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Reds' Price: Last report on Joey Votto was 'very, very good'


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/22/2015) Reds manager Bryan Price delivered another positive update Thursday on the status of first baseman Joey Votto, who missed 100 games last season with a distal strain of his left quadriceps.

Votto has been monitored by Reds strength and conditioning coach Sean Marohn during the offseason.

“The last report when Sean was up in Toronto earlier this month was very, very good,” Price said. “The strength was outstanding, the stamina was good and the agility. Right now, we’re looking to hit the ground running when Joey gets to Goodyear and being able to see with our own eyes where he’s at. I’m confident that he’s going to be ready to go.”

Votto, who is a career .310 hitter, batted just .255 with six home runs, 16 doubles and 23 RBI in 62 games in 2014.


Brewers designate Hunter Morris for assignment on Monday


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/19/2015) The Brewers have designated first baseman Hunter Morris for assignment on Monday.

The team had to clear space off the 40-man roster after making a deal with Texas earlier in the day. The 26-year-old Morris hit .275/.322/.434 over 371 at-bats over three levels on the minors last year. 


Amaro: Ryan Howard will have to earn Phillies' starting 1B job


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1/17/2015) Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. stood by his recent comments on the future of Ryan Howard, reiterating that he'll have to earn the team's starting job at first base if he's with the Phillies this season, according to the Philadelphia Daily News.

"I think that if Ryan's with us, and he's likely to be with us in spring training, I think Ryan's got to prove to us that he's ready to play every day at first base for us. I mean I'm kind of looking forward to him being ready and healthy and contributing. Right now, there's nobody really that can unseat him."

Howard led the majors last season in strikeouts. He slashed .223/.310/.380 with 23 homers and 95 RBI over 569 at-bats in his first full season in three years. He is under contract through the 2016 season and is set to make $25 million the next two seasons. He also has a $23 million team option for 2017, which includes a $10 million buyout.


Report: Giants swap arbitration figures with Belt, Blanco


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/16/2015) Giants first baseman Brandon Belt has filed for $4.5 million in arbitration while outfielder Gregor Blanco has filed for $4 million, 16 WAPT Sports reports.

The team has offered Belt $3 million and Blanco $3.3 million. Belt is in his first year of arbitration eligibility while Blanco is eligible for arbitration for a second year.


Report: Mets' Lucas Duda files for $4.7 million in arbitration


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/16/2015) Mets first baseman Lucas Duda has filed for $4.7 million in arbitration, while the team has offered $3.75 million, ESPNNewYork.com reports.

Duda is in his first year of arbitration eligibility this offseason. He hit .253/.349/.481 with 30 home runs and 92 RBI in 514 at-bats in 2014.


Padres' Tyson Ross, Yonder Alonso avoid arbitration


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1/16/2015) Padres right-hander Tyson Ross and Yonder Alonso both avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year contracts, per the team's official website. Ross has settled for $5.25 million, per MLB.com. Alonso is set to make $1.65 million in 2015, per ESPN.

Ross registered a 2.81 ERA and 195 strikeouts over 195 2/3 innings last season. Alonso slashed .240/.285/.397 with seven homers and 27 RBI over 267 at-bats.


Mets lock up Dillon Gee, Ruben Tejada before arbitration deadline


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1/16/2015) The Mets reached a settlement with starting pitcher Dillon Gee and shortstop Ruben Tejada prior to Friday's arbitration deadline, reports ESPN. Gee agreed to a one-year deal, worth $5.3 million, while Tejada settled for $1.88 million.

Jenrry Mejia and Lucas Duda did not reach an agreement before the 1 p.m. deadline.


Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo: 'We're going to win the NL Central'


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/15/2015) It seems Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo is pushing all of his chips into the middle of the table. When talking to the media Thursday, Rizzo didn't hold back on his expectations for the Cubs in 2015.

"We're going to win the NL Central," he said. 

The Cubs finished last in the NL Central in 2014 with a 73-89 record. The last time they finished above fifth in the NL Central was 2009. The last time they won the NL Central crown was 2008.

The Cubs have been active this offseason. They hired manager Joe Maddon, who won the AL pennant with the Rays in 2008 and took Tampa Bay to the playoffs four times. They signed ace Jon Lester and traded for catcher Miguel Montero. The Cubs also have a loaded farm system, with some close to major-league-ready talent in Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and Jorge Soler.


Mark Appel, Carlos Correa among Astros' non-roster invites


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/13/2015) The Astros announced Tuesday they will have 17 non-roster invites for spring training, including starting pitcher prospect Mark Appel and shortstop prospect Carlos Correa. Appel was the No. 1 pick in the 2013 MLB draft, while Correa was the No. 1 pick in 2012.

The other non-roster invitees are outfielder Andrew Aplin, pitcher Darin Downs, infielder Matt Duffy, catcher Luis Flores, infielder Nolan Fontana, catcher Tyler Heineman, pitcher Jordan Jankowski, infielder Dan Johnson, infielder Colin Moran, catcher Roberto Pena, infielder Gregorio Petit, pitcher Brady Rodgers, infielder Joe Sclafani, pitcher Jason Stoffel and outfielder Preston Tucker.

Correa (No. 1) and Appel (No. 2) are considered the team's top two prospects, according to Baseball America. Moran (No. 7) is also considered a top-10 prospect.


Nats announce minor-league signings of Mike Carp, Steven Lerud


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1/13/2015) The Nationals announced the minor-league signings of outfielder Mike Carp and catcher Steven Lerud on Tuesday, per the team's official website. Both players will receive an invitation to big-league spring training.

Carp hit .175/.289/.230 over 126 at-bats last season, 86 of which came with Boston. Lerud has only 15 career plate appearances.


Amaro: Phillies will not release Ryan Howard, if they can't trade him


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/12/2015) While the Phillies have had some issues trying to trade veteran first baseman Ryan Howard, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. made it very clear that the team is not just going to give away the 35-year-old slugger.

"The fact that we’ve been so public makes people think we’ll release him. That won’t happen. He’ll play for the Phillies if we don’t trade him. And hopefully he will play his butt off," Amaro said Saturday, according to FOX Sports.

"He has things to prove. He’s finally healthy. He’s preparing himself really well . . .  (A trade) is best for both parties, but there is a point of diminishing returns. At some point, we’re going to keep him, let him produce. Someone will have a need for him. He may be worth more later in the year or next year."

Howard is under contract through the 2016 season. He is set to make $25 million the next two seasons. He also has a $23 million team option for 2017, which includes a $10 million buyout.

According to ESPN, Howard can block trades to 20 teams. The nine teams not on his no-trade list are Tigers, Royals, Angels, Mariners, Yankees, Rangers, Rays, Orioles and Red Sox.


Padres' Yonder Alonso: 'I feel amazing'


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/8/2015) Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso has been able to ramp up his activity after August wrist surgery, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Alonso had surgery to repair a damaged tendon in his right wrist in August. He's been able to put in some work in early December, and is optimistic about his health. "I feel amazing," Alonso said regarding his current status. 

The 27-year-old has had a tough time since joining the Padres in 2012. He hasn't hit particularly well, and has missed time with hand, wrist and forearm issues. Alonso hit .240/.285/.397 in 267 at-bats before the injury last season. 


Rangers bring in Mike McDade, Mason Tobin on minor-league deals


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/8/2015) The Rangers have signed first baseman Mike McDade and reliever Mason Tobin to minor-league deals, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The 25-year-old McDade spent last season at both Double-A and Triple-A. He hit .242/.298/.349 over 326 plate appearances. 

Tobin actually made the Rangers opening day roster in 2011, but spent last year in Triple-A with the Giants. He posted a 4.24 ERA over 34 innings. 


Report: Phillies' Ryan Howard can't block trade to nine teams


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/6/2015) While Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. looks to trade first baseman Ryan Howard, there are some obstacles to completing a deal, including Howard being able to block trades to 20 teams, according to ESPN.

Under the terms of Howard's contract, the 35-year-old veteran can only be traded to nine teams without his permission. Those nine teams are the Tigers, Royals, Angels, Mariners, Yankees, Rangers, Rays, Orioles and Red Sox, a source familiar with Howard's contract told ESPN.

Howard, who hit .223 with 23 home runs and 95 RBI in 153 games in 2014, still has two years left on his contract. He is due to make $25 million each of the next two seasons. He also has a $23 million team option for 2017, which includes a $10 million buyout.


1B Clint Robinson hooks up with Nationals


by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12/26/2014) The Nationals have signed first baseman Clint Robinson to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training.

Robinson had been in the Dodgers organization. He compiled a strong .312/.401/.535 slash line at the Triple-A level a year ago.


Phillies sign trio to minor league contracts


by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12/22/2014) The Phillies have signed first baseman Chris McGuiness and pitchers Sean O'Sullivan and Kevin Slowey to minor league contracts.

The Phillies released O'Sullivan after the season. McGuinness earned 34 at-bats with Texas in 2013, but did not play at the major league level last year. Slowey was released by Miami in June after a poor performance.


Giants dispatch 1B Villanola to minors


by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12/22/2014) The Giants have outrighted first baseman Angel Villanola to the minors. He is no longer on the 40-man roster.

Villanola has yet to earn an at-bat in the major leagues.


Twins sign 1B Brock Peterson to minor league deal


by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12/22/2014) The Twins have signed journeyman first baseman Brock Peterson to a minor league contract. He played in 117 games at the Triple-A levels of the Nationals and Dodgers organizations last year. He had a strong season with a .301 average, 15 home runs and 67 RBI in 117 games.

>> Want more Hot Stove? Free agent tracker | Trade tracker


Marlins, Yankees formally announce five-player trade


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12/19/2014) The Marlins and Yankees formally announced a five player trade on Friday, per MLB.com. The Marlins acquired infielder Martin Prado and pitcher David Phelps from New York in exchange for Nathan Eovaldi, Garrett Jones and Domingo German. Miami also received an undisclosed amount of cash in the deal.

Prado hit .282 with 12 homers and 58 RBI in 143 games played between the Yankees and Diamondbacks. Phelps went 5-5 with a 4.38 ERA and 92 strikeouts over 113 innings pitched. 

Eovaldi registered a 4.37 ERA, a 1.33 WHIP and 142:43 K:BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings as a starter in Miami. Jones hit .246 with 15 homers and 53 RBI over 496 at-bats in his lone season with the Marlins.


Pirates sign 1B Corey Hart to one-year contract


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12/19/2014) The Pirates announced they signed veteran first baseman Corey Hart to a one-year deal on Friday, per the team's official website. Hart is expected to make $2.5 million from Pittsburgh, plus $2.5 million in incentives, reports CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Hart will likely be the right-handed platoon option with Pedro Alvarez at first base. Hart has 160 homers in his 10-year career in the majors. Last season, he appeared in only 68 games due to injury, batting .203 with six home runs, nine doubles and 21 RBI.

Marlins acquire Martin Prado in trade with Yankees


by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(12/19/2014) CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman has confirmed the Yankees have traded third baseman Martin Prado and pitcher David Phelps to the Marlins in exchange for pitcher Nathan Eovaldi, first baseman Garrett Jones and Domingo German. The Marlins will also receive an undisclosed amount of cash in the deal.

Michael Morse signs two-year, $16 million deal with Marlins


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12/16/2014) Outfielder Michael Morse's agent confirmed he's signed a contract with the Miami Marlins on Tuesday. CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman reports the deal is worth $16 million for two years.

Morse played a crucial part in San Francisco's championship run in 2014, batting .279 with 16 home runs, 32 doubles and 61 RBI in 131 regular season games. He had just six hits over 20 postseason at-bats.


Michael Morse agrees to two-year deal with Marlins


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12/16/2014) Free agent outfielder/first baseman Michael Morse has agreed to a deal with the Marlins, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. MLB.com reports it is a two-year deal, pending a physical. FOX Sports was first to report Morse was close to a deal with Miami.

Morse heads to Miami with a .281/.335/.473/.808 slash line over 10 seasons in the majors. He helped San Francisco to a World Series title in 2014, while batting .279 with a .475 slugging percentage, 16 home runs, 32 doubles and 61 RBI in 131 regular season games.

In nine career games at Marlins Park, Morse has a .314 average, .457 slugging percentage, .771 OPS, one triple, three doubles and five RBI.


Orioles on Ryan Howard's pre-approved list for trades


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12/13/2014) The Orioles and the Phillies discussed a package deal that included outfielder Marlon Byrd and first baseman Ryan Howard during the winter meetings, Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports reports Saturday.

According to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman, the Orioles are one of eight teams on Howard's pre-approved list for trades. An American League team seems like an ideal landing spot for the veteran, who could spend the final two years of his contract as a designated hitter. However, according to Heyman, there's "not a lot there at the moment" between the two clubs.

Howard has two years and a guaranteed $60 million remaining on his contract, with a $23 million option for 2017. He slashed .223/.310/.380 with 23 homers, 95 RBI while also striking out 190 times over 569 at-bats last season


 
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Fan Poll

Which of these third basemen would you want on your teams for the second half?

Nolan Arenado, Rockies
17%
Manny Machado, Orioles
25%
Todd Frazier, Reds
33%
Martin Prado, Diamondbacks
4%
Kyle Seager, Mariners
17%
Pedro Alvarez, Pirates
4%

Total Votes: 3,689