Former Marlins infielder Chris Valaika recently signed with the Cubs, and it's no surprise that he would leave Miami behind, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald writes. In August, the Marlins were about to promote Valaika from Triple-A New Orleans, but Valaika was among the players who had complained about harrassment by former hitting coach Tino Martinez. So Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria refused to allow the team to promote Valaika. Loria also blocked the promotion of second baseman Derek Dietrich. Spencer points to an innocuous-sounding comment from Valaika's agent Joel Wolfe following Valaika's signing with the Cubs (via FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal on Twitter): "Chris is very excited to be with a first-class organization." That seemingly mild statement might be a shot at the Marlins, Spencer suggests. Here are more notes from around the Majors.
- The Rockies have about $9MM to spend this offseason, Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post writes. That's a far cry from previous big-ticket expenditures like Mike Hampton, Renck points out, but their $63MM offer to Jose Dariel Abreu, who ended up signing with the White Sox, was a "bold move" in that direction. In any case, the Rockies could look to add talent at first base (where Justin Morneau, James Loney or Mike Carp might make sense), catcher and the pitching staff. The Rockies are seeking hard-throwing relief help, as well as an innings-eater in the rotation. At catcher, however, they could just decide to go with Wilin Rosario and Jordan Pacheco.
- The Royals have been aware of newly-signed catcher Francisco Pena for many years, and not just because Pena's father Tony used to manage the Royals, MLB.com's Dick Kaegel reports. "We've got a long history with him, from the time he was an amateur and signed with the Mets," says assistant GM J.J. Picollo. The Royals feel Pena's offensive track record, defensive ability and youth are interesting enough to make him worth adding to their roster.