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Hart: Braves expecting Markakis to be 'full go' in spring training


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(8:29 am ET) Braves outfielder Nick Markakis underwent fusion surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck Wednesday, per MLB.com. The team expects Markakis to resume baseball activities before the start of spring training. 

"We talked to (Dr.) Steve Wray after the surgery and he said it really went well," Braves president of baseball operations John Hart said. "He said [the procedure] really went well, and he thinks that this guy will be ready to go full go in spring training. The only thing is that there will be a little bit of a disruption for his normal routine getting ready for spring training."

Markakis is expected to be cleared for physical activities within the next month, and the hope is he will be fully cleared within six weeks. Markakis agreed to a four-year, $44 million deal with the Braves in early December.


Three teams showing interest in Norichika Aoki


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/17/2014) The Orioles, Reds and Mariners are among the teams looking at outfielder Norichika Aoki, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman.

The 32-year-old Aoki hit .285/.349/.360 over 491 at-bats last year. With the Royals signing Alex Rios earlier in the week, Aoki will likely have to move on with a different club. 


Report: Padres' Seth Smith popping up in trade talks


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/17/2014) Padres outfielder Seth Smith has come up in trade talks recently, according to ESPN.

If the Matt Kemp and Wil Myers trades go through, the team would have a surplus in the outfield. On top of those two players, San Diego would also have Carlos Quentin, Will Venable, Cameron Maybin and Smith. The 32-year-old Smith hit .266/.367/.440 over 443 at-bats last year. 


Padres, Rays and Nationals on the verge of three team deal


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12/17/2014) The Nationals, Padres and Rays are on the verge of a three-team deal which would send outfielder Wil Myers to San Diego, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. 

The deal would also send outfielder Steven Souza back to Tampa Bay and prospect Trea Turner to Washington. 

The deal is yet to be finalized, with a few key pieces to also be involved in the deal. 


Blue Jays sign outfielder Ryan Kalish to minor-league contract


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12/17/2014) The Blue Jays announced Wednesday the signning of outfielder Ryan Kalish to a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training. 

Kalish appeared in 57 games in 2014 for the Cubs, hitting .248 with four triples and five RBI.


Cubs, Mariners agree on deal for OF Justin Ruggiano


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12/17/2014) Cubs outfielder Justin Ruggiano has been sent to the Mariners in a deal that will send minor league pitcher Matt Brazis to Chicago, the team announced Wednesday. 

Ruggiano, who played in 81 games in 2014, hit .281 with six home runs and 28 RBI for the Cubs. He spent the previous two seasons with the Marlins, where in 2012, he hit a career high .313 with 23 doubles and 36 RBI.

Brazis went 8-6 with 14 saves and 2.89 ERA in three years with four teams in the Mariners minor league organization. 


Padres, Rays trade talks for Wil Myers making progress


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12/17/2014) The Padres and Rays are said to be making progress on a deal for outfielder Wil Myers, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. 

Myers, who hit .222 with six home runs and 35 RBI in 87 games, was also the Rookie of the Year in 2013.

Yahoo Sports MLB columnist Jeff Passan reported this deal might also involve pieces going to and from the Nationals.


Angels GM Dipoto: 'We believe in Josh Hamilton'


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12/17/2014) The Angels have reportedly spoken with two teams, the Rangers and Padres, about the possibility of trading for outfielder Josh Hamilton, but general manager Jerry Dipoto has said the team has not given up on him.

“We do believe in Josh,” Dipoto told FOXSports.com. “We’ve seen it every day when he takes batting practice. We’ve seen him hit balls that humans shouldn’t hit. What he does, 99 percent of the players can’t do.

“We are absolutely of the belief that the ability is there for him to do the things that he has done in the past. Now we have to help him turn the key to bring the ability out.”

The talks for Hamilton were considered exploratory and were unable to gain traction, according to Ken Rosenthal. 

Hamilton, 34, is owed $83 million over the next three years and only played in 89 games in 2014, hit .263 with 10 home runs and 44 RBI. 


Padres, Rays discussing potential Wil Myers trade


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12/16/2014) The Padres and the Rays are discussing a trade that would involve 24-year-old outfielder Wil Myers, CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman reports. The deal would also send starting pitcher Burch Smith to Tampa Bay.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported the discussions between both sides.

The 2013 Rookie of the Year winner has not played more than 90 games in each of his first two seasons in the majors. Last season, he hit .222/.294/.320 with six home runs and 35 RBI over 361 at-bats. He has a career batting average of .258 through his first 175 games.


Dodgers send outfielder Noel Cuevas to Colorado for Juan Nicasio


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12/16/2014) The Dodgers have sent minor-league outfielder Noel Cuevas to the Rockies in exchange for Juan Nicasio. The deal was originally completed Nov. 24 with a player to be named later. 

Cuevas hit .231 with seven home runs and 44 RBI with Double-A Chattanooga in 2014. 


Royals take Moises Sierra off 40-man roster


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12/16/2014) The Royals announced Tuesday outfielder Moises Sierra was designated for assignment to clear a roster spot for Kendrys Morales. Sierra was claimed off waivers from the White Sox in late October.

Rays trade Matt Joyce to Angels in exchange for Kevin Jepsen


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12/16/2014) The Rays traded outfielder Matt Joyce to the Angels on Tuesday in exchange for reliever Kevin Jepsen.

"Matt was an important part of this team for the last six seasons. We appreciate his many contributions to the Rays on the field, and the professionalism he brought to the ballpark," Rays vice president of baseball operations Erik Neander said. “We’re excited about the experience Kevin brings to the bullpen, and his ability to pitch in key moments of the game."

Joyce, who was an All-Star in 2011, spent six of his seven seasons in the majors with Tampa Bay. He heads to Los Angeles with a .250/.342/.441/.783 slash line in 725 career games. Joyce has a .104 average, one home run and seven RBI in 19 games at Angel Stadium.

Jepsen is 13-18 with a 3.94 ERA over seven seasons for the Angels. He had a career-high 75 strikeouts in 65 innings in 2014, while posting a career-low 2.63 ERA.


Florida businessman pleads guilty in smuggling case for Yasiel Puig


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12/16/2014) Gilberto Suarez, a South Florida businessman who is accused of helping finance the smuggling of Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig, has changed his plea from not guilty to guilty, according to the Associated Press.

U.S. District Judge Robert Scola set a Tuesday plea change hearing for Suarez. If charged, it carries a 10-year maximum prison sentence for Suarez. 

He is alleged to be one of the financers who helped smuggle Puig from Cuba to Mexico in 2012 and was suppose to receive a cut of the seven-year, $42 million contract Puig signed. 

Puig hit .296 with 16 homeruns and 69 RBI in 2014. 


White Sox officially announce three-year, $42M deal for Melky


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12/16/2014) The White Sox officially announced Tuesday they agreed to terms with outfielder Melky Cabrera on a three-year, $42-million contract. CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman reported Monday that Cabrera will make $13 million in 2015, $14 million in 2016 and $15 million in 2017.

The 30-year-old Cabrera had one of the best seasons of his career in 2014, batting .301 with a .351 on-base percentage, .458 slugging percentage and .808 OPS in 139 games with the Blue Jays. He had 16 home runs, 35 doubles, 73 RBI and 81 runs.

Cabrera has done well in his career at U.S. Cellular Field. He has a .336 average, .591 slugging percentage, .957 OPS, two triples, seven home runs, 10 doubles and 24 RBI in 34 career games.


Schuerholz: Braves have discussed Justin Upton extension


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12/16/2014) Braves president John Schuerholz told MLB Network Radio on Tuesday they have had internal discussions about a contract extension for outfielder Justin Upton.

"All things are possible," Schuerholz said. "That is not on the table at the moment, but we have discussed it internally."

Schuerholz added the Braves have also discussed trading Upton, but that is of little surprise since Upton has been mentioned heavily in trade rumors. The 27-year-old Upton will be a free agent after the 2015 season.


Report: Dodgers expected to designate Kyle Jensen


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/15/2014) The Dodgers are expected to designate outfielder Kyle Jensen for assignment, according to Yahoo!

If that happens, Jensen's tenure with the club could be short-lived. Jensen was acquired by the team in November in a trade with the Marlins. He hit .260/.331/.481 over 556 at-bats in Triple-A.


Alex Rios signs one-year deal with Royals


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/15/2014) The Royals have signed outfielder Alex Rios to a one-year deal, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman.

Rios will make $11 million next season. The 33-year-old hit .280/.311/.398 over 492 at-bats with the Rangers last year. With the move, Rios returns to the AL Central, where he played between 2009 and 2013. Rios will take over in right field after the team lost Norichika Aoki to free agency.


White Sox, Melky Cabrera officially agree to deal


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/15/2014) The White Sox have finalized a three-year, $42 million deal with outfielder Melky Cabrera, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman.

Cabrera is set to make $13 million in 2015, $14 million in 2016 and $15 million in 2017. He also has a limited no-trade clause. The details of Cabrera's no-trade clause are not known at this time. The 30-year-old Cabrera is coming off a season in which he hit .301/.351/.458 over 568 at-bats. 


Report: Cubs unlikely to add Colby Rasmus


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/15/2014) The Cubs are unlikely to add outfielder Colby Rasmus, according to CSN Chicago.

The club reportedly met with Rasmus, and had been mentioned as one of the favorites to sign the 28-year-old outfielder. That not longer appears to be the case. The Cubs are said to be interested in adding an outfielder, but Rasmus is no longer on the team's radar. 

Rasmus hit .225/.287/.448 over 346 at-bats last season.


Indians sign four players to minor-league deals


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12/15/2014) The Indians announced Monday they signed catcher Brett Hayes, outfielder Destin Hood, catcher Adam Moore and outfielder/first baseman Jerry Sands to minor-league deals. They all received invites to major-league spring training.

Markakis set for neck surgery Wed.; expects to be ready by opener


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12/15/2014) Braves outfielder Nick Markakis said he will have a "single-level neck fusion" surgery and also have a bulging disk removed Wednesday in Atlanta, according to The Baltimore Sun. He expects to begin baseball activities in six weeks and be ready for opening day.

"I have no doubt," Markakis said about being ready for the opener.

Markakis agreed to a four-year, $44 million deal with the Braves in early December. He has spent his entire nine-year MLB career with the Orioles, producing a .290/.358/.435/.793 slash line in 1,365 games.


Hahn: White Sox 'still very bullish' about Avisail Garcia's potential


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12/15/2014) While a left shoulder injury kept White Sox outfielder Avisail Garcia from making a significant impact in 2014, the team's outlook on the 23-year-old outfielder has not changed. They are still as excited about his future as the day they traded for him in late July 2013.

"This guy is going to be one of the future stars in the league," White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams said of Garcia during a Winter Meetings appearance on MLB Network, per MLB.com. "Rick (Hahn) and I set out to remake the club a couple of years ago and we knew we were going to take it on the chin. But we wanted to get young, impact players. It started with the [Jake] Peavy deal to get Avi Garcia."

Hahn also continues to tout Garcia's potential impact.

"The upside is tremendous," Hahn said. "There is a reason this guy was targeted a couple of years back when we acquired him. We are still very bullish on his potential."


Nationals' McLouth (shoulder) expects to be 100 percent this spring


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12/15/2014) Nationals outfielder Nate McLouth said he will be 100 percent this spring coming off August shoulder surgery, per The Washington Post. He had surgery to repair a torn labrum.

"It’s been a long process, I think it’s been like three and a half months since I’ve had the surgery, something like that, and like I said it’s definitely been monotonous, but I can definitely feel it getting stronger," McLouth said. "I saw a doctor [Friday] here, and he said it’s looking pretty good."


Report: Cubs recently met with free agent OF Colby Rasmus


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12/15/2014) The Cubs recently met with free agent Colby Rasmus and are among several teams showing interest in the 28-year-old outfielder, according to Sportsnet.ca.

Nats' Harper nets two-year, $7.5M deal, avoids grievance hearing


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12/15/2014) The Nationals and outfielder Bryce Harper avoided a grievance hearing regarding his 2015 salary by agreeing to a two-year deal, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman.

The two sides were scheduled to have a grievance hearing Tuesday before coming to terms on a two-year, $7.5 million contract, sources told Heyman. Harper will make $2.5 million in 2015 and $5 million in 2016.

Harper was set to make $1.5 million in 2015 due to the contract he signed as a first-round pick in 2010. Had he been eligible for arbitration, he would have likely made about $2.5 million, according to The Washington Post. Harper and his agent, Scott Boras, believed Harper had the right to opt out of his deal and enter arbitration.


 
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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