With the hot stove heating up, it's time to take a look back at the week that was..
- After a rumored four-year, $44MM deal with Ryan Madson fell through, the Phillies turned around and signed Jonathan Papelbon to a precedent-setting four-year, $50MM deal. The contract establishes the record for guaranteed money for a reliever. The contract, which is pending a physical, will include a reachable fifth year vesting option for 2016. In addition to signing a record-setting deal, Papelbon also earned the distinction of being the first of MLBTR's top 50 free agents to sign.
- Meanwhile, the market for Madson is starting to take shape. The Blue Jays have been "making inquiries" about the closer while the Marlins are "also in on" him. The Rangers, Red Sox and Nationals are also reportedly interested in the free agent.
- The Royals acquired lefty Jonathan Sanchez and minor league starter Ryan Verdugo from the Giants for outfielder Melky Cabrera. Sanchez, 28, may have been a non-tender candidate for the Giants after a disappointing 2011 season that saw him miss significant time with biceps tendinitis and a sprained ankle. Cabrera had the opposite experience in 2011, as he had a resurgence after being non-tendered and signing a $1.25MM free agent deal.
- The Marlins made "substantial offers" to both Albert Pujols and Jose Reyes and have also offered a contract to Mark Buehrle. The team met with Pujols on Friday, Reyes on Wednesday and Buehrle on Tuesday. They're also showing interest in Carlos Beltran.
- After nearly ten years away from the game, Dan Duquette is back in baseball as the Orioles' General Manager on a three-year deal. Duquette, 53, served as the general manager of the Expos from 1991-1994 and then GM of the Red Sox from 1994-2002. Prior to being hired by the Orioles, Duquette had interviewed for the GM opening with the Angels that was later filled by Jerry Dipoto.
- The Twins announced that Terry Ryan is returning to the role of GM. Ryan, who has an interim tag on his title this time, replaces Bill Smith. Ryan has been in the Twins organization for 28 years, serving as GM from 1994-2007 before assuming the role of senior advisor.
- The Diamondbacks reached a two-year agreement worth $3.8MM with utility man Willie Bloomquist but are still reportedly interested in free agent second baseman Aaron Hill.
- Free agent Albert Pujols is being wooed by the Marlins, but the Cardinals do not plan to greatly increase the nine-year, $210MM contract offer that they made to Pujols before the season. The Cards don't have much reason to sweeten the pot yet as the Marlins offer "probably isn’t close to being enough" and are the only team to extend an offer to Pujols so far. The Angels, Dodgers, Yankees, and Rangers are unlikely to pursue the slugger.
- Nats catcher Wilson Ramos was kidnapped near his home in Venezuela by four armed gunmen on Wednesday but thankfully was rescued on Friday.
- The Twins signed Jamey Carroll to a two-year, $7MM deal to be their everyday shortstop. The 37-year-old drew interest from multiple teams this offseason before signing with the Twins. The contract also contains a $2MM option for 2014. The option vests if Carroll makes 401 plate appearances in 2013, but Carroll can choose to turn down the option.
- Mark Buehrle told the White Sox he's not going to give them a hometown discount. Approximately ten teams, including the Marlins, Yankees, Red Sox and Rangers are interested in the left-hander.
- Even though they're in desperate need of offense, there's no evidence that the Giants would trade either Tim Lincecum or Matt Cain this offseason. One GM went so far as to say there's "no point even asking."
- If the Red Sox are able to retain David Ortiz, they're unlikely to chase a big bat for the outfield.
- The Rangers have expressed preliminary interest in free agent starters such as Mark Buehrle, Edwin Jackson and Roy Oswalt.
- Catcher Ryan Doumit, who was already weighing multiple contract offers, received offers from two more teams on Saturday. Doumit's agent Paul Cobbe says that his client could sign within the next few days.
- It could take two months for MLB to declare Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes a free agent. The Red Sox, Phillies, Indians, Blue Jays, Pirates, Rangers, Tigers, Nationals, Athletics, Marlins, and Yankees are among the teams with interest in Cespedes.
- There's been plenty of hype surrounding Cespedes, but 19-year-old outfielder Jorge Soler and 23-year-old right-hander Armando Rivero also figure to attract attention this offseason.
- Matt Kemp and the Dodgers are discussing a long-term deal and talks have had “more substance lately.” Kemp, who is on track to hit free agency after the 2012 season, will not negotiate after Opening Day, according to his agent.
- The Rangers are looking at available left-handed starting pitchers to replace the possibly-departing C.J. Wilson.
- Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano is in no hurry to part ways with the club, and by the pitcher's account the feeling is mutual.
- The Pirates signed catcher Rod Barajas to a one-year deal that includes a team option for 2013. Barajas will earn a $4MM salary in 2012 and the option would pay him another $3.5MM in 2013.
- The Pirates are interested in free agent Ramon Santiago as a possible everyday shortstop.
- Korean right-hander Suk-min Yoon has hired agent Scott Boras and may be posted in time to spend the 2012 season with a Major League team. Yoon is the reigning MVP of the Korean Baseball Organization and played in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
- The Blue Jays and 4-6 other teams have shown interest in Jonathan Broxton and asked for his medical records. The Mets are not one of the teams to have inquired on the 27-year-old free agent.
- Angels GM Jerry Dipoto says that the Angels may be interested in Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols. They also might show interest C.J. Wilson but aren't interested in Aramis Ramirez.
- The Royals have interest in Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano, GM Dayton Moore disclosed. The GM later said that he shouldn't have publicly discussed a player under contract with another team.
- The Blue Jays are aggressively seeking an experienced closer through free agency or trade and have discussed free agents Heath Bell and Joe Nathan, as well as trade target Andrew Bailey of the Athletics.
- The Indians are interested in Japanese right-hander Shinobu Fukuhara.
- The Padres will be reluctant to move Chase Headley this offseason.
- The Rockies have expressed interest in free agent outfielder Grady Sizemore but the club will not aggressively pursue him until they exhaust all trade options with the Braves for Martin Prado.
- The Nationals have expressed interest in Japanese left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada.
- Rangers president & CEO Nolan Ryan expressed confidence in first baseman Mitch Moreland and cast doubt on the notion that the Rangers will pursue Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols.
- There is "a bit of concern" among executives that Yu Darvish won't decide to be posted this winter.
- The owners and the players' union continue to work towards an agreement in advance of the current CBA expiring on December 11th and they're working on fixing the Type A/Type B system.
- The Tokyo Yakult Swallows are posting three-time Central League batting champion Norichika Aoki.
- The Diamondbacks signed right-hander Chris Jakubauskas to a minor league deal, MLBTR learned.
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