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Report: Yelich, Hechavarria turn down offers from Marlins


by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) The Marlins are no longer discussing multiyear contracts with outfielder Christian Yelich and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, reports the Miami Herald.

A significant gap between Yelich and the Marlins has caused contract talks on a long-term deal to stall. Hechavarria turned down the Marlins' multiyear contract because the offer was not significant enough. He can become a free agent after the 2018 season, while Yelich can become a free agent after 2019.


Rockies' Troy Tulowitzki wants to move past injury concerns


by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1/24/2015) Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki has heard the rumors about being injury-prone and he said it only motivates him to play better, reports MLB.com.

Tulowitzki only appeared in 91 games during the 2014 season and said his main goal for 2015 is to stay on the field.

"I've heard that I'm injury-prone. I've heard that I'm getting older. I like it," he said. "That stuff fuels me. It makes my workouts better. It makes me want it that much more. I just want to prove that I can do it. For so long, I've worked so hard to try to stay on the field. That's what keeps driving me - to stay on the field, help this team win and try to solidify myself as the best player in the game."

He added that he wants to play between 140 and 160 games, but he knows it will be a challenge as he gets older.

"It's been a battle for me, no doubt," Tulowitzki said. "I do everything I possibly can to prepare for the season and make myself healthy."


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.


Rockies' Bridich: Tulo 'starting to ramp up the pure baseball activity'


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/23/2015) Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who underwent surgery to repair a torn left hip labrum, has been cleared to ramp up baseball activities, per MLB.com.

"Tulo was in Denver last week just for a couple days for a routine checkup on his progress, and everything's great," Rockies senior vice president and general manager Jeff Bridich said. "He's swinging fully, he's taking full batting practice in the cage, and this week he's starting to add taking ground balls in the infield and really starting to ramp up the pure baseball activity."


Huntington: Pirates' Kang 'horrified' at portrayal of Mercer quote


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/21/2015) Pirates general manager Neal Huntington told MLB Network Radio on Wednesday the team is "trying to reduce expectations up front" for shortstop Jung-ho Kang in an effort to "allow him to transition and become comfortable."

The expectations are certainly riding high for Kang, who is coming off a 40-homer season in Korea. Kang also put himself in a tough position a few weeks ago when he was quoted as saying he "can play better than" Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer.

Although, Huntington said Kang was "absolutely horrified" how the quote about winning the shortstop job over Mercer was portrayed in the U.S., per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

"The one mistake I made through Kang process is not coming out and saying how much we like Jordy Mercer," Huntington told MLB Network Radio. "We like him."

Huntington said Kang is "most comfortable" at shortstop, but added he is going to play at second and third base in spring training as well.


Pirates prospect Tucker working his way back from thumb surgery


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/20/2015) Pirates shortstop prospect Cole Tucker, who was selected in the first round (24th overall) in the 2014 MLB Draft, had surgery in October to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb.

Tucker sustained the injury while playing in a rookie-league game in July. He opted for surgery after he aggravated the injury in the instructional league.

“We were certainly aware that Cole was battling this and were working with him as he tried to play through it,” assistant general manager Kyle Stark said in an email. “After struggling to (make) progress, we sought further testing and had further dialogue where all parties ultimately decided it was best to get the procedure done at that time.”

Tucker hit .267 with a .368 on-base percentage, .356 slugging percentage, .724 OPS, two triples, two home runs, six doubles, 13 RBI, 39 runs and 13 stolen bases in 48 games in the Gulf Coast League last season.

He is expected to be ready for the start of the minor-league season.


Brewers trade Yovani Gallardo to Rangers for three players


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/19/2015) The Rangers have finalized the trade for Brewers starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. The Brewers will receive infielder Luis Sardinas, reliever Corey Knebel and pitching prospect Marcos Diplan in the trade.

The 28-year-old Gallardo is in the last year of his contract. He won less than 10 games in 2014 for the first time in the last six seasons. He is 89-64 with a 3.69 ERA in eight MLB seasons. 

The 21-year-old Sardinas made his MLB debut in 2014, batting .261 with six doubles, eight RBI and five stolen bases in 43 games. He had been considered a top-100 prospect by MLB.com in 2013 and 2014. He had a .289/.336/.355/.691 slash line in the minors.

The 23-year-old Knebel was traded for the second time in a year. He was traded from Detroit to Texas in July. He also made his MLB debut in 2014, posting a 6.23 ERA in eight relief outings for Detroit. He struck out 11 in 8 2/3 innings. He is 7-2 with a 1.65 ERA in two minor-league seasons.

The 18-year-old Diplan went 7-2 with a 1.54 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in 13 starts in the Dominican Summer League in 2014. The Rangers signed Diplan in July 2013 for $1.3 million, per MLB.com.


Report: Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond will not be traded


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/18/2015) Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond will reportedly not be traded and remain with the team for the time being, according to FOXSports.com senior baseball writer Ken Rosenthal.

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo reportedly told another executive this week Desmond will not be traded, but the team would consider a deal "that we can't refuse." Rizzo also said the deal would have to be "pretty elaborate," according to Rosenthal.

Desmond hit .225 in 2014 with 24 home runs and 91 RBI for the Nationals.


Cardinals INF Pete Kozma willing to play anywhere in 2015


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1/17/2015) Cardinals infielder Pete Kozma said he is willing to play anywhere next season, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

"If (manager Mike Matheny) names a position, I'm going to say, 'Yes,''' said Kozma. "I'm not going to say, 'No.'"

After serving as a starting shortstop for most of 2013, Kozma spent nearly all of his 2014 season in the minors. The club's top draft pick in 2007 hit .304 (7 for 23) in 14 big-league games. He struck out 567 times compared to 294 walks in the minor leagues.

"I've focused on trying to cut my strikeouts down and trying to get on base. Try to get my walks and my strikeouts about even," Kozma said.


Report: Giants' Brandon Crawford files for $3.95 million


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/16/2015) Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford has filed for $3.95 million in arbitration, with the team offering $2.4 million, Fangraphs reports.

Crawford is in his first year of arbitration eligibility but has already been part of two World Series championship teams. He hit .246/.324/.389 with 10 home runs and 69 RBI in 491 at-bats in 2014.


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.


Reds shortstop Zack Cozart to make $2.35M in 2015


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/16/2015) The Reds and shortstop Zack Cozart avoided arbitration Friday, agreeing to a one-year, $2.35 million contract, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. Cozart's 2014 salary was $600,000.

Cozart hit just .221 with four home runs and 38 RBI in 2014. He is a career .243 hitter over four seasons in the majors.


Yankees, Stephen Drew agree to one-year, $5 million deal


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1/16/2015) The Yankees have signed free agent infielder Stephen Drew to a one-year deal, the team announced on Friday. According to the New York Daily News, Drew is expected to make $5 million in 2015. To create space for Drew in the 40-man roster, the Yankees have designated outfielder Eury Perez for assignment.

Drew missed the first two months last season after holding out for a contract. He eventually signed with the Red Sox and was then traded to the Yankees. Drew hit .162 with seven home runs and 26 RBI in 85 games.


Padres, SS Alexi Amarista agree to two-year, $2.5 million deal


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1/16/2015) Padres and shortstop Alexi Amarista have agreed to a two-year, $2.5 million deal, reports CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman on Friday. Amarista, 25, slashed .239/.286/.314 with five homers and 40 RBI over 423 at-bats in 2014. He has a .234 batting average through his first four years in the majors.

Escobar to start at 2B for Nationals, Espinosa returns to utility role


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/15/2015) Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said Thursday infielder Yunel Escobar, who was acquired in a trade Wednesday with the Athletics, will be the team's starting second baseman.

Rizzo added Danny Espinosa, who started a team-high 77 games at second base in 2014, will return to a utility role.


Nationals GM Mike Rizzo: Ian Desmond 'is our shortstop'


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/15/2015) While it doesn't appear the Nationals have made progress on a long-term deal with shortstop Ian Desmond, it appears he will be the team's starting shortstop in 2015. General manager Mike Rizzo made that point when talking to the media Thursday after the acquisition of infielder Yunel Escobar, who will be the team's starting second baseman.

"Ian Desmond is our shortstop," Rizzo said. "He’s the leader of our team. He’s one of the best shortstops in all of baseball."

FOX Sports reporter Ken Rosenthal reported earlier this week Desmond was part of a failed three-team trade between the Nationals, Mets and Rays. Rizzo said a trade offer would "have to be pretty elaborate not to have Ian Desmond on this team," per CSNwashington.com.

Desmond remains a trade possibility for the Mets, major-league sources told the New York Daily News. As of Thursday, no deal was imminent, and talks between the two sides have not gained traction. However, the Mets continue to monitor Desmond's situation amid expectations they will talk to the Nationals again.

The 29-year-old shortstop is entering the final year of his contract.


Rockies co-owner Monfort: Tulo to Mets is 'not happening'


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/15/2015) If there was any hope for Mets' fans seeing shortstop Troy Tulowitzki in a New York uniform next season, Rockies co-owner Charlie Monfort did his best Thursday to shoot down that scenario.

“It’s not happening,” Monfort told the New York Post. “I can’t speak for him, but yeah, we want him. I think he’s strong and he’s worked hard and he’ll be back. He’ll be Tulo of old.”

The Mets and Rockies have engaged in trade talks during the offseason, but haven't made progress because the Rockies have asked for significant talent in return, including current major-leaguers and prospects, per the Post. The Rockies have also not offered to pay for any of the $118 million Tulowitzki is still owed on his contract through the 2020 season.

CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman reported in December that Mets starting pitcher prospect Noah Syndergaard was at the center of the trade talks in a deal for Tulowitzki.


Nationals deal Tyler Clippard for Athletics infielder Yunel Escobar


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/14/2015) The Nationals have traded reliever Tyler Clippard for Athletics infielder Yunel Escobar, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. The Clippard news was initially reported by MLB.com. The deal is pending a physical.

Escobar was just acquired by Oakland, but will be on the move once again. The 32-year-old is coming off a season in which he posted a .258/.324/.340 slash line over 476 at-bats. Escobar is under contract for two more seasons. He's set to make a total of $13 million over those two years. He also has a $7 million option for 2017. Prior to joining Oakland, Escobar spent his last two years with the Rays. 

Clippard, 29, is under control for one more season. He's currently arbitration-eligible, and hasn't settled on a contract for the 2015 season. Clippard posted a 2.18 ERA over 70 1/3 innings last year. 


Yankees' Steinbrenner: 'We're not going to be afraid to spend money'


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/14/2015) Yankees principal owner Hal Steinbrenner indicated Wednesday more offseason moves for New York could be coming, despite general manager Brian Cashman being active this offseason, according to MLB.com. The Yankees have already re-signed third baseman Chase Headley and infielder Stephen Drew, signed reliever Andrew Miller and traded for shortstop Didi Gregorius.

"It's not over until it's over. We still have a full month before spring training," Steinbrenner said. "We're always going to continue to improve. I'm not putting a cap on it. We've certainly filled some holes that we had. We'll keep going for the next few weeks."

Steinbrenner said he wants to get New York back to the postseason while trying to keep the the payroll in the same range, but left the door open to perhaps target one of the top free-agent players still available. Starting pitchers Max Scherzer and James Shields are two of the top names still on the free-agent market.

"[But] having said that, we're still the New York Yankees, all you guys know that," Steinbrenner said. "We know what the fans expect. We know what the town expects. We're not going to be afraid to spend money."


Newcomer Kang already angling for Pirates starting shortstop job


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/14/2015) While Korean shortstop Jung-ho Kang is on his way to Pittsburgh to finalize a deal with the Pirates, the 27-year-old infielder seems extremely confident in his skills and put incumbent Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer on notice that he's aiming for his job, per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

"If I get an opportunity to play consistently, I think I can play better (than Mercer)," Kang told the Yonhap News Agency. "I think I’ll have to talk to the team about my position, but I’d like to play shortstop."

Mercer played in a career-high 149 games last season, batting .255 with 12 home runs, 27 doubles and 55 RBI. Kang hit .356 with 40 home runs and 117 RBI in 117 games in 2014 for Nexen of the Korea Baseball Organization.

If Pittsburgh completes the deal with Kang, it seems Mercer views Kang's confidence as a plus for the team.

"It's good to see he has got confidence coming in," Mercer said. "All of us can use that, for sure. If we all set our sights on one goal and have confidence in our ability, the sky is the limit for this team. So, it’s exciting to see it."


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.


Report: Nationals, Ian Desmond haven't made progress on deal


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/13/2015) The Nationals have not made progress on an extension with shortstop Ian Desmond, according to MLB.com.

The 29-year-old Desmond is set to become a free-agent following the conclusion of the 2015 season, and the Nationals have shown interest in locking him up on a long-term deal. The team reportedly offered Desmond a seven-year contract last season, but he balked at the terms. Desmond's agent and general manager Mike Rizzo were both at the winter meetings last month, but no progress was made on an extension.

Desmond is coming off a season in which he hit .255/.313/.430 over 593 at-bats. 


Reds' Cozart will have to improve offensively to keep starting job


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/12/2015) While Reds general manager Walt Jocketty has maintained Zack Cozart is the team's starting shortstop, despite the acquisition of Eugenio Suarez, apparently Cozart will have to become a better offensive player or fear losing his starting job.

"Cozart hasn't had much competition in past years. He has to improve offensively to continue to be an everyday shortstop," Jocketty said, per MLB.com. "Defensively, he is as good as anyone in either league, but he needs to improve offensively."

The 29-year-old Cozart hit just .221 with four home runs, 18 doubles and 38 RBI in 147 games in 2014. He has a career .243/.281/.365/.646 slash line in 447 games.


Report: Zobrist, Desmond were part of failed Mets-Rays-Nationals trade


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/12/2015) A three-team trade involving the Mets, Nationals and Rays, which included players Ian Desmond and Ben Zobrist, had been discussed recently, but fell through after the Mets balked at the Rays asking price, sources told FOX Sports reporter Ken Rosenthal. 

The talks unfolded with the Nationals trading Desmond to the Rays for Zobrist and Yunel Escobar, who were eventually traded to the Athletics on Saturday. The Rays would have then dealt Desmond to the Mets, who are looking for an upgrade at shortstop.

Unfortunately, the Mets chose not to pursue the deal after the Rays requested two top prospects from a list of three, which New York considered too much for Desmond, who will be a free agent after the 2015 season. The Rays' list included Mets top pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard. It is not known who the other two targets were.

The Mets were also engaged with the Rays in a trade for Zobrist, but once again the Rays wanted two top prospects and the Mets did not want to make that deal. Zobrist will also be a free agent after the 2015 season.


A's acquire Ben Zobrist, Yunel Escobar from Rays


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1/10/2015) The Athletics have acquired infielders Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar from the Rays in exchange for catcher John Jaso and two prospects and cash, both clubs announced Saturday. The two prospects include shortstop Daniel Robertson and outfielder Boog Powell.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle first reported the trade, and CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman confirmed the deal.

Zobrist, a two-time All Star, is coming off a season in which he hit .272/.354/.395 over 570 at-bats. He is entering the final year of his contract, and is due $7.5 million next season. Escobar, 32, hit 258/.324/.340 with seven homers and 39 RBI over 476 at-bats in 2014. He is expected to earn $5 million this season and $7 million in 2016, with a club option for 2017 at $7 million with a $1 million buyout.

The move will likely turn recently acquired Marcus Semien into an "everyday super utility player," Slusser said.


 
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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