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Some minor transactions from around the majors…
- The Royals signed Cuban outfielder Roman Hernandez Jorrin, reports Jorge Ebro of El Nuevo Herald (Twitter link). Hernandez Jorrin, 22, is a right-handed hitter who escaped from Cuba in November 2010.
- The Cubs have signed Ryan Rowland-Smith to a minor league deal, tweets ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick. The Australian southpaw compiled a 4.57 ERA and a 1.64 K/BB ratio in 362 2/3 innings with the Mariners from 2007-10. Rowland-Smith spent last season in the Astros' minor league system, posting a 6.19 ERA in 22 games at Triple-A Oklahoma City.
- The Astros signed Mike Hessman to a minor league contract, reports Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle. The deal doesn't include an invite to the Astros' big league Spring Training camp. Hessman has a .694 OPS in 250 career plate appearances with the Mets, Tigers and Braves on the Major League level and also has 335 career minor league homers. The 33-year-old played for the Orix Buffaloes in Japan last season.
- The Reds have signed right-hander Wirfin Obispo to a minor league contracts, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Signed as an 18-year-old shortstop by the Red Sox in 2002, Obispo was converted to pitching by the Reds in 2004 and put up solid numbers for Cincinnati's Dominican summer league team over the next three seasons. Obispo has since pitched in Japan, posting a 3.25 ERA, a 7.8 K/9 rate and a 3.22 K/BB ratio in 46 games (28 of them starts) with the Yomiuri Giants and the Nippon Ham Fighters.
Rangers officials have told friends that they expect the Yankees to offer Cliff Lee so many years that other teams will have to back off, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. But team president Nolan Ryan is expected to push aggressively for Lee's return, so it's far too early to rule Texas out. Here's the latest on the Yankees and the Mets:
- Carlos Beltran says he'd prefer to play center field, but is open to playing right, according to MLB.com's Anthony DiComo (on Twitter). Beltran also told reporters he would consider waiving his no-trade clause.
- Sherman predicts the Yankees will sign Lee to a five-year $125MM deal. The imagined contract would pay Lee $23MM for five seasons with a sixth year option for $25MM ($10MM buyout).
- The Yankees say they're extremely unlikely to pursue a free agent catcher, since they want to give their young catching a real chance to emerge in 2011 as Jorge Posada transitions to DH.
- Mark Simon of ESPNNewYork.com looks back at some recent contracts to prove that locking up pitchers to long-term deals is risky.
- The Yankees don't want to surrender a draft pick to sign a Type A free agent like Scott Downs, according to Newsday's Ken Davidoff (on Twitter).
- It's unlikely that the Yankees will agree to a deal with Derek Jeter next week, according to Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com.
- There's been a lot of Moneyball talk about the Mets front office, but Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports believes Sandy Alderson, J.P. Ricciardi and Paul DePodesta are not about ideology. "This is about picking the right players and all of the different ways it can be done."
- Alderson interviewed Clint Hurdle and Don Wakamatsu at Citi Field yesterday, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Next up, the GM will interview Mets Triple-A manager Ken Oberkfell in the Dominican Republic.
- Omir Santos and Mike Hessman are free agents after refusing minor league assignments, according to Rubin (on Twitter).