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Tag:2012 MLB Free Agents
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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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