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We are only a week away from spring training, baseball fans. Here is each team's spring training reporting date. Now here are Thursday's hot stove rumors as you await baseball's return in a few weeks.  

Astros exploring extensions

The Astros are exploring contract extensions with their arbitration-eligible players, new GM Dana Brown confirmed to the Houston Chronicle. "I told (owner Jim Crane), 'Fasten your seatbelt. It's time,'" Brown said. Houston recently hired Brown away from the Braves, a team that has had tremendous success signing young players to affordable long-term contracts.

Right-hander Cristian Javier, outfielder Kyle Tucker, and left-hander Framber Valdez are Houston three most notable arbitration-eligible players and all three will be free agents after the 2025 season. Shortstop Jeremy Peña, the reigning ALCS and World Series MVPs, is not yet arbitration-eligible and won't be a free agent until after 2027. He could be an extension candidate as well.

Yamamoto could be posted after 2023

There is a belief the Orix Buffaloes in Japan will post ace right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto for MLB teams after 2023, reports the New York Post. Yamamoto, 24, is a two-time Pacific League MVP and two-time winner of the Eiji Sawamura Award, Japan's equivalent to the Cy Young award. He's pitched to a 1.54 ERA with 411 strikeouts in 386 2/3 innings the last two seasons.

FanGraphs calls Yamamoto "super advanced" and says he would "immediately slot into the middle of a contending rotation with No. 2 starter upside and therefore comfortably fits among the top 30 or so prospects in MLB." Needless to say, Yamamoto will be in very high demand should Orix actually post him next winter. Masahiro Tanaka's seven-year, $155 million contract with the Yankees is the record contract for a player posted from Japan.

Padres sign Darvish to extension

The Padres have reportedly signed ace Yu Darvish to a six-year extension worth $108 million. The contract covers 2023-28 and locks Darvish, who was set to become a free agent next winter, up through his age-41 season. It's likely San Diego added an extra year or two on the end of the contract to lower the competitive balance tax payroll number, which is based on the contract's average annual value. Four years and $108 million would be a reasonable deal for a pitcher of Darvish's caliber.

Blue Jays, Bichette agree to three-year pact

The Blue Jays have signed shortstop Bo Bichette to a three-year deal worth $33.6 million guaranteed, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The deal, which buys out the rest of Bichette's arbitration seasons, does not extend Toronto's team control by tacking on any options of the club or vesting variety. Bichette could earn up to $40.65 million if he achieves certain incentives, however.