Mariners receiving 'very positive reports' on Jesus Montero
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12/10/2014) Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik wasn't short on praise Tuesday when talking about Jesus Montero, adding he has received "very positive reports" about Montero's offseason work, per MLB.com.

Montero has been in the limelight the last two years, but mostly for the wrong reasons. He was suspended for 50 games in 2013 for his ties to the the Biogenesis case. He then drew criticism from Zduriencik for showing up to spring training in 2014 out of shape. Finally, he missed the final month of the 2014 season following an altercation with a Mariners scout during a minor-league game.

Alas, the once-elite prospect seems to be turning the corner, as he is working out daily with Mariners strength and conditioning coach James Clifford.

"We should tip his hat to what he's done," Zduriencik said. "He's worked extremely hard. He's worked a lot of days to the point of absolute exhaustion. It was designed that way, to try to get him in a position where he went above and beyond anything he's ever done before. I think that goal has been accomplished. Everything they've told me about how he's approached this has been extremely positive."


Report: Rays' Joyce generating more trade interest than DeJesus
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12/8/2014) The Rays have received more interest in outfielder Matt Joyce than outfielder David DeJesus in early trade talks, according to ESPN baseball writer Jerry Crasnick. Joyce is in his final year of arbitration, while DeJesus is signed through 2015 but has a $5 million team option ($1 million buyout) for 2016.

Astros tender seven arbitration-eligible players
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12/3/2014) The Astros have tendered contracts to all seven arbitration-eligible players prior to Tuesday's deadline, reports the Houston Chronicle. Those players were: Catchers Jason Castro, Carlos Corporan and Hank Conger, outfielder Dexter Fowler, reliever Tony Sipp, designated hitter Chris Carter and shortstop Marwin Gonzalez.

Rangers tender Neftali Feliz, Mitch Moreland
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12/2/2014) The Rangers tendered right-hander Neftali Feliz and infielder/outfielder Mitch Moreland prior to Tuesday's non-tender deadline, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Feliz registered a 1.99 ERA over 31 2/3 innings. Moreland's 2014 campaign was cut short by an ankle injury. He hit .246/.297/.347 in 167 at-bats.


Rangers' Mitch Moreland expected to be ready for spring training
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12/2/2014) Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland will begin a running program before progressing to full activity, the team announced Tuesday. He is expected to be 100 percent by the start of spring training.

Moreland is coming off ligament reconstruction and bone realignment surgery on his left ankle in late June.


Report: Rangers to offer contracts to Moreland, Ogando, Feliz
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/1/2014) The Rangers are expected to offer contracts to Neftali Feliz, Alexi Ogando and Mitch Moreland, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Ogando missed the second half of the season due to elbow issues, but was cleared for action recently. Despite that, he will not pitch in winter ball. Ogando is entering his second year of arbitration.

Moreland's season was cut short by an ankle injury. He hit just .246/.297/.347 in 167 at-bats. 

Feliz is the least surprising name on the list. The 26-year-old came back from arm issues, and managed to post a 1.99 ERA over 31 2/3 innings. 


Athletics make it official, ink Billy Butler to 3-year deal
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(11/19/2014) The Athletics announced they've signed designated hitter/first baseman Billy Butler to a three-year deal. Reports indicate Butler will receive $30 million despite coming off a down year in which he hit .271 with nine homers and 66 RBI for the Royals.

Report: DH Billy Butler agrees to $30 million deal with Oakland
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(11/18/2014) Former Royals designated hitter Billy Butler agreed to a three-year, $30 million deal with the Athletics, reports MLBDailyRumors.com. The Royals had declined their 2015 option on Butler, who hit .271 with nine homers and 66 RBI in 549 at-bats.

Butler, 28, reportedly will receive a $5 million signing bonus.


Victor Martinez says return to Detroit was his first choice
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(11/14/2014) Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez said returned to Detroit was always his first choice, according to mlive.com.

Martinez reportedly pulled general manager Dave Dombrowski aside late in the season to express his desire to remain a Tiger. Dombrowski confirmed the two sides had the conversation, but said he wanted to wait and see how the season concluded before negotiating a deal. 

Owner Mike Ilitch also felt strongly about retaining Martinez. Ilitch told Martinez, "Victor, you had a fantastic year. You displayed great sportsmanship, you never seem to lose your cool and I'm going to take care of you next year."

Martinez brushed off questions about how many other teams attempted to sign him during his press conference. He said he was "just happy to finish my career here in Detroit."


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