St. Louis Cardinals Rumors
New Cardinals shortstop Jhonny Peralta disclosed at a fundraising event on Saturday that he was targeted by several clubs this offseason who were interested in him as a shortstop, according to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com. However, St. Louis offered the opportunity to play for an annual contender, Peralta said at the team's Winter Warm-Up event. Here's more from the NL Central:
- Top Cardinals prospect Oscar Taveras says he expects to be fully healthy when he reports early for Spring Training next month, MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch reports. The outfielder, who underwent an ankle procedure to repair torn ligaments and remove loose cartilage, will be in the mix for an Opening Day roster spot.
- Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times hears from multiple sources that the Cubs are a "long shot" to land Masahiro Tanaka (Twitter link). The Cubs were one of many clubs to have made a formal offer to the Japanese star, according to a Nikkan Sports report.
- Speaking at the Cubs Convention today, Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein said the team erred in promoting Brett Jackson to the majors in 2012, commenting that the outfielder may have required more minor league seasoning (via MLB.com's Carrie Muskat). Jackson struggled to a .175/.303/.342 line in 142 plate appearances, and returned to the minors in 2013 to hit just .210/.296/.330. Epstein explained that then-manager Dale Sveum wanted to work on developing Jackson's swing.
- Count Cubs manager Rick Renteria among those excited about the team's stable of prospects. Muskat reports that Renteria called Epstein to express his excitement about the Cubs' young players while interviewing for two other manager openings this offseason, leading to his hiring for the Cubs' job.
Tonight in Los Angeles, California, the biggest stars in the game are gathering to help honor baseball's behind-the-scenes heroes. The eleventh annual Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation dinner will honor Hank Aaron, Bruce Bochy, Jack McKeon and more to help raise money for scouts who have fallen on hard times due to job loss, illness, retirement, or other setbacks. You can read more about the event (and donate) on the PBSF website. To learn more about PBSF founder Dennis Gilbert, a special assistant to White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, check out his recent interview with MLBTR's Zach Links.
- Adam Wainwright tells Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch that he has no regrets about the extension that he signed in 2013 with the Cardinals in light of Clayton Kershaw's massive new deal. "I didn’t have to sign it. We worked to get to a number where I felt made it fair for both sides," Wainwright said of his five-year, $97.5MM extension, adding that he sent a congratulatory text to Kershaw.
- Cubs President Theo Epstein defended the Ricketts family's ownership in comments to fans at the Cubs Convention today (via Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune). “They know they’re doing the right things to lay the foundation to get this right, to turn this into a franchise they can be proud of for generations and generations,” Epstein said, acknowledging that some have criticized the Cubs' quiet offseason.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
Here's the latest out of the National League:
- Even as they continue to work out contracts with key pitchers Homer Bailey and Aroldis Chapman, the Reds are keeping an eye on the free agent market, reports MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. GM Walt Jocketty says he is looking for an extra outfielder and infielder, indicating that he'd like to have a player at Triple-A that can handle shortstop in the event of an injury to Zack Cozart. "We're still looking at a couple of guys," said Jocketty. "I don't think there's been any progress, especially this week. Once a lot of the agents get through the arbitration process this week, we'll have more time to pursue any last minute invites for Spring Training that create more competition."
- The Cardinals have improved in several areas without sacrificing prospects or draft picks while the rest of the division largely stood pat in terms of acquisitions, says Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, but that does not mean the club has only smooth sailing ahead. While the organization dealt with injuries impressively last year, it is no sure thing to do so again, and players like Peter Bourjos and Allen Craig have some injury baggage. Whether the team can get a repeat performance from Matt Carpenter, and get production from an all-new middle infield (Jhonny Peralta, Kolten Wong, and Mark Ellis) are also all open questions.
- After signing all but one arbitration player (Andrew Cashner), the Padres' payroll looks likely to end up at around $87MM by Opening Day, writes Dennis Lin of U-T San Diego. That would constitute a delivery on owner Ron Fowler's promise of a payroll increase of over 20%, says Lin, who opines that the team could still look to extend Cashner and add a southpaw to the pen.
- As noted in an earlier post, MLB.com's Ken Gurnick says the Dodgers should prioritize an extension of Hanley Ramirez over the signing of Masahiro Tanaka. Meanwhile, reports Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com, the team has continued to talk with Michael Young about a return for the trade deadline acquisition.
We'll keep track of today's smaller deals to avoid arbitration in this post. Click here for background on the upcoming arbitration schedule and how MLBTR is covering it. You can also check in on our Arbitration Tracker and look at MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz's arbitration projections.
Today's noon CT deadline to exchange arb figures has passed, but negotiations to avoid an arbitration hearing can continue into February. The Braves are the only strict "file and trial" team that did not agree to terms with all of its arb-eligible players, meaning they could be headed for several hearings. The Nats and Indians have also shown a willingness to go to a trial and still have some players unsigned. On to today's contract agreements...
- After exchanging numbers, the Mets and pitcher Dillon Gee have agreed to settle at the midpoint of $3.625MM, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Swartz projected Gee to earn $3.4MM.
- The Cubs have avoided arbitration with reliever Pedro Strop, president Theo Epstein told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). He will earn $1.325MM next year, according to a tweet from Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. It is not immediately apparent whether the deal was reached before the sides exchanged terms.
- The Angels have reached agreement on a $3.8MM deal with reliever Ernesto Frieri, reports Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com (on Twitter).
- Mike Minor has agreed to terms on a $3.85MM deal with the Braves to avoid arbitration, reports Mark Bowman of MLB.com (Twitter links). The deal came before figures were exchanged, Bowman notes.
- Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports that the D-Backs and lefty Joe Thatcher have avoided arb with a one-year, $2.375MM deal (Twitter link).
- Nicholson-Smith tweets that the Angels and Fernando Salas reached an agreement to avoid arbitration. Salas is the first Halos player to avoid arb. Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times tweets that Salas will earn $870K, which beats out his $700K projection.
- MLB.com's Jason Beck reports (via Twitter) that the Tigers and righty Al Alburquerque have reached agreement on a deal to avoid arb. The hard-throwing righty will earn $837.5K in 2014, tweets Beck.
- Sherman tweets that the Yankees and Ivan Nova avoided arbitration with a one-year, $3.3MM deal.
- The Pirates and Vin Mazzaro inked a one-year, $950K deal in lieu of an arbitration hearing, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune.
- The Royals announced that they've avoided arbitration with infielder Emilio Bonifacio. Heyman tweets that Bonifacio will earn $3.5MM in 2014.
- Sherman reports that the Rays avoided arbitration with Jeremy Hellickson and Sean Rodriguez (Twitter link). Hellickson landed a $3.625MM payday with a $25K bonus if he hits 195 innings pitched. Rodriguez will get $1.475MM with a $25K bump for hitting 300 plate appearances.
- Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets that Brian Matusz avoided arb with the Orioles. Sherman adds that he'll earn $2.4MM in 2014.
- MLB.com's Brian McTaggart tweets that Jason Castro and the Astros have avoided arbitration. McTaggart adds in a second tweet that Jesus Guzman avoided arb as well. Heyman reports that Castro will be paid $2.45MM, while Sherman tweets that Guzman will make $1.3MM.
- The Indians tweeted that they've avoided arb with lefty Marc Rzepczynski, and MLB.com's Jordan Bastian tweets that he'll earn $1.375MM in 2014. Bastian adds that Scrabble will earn an additional $25K for appearing in 55 games and another $25K for 60 games.
- The Giants avoided arbitration with Yusmeiro Petit, according to MLBTR's Steve Adams (on Twitter). He'll earn $845K, according to Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith (via Twitter).
- Cesar Ramos got $750K from the Rays in his deal, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets.
- Sherman tweets that the Athletics' Craig Gentry will get $1.145MM on a one-year deal to avoid arbitration.
- Jerry Blevins and the Nationals avoided arbitration, tweets Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com. He will earn $1.675MM for the year, tweets Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca.
- Alejandro De Aza agreed to a $4.25MM deal with the White Sox, Sherman tweets. Within the same tweet, Sherman says the Rays shook hands with Jose Lobaton on a $900K deal and James Russell agreed to a $1.775MM pact.
- The White Sox and Gordon Beckham agreed to a one-year, $4.175MM deal, Sherman tweets.
- The Brewers avoided arbitration with Marco Estrada and Juan Francisco, Sherman tweets. Estrada gets $3.325MM with $100K in innings pitched bonuses while Francisco gets $1.35MM.
- Mike Dunn agreed to a $1.4MM deal with the Marlins, according to Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel (on Twitter).
- Pedro Alvarez will earn $4.25MM on his brand new deal with the Pirates, Sherman tweets.
- The Nationals announced that they've struck an arb-avoiding deal with Wilson Ramos. Ramos gets $2.095MM with the opportunity to get $105K more through plate appearance bonuses, per Sherman.
- Alexi Ogando gets $2.625MM in 2014 from the Rangers, according to Sherman.
- Mark Melancon will get $2.595MM after striking a deal with the Pirates, tweets Sherman.
- Brandon Moss and the Athletics avoided arbitration with a $4.1MM pact, Sherman tweets.
- The Red Sox and Jonathan Herrera avoided arbitration with a $1.3MM deal for 2014, Sherman tweets.
- Brian Duensing has agreed to a $2MM deal with the Twins, according to Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press (via Twitter). Berardino adds in a second tweet that Anthony Swarzak also avoided arb with a $935K deal. The swingman will earn a $25K bonus if he starts 10 games.
- The Rangers and Neftali Feliz agreed to a $3MM deal with bonuses of $25K for 50/55 games finished, Sherman tweets.
- Jake McGee will earn $1.45MM in his new deal with the Rays, Sherman tweets.
- The Royals and Eric Hosmer have agreed to a one-year, $3.6MM deal, Sherman tweets.
- Mike Carp gets $1.4MM in his deal with the Red Sox, according to Sherman (via Twitter).
- Bobby Parnell agreed to a one-year, $3.7MM with the Mets that can increase by $50K if he appears in 60 games, Sherman tweets.
- The Braves avoided arbitration with Jordan Schafer with a $1.09MM deal, tweets Sherman. Sherman adds that Andy Dirks and the Tigers have also avoided arbitration with a $1.625MM deal.
- Shawn Kelley and the Yankees dodged arbitration by agreeing to a $1.765MM deal for 2014, Sherman tweets. Kelley, 29, has a career 3.77 ERA with 9.6 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9.
- The Red Sox agreed to a one-year, $1.275MM deal with Junichi Tazawa, according to Sherman (on Twitter). Tazawa posted a 3.16 ERA in 2013 with 9.5 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9.
- The Rockies avoided arbitration with Drew Stubbs by agreeing to a $4.1MM deal for 2014, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (on Twitter). With the signing of Stubbs, the Rockies have now taken care of all of their arbitration-eligible players.
- Kyle Blanks has avoided arbitration with the Padres by agreeing to a one-year, $988K deal, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com (via Twitter).
- Sherman also reports (on Twitter) that the Giants have avoided arbitration with Gregor Blanco and Tony Abreu by agreeing to one-year deals that are worth $2.525MM and $745K, respectively.
- The Cardinals and Peter Bourjos have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $1.2MM contract, tweets Sherman. Bourjos can earn another $150K based on plate appearances.
- Gaby Sanchez and the Pirates have avoided arbitration with a one-year deal, according to Sanchez's agency, the Beverly Hills Sports Council (on Twitter). Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets that Sanchez will earn $2.3MM.
- Sherman reports (via Twitter) that the Blue Jays also avoided arbitration with Esmil Rogers by agreeing to a one-year, $1.85MM contract.
- The Nationals announced that in addition to their two-year deal with Jordan Zimmermann, they've also signed Drew Storen to a one-year deal to avoid arbitration. Sherman tweets that he'll earn $3.45MM in 2014 with an additional $1MM of incentives in his contract for games finished.
- The Rockies and righty Juan Nicasio avoided arbitration with a one-year, $2.025MM contract, Sherman tweets.
- The Blue Jays and lefty Brett Cecil have avoided arbitration with a one-year, $1.3MM pact, per Sherman (on Twitter).
- Sherman tweets that the Rays and Matt Joyce agreed to a one-year, $3.7MM contract, thereby avoiding arbitration.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Reds have avoided arbitration with Alfredo Simon by agreeing to a one-year, $1.5MM contract (Twitter link).
- Connolly also reports that the Orioles have avoided arbitration with Tommy Hunter (Twitter link). Currently the front-runner to serve as Baltimore's closer in 2014, Hunter will earn $3MM after posting a 2.81 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9 in 86 1/3 innings for the O's in 2013.
- Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles and Troy Patton have avoided arbitration (Twitter link). Patton topped Swartz's $1.2MM salary projection by earning a raise to $1.275MM, Connolly adds in a second tweet.. Patton will be suspended for the first 25 games of 2014 for amphetamine use.
- The Twins and Trevor Plouffe have agreed to a one-year, $2.35MM contract, Sherman tweets. Plouffe saw his power numbers drop as he batted .254/.309/.392 with 14 homers in a career-high 522 plate appearances in 2013 (he'd belted 24 homers in 465 PAs in 2012). He figures to open the season as Minnesota's everyday third baseman but could eventually have competition from top prospect Miguel Sano.
- Jon Jay and the Cardinals have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $3.25MM contract, according to Sherman (on Twitter). Jay batted .276/.351/.370 with the Cards in 2013 but struggled defensively (particularly in the playoffs) and will have center field competition in the form of offseason acquisition Peter Bourjos in 2014.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that the Phillies and John Mayberry Jr. have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $1.5875MM. Mayberry slashed .227/.286/.391 in 2013 and has a career .274/.321/.526 batting line against lefties. He came in just under Swartz's $1.7MM projection.
- The Cubs and Luis Valbuena have also avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year pact, tweets Sherman. Valbuena will earn $1.71MM after slashing .218/.331/.378 and setting a new career-best with 12 homers in 2013. He exceeded Swartz's projection by $210K.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
The Mets made one of the best under-the-radar improvements this offseason by upgrading their outfield defense, ESPN's Mike Petriello writes (Insider-only). With Juan Lagares starting in center field for the entire season, and Curtis Granderson and Chris Young on either side of him, the Mets should be much better off defensively than they were with Lucas Duda and others last season. Petriello also lists the Cardinals' defense, in both the infield and the outfield, as one that should be dramatically improved as a result of this offseason's moves. The Cardinals acquired Peter Bourjos for David Freese, improving their outfield while allowing Matt Carpenter to shift back to third. Another new addition, Mark Ellis, figures to help at second base. Here are more notes from the National League.
- Speaking of the Cardinals, Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says in a slideshow that the 2014 Cards should be even better than the 97-game-winning 2013 edition, and their defense is a key part of the reason why.
- It will be tough for the Braves to sign Jason Heyward to a long-term deal, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. With Heyward just two years away from being eligible for free agency, he has less incentive to accept the security of an extension, and therefore won't be inclined to give the Braves much of a discount. It might be better for the Braves to focus their efforts on signing Andrelton Simmons and/or Freddie Freeman, O'Brien suggests.
The Pirates have earned the No. 1 spot atop the organization talent rankings in the 2014 edition of the Baseball America Prospect Handbook (Baseball America's J.J. Cooper has the details). The Bucs' strong 2013 draft and their multitude of quality prospects throughout the farm system contributed to the ranking, BA editor John Manuel explained to Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “They have several players we felt would contend to be No. 1 in a lot of different organizations,” Manuel said. “They have several players who fit the profile to be starters on championship-caliber teams. They have more of those than other teams.”
Here's some more from around the NL Central...
- Jeff Samardzija believes he'd be unlikely to sign an extension with a new team following a trade from the Cubs, the right-hander tells CSN Chicago's Patrick Mooney. “The odds are very slim that I would," Samardzija said. "For any professional player two years out of free agency, the odds they sign a deal are pretty slim (in that situation)." Samardzija said his feelings could change if he's actually in that situation, but he tells Mooney that his preference would be to stay with the Cubs. Click here for an earlier portion of Mooney's pre-Christmas interview with Samardzija.
- The Reds aren't one of the six-to-eight teams who have shown interest in Nyjer Morgan, MLB.com's Mark Sheldon reports. Morgan enjoyed a big 2013 season with the Yokohama Bay Stars and is weighing offers from both MLB and Japanese clubs.
- The Cardinals seemingly have pitching to spare, but Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch points out that the club's arms have thrown a lot of extra high-pressure innings over the last few seasons due to the Cardinals' deep playoff runs. "This is why I have no problem with GM John Mozeliak's obvious desire to hoard pitching. You just never know when you're going to need arms to come to the rescue," Miklasz writes.
- The Cardinals plan to expand their scouting and development operations within Japan and Cuba over the next year, Mozeliak tells Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- In other NL Central news from earlier today, the Pirates signed Chris Dickerson to a minor league deal, the Cardinals claimed Rafael Ortega off waivers from the Rangers, Brewers GM Doug Melvin commented on his team's lack of free agent moves, Reds GM Walt Jocketty discussed the difficulties of signing Homer Bailey to an extension.
The Cardinals have claimed outfielder Rafael Ortega off waivers from the Rangers, according to MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch (on Twitter). Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish first tweeted that Ortega had been claimed by an unknown team. This is the second time Ortega has been claimed on waivers this offseason, as the Rangers initially claimed him from the Rockies back in late November.
Ortega entered the 2013 campaign ranked 15th among Rockies prospects, according to Baseball America, who called him a true center fielder with a plus, accurate arm and plus speed. BA noted that he needs to be careful not to fall in love with swinging for the fences after a home run, though he does have surprising pop for someone with a 5'11", 160-pound frame.
The 22-year-old Ortega saw his season cut short by injuries in 2013, and he posted just a .228/.315/.297 batting line in 178 plate appearances when healthy. Ortega has three 30-steal campaigns under his belt in the minors and has already received a brief taste of the Majors, totaling six plate appearances with the Rockies in 2012.
With Winter Storm Ion pummeling the eastern half of the United States, let's warm ourselves on the Hot Stove with the latest National League news and notes:
- The Mets expect to begin Spring Training next month with Ike Davis still in the fold, reports Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. The Brewers and Pirates have been the clubs most linked to Davis and the Mets are willing to re-engage in trade talks with them or any other team. The Orioles have also shown interest in the 26-year-old first baseman, but they turned down the Mets' request of pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez and are notably not mentioned in Rubin's article.
- The Mets are open to adding more depth at catcher, but have no interest in a reunion with John Buck, tweets the New York Post's Mike Puma.
- International free agency has been key to the Cardinals' having the game's best farm system, according to Derrick Goold of the St.Louis Post-Dispatch. The club's top position and pitching prospects (Oscar Taveras and Carlos Martinez, respectively) were both signed as international free agents, Goold notes.
In a chat yesterday, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch covered a series of topics with his readers, many of which implicated the hot stove. Here are a few highlights:
- Top prospect Oscar Taveras will have a shot at winning a roster spot in the spring, Goold writes. He may start out coming off of the bench, as Matt Adams did last year, though service time considerations will certainly weigh in the equation. Meanwhile, Carlos Martinez could still begin the year as a starter in Triple-A or as a key part of the big club's bullpen. To hold him in the minors as starting depth, however, the Cards would need to feel confident in another relief option, Goold explains. If injuries do not intervene, big springs from Taveras and Martinez could force other roster moves to clear way.
- When it comes time to make those decisions, Cards' GM John Mozeliak will surely utilize the club's value-based approach to comparing players and making personnel decisions. As Goold explains, the team puts a premium not only on years of control, but also the availability of options that allow the club to maintain that control even if a player struggles (or is supplanted) at the big league level. The organization has also ensured depth by holding onto higher-level minor leaguers that appear blocked, rather than flipping them for younger, more speculative talent.
- Mozeliak could always be wooed by an organization like the Rockies, says Goold, but all indications are that he remains committed to St. Louis. Mozeliak has interest in the game's broader business aspects, and could continue to expand his role in that respect with the Cardinals. If Mozeliak were to climb in the organization and move out of a baseball operations role, he has indicated that he would like to have a succession plan in place. Goold notes that several internal candidates to fill his shoes would be assistant GM Michael Girsch, director of player personnel Matt Slater, and director of amateur scouting Dan Kantrovitz.
- Putting aside the Cards, Goold opines that the Nationals are the N.L. club that has made the most improvement over the off-season to date. He views Doug Fister as a "big addition" for D.C.
- The Cardinals figure to join other MLB clubs in expanding the use of defensive shifts next season, Goold advises.
Playing winter ball in Venezuela can help North American ballplayers make ends meet, and Joshua Goodman of the Associated Press provides a fascinating look into what their lives are like as they deal with the wildly different stadium atmosphere there, not to mention the different political atmosphere. Players often make $10K to $20K a month in Venezuela, far more than most of them do in the US minor leagues or in independent ball. They play for large, raucous crowds, unlike some of those in the minors. "I've never played in the big leagues, but I don't think the environment is nearly as fun" as it is in Venezuela, says Jamie Romak, a 28-year-old minor-league veteran who played in the Cardinals system last year and is now playing for La Guaira. Here are more notes from around baseball.
- Masahiro Tanaka's free agent contract will have much to say about the way we value prospects, writes Dave Cameron of FanGraphs. The market might value Tanaka at something like $120MM to $150MM, even though he is generally considered to be a lesser talent than Yu Darvish was before his debut, and Darvish ranked behind several prospects (like Matt Moore and Shelby Miller) on some analysts' lists at the time. So if Tanaka is worth $120MM, how much is Taijuan Walker worth? How much, for that matter, is Xander Bogaerts worth? Estimates might end up somewhere north of $100MM, even though those players haven't yet proven themselves in the big leagues. That's why, Cameron argues, the Royals should not have included Wil Myers in the James Shields trade last year.
- The Angels haven't been known for their farm system in recent years, but MLB.com's Jim Callis writes that their 2009 draft was the best one of the past decade. The Angels had five selections in the first 48 picks, and with the second of those, they landed Mike Trout, currently baseball's best all-around player. They also grabbed Patrick Corbin and Tyler Skaggs (who both went to Arizona in the Dan Haren deal, although Skaggs returned earlier this month as Mark Trumbo went to the desert), outfielder Randal Grichuk (who was part of the David Freese trade) and Garrett Richards.
- Meanwhile, Callis' colleague at MLB.com, Jonathan Mayo, argues that the Cardinals' 2009 draft was actually the best. That draft produced Matt Carpenter, Shelby Miller, Trevor Rosenthal, Matt Adams and Joe Kelly.
- Even if they sign Tanaka, the Yankees might be able to get below the $189MM luxury-tax threshold for 2014 if they trade high-priced players during the season, Joel Sherman of the New York Post points out. Even that would be tricky, however. Alex Rodriguez would still have to miss a hefty chunk of the season due to his suspension (however his appeal turns out), and the Yankees would have to trade a number of expensive players. Sherman suggests that the Yankees may have missed a better opportunity to try something like this -- with much of their core injured in 2013, they could have dealt free-agents-to-be like Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, Hiroki Kuroda and Phil Hughes to get under last year's threshold. Such a move would have reduced their tax burden and allowed them to spend even more heavily this offseason. It would have been unlikely if the Yankees had waved the white flag on 2013, however, because they don't typically behave that way.
- The Braves are still in talks with reliever Eric O'Flaherty, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution tweets. O'Flaherty had Tommy John surgery last May and will likely miss the beginning of the season. He's one of only a handful of lefty relievers remaining on the free agent market, along with Oliver Perez, Mike Gonzalez, Jose Mijares and Rich Hill.