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- East Notes: Ibanez, Phillies, Mathis
- Blue Jays To Exercise J.A. Happ’s Option
- Central Notes: Maddon, Dirks, Giambi, Indians
- Alex Rios Hires Scott Boras
- Dodgers Decline Option On Chad Billingsley
- West Notes: Sandoval, Lewis, Ethier, Angels
- AL East Links: Chavez, Yankees, Breslow, Jays
- Angels Likely To Trade Kendrick Or Freese
- Rockies Exercise LaTroy Hawkins’ Option
- Mets Outright Satin, Rice, Eveland, Carlyle
- Cubs Hire Joe Maddon As Manager
- Yankees To Extend Qualifying Offer To David Robertson
- Rangers Decline Rios’ Option; Outright Adcock, Lucas, Figaro
- Brewers Exercise Mutual Option On Aramis Ramirez
- Rays Exercise Ben Zobrist’s Option
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Cesar Izturis Rumors
Outside of the first round, the Orioles might not get much out of their 2010 draft, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun writes. Of course, their first-rounder, third overall pick Manny Machado, has turned out quite well. It's not automatic that the third overall pick will be a success, as Connolly points out — other recent third overall picks have included Philip Humber, Jeff Clement, and Donavan Tate. Connolly suggests fans should be happy with the 2010 draft, even if the Orioles don't end up getting anyone but Machado from it. Here are more notes from the American League.
- Free agent infielder Cesar Izturis has received offers to play at Triple-A, but he's holding out for a big-league opportunity, MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo tweets. Izturis opted out of his minor-league deal with the Astros last month.
- The Rangers join the long list of teams that have interest in free-agent reliever Joel Hanrahan, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman writes. Hanrahan is recovering from arm troubles that cost him most of last season. He lives near Dallas.
- Shortstop Jason Bartlett, who recently retired, is interested in coaching in the Twins organization, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets. There are not any openings right now, since the season has already started.
Here's the latest from the City Of Brotherly Love…
- Bobby Abreu is looking for a Major League opportunity with another team, ESPN's Jayson Stark reports. Abreu was told earlier today that he wasn't going to make the Phillies' Opening Day roster and thus it seems like just a matter of time before Abreu opts out of his minor league deal with the team. The veteran outfielder has until Sunday to do so, as Abreu and the Phils agreed to push his opt-out date to the 31st.
- The Phillies aren't in on Cesar Izturis, CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury reports (via Twitter). Izturis opted out of his minor league deal with the Astros on Monday after being told he wasn't going to make Houston's Opening Day roster. Philadelphia is in the market for a utility infielder who can play shortstop, as Freddy Galvis to a MRSA infection, Kevin Frandsen opted out of his contract after being outrighted and the club released Ronny Cedeno.
- With so many talented young arms filling the major and minor league rotations of the other four NL East teams, "one wonders if the Phillies aren’t years from serious contention," Peter Gammons writes in his latest piece for GammonsDaily.com. The Phillies' thin farm system has put them behind their division rivals in terms of developing young talent, and Gammons feels it will be "a far, far more difficult climb for the Phillies than when they were assembling that extraordinary 2007-2012 team."
Infielder Cesar Izturis did not make the Astros and will opt out of his deal with the Astros, tweets Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle. Izturis is one of many veterans subject to tomorrow's $100K retention bonus deadline, so the Astros would have released him by then anyway. The 34-year-old glove man tallied 142 plate appearances with the Reds last year, hitting .209/.259/.271. One claim to fame: he was traded for Greg Maddux at the 2006 trade deadline.
The Astros have agreed to a minor league deal with infielder Cesar Izturis, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter). Izturis, who is represented by the Legacy Agency, will receive an invitation to Major League Spring Training.
Izturis spent the 2013 season with Cincinnati, where he batted .209/.259/.271 in 142 plate appearances. A well-regarded defensive shortstop, Izturis posted a +4.8 UZR/150 and was worth +4 runs, according to The Fielding Bible's Defensive Runs Saved metric. Heyman notes that he has a good chance of making the Astros' roster as a utility infielder out of Spring Training.
The Red Sox would benefit most strongly if Masahiro Tanaka were to not be posted, Tim Britton of the Providence Journal writes. If Tanaka were to stay in Japan, not only would he not go to the Yankees, but prices for other starters (such as Ervin Santana and Matt Garza) would rise, and so would the value of the Red Sox's own pitchers, such as John Lackey, Ryan Dempster and Jake Peavy. Also, if Tanaka were to be posted next offseason, the Red Sox might actually bid for him. Right now, they don't have a need. Here are more notes from the East divisions.
- The Blue Jays have offered outfielder Colby Rasmus to two teams in exchange for starting pitching, the Toronto Sun's Bob Elliott writes.
- If Corey Hart doesn't re-sign with the Brewers, the team could quickly deal for Ike Davis of the Mets, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Hart could make a decision tonight about where to sign.
- The Mets have had discussions with the Legacy Agency, which represents Freddy Garcia and Cesar Izturis, today, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports (via Twitter). Puma notes the Mets could sign either player.
- The Braves are on the lookout for a hitter for their bench, and Eric Chavez could be their top free agent option, reports MLB.com's Mark Bowman. They also continue to stay in touch with reliever Eric O'Flaherty.
Earlier today the Mets introduced Curtis Granderson at a press conference. Here's the latest news out of the New York market with the Winter Meetings in full swing…
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman spoke to several reporters today, including MLB.com's Bryan Hoch, and noted that he's been in contact with the agents for Mark Reynolds and Boone Logan (Twitter link).
- Hoch also tweets that the Yanks are receiving many calls on Brett Gardner but aren't shopping him. Cashman said he didn't sign Jacoby Ellsbury to trade Gardner.
- The Star-Ledger's Andy McCullough tweets that in addition to Gardner, the Yanks have received calls on Ivan Nova, Gary Sanchez and J.R. Murphy (Twitter link).
- Cashman also said that Michael Pineda is healthy and will compete for a rotation spot in Spring Training (Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News tweeting).
- Hoch adds that Cashman thinks it will be easier to sign a free agent pitcher than to work out a trade for rotation help.
- Newsday's David Lennon reports that the Mets will meet with the representatives for Freddy Garcia, Cesar Izturis and Johan Santana today (Twitter link). The team sees a good fit with that group of veterans.
- Granderson confirmed to reporters, including Newsday's Marc Carig, that the Mets were the lone team to offer four years (Twitter link).
The Marlins have made the most headlines in the NL East today, agreeing to terms with Garrett Jones and talking trades with a number of teams regarding Logan Morrison. There's a lot more going on in the NL East though, and here's a rundown of some news from today…
- The Mets have already had internal discussions regarding Cesar Izturis and plan to meet with his agent in the coming days, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post (on Twitter). Izturis batted just .209/.259/.271 in his age-33 season with the Reds in 2013.
- Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes that the Mets aren't likely to sign Bartolo Colon or Bronson Arroyo and instead figure to look at back-end type starters like Daisuke Matsuzaka. "We'd be hesitant to give a multi-year deal (to a pitcher), but that doesn't mean we wouldn't," GM Sandy Alderson told Martino. Alderson said he's also had recent discussions with Johan Santana's agent.
- The Nationals aren't interested in adding another catcher at this time, tweets Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington. GM Mike Rizzo believes that Wilson Ramos can catch 125 games next season, though he's never appeared in more than 113 games in a single Major League season.
- The Nationals have been linked to Eric O'Flaherty a number of times already, but a source told MLB.com's Bill Ladson that that issue will be addressed "down the road." O'Flaherty told Ladson in a phone interview that he's open to going anywhere and also spoke highly of Washington's group of young talent.
- Adding a lefty reliever is one of Rizzo's top priorities, but a deal may not get done this week, reports Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com. Rizzo added that in an ideal world, they'd add more than a lefty specialist, landing someone who can also get right-handed hitters out as well.
- Braves GM Frank Wren told David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he doesn't envision making a move to acquire a front-line player (Twitter link). "I see more support (type) moves," Wren told O'Brien, which O'Brien speculates could mean a power bat for the bench and depth for the bullpen and rotation.
The Reds have designated infielder Jason Donald for assignment and outrighted right-hander Jose Arredondo to Triple-A, tweets John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Donald and Arredondo were both out of options. The Reds now have ten days to either trade, release, or outright Donald to the minors. Arredondo has already cleared waivers, reports Fay (via Twitter).
Donald, acquired from the Indians in the Shin-Soo Choo trade, was beat out by non-roster invitee Cesar Izturis. Fay tweets the deciding factor was Izturis' ability to play shortstop and serve as a backup to starter Zack Cozart.
Arredondo, who is in the final year of a contract he signed in January 2012 and will still be arbitration eligible in 2014 and 2015 as a Super Two, lost out to Manny Parra and Alfredo Simon for a spot in the Reds bullpen.
Despite indications to the contrary, the Twins never called to inquire about the availability of pitcher Anibal Sanchez, according to Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500. Sanchez, of course, re-signed with the Tigers for five years and $80MM earlier this offseason. Here's more out of Minnesota, courtesy of Wolfson..
- The Twins still have interest in free agent outfielder Scott Podsednik, but they're not looking to sign free agent outfielder Ryan Sweeney. We recently learned that the Mets aren't among the teams in on Podsednik. The club had brief talks with Sweeney's representatives earlier in the winter.
- Minnesota had interest in signing free agent starter Freddy Garcia in December but they haven't checked in on him since. The Twins have also cut off contact with free agent pitcher Manny Parra. The Twins, along with the Reds and Rockies, were said to be interested in Garcia late last year.
- The Twins have not inquired about free agent shortstop Jason Bartlett, nor free agent second baseman Kelly Johnson.
- The Twins never made an offer to shortstop Cesar Izturis, who signed a minor league deal with the Reds on Wednesday. General Manager Terry Ryan & Co. never had an interest in free agent starter Aaron Cook before he signed with the Phillies either.
- Minnesota could have free agent starter Armando Galarraga on a minor league deal but aren't interested in him. The right-hander hooked on with the Astros on a minor league contract last year after being cut by the Orioles.
“He adds competition, mainly defensively and he provides insurance,” Reds GM Walt Jocketty said of Izturis.
Izturis posted a .241/.254/.343 batting line in 173 plate appearances for the Brewers and Nationals in 2012. The 32-year-old played all four infield positions with Milwaukee and appeared at second base, third base and shortstop with Washington.