It's time to take a look back at the week that was..
- The biggest surprise of the week was arguably the Yankees' signing of Rafael Soriano. The 31-year-old will make $35MM over three years and can opt out after either of the first two years. The agreement came just days after GM Brian Cashman said that he wouldn't surrender a first-round pick to sign a free agent. Despite some speculation to the contrary, Cashman reportedly still has the full backing of the Steinbrenners.
- All-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman announced that he's retiring after 18 big league seasons. The seven-time All-Star Hoffman walks away with 601 career saves, a 2.87 ERA and 1133 strikeouts in 1089 1/3 innings for the Marlins, Padres and Brewers.
- Dan Lozano, the agent for Albert Pujols, told Cardinals GM John Mozeliak that Spring Training is now the deadline for a new deal to be struck. and CEO Bill DeWitt Jr. said that he was "hopeful" that the club can extend Pujols by the start of the 2011 season.
- On Friday the Twins announced a deal with veteran Jim Thome. The left-handed slugger will earn $3MM guaranteed and could earn more through incentives. Thome is 11 homers away from reaching 600 and 20 away from matching Sammy Sosa for seventh place all-time.
- The Athletics agreed to a two-year, $8.1MM contract with Grant Balfour. The deal includes a club option for 2013 and the team has agreed to not offer the reliver arbitration at the end of the deal. The Rays will obtain the A's second-round selection as their first-round pick is protected. The A's may not be done adding to the 'pen as they look to sign Brian Fuentes.
- The Rays will bring Kyle Farnsworth aboard on a one-year deal worth $3.25MM. The total deal could be worth $6MM if his option for '12 is picked up.
- The Yankees would consider moving Joba Chamberlain if it netted them a "viable starter."
- The Royals landed starter Jeff Francis for a guaranteed $2MM in 2011. The left-hander can earn another $2MM in incentives. Francis had interest from at least seven teams before accepting Kansas City's offer.
- The Tigers officially agreed to sign Brad Penny to a one-year, $3MM deal this week. The deal also includes up to $3MM in incentives.
- The Reds signed Fred Lewis to a one-year major league deal.
- This week several players avoided going to arbitration with their teams. We'll highlight the most noteworthy deals of the week in this post but as always, you can keep tabs on all arbitration cases using our Arb Tracker.
- The Padres avoided arbitration with Jason Bartlett and agreed to sign him to a two-year deal worth $11MM. The deal buys out Bartlett's final season as an arbitration eligible player and one free agent year.
- The D'Backs agreed to sign Willie Bloomquist to a one-year, $1.05MM deal. The contract includes a mutual option for 2012.
- Fireballer Joel Zumaya was arbitration eligible final time but instead agreed to a one-year, $1.4MM deal. Ryan Raburn was arb eligible for the first time but instead agreed to a two-year, $3.4MM deal.
- Halos catcher Jeff Mathis won't have to go in front of an arbitrator after agreeing to terms on a one-year, $1.7MM deal. The Angels avoided arbitration with Alberto Callaspo.
- Kansas City avoided arbitration with Alex Gordon, the second overall pick in the 2005 draft. The Royals also avoided arbitration with the top pick in the 2006 draft, Luke Hochevar. Hochevar will reportedly make $1.76MM in 2011.
- The Athletics and Brad Ziegler avoided arbitration when they agreed to a one-year deal.
- The Blue Jays and Carlos Villanueva won't need to sit in front of an arbitrator. They two sides came to terms on a one-year, $1.415MM pact.
- Ben Francisco, who was eligible for arbitration for the first time, will remain with the Phillies on a one-year agreement.
- The Cardinals announced a one-year deal with Kyle McClellan, meaning that they have no more arbitration-eligible players for 2011.
- Geovany Soto got an early 28th birthday present when he avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $3MM deal with the Cubs.
- Colorado avoided salary arbitration with Matt Belisle when they agreed to a one-year, $2.35MM deal.
- At least five teams are showing interest in Manny Ramirez.
- Pitcher Kris Benson decided to hang 'em up after 12 years in the majors. Benson was the first overall pick in the 1996 draft.
- The Marlins signed a quartet of players to minor league deals: Joe Thurston, Dewayne Wise, Clint Sammons, and Jamie D'Antona.
- Catcher Max Ramirez was claimed on waivers for the second time in six days when the Cubs claimed him from the Red Sox.
- On Saturday, the Royals and Bruce Chen agreed to a one-year deal worth $1.5MM. Chen can earn another $1.5MM through incentives.
- The Cards agreed to minor league contracts with Miguel Batista and Ian Snell. St. Louis also signed veteran infielder Ramon Vazquez to a minor league deal.
- After a strong winter in Venezuela, reliever Jorge Julio signed a minor league contract with the Pirates.
- Catcher Raul Chavez agreed to a minor league deal with the Mets. The club also agreed to sign Willie Harris to a minor league contract.
- The Phillies picked up former top pick Matt Anderson on a minor league deal.
- The Cubs signed Reed Johnson to a minor league deal.
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