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Tag:MLB rumors
Posted on: February 17, 2012 2:37 pm
 

A's close to trading for Koji Uehara



By Matt Snyder


The Oakland A's are close to acquiring Rangers relief pitcher Koji Uehara from the Rangers, CBSSports.com Danny Knobler has confirmed. The news was first reported by Bay Area News Group.

Earlier this offseason, Rangers reliever Koji Uehara nixed a trade to the Blue Jays by exercising his no-trade clause. We learned that there were six teams on his no-trade list and that the Jays were one of them. Still, this didn't mean the Rangers intended to keep Uehara.

With closer Joe Nathan, setup man Mike Adams and Alexi Ogando, Scott Feldman, Mark Lowe, Yoshinori Tateyama, Mark Hamburger and more, the Rangers hardly need Uehara. Dealing him for pretty much anything would provide salary relief, as Uehara's set to make around $5 million in 2012.

The A's, on the other hand, have lots of questions in the bullpen. It appears Brian Fuentes is set to be the closer, though he'll have to deal with Grant Balfour, Fautino De Los Santos and Joey Devine (as we pointed out in the AL West position battles). And the rest of the bullpen is an unknown.

Uehara, 36, was excellent for the first part of the 2011 season. He had a 1.72 ERA and 0.70 WHIP in 47 innings for the Orioles. For the Rangers, though, he had a 4.00 ERA and gave up five home runs in just 18 innings (he only allowed six homers for Baltimore). He was awful in the postseason, too, giving up five hits, five earned runs, three home runs and two walks while recording only four outs.

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Posted on: February 17, 2012 8:26 am
Edited on: February 17, 2012 5:45 pm
 

A.J. Burnett-to-Pirates trade agreed upon



By Matt Snyder


The reported A.J. Burnett-to-Pittsburgh deal is nearing completion, as CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman has learned the two sides have agreed to make the trade. Burnett will need to pass a physical slated for Sunday, while Major League Baseball will need to approve the deal before it becomes official.

Money has been an issue from the start, obviously, as Burnett is owed $33 million for the next two seasons. Heyman reports the Yankees will pick up $20 million of that. Because the Yankees pay their players year-round, they've already paid him $2,062,500 this year and will pay him $9,437,500 more with the Pirates picking up another $5 million. In 2013, the Yankees will pay Burnett $8.5 million and Pittsburgh will pay him $8 million. With the saved money, the Yankees will now turn their focus to two bats. One target is left-handed hitting Raul Ibanez, presumably to fill the open DH slot -- or at the very least share time with right-handed hitting Andruw Jones. The Yankees' second target will be Eric Chavez, who spent 2011 with the club.

Burnett to Pirates
The return for the Yankees will be two lower-level minor-league players, 25-year-old right-handed reliever Diego Moreno and 20-year-old outfielder Exicardo Cayones.

Burnett, 35, was 11-11 with a 5.15 ERA, 1.43 WHIP and 173 strikeouts in 190 1/3 innings last season for the Yankees. He led the majors in wild pitches, one season after leading the majors in hit batsmen. Advanced stats, such as FIP, show Burnett hasn't been near as bad as his traditional stats indicate, however. He will also benefit moving from the mighty AL East -- in a hitters' park -- to the NL Central and the much more pitcher-friendly PNC Park.

Burnett will probably bump either Jeff Karstens or Kevin Correia from the Pirates' rotation, joining Erik Bedard, James McDonald and Charlie Morton. Keep in mind, though, that Morton's health is in question to start the season and Bedard's health is pretty much always in question, so I'd expect all six starters to get in their work this season.

As for the players going to the Yankees, neither are impact-type players. Moreno, a Venezuelan native, was 2-4 with a 3.63 ERA and 5 saves in 41 games in Class A and Double-A. He struck out 45 batters in 44 2/3 innings, while walking 18. He can hit 98, but has suspect command. Only seven of his appearances were in Double-A. Also from Venezuela, Cayones hit .228/.333/.325 between rookie-level and short-season Class A, with no homers in 38 games and 135 plate appearances. He stole three bases and was thrown out three times, as well. Make no mistake, these players weren't an important part of the deal. For the Yankees, it was about addition by subtraction.

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Posted on: February 12, 2012 11:46 am
Edited on: February 12, 2012 3:45 pm
 

Update on Burnett-to-Pirates trade talks

By Matt Snyder

This past week, trade talk connecting maligned Yankees starting pitcher A.J. Burnett to the Pirates picked up. Here's the latest, via CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman.

The Yankees and Pirates are still talking and there's been "progress and continuing optimism" on getting a deal done. One obvious snag to this point has been money, as Burnett is due a whopping $33 million for the next two seasons. The Pirates are willing to take on more than $10 million while the Yankees would prefer a 50/50 split, but there are indications of a compromise on the horizon. Next, the Yankees are seeking "at least a reasonably decent prospect" in return, but the Pirates are actually more willing to compromise on the money issue than prospects.

Pirates, Yankees talk trade
Burnett, 35, was 11-11 with a 5.15 ERA, 1.43 WHIP and 173 strikeouts in 190 1/3 innings last season for the Yankees. He led the majors in wild pitches, one season after leading the majors in hit batsmen. He's currently ticketed to be the Yankees' fifth starter, but shedding his salary would help free up some extra money to sign a left-handed designated hitter like Raul Ibanez, Johnny Damon or Hideki Matsui.

If the proposed trade comes to fruition, Burnett would probably bump Jeff Karstens from the Pirates' rotation, joining Erik Bedard, James McDonald, Kevin Correia and Charlie Morton. Of course, Morton's health is in question to start the season and Bedard's health is pretty much always in question, so there would be a great bet that all six of the pitchers would get a good amount of starts.

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Posted on: February 7, 2012 4:07 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 9:03 pm
 

Yankees sign Bill Hall to minor-league deal

By Matt Snyder

Free agent Bill Hall has signed with the Yankees. The news was broken by Bill Hall, as he just posted on his own Twitter account: "IT'S OFFICIAL IM A YANKEE!!!!!!!! #IwannaRing!!!!" CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman reports that Hall signed a minor-league deal worth $600,000 with incentives.

Hall, 32, spent the first seven years of his career with the Brewers, but he's become a journeyman since then. In the past three seasons, he's played for five teams (including another stint with the Brewers). Last season, he spent time with both the Giants and the Astros, hitting .211/.261/.314 with two home runs and 14 RBI in 199 plate appearances. He did hit 18 homers in just 344 at-bats for the Red Sox in 2010, so there's hope for a decent season.

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Hall played second base and left field last season, but he's spent a lot of time at third base, too. If Hall makes the club, he'll provide infield depth along with Eduardo Nunez.

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Posted on: February 7, 2012 1:06 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 5:44 pm
 

Reports: Marlins to meet with Cespedes Wednesday

By Matt Snyder

And the dance begins ...

Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes has been said to have anywhere from six to 12 suitors at different points this offseason, but he first needed to gain residency in the Dominican Republic. Once that was done, he still had to be declared a free agent by Major League Baseball. He then needed to be "unblocked" by the Office of Foreign Assets Control.

Coming to America
Tuesday, multiple reports surfaced (including Juan C. Rodriguez, Miami beat writer) that Cespedes has acquired a visa and will arrive in Miami either Tuesday night or Wednesday afternoon [UPDATE: He's here, and Rodriguez took a picture of Cespedes in the airport upon his arrival]. Those reports are also stating the Marlins will meet with Cespedes Wednesday in an attempt to woo him.

Cespedes, 26, is an outfielder that some 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.

"He's a five-tool guy, built like an NFL running back," one scout told Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com in December. "He has tremendous raw power, with all the tools to be a 30-30 guy in the big leagues."

In addition to the Marlins, the Cubs and Tigers have been most heavily connected to Cespedes in rumors.

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Posted on: February 6, 2012 4:31 pm
 

Rangers sign Conor Jackson, Joe Beimel

By Matt Snyder

The Rangers have signed free agents Conor Jackson and Joe Beimel to minor-league contracts, the club announced Monday afternoon. Both players have also received spring training invites.

Jackson, 29, was primarily a first baseman for most of his career, but then last season he played every corner position in addition to serving as a designated hitter. He still played 53 games at first while getting 52 games of action in the outfield (31 in right, 23 in left). Jackson hit .244/.310/.341 with five homers and 43 RBI. He played 102 games for the A's and 12 for the Red Sox.

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Beimel, 34, is a left-handed reliever. He worked 25 1/3 innings for the Pirates last season, putting together a pretty dreadful line -- an ERA of 5.33 and a WHIP of 1.70. He was actually a productive reliever from 2006-10, though, so last year could have been an anomaly.

Both players have a decent chance to make the team.

The Rangers bullpen appears to be full right now, assuming no more moves. However, Koji Uehara is reportedly being shopped (he blocked a trade to the Blue Jays) and Beimel is left handed. Go down the line -- Joe Nathan, Mike Adams, Alexi Ogando, Scott Feldman, Mark Lowe, Uehara, Yoshinori Tateyama, Mark Hamburger -- and you'll find that the Rangers don't have a lefty in the bullpen, unless they wanna turn to Michael Kirkman. So that's where Beimel could find a job, as a specialist.

Jackson also has a shot to make the club. The starting nine is obvious, just as Craig Gentry, Yorvit Torrealba and Julio Borbon figure to get spots on the bench. That leaves one spot, with Jackson, Brad Hawpe, Alberto Gonzalez and several minor leaguers competing for the final spot. And that's barring injuries, which could open more up chances.

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Posted on: February 2, 2012 4:41 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 5:04 pm
 

Casey Kotchman to sign with Indians

By Matt Snyder

The Cleveland Indians have agreed to sign free agent first baseman Casey Kotchman, CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman has learned. Heyman reports the deal is for one year and worth $3 million plus incentives.

Kotchman, 28, will now join his fifth team since the start of the 2009 season. Last season, he hit .306/.378/.422 with 10 homers and 24 doubles for the Rays. He's a bit overlooked offensively because he's a first baseman with little power, but the .378 OBP is great. For a club with little money to spend like the Indians, this is a good signing.

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Expect Kotchman to be the everyday first baseman for the Indians, meaning Matt LaPorta and recent acquisition Russ Canzler will be fighting for backup jobs.

With the addition of Kotchman, the Indians should have their opening day lineup set. Carlos Santana will catch with Kotchman, Jason Kipnis, Asdrubal Cabrera and Lonnie Chisenhall around the infield. Michael Brantley, Grady Sizemore and Shin-Soo Choo will man the outfield while Travis Hafner will DH. 

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Posted on: February 2, 2012 1:39 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 7:07 pm
 

Edwin Jackson signs one-year deal with Nationals



By Matt Snyder


Edwin Jackson is entering his 10th major-league season, and he'll do so with his seventh team. He is an agreement with the Washington Nationals on a one-year contract, the team announced Thursday. The deal, which was first reported by CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman, is pending a physical and Heyman reports it's believed to be between $8 million and $12 million.

"We saw an opportunity here to acquire a young, hard-throwing, power-pitching, innings-eating type of starting pitcher, and we thought it was good value at a good term," general manager Mike Rizzo said during a telephone conference call.

Jackson, 28, went 12-9 with a 3.79 ERA, 1.44 WHIP and 148 strikeouts in 199 2/3 innings last season for the White Sox and Cardinals. He was dealt to St. Louis in late July and ended up winning a World Series ring with St. Louis. Also, while control was an issue early in  Jackson's career, his walk rate was a career-low 2.8 per nine innings in 2011.

"His walks are trending in the right direction," Rizzo said.

Jackson had a .339 opponents' batting average with the bases empty and a .239 average with runners on last season, but the Nationals think they can work with the issue.

"We're going to make a few tweaks to his delivery," Rizzo said. "Last year he was a different pitcher out of the windup than he was from the stretch."

Washington offseason
The Nationals won their arbitration hearing with fourth starter John Lannan this week, but the signing of Jackson could be a signal Lannan is on the move via trade. In fact, Fox Sports reported earlier Thursday the Nats are "aggressively shopping" Lannan. The Nationals now have a very strong front four in Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez and Jackson with either Chien-Ming Wang or Lannan filling the fifth spot. No matter who it is, that's a formidable top to bottom rotation.

Note that Strasburg is on an innings limit and the Nats can't be sure if Wang will hold up all season, so it wouldn't hurt to have extra starting pitching. If they did deal Lannan, they could still turn to Ross Detwiler, Craig Stammen or Tom Gorzelanny in a pinch. But for now, it's all about adding Jackson.

Jackson has been unable to find a permanent home in his career, but he's always been a productive pitcher. He doesn't profile as a frontline starter, but Washington doesn't need him to be one. He has great experience for his age, with over 1,000 regular-season innings pitched and seven postseason appearances, including four starts. Also good for Jackson is that Nationals Park profiles as a slight pitchers' park.

Jackson had been asking for a three- to five-year contract, but when the market dried up, agent Scott Boras and Jackson looked for a one-year deal so they could hit the market again next season. Washington bit.

"It made it much more palatable to us," Rizzo said.

The Nationals are coming off an 80-81 season in which they finished third place in the NL East for the first time since moving to Washington. With a full season of Strasburg and the additions of Gonzalez and Jackson, they appear eager to compete in a loaded division.

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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