Angels avoid arbitration with David Freese
by Chris Cwik |
(1/28/2015) The Angels have avoided arbitration with third baseman David Freese, the team announced. 

Freese signed a one-year deal worth $6.425 million, according to The 31-year-old Freese hit .260/.321/.383 over 462 at-bats last season. Freese is set to open the season as the team's starter at third. 

Indians 3B Giovanny Urshela expected to be ready for spring training
by Larry Hartstein |
(1/28/2015) Indians third base prospect Giovanny Urshela, who sprained a knee ligament in a Venezuelan winter league game in November, should be ready for spring training, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Urshela, 23, is considered the most skilled defensive third baseman in the organization.

He likely will begin the season at Triple-A Columbus, but "could get a look" if Lonnie Chisenhall falters, the paper said.

Tigers' Castellanos works to be 'more comfortable' at 3B in 2015
by Michael Hurcomb |
(1/27/2015) Tigers third baseman Nick Castellanos struggled in his first full year playing third base at the major-league level in 2014, so he is hard at work this offseason improving his defense

"Last year was [about] the actual ground-ball catching," Castellanos said, per "This year is a lot more [about] quickness, working on my range, lateral movement."

On top of committing 15 errors, Castellanos' Ultimate Zone Rating of negative-18.4 was nearly twice as bad as the next-lowest rating among third-base regulars. He also had a Defensive Runs Saved of minus-30 and a plus/minus rating of minus-39, which was lowest in the majors last year.

"I'm going to be more comfortable this year," Castellanos said. "Last year, I knew nobody [in terms of hitting tendencies]. Also I was getting used to the tempo of the game. It wasn't like I was in the big leagues for a while at another position and then had to go to third base. It was pretty much me making my first year in the big leagues at pretty much a new position, or trying to relearn an old position."

Report: Yankees looking to void milestone bonuses for A-Rod
by Chris Cwik |
(1/25/2015) The Yankees are looking to void milestone bonuses in Alex Rodriguez 's contract, according to the New York Daily News.

When Rodriguez signed his deal with the club in 2007, it contained bonuses as Rodriguez tied or passed the top home run hitters. Rodriguez, who has 654 career home runs, is just six away from tying Willie Mays, which would trigger a $6 million bonus. He is also set to receive an additional $6 million once he ties Babe Ruth, and another $6 milliion if he ties Hank Aaron.

The team, however, now views those bonuses as worthless due to his 2014 suspension. The team will argue that these bonuses were signed under false pretenses. The club is apparently willing to fight the player's union over the decision should Rodriguez file a grievance. 

Rodriguez, who hasn't played since 2013, has already found it difficult to mend the fences with his team. Rodriguez proposed a meeting with the club where he would publicly apologize for his actions last season, but the team declined the offer. "This is a relationship that is never going to be repaired," one source told the Daily News.

Orioles, Ryan Flaherty avoid arbitration
by Chris Cwik |
(1/25/2015) The Orioles have avoided arbitration with infielder Ryan Flaherty, according to Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. 

Flaherty will make $1.075 million next season. He can make an additional $25,000 if he receives 400 plate appearances. The 28-year-old Flaherty hit .221/.288/.356 over 281 at-bats last year.

White Sox 3B Conor Gillaspie bulks up
by Larry Hartstein |
(1/25/2015) White Sox third baseman Conor Gillaspie says his offseason weight training program has enabled him to add 15-20 pounds of muscle, "which should translate into driving the ball harder," reports

“Honestly I’m hoping that by taking the same swing that I did last year, because I’m stronger, I’m hoping that translates into more power,” Gillaspie said, per the website. “It may or may not. We have enough guys that do hit for power on this team now. There are quite a few of them, so truthfully, I think I might be just as valuable getting on base, drawing walks, moving runners.” 

Gillaspie hit .282 with seven homers and 57 RBI in 130 games last year.

Report: Yankees decline reconciliation with Alex Rodriguez
by Sean d'Oliveira |
(1/25/2015) After meeting with new Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred to clear the air over his year-long suspension in 2014, Alex Rodriguez also reached out to the Yankees to set up a meeting, but was turned down, reports the New York Post.

Rodriguez requested to meet with the Yankees to apologize for his role in the Biogenesis scandal, but was told to wait until spring training. Reports also surfaced that Rodriguez is looking noticeably thinner compared to recent seasons, a source told the New York Post.

Rodriguez is set to report to spring training Feb. 25.

Astros ask third baseman Matt Dominguez to learn first base
by Sean d'Oliveira |
(1/24/2015) With the Astros recently acquiring infielder Luis Valbuena, third baseman Matt Dominguez has been asked to start learning how to play first base, reports the Houston Chronicle.

"You get a bigger glove, so it can't be that hard," Dominguez said.

Dominguez has spent the last two seasons as the full-time third baseman for the Astors, but he will compete with Valbuena for the starting role this season. If Valbuena wins the third base job, the Astros want Dominguez to be able to switch to first base.

"[Astros manager A.J. Hinch] thinks I'm going to be a third baseman, but he wants to also help me try to make the team by adding a little more versatility and move around a little bit more," Dominguez said. "Do whatever I need to do."

Twins OF Byron Buxton seeking bounce-back 2015 campaign
by Igor Mello |
(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."

Report: Alex Rodriguez has private meeting with new commissioner
by Igor Mello |
(1/24/2015) Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez reportedly met with new Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred to "get on the same page" with him and the rest of the MLB, according to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. Rodriguez came unaccompanied by any MLBPA representatives or personal attorneys, per the paper.

Rodriguez, 39, was suspended for the entire 2014 season due to his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal. He hit .244/.348/.423 in 156 at-bats in 2013. He has been training with Barry Bonds in the Bay Area, with designs on starting at third base for the Yankees in 2015. However, New York brought in Chase Headley to play third and general manager Brian Cashman has been adamant about Rodriguez playing more of a DH role this season.

Rodriguez is due $61 million over the next three seasons, along with several home run-based performance bonuses.

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