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  1. Reds sign lefty Jeff Francis to minor league contract

    Jan 25, 2012, 11:14 PM EDT

    jeff francis ap

    From Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com comes word that the Reds have reached agreement on a minor league contract with free agent lefty Jeff Francis. The deal carries an invitation to major league spring training, where Francis will presumably get a shot at landing a spot in Cincinnati’s starting rotation. Francis, 31, posted a troubling 4.82 ERA…

  2. Eric Wedge ‘leaning’ toward dropping Ichiro from leadoff spot

    Jan 25, 2012, 10:48 PM EDT

    suzuki_ichiro

    The Seattle Mariners remain in a transition phase, attempting to undo the messes of Bill Bavasi while playing in a beefed up AL West division that includes two teams — the Rangers and Angels — that are throwing money around like they just got some magic pants. A big part of that transition will involve…

  3. Angels make offer to free agent reliever Luis Ayala

    Jan 25, 2012, 10:31 PM EDT

    ayala getty

    According to MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez, the Angels have “tendered a formal offer” to free agent right-hander Luis Ayala. Whether it’s a major league or minor league contract offer is not yet known. Ayala is also drawing free agent interest from a “handful” of other teams, according to Gonzalez’s source, and is “still weighing his options.” The…

  4. UPDATE: Rays reach contract with infielder Jeff Keppinger

    Jan 25, 2012, 9:43 PM EDT

    keppinger giants getty

    From Marc Topkin of the newly-named Tampa Bay Times comes word that the Rays are “closing in on a major-league deal” with infielder Jeff Keppinger. An agreement could be finalized later this week. Keppinger batted just .277/.300/.377 with six home runs and 35 RBI across 399 plate appearances last season between the Astros and Giants, and…

  5. Josh Johnson feeling good after first bullpen session

    Jan 25, 2012, 8:55 PM EDT

    josh johnson ap

    Marlins right-hander Josh Johnson made only nine starts last season due to shoulder issues. He’s optimistic that things will be far different in 2012. According to beat writer Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post, the 27-year-old ace felt “good” after throwing a bullpen session (29 pitches) Tuesday for the first time since September. He has…

  6. Marlins’ new stadium will be called “Marlins Park” … for now

    Jan 25, 2012, 7:37 PM EDT

    marlins park reuters

    Marlins president David Samson told Miami’s 790 The Ticket on Wednesday that the organization is in talks with multiple companies interested in buying naming rights to the nearly-completed stadium. But no agreement has been struck yet, and that might not change before the facility opens its doors April 1 for an exhibition game against the…

  7. Nick Masset signs two-year deal with Reds, avoids arbitration

    Jan 25, 2012, 5:48 PM EDT

    Masset_Nick

    Cincinnati has bought out Nick Masset‘s remaining arbitration eligibility, signing the right-hander to a two-year contract that MLB Trade Rumors reports is worth $5.5 million. Masset made $1.725 million last season and submitted a $2.9 million figure for arbitration after throwing 70 innings with a 3.71 ERA and 62/31 K/BB ratio. Cincinnati countered at $2.1…

  8. Daryle Ward, still alive apparently, suspended 50 games for amphetamines

    Jan 25, 2012, 5:32 PM EDT

    syringe

    Did you know that Daryle Ward was still kicking around baseball?  Me neither! But he is. And now he’s been suspended for 50 games after a positive amphetamines test. From the press release: Free agent Minor League first baseman Daryle Ward has received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for an amphetamine.  The suspension of Ward is…

  9. Austin Kearns agrees to minor-league contract with Marlins

    Jan 25, 2012, 5:17 PM EDT

    Kearns_Austin

    Austin Kearns has bounced around a lot, playing for four teams in the past three seasons, and the 32-year-old outfielder will now try to win a spot on the Marlins’ bench after agreeing to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training. Kearns briefly looked like a future star in 2002 and 2003, but…

  10. Brewers owner: Ryan Braun won’t attend fan event because “this is too sensitive of a time”

    Jan 25, 2012, 5:02 PM EDT

    braun wide getty

    Ryan Braun was scheduled to appear at the Brewers “fan fest” event this weekend, but owner Mark Attanasio just released a statement announcing that the reigning MVP won’t be there because of concerns about how his attendance could impact the 50-game suspension appeal: In working through the logistics of this weekend’s Brewers On Deck event…

  11. Let the bidding begin: Yoenis Cespedes is finally a free agent

    Jan 25, 2012, 4:46 PM EDT

    cespedes getty

    After months of reports about Yoenis Cespedes being on the verge of free agency MLB has finally announced that the 26-year-old outfielder who defected from Cuba last summer is cleared to negotiate with teams. Cespedes established residency in the Dominican Republic and then surprised many people by participating in the Dominican winter league, but stopped…

  12. Reds acquire utility man Wilson Valdez from Phillies

    Jan 25, 2012, 4:15 PM EDT

    Valdez_Wilson

    Not so long ago Wilson Valdez got all kinds of undeserved credit for the Phillies’ success, but now they’ve traded the light-hitting utility man to the Reds for left-handed reliever Jeremy Horst. Valdez has topped 300 plate appearances in each of the past two seasons despite hitting just .254 with a .300 on-base percentage and…

  13. The Red Sox made an offer to Edwin Jackson too

    Jan 25, 2012, 4:00 PM EDT

    Edwin Jackson

    The Red Sox made an offer to Roy Oswalt? OK, but they also made one to Edwin Jackson. Here’s Jim Bowden: Red Sox have made offers for Edwin Jackson and are presently in discussions with him and prefer him over Roy Oswalt according to source Oh, I get it: it’s the old “we’ve made offers…

  14. Roy Oswalt got an offer from the Red Sox

    Jan 25, 2012, 3:30 PM EDT

    oswalt getty

    Today is different than yesterday, huh?  Yesterday we had Prince Fielder, Tony La Russa and Tim Lincecum news. Today: we churn Roy Oswalt rumors.  Hey, it’s not all glamour and glitz. Anyway: Heyman says that the Red Sox have made an offer to Oswalt. No sense if he’ll take it or if, like an earlier…

  15. Mariners turned down trade for Jorge Posada in 1995

    Jan 25, 2012, 2:52 PM EDT

    Jorge Posada

    In the wake of Jorge Posada‘s retirement following an 1,829-game career spent entirely with the Yankees comes a story about how he was almost traded to the Mariners as a prospect way back in 1995. Larry Stone of the Seattle Times has the details: Management deemed that they couldn’t afford Tino Martinez, so he was…

  16. Jose Bautista’s drug testing seems something less than random

    Jan 25, 2012, 2:15 PM EDT

    Jose Bautista

    Interesting story brought to my attention from reader Troy.  It’s from the Dominican newspaper Hoy. And because I forgot all that Spanish I knew 20 years ago, I’m using Google translate to read it. But the upshot: Bautista spoke at a banquet the other night and noted that in the past two years — the…

  17. Scott Olsen signs minor-league deal with White Sox

    Jan 25, 2012, 1:46 PM EDT

    Scott Olsen

    Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that left-hander Scott Olsen has agreed to a minor-league contract with the White Sox, who add some rotation depth in case they continue to trade more veteran pitchers. Once upon a time Olsen was a top prospect and had a strong rookie season for the Marlins as a 22-year-old in…

  18. Must-click link: The Scott Boras origin story

    Jan 25, 2012, 1:10 PM EDT

    Boras thinking

    Every superhero has an origin story. They were sent here from a doomed alien world. They were bit by a radioactive spider. Their parents were murdered in Crime Alley. Whatever the hell boring stuff happened to Aquaman to make him the mediocre whatever-it-is he is. Scott Boras may not be in the Justice League, but…

  19. Ryan Zimmerman won’t negotiate extension with Nationals after spring training begins

    Jan 25, 2012, 12:44 PM EDT

    zimmerman bats

    Ryan Zimmerman and the Nationals have been engaged in some level of long-term contract talks for going on a year now, but yesterday the third baseman told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that he’ll cut off negotiations once spring training starts: I think it’s unfair to my teammates for that to garner any attention…

  20. Marlins “expected to make strong push” for Yoenis Cespedes

    Jan 25, 2012, 11:51 AM EDT

    Yoenis Cespedes AP

    Now that Yoenis Cespedes has established residency in the Dominican Republic his long-awaited free agency should be right around the corner and Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports that the Marlins “are expected to make a strong push” for the Cuban defector. They’ll have plenty of competition, although Cespedes’ poor showing in the Dominican winter league…

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