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Twins' Byron Buxton named No. 1 prospect by MLB.com


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:00 am ET) Twins outfielder Byron Buxton was named the top prospect in baseball by MLB.com Friday.

Buxton played just 31 games in 2014 due to wrist and concussion issues and finished with a .240/.313/.405 line along with four home runs, 16 RBI and six stolen bases in 121 at-bats with high Class A Fort Myers. He also went 0 for 3 at the Double-A level. Buxton is making his second straight appearance atop MLB.com's top prospect list.

The rest of MLB.com's top-five prospects (in order) are Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, Astros shotstop Carlos Correa, Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor and Cubs shortstop Addison Russell. None of the quartet appeared in the top five of last year's MLB.com prospect list, though all four cracked the top 12.


Tigers' Dombrowski: Steven Moya 'relatively close' to making impact


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/30/2015) Tigers outfield prospect Steven Moya, who was the MVP of the Eastern League (Double-A) in 2014, is expected to open the season at Triple-A Toledo, per the Detroit Free Press.

"I don't know if I'd say we're buying time for Moya," Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski said last week. "Probably when a guy as talented as Moya is ready, he'll make his way onto a team. I don't think we could absolutely say, trying to win a pennant, trying to win a world championship, you can count on him being 100 percent ready."

The 23-year-old Moya hit .276 with a .555 slugging percentage, .861 OPS, 33 doubles, 35 home runs and 105 RBI in 133 games last season at Double-A. He has a career .251/.444/.739 slash line over six minor-league seasons.

Moya also made a brief appearance in the majors last season, batting .375 (3 for 8) in 11 games.

"I think the development time will be good for him" Dombrowski said. "Could he come up and produce at some time during the year? Yes. He's relatively close."


Red Sox's Daniel Nava agrees to $1.85M salary to avoid arbitration


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/29/2015) The Red Sox announced Thursday they agreed to terms with outfielder Daniel Nava, avoiding arbitration. Nava's 2015 salary will be $1.85 million, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman.

Nava is in his first year of arbitration. He made $556,500 in 2014.


Twins OF Torii Hunter plans to mentor Aaron Hicks, Byron Buxton


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/29/2015) Twins veteran right fielder Torii Hunter said one of his goals this season will be to mentor outfielder Aaron Hicks and top outfield prospect Byron Buxton, per MLB.com.

"I know Hicks can play, but with Buxton -- I haven't seen video or seen him play, but every word I hear is good about him," Hunter said. "I definitely think when we get to spring training we'll sit down and I'll work out with them and evaluate what they're doing right and what they're doing wrong."

Hicks said he will lean on Hunter this spring, as he competes with Jordan Schafer for the starting job in center field.

"I'll be all in his ear the whole time," Hicks said. "He might get annoyed I'll be in his ear so much. He's definitely a guy I'm going to go to.

"I believe that I have the ability to play center field here for a long time. I've just got to go out there and show people that I can be the center fielder that everybody wants me to be and also that I want myself to be."


White Sox sign Gordon Beckham, DFA Dayan Viciedo


by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1/28/2015) The White Sox signed second baseman Gordon Beckham  to a one-year, $2 million contract, the team announced.

Beckham spent more than five seasons with the White Sox. He is a career .245 hitter and is expected to play in a utility role. To make room for Beckham, the team designated Dayan Viciedo for assignment.


Orioles finalize trade with Pirates for Travis Snider


by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1/27/2015) As part of the trade sending outfielder Travis Snider to the Orioles, the Pirates will receive prospect Stephen Tarpley and a player to be named later, the team announced.

The left-handed Tarpley pitched at Class A in 2014 and went 3-5 with a 3.68 ERA.

Snider hit .264 with 13 home runs and 38 RBI in 2014 and will be a free agent after the 2016 season. Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said Snider fits in well with the team, reports MASNsports.com. 

"Snider is a solid dependable power-hitting outfielder and is an excellent fit for Camden Yards," Duquette said.

To make room for Snider, the Orioles designated Michael Ohlman for assignment


Report: Orioles, Pirates rekindle Travis Snider trade talks


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/27/2015) The Orioles and Pirates have revived trade talks regarding Pittsburgh outfielder Travis Snider, a source told The Baltimore Sun. The Orioles are closing in on a framework for a deal for Snider and are encouraged a trade will happen in exchange for one or two minor-league players.

The 26-year-old Snider is in his second year of arbitration and will be a free agent after the 2016 season. He will make $2.1 million in 2015.


Santana, Escobar to compete to be Twins' starting shortstop


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/27/2015) While Danny Santana is considered the front-runner to be the Twins' starting shortstop, first-year manager Paul Molitor said nothing has been decided yet. Santana will compete with Eduardo Escobar for the starting job this spring.

"It's probably been one of the more awkward things for me this winter in dealing with that situation," Molitor said, per MLB.com. "Obviously, I have to go in there open-minded about how it will play out. I can't say Santana will be the shortstop because things can change. Escobar deserves an opportunity to play and whether it's spotting around the organization or he has to go back to shortstop, I can't tell you it all will work out."

Escobar started a team-high 86 games at shortstop in 2014 for Minnesota. He made it clear he wants to play every day, but is willing to play where Molitor needs him.

"This season is important for me," Escobar said. "I'm coming in ready to play. I don't know if I'm going to be the starting shortstop or not, but I've been working hard to be ready for spring training. If Molitor wants me to play shortstop, or wherever, I'm ready for it."

Santana said he is excited he is moving back to shortstop after making a team-high 62 starts in center field last year. He's been fielding 200 grounders per day in the Dominican Republic to get ready for the season.

"I'm very happy about playing shortstop. I was waiting for that moment," Santana said. "Shortstop is my natural position. I just need to keep working and I can do the same thing as last year."


Royals OF Jarrod Dyson agrees to $1.225M salary for 2015


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/27/2015) Royals outfielder Jarrod Dyson avoided arbitration Tuesday by agreeing to a $1.225 million salary for 2015, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. He will also receive a $25,000 bonus for 350 plate appearances.

Dyson is in his first year of arbitration. He hit .269 with one home run, 24 RBI and 36 stolen bases in 120 games in 2014.


Indians want Michael Bourn to get back to his base-stealing ways


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/26/2015) The Indians want outfielder Michael Bourn to get back to his base-stealing ways, according to the Plain Dealer

Prior to joining the team, Bourn had compiled five straight seasons with at least 40 steals. Since joining the team, he's stolen 33 bases in two seasons. Injuries have played a role in his decline. Bourn admitted he had some trouble adjusting to the American League in his first season with Cleveland. He tore his hamstring on the final day of the season, and had offseason surgery, but the issue still plagued him in 2014. 

Manager Terry Francona agreed, saying "When he gets on base, he has to disrupt the game." Francona added, "he wants to do it really bad, he just wasn't in position to do it the last couple of years. Hopefully, those injuries are limited and he can use his legs because he's a huge part of what we do."

Bourn, 32, hit .257/.314/.360 over 444 at-bats last year.


Mariners planning on batting Smith, Ruggiano in second spot in lineup


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/26/2015) Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said he is tentatively planning to bat the right-field tandem of Seth Smith and Justin Ruggiano second in the lineup, per The New Tribune.

The Mariners ranked last in the majors last season in on-base percentage (.260) from their No. 2 hitters. No other team was lower than .279.

Smith had a .367 OBP last season for San Diego, while Ruggiano had a .337 OBP in 81 games for the Cubs.


Mariners' Austin Jackson looking to bounce back in 2015


by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1/26/2015) After being acquired by the Mariners at the trade deadline last season, outfielder Austin Jackson struggled to produce for the Mariners. In 54 games, Jackson hit .229 and Jackson said the trade affected his playing ability, reports The News Tribune.

"Not making excuses, but I think getting traded and trying to get used to the travel and the sleep - those things affect your play on the field," Jackson said.

By starting the season in Seattle, Jackson said he hopes to avoid the distractions from last season and he's looking to return to his old form.

"Hopefully, getting started here and staying here, those distractions won't be there," Jackson said.


White Sox OF Avisail Garcia dropped weight during offseason


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/26/2015) White Sox outfielder Avisail Garcia dropped roughly 15 pounds during the offseason, according to MLB.com.

"I've been eating healthy, working real hard at the gym, Garcia said. "I have to be ready for spring training. I can't go there and be fat." With the weight loss, Garcia is hoping to keep his power potential. "I don't want to lose speed, I don't want to lose power," Garcia said. "I want to be in the middle. I know I can do a little bit of everything, so that's why I've been working really hard on speed, power, hitting and defense, so I can help my team win."

Garcia hit .244/.305/.413 over 172 at-bats last year.


Angels' Josh Hamilton setting lofty goals for 2015


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton is ready to set some lofty goals for 2015, according to MLB.com.

Hamilton said he's aiming to hit .300, with 30 home runs and 100 RBI this year. After struggling through injuries in 2014, Hamilton said his offseason has been mostly normal. The 33-year-old hit .263/.331/.414 over 338 at-bats last year. 


Mariners sign Endy Chavez to minor-league deal


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) The Mariners have signed outfielder Endy Chavez to a minor-league deal, according to the Tacoma News Tribune

The 36-year-old has been linked to the club recently, and finally decided to return. He spent the first month of last season in the minors, but joined Seattle in late May. Chavez hit .276/.317/.371  over 232 at-bats. The deal includes an invite to spring training. 


David Murphy's role unclear for Indians heading into season


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) Indians outfielder David Murphy is heading into his second season with the club and is trying to figure out what his role will be with the team.

Murphy said Sunday he got the chance to speak with general manager Chris Antonetti when the team traded for Brandon Moss in December.

"Communication is huge just in general in this game," Murphy said. "It's nice to go into the season knowing how he feels, and I'm sure he's speaking for the front office and the coaching staff. Just having an idea of how they feel about it, and giving me a chance to voice my opinion in how I feel about it, the lines of communication are open. I definitely think that's a good thing. It's kind of hard to know at this point how things are going to fall into place."

Murphy, who hit .262 with eight home runs and 58 RBI in 2014, knows being traded is one option to find playing time.

"I think everybody can logically see that there's only so many spots out there for so many players," Murphy said. "I'm prepared to lose playing time, but not to the point where I'm going to get 150 at-bats. If that's the case, and that's the best-case scenario for them and for me, I'm open to [a trade]. But I feel like this team has a great chance to win, and for that reason, I would love to be here."

Indians manager Terry Francona said recently Murphy will be the right fielder in Cleveland to open the year.

"Well, it's hard to say right now, because we don't know how healthy Swish or Moss are," Francona said. "So right now, Murph's our right fielder. I don't know if that's going to change in the next month or not."


Citing health, Allen Craig hopes to play well for Red Sox


by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1/24/2015) After declaring himself healthy, Red Sox outfielder Allen Craig hopes to justify the Red Sox’s decision to trade for him, reports the Boston Herald.

Craig suffered a ligament tear in his left foot in 2013 and struggled throughout 2014, hitting .215 with eight home runs and 46 RBI.

"I'm just going to go to spring training and compete wherever I'm at and just play the game like I always have," Craig said. "The Red Sox traded for me because they believe in me, so I want to go out there and play well."


Twins OF Byron Buxton seeking bounce-back 2015 campaign


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1/24/2015) Although Twins outfielder Byron Buxton is likely to start the year in Double-A, general manager Terry Ryan said that seeing both Buxton and third baseman Miguel Sano debut this season "would be a realistic point of view," according to the Associated Press.

Sano was sidelined in 2014 after having Tommy John surgery on his right elbow last March. Buxton endured a frustrating injury-riddled 2014 campaign. He has been recovering from a broken index finger and was recently cleared to resume baseball activities.

"We've got to knock off some of the rust that's built up on him, because he hasn't played all that much," Ryan said. "I don't anticipate anything that went on with him last year really affecting him in a negative way. He just didn't get enough at-bats or enough playing time to say it was a developmental year. We lost basically a year with him, and that's not what you like."


Tigers manager Ausmus: Cespedes will hit in heart of the order


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1/24/2015) Tigers manager Brad Ausmus told reporters that outfielder Yoenis Cespedes will hit in the heart of the order this season, per the Detroit Free-Press.

Cespedes, 29, was acquired in a December trade with Boston. He batted cleanup in 235 of his 416 career games in the majors. He hit .260 with 100 RBI last season between Oakland and Boston. He owns a .263 average, .464 slugging percentage and .780 OPS in 416 games over three MLB seasons.


Mariners GM: We've had some discussions with Franklin Gutierrez


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1/24/2015) Mariners assistant general manager Jeff Kingston indicated that free agent outfielder Franklin Gutierrez is still on the team's radar, according to the Tacoma News Tribune. Gutierrez spent the 2014 season on the restricted list due to ongoing gastrointestinal issues.

"He wants to give it a shot," Kingston said. "Full disclosure, there are some veteran non-roster players we're still talking to, and we probably will add a few more here before the start of camp.

"He is somebody we've had some discussions with. So it is a possibility."


Twins outfielder Byron Buxton cleared to resume activity


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/23/2015) Twins outfielder Byron Buxton has been cleared to resume activity and is hoping to get all of his injuries out of the way, foxsportsnorth.com reports.

Buxton, who is heading into his second season in Minnesota, suffered a broken index finger, which required surgery in October. He is expected to be ready for spring training.


Report: Angels no longer in play for Gordon Beckham


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1/23/2015) The Angels are no longer in play for second baseman Gordon Beckham, reports MLB.com on Friday. The team is now set on having Josh Rutledge, Johnny Giavotella, Grant Green and Taylor Featherston compete for second base/utility at-bats moving forward.

Beckham was non-tendered by the Angels on Dec. 2. He managed a slash line of .227/.271/.348 in 2014.


Twins, Jordan Schafer agree to terms on $1.55 million contract


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1/23/2015) The Twins announced Friday that they have agreed to terms with outfielder Jordan Schafer on a one-year contract for $1.55 million, avoiding arbitration. Left-handed pitcher Brian Duensing remains the only arbitration-eligible player for the Twins without an agreement.

Schafer, 28, made $1.09 million last season with the Braves. He slashed .238/.310/.305 with one homer, 15 RBI and 30 stolen bases in 210 at-bats between Atlanta and Minnesota in 2014.


Indians OF Michael Brantley adjusts offseason workouts for 2015


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1/23/2015) Indians outfielder Michael Brantley told reporters on Thursday that he changed his offseason workouts in order to be fully ready for full-squad reporting day on Feb. 22, reports the Akron Beacon Journal.

Brantley was named to the All-Star team for the first time, and finished third in MVP voting last season. He slashed .327/.385/.506 with 20 homers and 97 RBI over 611 at-bats.

"I have never trained this hard in my life so I can't wait to see how it works out this year," Brantley said. "I was working out five-six days a week, three hours a day. I have an itch to start this year and [I’m] excited about it.

"I revamped everything. I feel like I can get better and stronger. I've been working on base-stealing."


Twins granted fourth option year on Oswaldo Arcia


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/23/2015) The Twins have been granted a fourth option year on outfielder Oswaldo Arcia, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Arcia has already been optioned three times in his career, but Minnesota was granted a fourth option after Arcia spent less than 10 days in the minors in 2014. While Arcia is expected to open the year as one of the team's starting outfielders, the move allows the Twins to send him down if he disappoints during spring or gets off to a poor start. Once Arcia is out of options, the team would have to try and send him through waivers in order to put him in the minor-leagues.

The 23-year-old Arcia hit .231/.300/.452 in 372 at-bats last year.


 
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