Felipe Lopez Rumors

Rays Sign Felipe Lopez

The Rays signed infielder Felipe Lopez to a minor league deal that includes an invitation to Spring Training, the team announced. ESPNDeportes' Enrique Rojas reports (in Spanish) that Lopez will earn $1MM if he makes the Major League roster and can earn another $1MM in incentives. Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times reported yesterday that the sides were close to a deal.

Lopez, 30, spent most of last season with the Cardinals, but they released him, partly, because he was late for a game. The Red Sox signed him and, once he was designated a Type B free agent, offered him arbitration. Boston would have obtained a compensatory pick if Lopez had signed a Major League deal elsewhere, but after a season in which he hit just .233/.311/.345, the interest wasn't there. Lopez would clearly have obtained more guaranteed money by accepting Boston's offer of arbitration.

Red Sox Notes: Gonzalez, Hoover, Lopez

Some Red Sox tidbits to close out the evening..

Rays Close To Signing Lopez

We can expect to see the Rays sign veteran Felipe Lopez to a minor league deal in the next couple of days, according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times (via Twitter).  Topkin wrote earlier today that Lopez was a name to "keep in mind" as the club is in need of an inexpensive middle infielder.

After signing a one-year, $1MM deal with the Cardinals last year, the club cut ties with the 30-year-old due to behavioral problems.  Lopez's flat offense didn't help his case either as he hit just .233/.311/.345 in 109 games before signing with Boston.  The Red Sox wisely offered the Type B infielder arbitration, but a minor league deal means that they won't receive a compensatory draft pick.

New York Notes: Dickey, Murphy, Posada

SI.com's Jon Heyman tweets that the 2013 All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field, making it very possible the stadium will host an All-Star Game before it hosts its first playoff game. Let's check out the rest of today's Mets- and Yankees-related links….

American League Free Agent Arbitration Decisions

23 American League free agents were offered arbitration on November 23rd.  Four of those - Joaquin Benoit, John Buck, Victor Martinez, and Javier Vazquez - already have new contract agreements.  Current free agent Kevin Gregg has chosen to decline.  The remaining 18 AL free agents offered arbitration will have their decisions noted here and in our tracker.

American League Free Agent Arbitration Offers

10 American League teams have free agent arbitration offer decisions to make, and we'll group them in this post.  For a fantastic customizable chart with all 65 Type A/B free agents and their decisions in real-time, click here.

Red Sox Announce Three Option Decisions

The Red Sox exercised the 2011 option for Scott Atchison and declined the options for Bill Hall and Felipe Lopez, according to Ed Price of AOL FanHouse (on Twitter). 

The Red Sox will only pay Atchison $40K more than the MLB minimum in 2011. That's a bargain considering the 34-year-old threw 60 innings of 4.50 ERA ball with 6.2 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 last year.

Boston chose to pay Hall a $500K buyout instead of guaranteeing him $9.25MM in 2011. The 30-year-old utility man batted .247/.316/.456 with 18 homers in 2010 and he played every position but first base and catcher (he even pitched). Hall is an unranked free agent, so the Red Sox won't obtain draft pick compensation if he signs elsewhere.

They could obtain a compensation pick if Lopez, a Type B free agent, turns down arbitration to sign elsewhere. That possibility appeared to contribute to the team's interest in the infielder when they signed him in September. Lopez batted .233/.311/.345 in 441 plate appearances for the Cardinals and Red Sox.

Red Sox Hire Curt Young As Pitching Coach

The Red Sox hired Curt Young as their new pitching coach, according to WEEI's Alex Speier.  The team already made a formal announcement.  Young, formerly of the Athletics, replaces John Farrell.  Farrell is now manager of the Blue Jays.  A few other Red Sox notes from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe

Rosenthal On Red Sox, Yankees, Garza

The Red Sox will "explore their options" with Adrian Beltre, Victor Martinez, and David Ortiz, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  They're also "already checking into" Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth, possibly with the idea of moving Jacoby Ellsbury back to center field and making Mike Cameron a pricey fourth outfielder.  Rosenthal's other musings…

  • Rosenthal's quick math suggests the Yankees would have to stay out of the Crawford/Werth derby – barring a payroll increase –  if they sign Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, and Cliff Lee.
  • Rosenthal finds the offseason trade market for starting pitching unimpressive.  Though Matt Garza is "drawing long looks" from other teams, the Rays are more likely to trade a starter after the 2011 season.  As for Royals ace Zack Greinke, the team might be inclined to let him rebuild value in the first half.  Earlier this month, MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith named five other starters who might be available this winter.
  • John Hart, Stan Kasten, or Sandy Alderson could be a fit for the Mets if they look to add an experienced executive above Omar Minaya, speculates Rosenthal.  Rosenthal's source does not see Kasten replacing Bob Dupuy as baseball's second in command.
  • Felipe Lopez wouldn't net the Red Sox a draft pick if his next deal is of the minor league variety, notes Rosenthal.

Odds & Ends: Webb, Pirates, Ozzie, Pena, Mets, Lopez

Some links to check out after the Rangers clinched their first AL West title since 1999…