielder has other suitors other than Washington.

Whatever happens, someone will have Fielder come spring training and that team will be better than they were before inking the first baseman.

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Posted on: January 13, 2012 3:44 pm
 

Braves re-sign SS Jack Wilson

Jack WilsonBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Braves have signed shortstop Jack Wilson to a one-year deal worth $1 million, CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman reports. The deal also includes $500,000 in perofrmance bonuses, Heyman reports. Wilson, 34, will likely serve as a backup and mentor to rookie Tyler Pastornicky

Pastornicky, 22, spent most of 2011 at Double-A Mississippi, hitting .299/.345/.414 with six homers and 20 stolen bases in 90 games. He also appeared in 27 games for Triple-A Gwinnett, hitting .365/.407/.413 with one homer and seven stolen bases in 117 plate appearances. Pastornicky was a fifth-round pick of the Blue Jays in the 2008 draft. The Braves got him in part of the two teams' shortstop swap in 2010, sending Alex Gonzalez to Atlanta and Yunel Escobar to Toronto.

Tyler PastornickyThe Braves called Pastornicky up last September, but he didn't appear in a game. His father, Cliff Pastornicky, played in 10 games at third base for the Royals in 1983.

The Braves traded for Wilson last August for a player to be named, which ended up being minor-league infielder Luis Caballero. Wilson appeared in 17 games for the Braves, hitting .220/.238/.244 in 45 plate appearances. He hit .249/.283/295 in 62 games for the Mariners. He's a career .269/.311/.376 hitter, better known for his defense than his bat. He was an All-Star and won a Silver Slugger in 2004, when he hit .308 for Pittsburgh. Wilson can also play third base and second base for added depth.

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Posted on: January 13, 2012 12:40 pm
 

Cespedes says 6 teams showing 'a lot' of interest

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes told Dominican reporter Dionisio Soldevilia (via Twitter) that the Marlins, Cubs, White Sox, Orioles, Tigers and Indians have "a lot of interest" in signing him.

Cespedes made his Dominican Winter League debut on Thursday night, going 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and was hit by a pitch for Aguilas. Cespedes served as the team's DH and batted fifth in the team's 6-4 loss. Aguilas plays again Friday night.

It was Cespedes' first competitive game since last April when he played in Cuba's Serie Nacional. While the performance couldn't help Cespedes' bargaining power, it shouldn't hurt it too much. It is, as they say, a small sample size.

H/T Hardball Talk.

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Posted on: January 12, 2012 6:10 pm
 

Marlins to go hard after Yoenis Cespedes

By Matt Snyder

The Miami Marlins have already committed to spending $191 million through three free agent signings this winter -- Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle -- and they may not be done, if they have their choice. Marlins president David Samson said on local radio Thursday that the club will make a very strong push for Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes (via Sun-Sentinel.com):
“Aggressive right to the point of stupidity, but not quite there,” said Samson, characterizing the club’s planned pursuit. “We think he’s a perfect fit for us, but it has to be sane. [We've] expressing interest, going to visit, making it very clear to his representatives and to him and his family that we think he should not be anywhere other than Miami. As a Cuban and someone in the DR, it makes perfect sense. We have a perfect position for him to play. It would be great.

“I think that we’re right in there. There are a lot of teams who want him and we’re definitely competitive and we’re not fooling around. We expect he will be a significant sign and receive a significant signing bonus and contract, and we’re prepared for that. Again, if you’re dealing with another team who needs to make a bigger splash or wants to get irrational, we’re not going to match that.”
Cespedes, 26, is an outfielder that many 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. Obviously, since he's been playing in Cuba, not a ton is known about Cespedes, but he's going to start playing in a Dominican winter league -- starting Thursday, according to ESPN Deportes.

He's not a free agent yet, but will be once his residence is officially changed to the Dominican Republic -- which should come very soon.

Lots of teams are said to be interested in signing Cespedes, so the Marlins aren't alone. As far as I can tell, the following teams have also been reported to have at least some interest: Cubs, White Sox, Tigers, Nationals, Blue Jays, Orioles, Phillies, Pirates, A's, Indians, Red Sox and Yankees.

If interested, here is a video Cespedes' agents have put together to showcase his skills.



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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.

FREE AGENT TRACKER

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.

FREE AGENT TRACKER

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.

FREE AGENT TRACKER

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.

FREE AGENT TRACKER

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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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com