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Red Sox trade Anthony Ranaudo to Rangers for Robbie Ross


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/27/2015) The Red Sox and Rangers announced a two player trade Tuesday where Boston sent Anthony Ranaudo to Texas and the Rangers sent Robbie Ross to the Red Sox, both teams announced.

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said Tuesday Ranaudo is in play to become the No. 5 starter in the rotation, but if he doesn't win the job, he will likely start in the minors.

Ranaudo posted a 4-3 record with a 4.81 ERA in 2014 for Boston in 39 1/3 innings pitched. Ross went 3-6 with a 6.20 ERA in 78 1/3 innings for the Rangers.


Report: Blue Jays also interested in Jonathan Papelbon trade


by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1/27/2015) Along with the Brewers, the Phillies have also discussed trading closer Jonathan Papelbon to the Blue Jays, soruces told MLB.com.

Papelbon is due $13 million next season, which is believed to be one of the sticking points in negotiations. In 2014, Papelbon had 39 saves with a 2.04 ERA.


Mariners' McClendon toying with idea of using Wilhelmsen as starter


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/27/2015) The acquisition of J.A. Happ means Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon doesn't have to head into spring training with long reliever Tom Wilhelmsen competing for a spot in the rotation.

However, McClendon hasn't totally given up on the idea of Wilhelmsen potentially transitioning to a starting role down the road, per MLB.com.

"I don't think it's totally dead," McClendon said. "I would say it's probably a long shot. My plan, as we speak right now, is to maybe stretch him out in spring and just play with it a little bit and see what happens, but I think it's a long shot. He was just so good in the role he was in, it'd be hard to take him out of that role."

Wilhelmsen pitched multiple innings in 24 of his 57 appearances last year. The former closer went 3-2 with a 2.27 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 79 1/3 innings.

"I really tried not to change anything at all, [other than] try to simplify a little bit," Wilhelmsen said. "If I was going in in the fourth inning, I knew I'd have to throw two or three innings and I just really attacked the zone. But it's not like you don't attack the zone any other time. It's the same thing. You have to get outs."


Angels invite reliever Frank Herrmann to spring training


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(1/27/2015) The Angels announced they've invited reliever Frank Herrmann to spring training as a non-roster invitee. Herrmann, 30, spent the previous five years in the Indians' organization, last pitching in the majors in 2012.

Rockies, Adam Ottavino avoid arbitration


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/26/2015) The Rockies have avoided arbitration with pitcher Adam Ottavino, according to MLB.com.

Ottavino agreed to a one-year deal with the club. Ottavino will make $1.3 million next season, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman.

The 29-year-old posted a 3.60 ERA over 65 innings last year.


Orioles bring in Parmelee, De La Rosa on minor-league deals


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/26/2015) The Orioles have signed outfielder Chris Parmelee and pitcher Dane De La Rosa on minor-league deals, according to MLB.com.

The 26-year-old Parmelee spent his first four seasons in Minnesota before becoming a free-agent during the offseason. Parmelee hit .256/.307/.384 over 250 at-bats last year.

De La Rosa, 31, pitched just 2 1/3 innings with the Angels last season. He had knee surgery in September.


Rays' Jake McGee plays catch for first time since elbow surgery


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/26/2015) The Rays announced Monday reliever Jake McGee played catch for the first time since undergoing elbow surgery in December. McGee is still expected to miss the start of the season.

Twins' Glen Perkins says he's 100 percent


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) Twins reliever Glen Perkins said he's 100 percent heading into the season, according to MLB.com.

Perkins missed the last two weeks of the regular season due to a forearm injury, but said that's no longer a problem. He took two weeks off once the season concluded, and went for a precautionary MRI just to make sure the injury wasn't serious. "I took two weeks off and started doing shoulder stuff as part of the rehab to strengthen it and everything went well," Perkins said. "I started throwing again in mid-December. The way I've been able to ramp up throwing, everything has been good."

The 31-year-old Perkins posted a 3.65 ERA over 61 2/3 innings last season.


Brewers have discussed Francisco Rodriguez


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) The Brewers have discussed reliever Francisco Rodriguez, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

The news shouldn't come as a major surprise. Rodriguez has been linked to the club since the team traded Yovani Gallardo, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. Brewers owner Mark Attanasio basically confirmed the news, saying agent Scott Boras contacted the team following the Gallardo trade in order to try and convince them to sign some of his players. Attanasio didn't rule out the move, and said general manager Doug Melvin is considering everything. "Frankie [Rodriguez] had an 89 percent save percentage and the guy has never been on the disabled list," he said. "We know he likes Milwaukee."

Rodriguez posted a 3.04 ERA over 68 innings last year. 


Brewers' Tyler Thornburg thankful to avoid serious injury


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) Brewers pitcher Tyler Thornburg was lucky to avoid Tommy Joh surgery in 2014. After being place on the disabled list in June, Thornburg was diagnosed with a wrist flexor strain. However, after a few more starts, doctors determined Thornburg injured his UCL. Thankfully for Thornburg, rest and time off was enough to allow the injury to heal.

"I feel great," Thornburg said. "Honestly, the best thing ever was the timing of everything. Right now and I’m very optimistic and if it works out I definitely feel very blessed for not having to go the other route. We had time; that was the biggest thing. We gave it as much time as possible to heal.

"The way we have it scheduled now, I would be ahead of everyone, " he said. "So it’s just in case of a setback, then I would be perfectly on schedule. But what we have planned right now, if I’m not having any setbacks then we can just kind of scale it back a little bit.

Thornburg finished 2014 with a 3-1 record with a 4.25 ERA in 29 2/3 innings.


Brewers reliever Tyler Thornburg throwing bullpen sessions


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) Brewers reliever Tyler Thornburg, who missed the second half of last season with an elbow injury, is throwing bullpen sessions as he tries to prepare for spring training, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Thornburg went 3-1 with a 4.25 ERA in 27 appearances before getting shut down in June.

Brewers reliever Jim Henderson throwing again


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) Brewers reliever Jim Henderson, who had shoulder surgery last August, began throwing off a mound last week and will toss bullpen sessions this week, reports MLB.com. Henderson hopes to be 100 percent by Opening Day, the report added.

Henderson was limited to 14 appearances last season. He went 2-1 with a 7.15 ERA.


Rockies' Boone Logan appears to be fully healthy


by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich said pitcher Boone Logan has completely recovered from elbow issues that ended his 2014 season, reports The Denver Post.

Boone struggled in 2014 and was placed on the disabled list with elbow inflammation. He produced a 6.84 ERA over 25 innings.


Tigers sign pitcher Al Alburquerque for $1.725 million


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/24/2015) The Tigers have re-signed pitcher Al Alburquerque to a $1.725 million contract with a $12,500 bonus for 75 appearances, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman.

Alburquerque originally filed for $2.05 million in arbitration while Detroit offered $1.375 million, according to Heyman. The team made the deal official Sunday, avoiding arbitration.

The five-year veteran went 3-1 in 2014 with a 2.51 ERA in 72 games. 


Rockies still consider pitcher Rex Brothers a closer


by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1/24/2015) Despite his struggles to close games in 2014, Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich told reporters Saturday he still considers pitcher Rex Brothers a potential closer, reports The Denver Post.

"You have to learn lessons from struggles," Bridich said.

In 2014, Brothers blew all six of his save opportunities and finished the season with a 5.59 ERA. However, Bridich said the 2014 season was not a typical year for Brothers.

"We're close to seeing the real Rex Brothers," Bridich said.


Twins' Brian Duensing avoids arbitration, signs one-year deal


by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1/24/2015) Twins pitcher Brian Duensing avoided arbitration after agreeing to a one-year, $2.7 million contract for the 2015 season, reports the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

In 2014, Duensing went 3-3 with a 3.31 ERA.


Vin Mazzaro signs minor-league deal with Marlins


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1/24/2015) The Marlins have signed reliever Vin Mazzaro to a minor-league contract, with an invitation to spring training on Wednesday, per FOX Sports Florida.

After a strong 2013 campaign, Mazzaro struggled to make it back to the majors in 2014. He registered 2.52 ERA over 50 innings of relief at Triple-A Indianapolis. He posted a 3.48 ERA in just 10 1/3 innings of work with the Pirates last season.


Braves' Shae Simmons ready for new season back from shoulder injury


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/23/2015) Braves pitcher Shae Simmons was only able to play in 20 games in 2014 after dealing with a right shoulder strain.

"I haven't had any issues, so I'm kind of excited about that," Simmons said Friday.

Simmons has not experienced any discomfort since beginning his offseason throwing program and will begin throwing off the mound next week.

"I gave my shoulder the rest that it needed and now I'm good," Simmons said. "Now, it's just about getting loose and getting my arm strength back."

Simmons posted a 2.91 ERA with 23 strikeouts in 21 2/3 innings in 2014, including one save.


Dodgers sign Jarek Cunningham, Ben Rowen to minor league deals


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/23/2015) The Dodgers have signed third baseman Jarek Cunningham and pitcher Ben Rowen to minor-league contracts, the team announced Friday.

Rowen pitched just 8 2/3 innings in 2014 for Texas with a 4.15 ERA and seven strikeouts before being released by the team. Cunningham has yet to make a big league appearance.


Athletics' Sean Doolittle tears rotator cuff, not expected for start of season


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/23/2015) Athletics closer Sean Doolittle has a slight tear in his left rotator cuff and is not expected to be ready for the beginning of the season, the team announced Friday.

Doolittle also has considerable inflammation in his shoulder and has received a PRP injection. The team will re-evaluate Doolittle at a later date before determining the next step. Doolittle had 22 saves in 2014 with 89 strikeouts and a 2.73 ERA.


Tigers' Ian Krol working on improving work ethic


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1/23/2015) Tigers reliever Ian Krol blamed his worth ethic for his collapse last season, according to MLive.com.

"I slipped up in my workouts," Krol said. "In season, my work ethic wasn't as hard as it is in the offseason."

Krol was acquired in the four-player trade that sent former Tigers starter Doug Fister to Washington. He got off to a strong start, posting an ERA of 3.38 in April and an ERA of 1.59 in May. Krol landed on the disabled list in June with shoulder inflammation, and was never the same. He finished with a 4.96 ERA with a 1.684 WHIP in 32 2/3 innings for the Tigers last season.

Krol's solution this offseason was to add approximately 15 pounds to his frame, in hopes of being able to handle a heavier workload, along with additional velocity to his fastball.

"One thing I'm trying to get a grasp on is being consistent throughout the season," Krol said. "I need to have a workout regiment throughout the week throughout the season to keep me healthy.

"I don't think the workload was too much. I just think it was my fault by not catching up or keeping up with my arm exercises or getting in the gym."


Report: Brewers in serious discussions for Phillies' Papelbon


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/23/2015) The Brewers are engaged in serious discussions for Phillies reliever Jonathan Papelbon, according to Yahoo Sports.

The 34-year-old Papelbon is owed $13 million next season, and has a vesting option for 2016 if he finishes 48 games in 2015. If that option vests, Papelbon would earn $13 million in 2016. Papelbon also has 17 teams on his no-trade list, and it's unclear whether the Brewers are one of those teams. Papelbon posted a 2.04 ERA over 66 1/3 innings last year.

The Brewers recently freed up cash by dealing pitcher Yovani Gallardo, causing some to believe another move was coming. The club did lose Francisco Rodriguez following a resurgent season, and hasn't done much to replace him this offseason. Jonathan Broxton was expected to step in as the team's closer, but he's missed significant time in two of the past four seasons. 


Tigers' Joe Nathan alters offseason workouts to stay fresh


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/22/2015) Tigers reliever Joe Nathan altered his offseason workouts in order to stay fresh, according to MLB.com.

Nathan admitted that he doesn't want people to think he's washed up after last year. "I don’t want people thinking that I’m done," he said. "I think coming into not just the spring, but coming into the season, I want to prove to myself and other people I still have something left in the tank."

In order to get off to a quicker start, Nathan decided to work more on his agility during the offseason. "It’s almost like I’m going back to the younger days as far as agility-type stuff and seeing if we can get some more in my legs, keep my spring in my legs, as opposed to just doing squats and squats and squats," he said. 

Nathan added that he's lifting more weight than he ever has, and said his range of motion has improved. The 40-year-old Nathan posted a 4.81 ERA over 58 innings last year. 


Brad Ausmus sets Tigers bullpen roles for 2015, Nathan to close


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/22/2015) Tigers manager Brad Ausmus announced his tentative plans for his bullpen this season, according to mlive.com.

Ausmus said that, in an ideal world, Bruce Rondon would be used in the seventh inning, Joakim Soria would pitch in the eighth and Joe Nathan would close games out. Rondon is a bit of a question mark, as he's coming off March Tommy John Surgery. He's expected to be fully healthy by spring training, but the team will move him along slowly at first.

After a midseason trade brought him to Detroit, Soria was actually a better pitcher than Nathan. Despite that, Nathan managed to hold onto the closer role.

That appears to be the case again heading into 2015. Nathan posted a 4.81 ERA over 58 innings last season. It was his highest ERA since 2011. Nathan still managed to save 35 games with the club. 


Blue Jays' Sanchez would like to start, but OK with bullpen role


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/22/2015) Blue Jays pitcher Aaron Sanchez said he would like to be part of the rotation coming out of spring training, but added he is OK with whatever role the team has in store, per Sportsnet.ca.

“I would like to start, but I understand the situation,” Sanchez said. ”We have a good team this year and have a chance to win a lot of ballgames. If that means me pitching at the back-end of the bullpen helps this team win more games, then obviously that’s what I’m here to do.”

Sanchez reiterated he would be comfortable if the team asked him to close out games.

“I find myself in one-run ball games almost every time out,” he said. “That’s what I live for. I’d rather have the game in my hands than anyone else’s, so I learned to go out there and attack these guys.”


 
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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