Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
The Official Site of the New York Mets

news

On The Move: Trades & Transactions

BREAKING: Morrison, Twins agree to deal

Club bolsters lineup with power in lefty slugger, who is coming off breakout season
MLB.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins are surprisingly set to add a left-handed power bat, as they agreed to terms with slugger Logan Morrison on a one-year deal worth $6.5 million with escalators and a vesting option that could make it worth $16.5 million over two years, a source told MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi.

The club, however, has not confirmed the news, as Morrison must pass his physical. The Twins had an open roster spot after losing reliever J.T. Chargois on waivers to the Dodgers.

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins are surprisingly set to add a left-handed power bat, as they agreed to terms with slugger Logan Morrison on a one-year deal worth $6.5 million with escalators and a vesting option that could make it worth $16.5 million over two years, a source told MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi.

The club, however, has not confirmed the news, as Morrison must pass his physical. The Twins had an open roster spot after losing reliever J.T. Chargois on waivers to the Dodgers.

Morrison, 30, is coming off a breakout year that saw him hit .246/.353/.516 with 38 homers, 22 doubles and 85 RBIs in 149 games with the Rays last year. He figures to see most of his time at designated hitter, as Joe Mauer remains Minnesota's starting first baseman. It hurts Kennys Vargas' chance of making the roster, as Morrison is now the backup to Mauer and likely the primary designated hitter.

The Twins have a lineup that leans left-handed with Mauer, Eddie Rosario, Max Kepler and Jason Castro hitting from the left side along with switch-hitters such as Jorge Polanco, Eduardo Escobar, Robbie Grossman, Ehire Adrianza and Vargas. But the Twins couldn't pass up on the opportunity to add such a productive bat to the lineup.

Video: BAL@TB: Morrison mashes a solo homer to right

Morrison also adds insurance for the Twins in case Miguel Sano misses time with his surgically-repaired shin or is suspended for his alleged sexual assault. Sano will be eased into Spring Training games as he works on his conditioning. Escobar remains Sano's primary backup at third.

Morrison is a career .245/.330/.433 hitter with 122 homers, 148 doubles and 382 RBIs in 864 games with the Marlins, Mariners and Rays. His career high in homers before last season was 23, set in '11 with the Marlins.

Morrison remains outspoken but has matured since his time with the Marlins, when he had a strong presence on social media early in his career. He was teammates with Twins right-hander Jake Odorizzi the last two seasons in Tampa Bay and also played under current Twins bench coach Derek Shelton, who was his hitting coach with the Rays in '16.

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.

Minnesota Twins, Logan Morrison

Exciting opportunity attracts Belisle to Indians

Veteran reliever gets Minor League deal with Spring Training invitation
MLB.com

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Indians manager Terry Francona wanted to be completely honest with Matt Belisle before the veteran reliever penned his name on a contract. Francona explained that there was a bullpen job available, but there were no guarantees and a lot of factors being considered by Cleveland's decisionmakers.

Belisle was in uniform on Sunday morning and shaking hands around the Indians' clubhouse, following a physical that finalized his Minor League pact with the Tribe. The right-hander will be given the chance to compete for a spot in the team's Opening Day bullpen as a non-roster invitee, and that was all Belisle needed to hear.

View Full Game Coverage

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Indians manager Terry Francona wanted to be completely honest with Matt Belisle before the veteran reliever penned his name on a contract. Francona explained that there was a bullpen job available, but there were no guarantees and a lot of factors being considered by Cleveland's decisionmakers.

Belisle was in uniform on Sunday morning and shaking hands around the Indians' clubhouse, following a physical that finalized his Minor League pact with the Tribe. The right-hander will be given the chance to compete for a spot in the team's Opening Day bullpen as a non-roster invitee, and that was all Belisle needed to hear.

View Full Game Coverage

"I probably sold the opportunity short," Francona said, "just because I didn't want to get a veteran like that in here and then not have it be what he thought. So, I was actually kind of surprised when he decided to come here, but thrilled."

Spring info | Tickets | Schedule

The Indians' clubhouse staff set Belisle up with a locker next to righty Carlos Torres, who signed a similar Minor League contract with a non-roster invitation on Thursday. Those two veteran arms now look like the top candidates for the lone vacancy within Cleveland's relief corps, which returns six of the arms who helped lead the Majors in team bullpen ERA (2.89) last season.

As things currently stand, the Indians' bullpen will be anchored by closer Cody Allen and relief ace Andrew Miller, with Dan Otero, Zach McAllister, Nick Goody and Tyler Olson all being virtual locks for a roster spot. If Francona goes with a traditional seven-man staff, that means only one job is available.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Lefty starter Ryan Merritt is out of Minor League options, so he is being considered for a relief role, too. If Cleveland's entire rotation is healthy at the end of camp, the sixth man on the depth chart might also wind up in the bullpen mix. Then, there are the other non-roster invitees who are trying to impress the club. Belisle understands the landscape and is happy to be in the running.

"Everything inside me, my gut, was just calling to this place," Belisle said. "This organization is now heralded, and has been for quite some time, as one of the great places to be. I'm surrounded by very good people -- quality up and down. Obviously, this is an intact, contending team eager to win a championship. You put quality of personnel and a special clubhouse together with a chance for a ring, it makes [the decision] very easy."

Last season, the 37-year-old Belisle wound up in the closer's role for the Twins down the stretch, following the July 31 trade that sent Brandon Kintzler to the Nationals. Over the season's final two months, Belisle posted a 2.55 ERA with nine saves in 11 chances over 18 appearances. His season ERA climbed to 8.59 after allowing four runs on June 11, but Belisle then spun a 1.41 ERA with a .187 opponents' average over his final 36 games.

Video: MIN@BOS: Belisle induces DP, escapes bases-loaded jam

Overall, Belisle had a 4.03 ERA in 62 outings in 2017, in which he logged 60 1/3 innings and established career bests in strikeouts per nine innings (8.1) and hits per nine innings (7.2). The righty had spent parts of 14 seasons in the Majors between stints with the Reds, Rockies, Cardinals, Nationals and Twins -- posting a 4.19 ERA over 660 career appearances.

Belisle said the deal with the Indians -- which includes a $1.5 million base salary in the Majors, plus incentives -- came together swiftly.

"Fast and furious, really," Belisle said. "I'll just say, it's an honor to be wanted by such a great organization. I'm excited about the opportunity. It was quick. I had some tough decisions, but I'm very happy that I'm here."

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.

Cleveland Indians, Matt Belisle

Source: O's ink Alvarez to Minor League deal

MLB.com

SARASOTA -- The Orioles agreed to terms on Sunday with free agent Pedro Alvarez, bringing back the left-handed hitter on a Minor League deal with an invitation to big league Spring Training, a source told MLB.com.

This is Alvarez's third go-around with the O's. The 31-year-old will not be used in the outfield, like he was last season with Triple-A Norfolk. He will see some time at first base and as a designated hitter.

SARASOTA -- The Orioles agreed to terms on Sunday with free agent Pedro Alvarez, bringing back the left-handed hitter on a Minor League deal with an invitation to big league Spring Training, a source told MLB.com.

This is Alvarez's third go-around with the O's. The 31-year-old will not be used in the outfield, like he was last season with Triple-A Norfolk. He will see some time at first base and as a designated hitter.

Orioles' Spring Training info

Alvarez isn't expected to break camp with the Orioles unless there's an injury, though he does add valuable insurance and a left-handed bat, which the big league club is thin on.

Baltimore has also recently added lefty bats Alex Presley and Colby Rasmus.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Alvarez, who spent the majority of 2017 at Norfolk, played in 14 games for the Orioles and posted a .313/.353/.438 line in 32 at-bats. He was a key factor for the club in '16, playing in 109 games and hitting 22 homers with 49 RBIs.

Alvarez spent his first six seasons in Pittsburgh, where he put up a .236/309/.441 slash line. Signing late is nothing new for the former first-round Draft pick out of Vanderbilt University. He didn't join the O's until March the previous two springs.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

Baltimore Orioles, Pedro Alvarez

Pirates ink lefty Siegrist to Minor League deal

Reliever says he feels good, ready to compete for spot in bullpen
MLB.com

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Another day in Spring Training, another move for the Pirates.

On Saturday, Pittsburgh signed left-handed reliever Kevin Siegrist to a Minor League contract with an invite to big league camp. Siegrist, 28, will compete for a spot in the Bucs' Opening Day bullpen.

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Another day in Spring Training, another move for the Pirates.

On Saturday, Pittsburgh signed left-handed reliever Kevin Siegrist to a Minor League contract with an invite to big league camp. Siegrist, 28, will compete for a spot in the Bucs' Opening Day bullpen.

"I just think it's a good opportunity to make a team out of camp. I think I bring some experience that I can bring to the bullpen," Siegrist said Saturday morning. "I've been in pretty much almost every situation you can ask for. I look to bring that here as well, fill in some spots."

Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Schedule | Gear

It has been a busy week of roster moves for the Pirates. On Tuesday, they acquired outfielder Bryce Brentz from the Red Sox. On Wednesday, they signed outfielder Michael Saunders to a Minor League deal, then released him on Friday. On Thursday, they acquired Corey Dickerson from the Rays in exchange for reliever Daniel Hudson, infield prospect Tristan Gray and $1 million.

And on Saturday they added Siegrist, who has spent most of his career in the National League Central. He pitched for the Cardinals from 2013 until he was designated for assignment last August, and the Phillies claimed him off waivers in September.

Siegrist made an outstanding debut in 2013, posting a 0.45 ERA in 45 appearances, and served as a durable, effective reliever for the Cardinals from 2015-16. He posted a 2.44 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 3.8 Wins Above Replacement in 136 1/3 innings over 148 appearances in those two seasons. But he struggled last season, recording a 4.81 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP in 39 1/3 innings over 46 appearances.

Video: COL@STL: Siegrist induces 6-4-3 DP to end top of 7th

Siegrist's average fastball velocity dipped from 94.7 mph in 2015 to 94 mph in '16 to 92.1 mph last year. He still struck out 25 percent of the batters he faced, but his walk rate climbed to 12.8 percent last season. His batting average on balls in play also spiked to .337, up from .221 the year before, and his strand rate declined from 89.1 percent to 74.6 percent.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

What changed? Siegrist pointed to the injuries he sustained last season. He missed time in late June/early July with a cervical spine sprain, a disk issue, and sat out most of August due to left forearm tendinitis.

"As long as I can stay healthy, I know what I can do in the league," Siegrist said. "That's all it comes down to for me."

Siegrist said he enjoyed a healthy, productive offseason. He spent the first month recovering from the season, then jumped into strength training and endurance work. He started throwing earlier than the previous year, returning to the program that brought him success in the past. He threw a bullpen session in front of pitching coach Ray Searage on Saturday, and the Pirates are working on a plan to get him into game action.

"Everything feels really good," Siegrist said. "I had a really good offseason, and I plan to carry it over into spring here. Ready to get going."

As one of five left-handed pitchers in camp, Siegrist will have a chance to crack the Opening Day roster. (The others are closer Felipe Rivero, Steven Brault, Jack Leathersich and Josh Smoker.) With a handful of bullpen spots available, the Bucs seemingly have room for someone with Siegrist's track record.

"His health has been a challenge lately. We've seen this guy, when he's healthy, pitch extremely well and pitch in a number of different situations," manager Clint Hurdle said. "It's a live fastball, and there's other weapons to go along with it. He feels good."

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.

Pittsburgh Pirates, Kevin Siegrist

Twins add Aybar on Minors deal

Veteran expected to compete for backup infielder role
MLB.com

The Twins have signed veteran infielder Erick Aybar to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training.

Aybar, 34, spent the 2017 season with the Padres, for whom he slashed .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 steals in 108 games. He spent the first 10 seasons of his career with the Angels and was an All-Star in 2014. He also won a Gold Glove Award at shortstop in '11. He split the '16 season between the Braves and Tigers.

The Twins have signed veteran infielder Erick Aybar to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training.

Aybar, 34, spent the 2017 season with the Padres, for whom he slashed .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 steals in 108 games. He spent the first 10 seasons of his career with the Angels and was an All-Star in 2014. He also won a Gold Glove Award at shortstop in '11. He split the '16 season between the Braves and Tigers.

Spring info | Tickets | Schedule

Aybar will compete for a spot as a backup infielder on the Major League roster. Minnesota currently has Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza as backup infielders.

Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.

Minnesota Twins

Dodgers claim righty Chargois from Twins

Urias placed on 60-day DL in procedural move for roster spot
MLB.com

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Dodgers claimed right-handed pitcher J.T. Chargois off outright waivers from the Twins on Saturday and placed left-hander Julio Urias on the 60-day disabled list.

Urias is recovering from last year's shoulder capsule operation and is not expected to be game-ready until midseason. As far as he's concerned, the move is procedural to clear a roster spot and is unrelated to his recovery, which continues without a setback.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Dodgers claimed right-handed pitcher J.T. Chargois off outright waivers from the Twins on Saturday and placed left-hander Julio Urias on the 60-day disabled list.

Urias is recovering from last year's shoulder capsule operation and is not expected to be game-ready until midseason. As far as he's concerned, the move is procedural to clear a roster spot and is unrelated to his recovery, which continues without a setback.

Chargois, 27, missed nearly all of the 2017 season with a right elbow stress reaction that did not require surgery. He pitched in 25 Major League games with Minnesota, all in 2016 out of the bullpen, going 1-1 with a 4.70 ERA. He was a second-round pick in the 2012 Draft from Rice University.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001. Listen to his podcast.

Los Angeles Dodgers, J.T. Chargois, Julio Urias

Tigers, Liriano agree to 1-year deal

MLB.com

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tigers added another contestant to their rotation competition on Friday with a familiar face from Ron Gardenhire's past. Detroit agreed to terms with left-hander Francisco Liriano on a one-year contract.

Liriano will earn $4 million, with another $1 million in incentives based on games started. The Tigers announced the deal Friday afternoon, with left-hander Jairo Labourt designated for assignment to make room for the 34-year-old on the 40-man roster.

View Full Game Coverage

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tigers added another contestant to their rotation competition on Friday with a familiar face from Ron Gardenhire's past. Detroit agreed to terms with left-hander Francisco Liriano on a one-year contract.

Liriano will earn $4 million, with another $1 million in incentives based on games started. The Tigers announced the deal Friday afternoon, with left-hander Jairo Labourt designated for assignment to make room for the 34-year-old on the 40-man roster.

View Full Game Coverage

"He told us he would like to start," general manager Al Avila said, "but that if we needed him to work out of the bullpen, that he would do that also. Obviously for us, it's really a good thing to have an experienced guy that can start, and if we need him out of the bullpen, we can do that. It'll play out in Spring Training to see how we start the season, and then once we commence the season, we'll see how that plays out."

The Tigers have been searching for starting pitching depth all offseason, an effort that had continued this spring. Avila said last week that he was looking to add at least one, and possibly two, pitchers before Detroit breaks camp. Another free agent, Chris Tillman, threw for team officials last Saturday in Lakeland before signing a one-year contract with the Orioles. Detroit had been pursuing Tillman for a Minor League contract and a non-roster invite.

Avila said they saw Liriano throw recently in Miami.

Though Detroit has five starters with Michael Fulmer, Jordan Zimmermann, Mike Fiers, Matthew Boyd and Daniel Norris, Avila has emphasized the need for depth. Zimmermann, who makes his first start of spring Saturday, has battled neck issues since signing with the Tigers two years ago, and he received a nerve block injection in his back earlier this month.

Norris, too, has battled injuries, and he traveled to Philadelphia earlier this week for a followup visit with Dr. William Meyers on his groin injury from last summer. He's being brought along slowly and has not been slotted into the Tigers' Spring Training rotation. Fiers also isn't scheduled to pitch in the first turn through the Tigers' rotation this spring.

"You saw how we ended up last year. It was not very good," Avila said. "We do have some question marks, so we always felt we needed a little bit more depth to make sure that we get started on the right foot and hopefully end on the right foot and hopefully give our young guys a little bit more time to develop. It's just something that we felt we needed at this point."

The Tigers know Liriano's potential well if he can bounce back, having watched him for the first half of his career as a front-line starter for the Twins under new Detroit manager Gardenhire and ex-Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson -- now the Tigers' bullpen coach -- from 2006-12.

"He's got filthy stuff," Gardenhire said. "He can throw a slider all day long, and people just keep swinging and missing. His fastball's good enough. And he's a great kid, just fantastic. He'll fit in perfect here. He's a worker, and these guys are going to love him over here. He's not a loud guy by any means, but he's a really good guy."

Liriano has bounced around in recent years, splitting last year between the Blue Jays and Astros after splitting the 2016 season between the Pirates and Blue Jays. In both years, he was dealt around the non-waiver Trade Deadline, giving him value for a rebuilding club like Detroit for the possibility of flipping him for prospects in the summer.

Liriano posted a 6-5 record and a 5.88 ERA in Toronto's rotation last year before Houston acquired him as a bullpen addition. For the season, his 4.9 walks per nine innings was his highest ratio since 2012. His 7.9 strikeouts per nine innings marked his first K rate under 9.0 since '11.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.

Detroit Tigers, Francisco Liriano

Rangers add Chavez to pitching mix

MLB.com

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers added flexibility and depth to their pitching staff by signing free-agent right-handed pitcher Jesse Chavez to a one-year contract. The club made the announcement official on Friday, and it also made room on the 40-man roster by putting left-hander Joe Palumbo on the 60-day disabled list.

Chavez, 34, was with the Angels last year, making 21 starts and 17 relief appearances. He was 7-11 with a 5.35 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP. In 138 innings, he averaged 7.76 strikeouts, 2.93 walks and 9.65 hits per nine innings.

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers added flexibility and depth to their pitching staff by signing free-agent right-handed pitcher Jesse Chavez to a one-year contract. The club made the announcement official on Friday, and it also made room on the 40-man roster by putting left-hander Joe Palumbo on the 60-day disabled list.

Chavez, 34, was with the Angels last year, making 21 starts and 17 relief appearances. He was 7-11 with a 5.35 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP. In 138 innings, he averaged 7.76 strikeouts, 2.93 walks and 9.65 hits per nine innings.

Chavez's deal is for $1 million but he will earn $1.5 million plus incentives if he makes the team.

"He has a reputation for being an outstanding teammate," general manager Jon Daniels said. "I would have known that better if I hadn't traded him 12 years ago."

The Rangers originally drafted Chavez in the 42nd round of the 2002 MLB Draft, but he never reached the big leagues with them. Instead, Texas traded him to Pittsburgh on July 31, 2006, for pitcher Kip Wells.

Spring info | Tickets | Schedule

"[Chavez is] a big-time competitor who will do anything for the team," Daniels said. "There is real value in that. He can start, and he can pitch out of the 'pen. He can help a team in a lot of ways."

The Rangers' rotation currently includes Cole Hamels, Martin Perez, Doug Fister and Matt Moore. Mike Minor was also signed to be a starter, even though he can pitch as a reliever, and Texas still intends to give Matt Bush an opportunity to be a starter. Bush is starting on Sunday against the Rockies.

The Rangers also have veterans Bartolo Colon and Jonathan Niese in camp competing for a spot in the rotation.

Tweet from @Rangers: We???ll leave this here. #BigSexy pic.twitter.com/cLiNIkjf85

Daniels said adding Chavez does not change Texas' plans as far as Minor or Bush.

"Not at this time," Daniels said. "When you put a staff together, it is all part of a puzzle. We haven't even started games yet, but nothing has changed."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Chavez may have more value as a long reliever -- a role the Rangers haven't defined yet. Their best bullpen arems are mainly one- or two-inning guys.

"It's nothing I haven't been accustomed to," Chavez said of the dual roles as a starter and reliever. "It's not like I haven't been in this situation before. I'll be fine as long as I stay on top of a starter's workload and keep the same routine."

Over the past four years, Chavez has made 68 starts and 94 relief appearances.

"That versatility -- whether starting, relieving or moving back and forth -- is key," Daniels said. "He's coming and competing for a spot on the club. We like what he can bring. His utility is his ability to fill multiple spots."

Chavez is late to camp, but he has been throwing at his home in California. Daniels said Chavez threw a three-inning simulated game to hitters earlier in the week.

"He has built his arm up," Daniels said. "He has to go through the baseball piece of it, but he has been doing this a long time. He knows what he is doing."

Palumbo underwent Tommy John surgery on his left elbow on April 26, and he is not expected to be ready until mid-summer.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

Texas Rangers, Jesse Chavez

Rangers emerge as favorites to sign Martinez

Cuban outfielder becomes eligible to sign a contract March 6
MLB.com

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers traded Minor League pitcher Miguel Medrano to the Reds on Wednesday for international bonus pool money.

The transaction comes one day after Major League Baseball declared Cuban outfielder Julio Pablo Martinez a free agent, making him eligible to sign with a team. Martinez, 21, is a 5-foot-10 outfielder who is considered one of the better prospects to recently come out of Cuba because of his mix of speed and power.

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers traded Minor League pitcher Miguel Medrano to the Reds on Wednesday for international bonus pool money.

The transaction comes one day after Major League Baseball declared Cuban outfielder Julio Pablo Martinez a free agent, making him eligible to sign with a team. Martinez, 21, is a 5-foot-10 outfielder who is considered one of the better prospects to recently come out of Cuba because of his mix of speed and power.

The Rangers have emerged as the favorite to sign Martinez, and the team could sign him when the Cuban outfielder becomes eligible to sign a contract March 6, according to sources. The bonus is expected to be in the $2.7 million to $2.8 million range.

The Marlins and Yankees were two other clubs rumored to be competing for Martinez's services, but MLB.com has learned they have dropped out of the running.

"From a philosophical standpoint, we want to gain flexibility and put ourselves in position when opportunity comes available," Rangers farm director Jayce Tingler said.

Medrano, 20, pitched in the Dominican Summer League last year and was 5-1 with a 2.59 ERA in 12 games. He struck out 61 in 59 innings.

Tweet from @JesseSanchezMLB: Sources: The Rangers have emerged as the favorite to sign Julio Pablo Martinez and the team could sign him when the Cuban outfielder becomes eligible to sign a contract March 6. The bonus is expected to be in the $2.7-2.8 million range.

Martinez earned spots on Cuba's 18-and-under team in 2014 and '15. More recently, Martinez played in Cuba's Serie Nacional during the 2016 and '17 seasons and posted a .333/.469/.498 slash line with six home runs and 24 stolen bases in 61 games. He is considered to have the talent to start at Class A Advanced or Double-A once he signs with a team. However, his first assignment would depend on the team he chooses, and if they want to ease him into professional ball stateside.

The Rangers were finalists for Japanese two-way star Shohei Ohtani and had the largest remaining bonus pool to offer him -- most of which has gone unspent since Ohtani elected to sign with the Angels. It's worth noting that 12 teams -- the Astros, Athletics, Braves, Cardinals, Cubs, Dodgers, Giants, Nationals, Padres, Reds, Royals and White Sox -- cannot offer more than $300,000 this signing period after exceeding their bonus pool the past two years.

Texas Rangers

Rays acquire Hudson, deal Dickerson to Bucs

Tampa Bay had designated '17 All-Star DH; club also receives Minors infielder Gray, cash considerations
MLB.com

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Rays went outside the box to handle Corey Dickerson's situation, but everything seemed to work out for the club and Dickerson on Thursday when the 2017 All-Star got traded to the Pirates for right-hander Daniel Hudson, Minor League infielder Tristan Gray and cash considerations.

Dickerson got designated for assignment by the Rays on Saturday night, which was an unconventional move to say the least for handling a player of Dickerson's stature. But given the slow market and the logjam of players limiting moves ahead of the season, the Rays felt as though they needed to proceed the way they did.

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Rays went outside the box to handle Corey Dickerson's situation, but everything seemed to work out for the club and Dickerson on Thursday when the 2017 All-Star got traded to the Pirates for right-hander Daniel Hudson, Minor League infielder Tristan Gray and cash considerations.

Dickerson got designated for assignment by the Rays on Saturday night, which was an unconventional move to say the least for handling a player of Dickerson's stature. But given the slow market and the logjam of players limiting moves ahead of the season, the Rays felt as though they needed to proceed the way they did.

Rays Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Schedule

"With the market, and how many guys were out there, we felt that the best way to try and accomplish something was to put a timer on it and expedite the process," Tampa Bay general manager Erik Neander said. "And it's something that, being very candid at this point, was exceptionally difficult to designate Corey given the way that that has typically been used, how historically that has been used."

Neander stressed that designating Dickerson was "certainly something that just frankly he didn't deserve."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"But at the same time, we felt that where we were in the conversations that we were having [with other teams], that this was something we needed to try and press right now," Neander said. "And we felt that it was going to be best for us. And at the end of the day, despite the look of it, the head scratching, the things that happened up front, I believe this was something that also gave Corey the best opportunity to land the best role for him as he moves forward."

Hudson, 30, went 2-7 with a 4.38 ERA in a career-high 71 appearances in 2017, his only season with the Pirates. In 46 appearances from June 2 through the end of the season, he posted a 3.43 ERA and .211 opponents' average. Over parts of eight seasons with the White Sox, D-backs and Pirates, he is 37-30 with a 3.98 ERA in 270 appearances.

Hudson has been used almost exclusively as a reliever since returning from a second Tommy John surgery in 2015. Over that span, he is 9-12 with a 4.46 ERA and 195 strikeouts in 205 appearances (one start).

Tweet from @RaysBaseball: We wish Corey all the best. pic.twitter.com/OErqbnytqn

Gray, was selected by the Pirates in the 13th round of the 2017 Draft out of Rice University. In his first professional season, he hit .269/.329/.486 with seven home runs and 37 RBIs in 53 games with Class A West Virginia. He appeared in the New York-Penn League All-Star Game and was named the game's top star after going 2-for-2 with a solo homer and RBI single.

Dickerson, 28, was elected by the fans as the starting designated hitter for the American League at the 2017 All-Star Game in Miami.

In two seasons with Tampa Bay, Dickerson hit .265/.310/.480 with 51 home runs and 132 RBIs in 298 games. Over parts of five seasons with the Rockies and Rays, he has hit .280/.325/.504 with 90 homers and 256 RBIs.

Pittsburgh Pirates, Tampa Bay Rays, Corey Dickerson, Daniel Hudson

Pirates acquire All-Star OF Dickerson from Rays

Bucs likely find starting left fielder while dealing Hudson, Gray
MLB.com

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Pirates answered a significant question in their outfield on Thursday by acquiring left fielder Corey Dickerson from the Rays in exchange for reliever Daniel Hudson, Minor League infielder Tristan Gray and $1 million, according to a source.

Dickerson will be Pittsburgh's primary left fielder, general manager Neal Huntington said, joining center fielder Starling Marte and right fielder Gregory Polanco in the Bucs' new-look outfield. Dickerson, 28, hit .282/.325/.490 with 27 home runs in 150 games and made the American League All-Star team last season.

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Pirates answered a significant question in their outfield on Thursday by acquiring left fielder Corey Dickerson from the Rays in exchange for reliever Daniel Hudson, Minor League infielder Tristan Gray and $1 million, according to a source.

Dickerson will be Pittsburgh's primary left fielder, general manager Neal Huntington said, joining center fielder Starling Marte and right fielder Gregory Polanco in the Bucs' new-look outfield. Dickerson, 28, hit .282/.325/.490 with 27 home runs in 150 games and made the American League All-Star team last season.

"Corey Dickerson adds a quality power threat to our lineup, as evidenced by his 60-plus extra-base hits and 20-plus home runs each of the last two seasons," general manager Neal Huntington said in a statement. "Corey is a driven player who will also add a quality presence to our clubhouse."

The Rays designated Dickerson for assignment on Saturday, and they had until Thursday to trade him. As soon as he became available, the Pirates took notice.

"We thought he would be a good fit for us," Huntington said.

Video: TB@NYY: Dickerson hammers a solo homer to right field

In return, Pittsburgh parted with Hudson, a potential setup man coming off an inconsistent season, along with Gray, who made his professional debut at second base and shortstop in Class A Short-Season ball. Huntington said the Pirates were reluctant to part with Hudson and Gray, their 13th-round Draft pick last year, but felt Dickerson was worth it.

Dickerson enjoyed a dominant first half last season, hitting .312/.355/.548 with 17 homers in 85 games, then slumped to a .241/.282/.408 slash line with 10 homers in 65 second-half games. Still, he is a proven left-handed hitter -- with a career 119 OPS+ -- and an experienced outfielder.

"We look forward to finding out how we can help him get closer to where he was in the first half," Huntington said. "Overall, a very productive player the last few years in the big leagues."

PNC Park's spacious left field may be a challenge for Dickerson, but the Pirates believe he can handle it. He has totaled minus-eight Defensive Runs Saved in his career. But he totaled two Outs Above Average last season, according to Statcast™, with identical 85 percent expected and actual catch rates. Huntington pointed to Dickerson's work last offseason, when he dropped 25 pounds, and cited reports that he's in even better shape this spring.

"We recognize it's a big left field. We've talked repeatedly about wanting two center fielders out there," Huntington said. "But we do think Corey's going to be able to come in and be an offensive weapon for us and play solid defense."

After hitting 51 homers over the past two years for Tampa Bay, Dickerson will add a jolt of left-handed power to a Pittsburgh lineup that ranked 29th in the Majors in home runs last season. The Pirates have added two potential left-handed power bats this offseason, even without signing a Major League free agent, by acquiring Dickerson on Thursday and third baseman Colin Moran from the Astros last month.

The move also bolsters Pittsburgh's bench, which will now include veteran infielder David Freese, super-utility men Sean Rodriguez and Adam Frazier and catcher Elias Diaz. The final spot could go to any number of candidates, including infielders Max Moroff and Jose Osuna and recently acquired outfielders Daniel Nava, Michael Saunders and Bryce Brentz.

"We feel we've given Clint [Hurdle] arguably one of the stronger benches we've had in a while, if not in our time here or his time here, with quality young players behind that in Triple-A," Huntington said.

By trading Hudson, the Pirates also cleared a spot in their crowded young bullpen. There could be as many as five jobs available behind closer Felipe Rivero and setup man George Kontos, and the list of candidates includes recent acquisitions Michael Feliz and Kyle Crick, starters Steven Brault and Tyler Glasnow, out-of-options right-hander A.J. Schugel, Rule 5 Draft pick Jordan Milbrath, young relievers Dovydas Neverauskas and Edgar Santana and left-handers Josh Smoker and Jack Leathersich, among others.

"We felt that we were dealing from an area of strength," Huntington said. "The bullpen is the most volatile and most challenging part of a club to build, but we do feel like we have a number of arms that could pitch at the Major League level effectively and could pitch in meaningful roles."

Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)

Although Dickerson faded in the second half of 2017 (10 homers, .690 OPS), he was an outstanding fantasy asset prior to the All-Star break (17 homers, .903 OPS) and could help mixed-league squads this year. Owners seeking power in the final rounds can take a chance on Dickerson, who could receive regular playing time for a retooling Pirates club that still has quality bats such as Marte, Polanco and Josh Bell.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.

Pittsburgh Pirates, Tampa Bay Rays, Corey Dickerson

Benoit, Nationals complete one-year deal

Right-handed reliever entering 16th season in big leagues
MLB.com

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Joaquin Benoit had just arrived in Phoenix after spending the offseason in the Dominican Republic when he got the call that he needed to go to Florida. The Nationals were closing in on a contract for Benoit, a move they worked on quickly after a hole opened up in their bullpen.

Benoit has been in camp for a day and participated in a few workouts, but the veteran reliever officially signed his one-year deal with Washington on Wednesday, a decision he said was an easy one to make.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Joaquin Benoit had just arrived in Phoenix after spending the offseason in the Dominican Republic when he got the call that he needed to go to Florida. The Nationals were closing in on a contract for Benoit, a move they worked on quickly after a hole opened up in their bullpen.

Benoit has been in camp for a day and participated in a few workouts, but the veteran reliever officially signed his one-year deal with Washington on Wednesday, a decision he said was an easy one to make.

Nationals Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Schedule

"Look around. This is the team," Benoit said. "This is not about going to a place and being miserable. This is about going to a place and being comfortable and having a chance to go to the playoffs and contribute."

Tweet from @Nationals: Welcome to DC, Joaqu??n Benoit!?: https://t.co/ModNKDtVMU pic.twitter.com/Z9hkeibhH2

The need for Benoit developed at the start of camp, when Koda Glover arrived with a sore right shoulder. He has not been cleared to throw and his status is uncertain, so the Nats went out to cover themselves.

They believe Benoit, 40, is due for a rebound after a difficult 2017 where his ERA ballooned to 4.65. In the past seven seasons, he averaged a 2.40 ERA and never posted an ERA higher 3.68. Washington is betting he still has something left in the tank, given that his fastball velocity of 94.8 mph last season was the highest of his career.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"I don't normally talk about things like that, but there was a lot of personal stuff going on last year," Benoit said. "I can't blame that, because the game is played the same way for hundreds of years. But it was a lot of things on my mind. Like I said, I don't like to make excuses, but things didn't go the way I planned or the way I wanted them to go."

Grapefruit League action approaches

The Nationals will begin open their Grapefruit League schedule Friday afternoon against the Astros, even though the first position player workouts began this week. However, manager Dave Martinez does not think the Nats will have an issue getting players ready for the first game so quickly with the condensed spring schedule.

"We've talked with a lot of position players already about what they think and feel and my coaches have been great," Martinez said. "They've been asking and they've been watching. We've had communication throughout the week kind of figuring out which guys we feel can already play. And a lot of them have come up and said they're good to go."

All but one

Martinez said everyone expected has reported for camp except for left-hander Ismael Guillon, a non-roster invitee who had visa issues coming from Venezuela. He is expected to report to camp in the coming days.

Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Washington Nationals, Joaquin Benoit

Gomez set to join Rays on one-year deal

MLB.com

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Rays wasted little time in addressing their void in right field, agreeing with Carlos Gomez on an incentive-laden one-year, $4 million deal, sources tell MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez. The Rays have not confirmed the report

A day after trading Steven Souza Jr. and four days after trading Jake Odorizzi and designating 2017 All-Star Corey Dickerson for assignment, the Rays were in a buying mood on Wednesday. Gomez will provide an intriguing power-speed combination to an outfield corner.

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Rays wasted little time in addressing their void in right field, agreeing with Carlos Gomez on an incentive-laden one-year, $4 million deal, sources tell MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez. The Rays have not confirmed the report

A day after trading Steven Souza Jr. and four days after trading Jake Odorizzi and designating 2017 All-Star Corey Dickerson for assignment, the Rays were in a buying mood on Wednesday. Gomez will provide an intriguing power-speed combination to an outfield corner.

Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Schedule | Gear

Following Tuesday night's Souza trade, Rays GM Erik Neander said that the Odorizzi and Dickerson moves had been motivated by the team having depth at their respective positions, but Neander acknowledged that no such depth existed in right field. Thus, the Rays would be in the market for a right fielder.

Gomez looks like the perfect fit.

Tweet from @RealCarlosGomez: ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? New chapter, same hustle! #TheHustleNeverStops let's get it! #Blessed pic.twitter.com/d13n1oQe1z

The right-handed-hitting Gomez, 32, slashed .255/.340/.462 for the Rangers, with 17 home runs and 13 stolen bases while manning center field in 2017.

Gomez has spent the bulk of his Major League career as a center fielder, but that won't be the case with the Rays, who have American League Gold Glove Award-winning center fielder Kevin Kiermaier locking down the position. Clearly, right field looks to be Gomez's destination, with veteran Denard Span and Mallex Smith left to compete for the job in left field.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Gomez is the only player to accrue at least 12 home runs and 12 steals in each of the last six seasons. However, he has played 150 games or more in a season just once in his career and has averaged 112 games per season since 2015.

The Rays have been able to cut significant salary in the last week with their series of moves. Gone are Odorizzi ($6.3 million), Dickerson ($5.95 million) and Souza ($3.55 million), with cheaper replacements in Gomez and C.J. Cron ($2.3 million).

Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)

While he can no longer match his heyday production of 20-plus homers and roughly 35 steals, Gomez still warrants attention in deep mixed leagues after averaging 15 homers and 15.5 steals across the past two seasons. With the addition of the 32-year-old Gomez to a rapidly changing Rays roster, the speedy Smith will likely move to a reserve role and no longer merits a draft pick in mixed formats.

Video: Zinkie on 2018 Gomez fantasy impact with move to Rays

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

Tampa Bay Rays, Carlos Gomez