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Tag:MLB Free Agents
Posted on: January 20, 2012 6:30 pm
 

Report: A's interested in Manny Ramirez

Manny Ramirez

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Billy Beane's Home for Wayward Designated Hitters may have found its next resident. The A's are "very interested" in bringing in Manny Ramirez, ESPNDeportesLosAngeles.com reports.

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Ramirez, 39, will have to serve a 50-game suspension at the beginning of the season, but then would be free to DH for whatever team will have him. According ot the report, the Orioles and Blue Jays watched Ramirez at a batting cage and liked what they saw.

Last season Hideki Matsui was the celebrity guest star in the A's lineup, but the team has decided not to bring him back.

Ramirez had one hit in 17 plate appearances in five games for the Rays before he was suspended for 100 games for his second positive drug test and subsequently retired. Ramirez applied for reinstatement in December. His suspension was reduced to 50 games after missing the entire 2011 season.

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Posted on: January 20, 2012 1:27 pm
 

A's agree to deal with OF Jonny Gomes

Jonny GomesBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Jonny Gomes is headed home. The Petaluma, Calif, native has agreed to a deal with the Oakland A's, CBSSports.com Insider Jon Heyman reports.

Gomes, 31, will serve as a designated hitter and extra outfielder for the A's, especially against left-handed pitching. In his career, Gomes has crushed lefties to a tune of .281/.375/.501, while hitting .224/.306/.427 against right-handed pitchers and .242/.299/.366 overall.

Last season Gomes hit .209/.325/.389 with 14 homers for the Reds and Nationals in 120 games and 372 plate appearances.

Gomes hit 21 homers as a rookie in 2005 with Tampa Bay and 20 the next season, but as the team improved his playing time dwindled. He was inactive for the 2008 postseason run and signed with the Reds aftr the season. He hit 20 homers in his first season at Great American Ball Park. He was traded to Washington in July.

Gomes is also considered one of the best clubhouse guys in the game. Even though he wasn't on the Rays' active roster in 2008, he was the team's biggest cheerleader from the bench. He was also seen as a positive influence on some of the younger players as the Reds won their division in 2010. He could take over the "good guy" role in Oakland that Hideki Matsui held last season.

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Posted on: January 20, 2012 11:30 am
Edited on: January 20, 2012 12:16 pm
 

Carlos Pena agrees to re-join Rays

Carlos Pena

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Carlos Pena is returning to the Rays, CBSSports.com Insider Jon Heyman reports. Pena will make $7.25 million from the one-year deal, according to Heyman. Pena made $10 million from the Cubs last year in what agent Scott Boras called a "pillow contract," which would allow him to have a big year at Wrigley Field and then sign a multi-year deal this winter. That didn't happen.

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Pena, 33, hit .225/.357/.462 with 28 home runs for the Cubs last season. He hit just .196 in 2010 for the Rays, but slugged 28 homers and actually had an OPS+ of 103 despite his low batting average.

Pena played for the Rays from 2007-2010, hitting .238/.368/.516 with 144 home runs in his four seasons with the Rays, finishing ninth in MVP voting in his first two seasons with the Rays and making the All-Star team in 2009.

Last season Casey Kotchman was the Rays first baseman, and while he hit .306/.378/.422 for Tampa Bay last season, he had just 10 home runs. The addition of Pena would add extra pop to the Rays' lineup over the free-agent Kotchman.

Heyman noted the Indians were interested in both Pena and Kotchman. With Pena off the board, Cleveland would be a logical landing spot for Kotchman.

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Posted on: January 20, 2012 11:17 am
 

Indians add OF Ryan Spilborghs

Ryan SpilborghsBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Free-agent outfielder Ryan Spilborghs has agreed to a deal with the Cleveland Indians, CBSSports.com Insider Jon Heyman reports.

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Spilborghs, 32, hit .210/.282/.305 with three home runs in 223 plate appearances as a backup outfielder with the Rockies last season. He's a .272/.345/.423 hitter in his seven seasons in the big leagues -- all in Colorado.

The Rockies non-tendered Spilbroghs last month.

A right-handed hitter, he could help out Cleveland's left-handed lineup, which features three left-handed hitters in the outfield in Grady Sizemore, Shin-Soo Choo and Michael Brantley. Designated hitter Travis Hafner, second baseman Jason Kipnis and third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall are all left-handed hitters as well.

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Posted on: January 18, 2012 2:08 pm
Edited on: January 18, 2012 5:40 pm
 

Darvish, Rangers agree to six-year contract



By Matt Snyder


Starting pitcher Yu Darvish has agreed to terms with the Texas Rangers, sources have told CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman. Heyman has also learned the contract is for six years and $60 million. The Rangers paid a reported $51.7 million simply for the right to negotiate with Darvish.

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Darvish, a 25-year-old right-hander, has been the ace of the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters for five years. In those five seasons, Darvish is 76-28 with a sparkling 1.72 ERA and 0.89 WHIP. He's struck out 9.5 batters per nine innings and walked just 1.9 per nine. He's also thrown 50 complete games and 15 shutouts. In 2011, Darvish went 18-6 with a 1.44 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 276 strikeouts in 232 innings with 10 complete games and six shutouts.

The $51.7 million posting fee will be paid by the Rangers to the Fighters. Had the Rangers been unable to come to terms, they would have kept said fee.

Darvish will join Colby Lewis, Derek Holland, Neftali Feliz and probably Matt Harrison in the Rangers' rotation while Scott Feldman and Alexi Ogando are likely ticketed for the bullpen -- but still could emerge as starting options if need be -- in front of Mike Adams and Joe Nathan.

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Posted on: January 17, 2012 6:00 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2012 6:02 pm
 

Joe Saunders returning to Diamondbacks

Joe Saunders

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Left-hander Joe Saunders is returning to the Diamondbacks, signing a one-year deal worth $6 million, according to CBSSports.com Insider Jon Heyman.

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The Diamondbacks non-tendered Saunders last month, but the 30-year-old decided to return to the team. The Orioles, Tigers and Marlins had been rumored to have interest in Saunders before he re-signed with Arizona.

Saunders was 12-13 with a 3.69 in 33 starts last season. He struck out 108 batters in 212 innings, walking 67. He lasted just three innings in his Game 4 start against the Brewers in the NLDS, but Arizona put up a big lead and went on to win the game, although reliever Micah Owings picked up the win.

In seven seasons, Saunders is 69-52 with a 4.16 ERA in 161 starts with the Diamondbacks and Angels.

The Diamondbacks added right-hander Trevor Cahill in a trade with Oakland that made Saunders appear expendable, but instead he's coming back, adding depth to the team's starting rotation.

Now with Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, Cahill, Saunders and Josh Collmenter, Arizona has one of the deepest rotations in the National League. If Collmenter suffers from a sophomore slump, the team could even call up right-hander Trevor Bauer, the third pick in the 2011 draft.

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Posted on: January 16, 2012 10:15 pm
Edited on: January 16, 2012 10:41 pm
 

Reds sign Ryan Ludwick to one-year deal

By Matt Snyder

The Cincinnati Reds have agreed to sign free agent outfielder Ryan Ludwick, confirms Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The move, which is pending a physical, was first reported by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Heyman reports the deal is for $2.5 million with $500,000 worth of incentives included.

Ludwick, 33, hit just .237/.310/.363 last season with 13 homers and 75 RBI, but the majority of his plate appearances came in Petco Park, which is death to power hitters. He hit .218 with only five home runs and a dreadful .658 OPS in 212 plate appearances at Petco. And as we all know, Great American Ball Park is a hitters' park. So this move should help him.

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Ludwick was an All-Star with St. Louis in 2008, slugging 37 homers and driving home 113 runs. Yes, he had the benefit of hitting in a lineup with Albert Pujols, but the Reds can surround him with the likes of Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips. Ludwick hasn't had another season anywhere close to being as good as 2008, but he was a productive offensive player throughout his Cardinals career. His return to the NL Central -- he was traded to the Pirates last July -- didn't go well, but it was a small sample of 113 plate appearances.

Expect Ludwick to get the overwhelming majority of the playing time in left field -- at least out of the gate -- with Chris Heisey serving as the fourth outfielder and Drew Stubbs in center.

Though the offseason started rather slowly, Reds general manager Walt Jocketty has added Mat Latos, Sean Marshall, Ryan Madson and Ludwick to his ballclub in the past several weeks in an attempt to get the 2010 NL Central champs back into contention.

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Posted on: January 16, 2012 6:26 pm
Edited on: January 16, 2012 6:40 pm
 

Yankees might bring back Hideki Matsui

By Matt Snyder

In an interesting twist of fate, the Yankees are going to limit spending. Yes, when it comes to grabbing a designated hitter -- to put in the spot vacated by the now-traded Jesus Montero -- the Bronx Bombers are only going to spend between $1 million and $2 million on a DH, reports CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman.

Heyman also notes that won't be enough to get Carlos Pena and probably can't grab former Yankee Johnny Damon either. One guy they could probably afford? The 2009 World Series MVP, Hideki Matsui. And Heyman reports there has been some contact between Matsui's representatives and his former ballclub.

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Matsui is 37 and coming off easily the worst season of his career. He hit just .251/.321/.375 with 12 homers and 72 RBI in 141 games. He's definitely on the downside of his career, but he hit well for the Angels in 2010. Plus, playing half his games in Oakland last season sure didn't help matters. He hit a dreadful .236/.323/.340 at home.

Also to consider, if the Yankees do sign Matsui, the differences in how the home parks play will be significant. Being a left-handed hitter, Matsui would benefit greatly from playing half his games in Yankee Stadium -- a venue that is really easy on lefties and where he's hit 17 home runs in 299 career regular-season at-bats.

Further, the Yankees know Matsui can deal with playing in New York and is familiar with many of the current Yankees.

So, yes, this move would make perfect sense for both sides.

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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