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Duquette on Moose, Lynn, Cobb & more

MLB.com analyst answers fans' questions about free agents, more
MLB.com

The free-agent market has started to pick up as Spring Training camps have opened, but many big names are still without a home. Here to provide some insight on that situation and more is MLB.com analyst Jim Duquette, who fielded fans' questions on Twitter at @Jim_Duquette on Tuesday.

Check out his answers below. (Questions have been edited for clarity.)

The free-agent market has started to pick up as Spring Training camps have opened, but many big names are still without a home. Here to provide some insight on that situation and more is MLB.com analyst Jim Duquette, who fielded fans' questions on Twitter at @Jim_Duquette on Tuesday.

Check out his answers below. (Questions have been edited for clarity.)

Where do you see Mike Moustakas ending up?
-- @Ben_Yoel

Already with fewer potential landing spots this year than he might have next offseason, Moustakas seemingly lost another suitor when the Yankees acquired Brandon Drury from the D-backs in a three-team trade Tuesday night. The move increased the likelihood that Moustakas will remain in the American League Central by signing with the White Sox, who have Matt Davidson and Yolmer Sanchez slated to man the hot corner in 2018, with '17 No. 11 overall Draft pick Jake Burger a couple years away from being a viable option. But don't count out the Royals -- the only professional franchise Moose has ever known. Although general manager Dayton Moore has said the club doesn't plan to pursue any other costly free agents after losing Eric Hosmer to the Padres, I wouldn't be surprised if Kansas City jumped back into the discussions.

Video: Richard Justice on Mike Moustakas' free agency

Do you think Corey Dickerson would be a good fit in Houston?
-- @Rpage51

A few teams will be interested in Dickerson after the Rays designated him for assignment, but the Astros might not be one of them. Houston has Evan Gattis at designated hitter and can play any of Marwin Gonzalez, Derek Fisher and Jake Marisnick in left field. The Astros also have one of baseball's top outfield prospects in Kyle Tucker waiting in the wings. Dickerson performed well against lefties and righties last season, and he is a better defender than many think, so teams shouldn't have qualms about playing him regularly. He's a good fit for the Braves, Pirates and Orioles.

Is anyone interested in Lucas Duda?
--@PJ_Buckley

As is the case with many free agents, the market for Duda has been slow this offseason. But with strong power (lifetime .215 ISO) and a strong grasp of the strike zone (career 11.5 percent walk rate), he could be a valuable piece for many lineups. The same goes for Logan Morrison, who is a similar player and has also had trouble finding a deal this offseason. Either would fit well with the Royals or the Rays.

Are the Orioles done, or will they sign Lance Lynn or Alex Cobb?
-- @wvwllw

The Orioles would like to find another starter after missing out on a chance for a significant upgrade by acquiring Jake Odorizzi from the Rays. They are one of a handful of teams still actively searching for rotation help, along with the Brewers, Nationals, Phillies, Dodgers and Rangers. The latter five clubs are more likely to pursue Cobb, Lynn or even Jake Arrieta, while the Orioles seem to be focused on pitchers from the next tier of hurlers, such as R.A. Dickey.

Video: Phillies and Arrieta are 'having a dialogue'

Who gets more playing time at first base for the Mets this year: Adrian Gonzalez or Dominic Smith?
-- @MJMets

At the moment, Gonzalez appears likely to receive more playing time early in the season. But in the end, I believe Smith will see more at-bats -- he's in much better physical shape than his veteran counterpart, and his struggles last September may have been related to fatigue, as he played 163 games between the Majors and Minors. Smith was never a big strikeout guy on the farm, so he should be able to improve upon last year's 26.8 percent whiff rate with more experience against big league pitching.

Jim Duquette, who was the Mets' GM in 2004, offers his opinions as a studio analyst and columnist for MLB.com.

Cuban prospect Martinez granted free agency

Outfielder, 21, can sign with MLB club as soon as March 6
MLB.com @benweinrib

One of the top Cuban players is a step closer to signing with a big league team, as Major League Baseball cleared 21-year-old outfielder Julio Pablo Martinez to become a free agent on Tuesday, MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez reported.

At 5-foot-10, 180 pounds, Martinez has a promising combination of power and speed from the left side, and he can sign as soon as March 6. However, because he is under 23, he will be subject to international signing rules.

One of the top Cuban players is a step closer to signing with a big league team, as Major League Baseball cleared 21-year-old outfielder Julio Pablo Martinez to become a free agent on Tuesday, MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez reported.

At 5-foot-10, 180 pounds, Martinez has a promising combination of power and speed from the left side, and he can sign as soon as March 6. However, because he is under 23, he will be subject to international signing rules.

Martinez can sign before the current signing period ends on June 15, but depending on which team he chooses, he may opt to sign during the 2018-19 period, which begins on July 2. According to Sanchez, the Yankees, Rangers and Marlins are favorites to sign Martinez, and New York and Miami would likely prefer to wait until the next period.

Top 30 International Prospects list

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 he elected to sign with the Angels. Texas further bolstered its spending power by trading Minor League right-hander Miguel Medrano to the Reds for international pool money on Wednesday.

Teams may trade for up to 75 percent of their original bonus pool allocation to increase their offer for Martinez. But 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 in the last two years.

Martinez earned spots on Cuba's 18U junior team in 2014 and '15. More recently, he played in the Cuban Serie Nacional during the '16-17 season and posted a .333/.469/.498 slash line with six home runs and 24 stolen bases in 61 games.

Martinez is considered to have the talent to start in 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.

Ben Weinrib is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland. Follow him on Twitter at @benweinrib.

Power boost: J.D. arrives at Red Sox camp

MLB.com

Just a few hours removed from calling Boston his new home, J.D. Martinez arrived at JetBlue Park at Fenway South to report for Spring Training on Wednesday morning.

Boston's primary offseason target could take his physical today and begin workouts with the team. Martinez has agreed on a five-year, $110 million contract that includes opt-outs after the second and third years of the deal.

Just a few hours removed from calling Boston his new home, J.D. Martinez arrived at JetBlue Park at Fenway South to report for Spring Training on Wednesday morning.

Boston's primary offseason target could take his physical today and begin workouts with the team. Martinez has agreed on a five-year, $110 million contract that includes opt-outs after the second and third years of the deal.

Spring info | Tickets | Schedule

Tweet from @PeteAbe: J.D. Martinez just walked into Jet Blue Park. pic.twitter.com/O07lcsvjq2

Martinez is set to wear No. 28 for the Red Sox, keeping the jersey number he wore for both the D-backs and Tigers. Boston's new manager Alex Cora, who was wearing No. 28, gladly gave it to Martinez. It is unclear what number Cora will wear.

Tweet from @LouMerloni: JD Martinez will wear #28 for the Sox. It���s the number he wore in Detroit and Arizona. Alex Cora was #28 but he will give it to JD. No update on what # Cora will now wear

The 30-year-old power hitter is expected to be the final puzzle piece in Boston's lineup after coming off a 45-homer year in 2017.

Deesha Thosar is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York City. Follow her on Twitter at @DeeshaThosar.

Boston Red Sox, J.D. Martinez

D-backs get Souza from TB, trade Drury to NYY

Rays receive Solak from Yankees, Banda and 2 PTBNL from Arizona
MLB.com @SteveGilbertMLB

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- One day after losing free-agent slugger J.D. Martinez to the Red Sox, the D-backs continued their outfield makeover on Tuesday by acquiring Steven Souza Jr. from the Rays as part of a three-team deal that sent Brandon Drury to the Yankees.

The addition of Souza, along with Monday's signing of Jarrod Dyson, gives the D-backs much-needed depth in their outfield.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- One day after losing free-agent slugger J.D. Martinez to the Red Sox, the D-backs continued their outfield makeover on Tuesday by acquiring Steven Souza Jr. from the Rays as part of a three-team deal that sent Brandon Drury to the Yankees.

The addition of Souza, along with Monday's signing of Jarrod Dyson, gives the D-backs much-needed depth in their outfield.

Trade for Drury could impact Torres, Andujar

In addition to Souza, the D-backs acquired right-hander Taylor Widener, the Yanks' No. 14 prospect. The 23-year-old went 7-8 with a 3.39 ERA in 27 starts for Class A Advanced Tampa. There was a cost, though. In addition to parting with the Bronx-bound Drury, Arizona sent its No. 4 prospect, left-hander Anthony Banda, and two players to be named to Tampa Bay.

Video: Callis on D-backs acquiring pitching prospect Widener

D-backs get
Steven Souza Jr. (from TB)
Taylor Widener (Yankees' No. 22 prospect)

Yankees get
Brandon Drury (from ARI)

Rays get
Anthony Banda (D-backs' No. 4 prospect)
Nick Solak (Yankees' No. 8 prospect)
Two players to be named later (from ARI)

Drury became expendable because of Arizona's surplus of middle infielders -- Nick Ahmed, Daniel Descalso, Ketel Marte and Chris Owings -- but the 25-year-old fills a need for New York. He played mainly second base for the D-backs last season, but he can also play third. Drury's ability to play both positions gives the Yankees the flexibility to fill the other slot with either top prospect Gleyber Torres or No. 5 prospect Miguel Andujar. Drury hit .267 with 13 home runs and 63 RBIs in 135 games in 2017.

The Yanks also sent their No. 8 prospect, Nick Solak, to the Rays. The 23-year-old second baseman who hit .297 with 12 home runs and 53 RBIs in 130 games split between Class A Advanced and Double-A Trenton in 2017.

Souza, 28, brings a potent bat with him to Arizona. The right-handed hitter posted a .239/.351/.459 slash line last year, with a 121 OPS+ over 617 plate appearances.

Video: Souza Jr. on chasing a championship with D-backs

Set to make $3.5 million this season, Souza will not be eligible for free agency until after the 2020 season.

Souza played primarily right field for the Rays and figures to do so with the D-backs as well. David Peralta, who has played both left and right field during his time in Arizona, profiles better in left.

A.J. Pollock will start in center, giving the D-backs a strong starting group, and Dyson's ability to play all three outfield spots gives manager Torey Lovullo plenty of opportunities to give guys days off.

What that means for Yasmany Tomas, who missed most of last season due to core injuries, remains to be seen. He will make $10 million this year and has a player option that would pay him $15.5 million in 2019 and $17 million in '20.

Banda, meanwhile, made his big league debut and pitched in eight games for Arizona last year, including four starts. He recorded a 5.96 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 25 2/3 innings. Banda was expected to begin this season at Triple-A, but was viewed as someone who could be called on if one of the D-backs' five starters got injured.

Video: Zinkie on fantasy implications of Souza, Drury deal

Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)
Owings gains the most value from this deal among those on the D-backs, as he could shift from utility player to starting second baseman. The trade also boosts the value of Souza, who warrants Round 10 consideration in standard-league drafts as he prepares to bring his power-speed blend (30 homers, 16 steals in 2017) to a productive Arizona lineup. Meanwhile, Mallex Smith becomes a late-round steals source who could swipe 35 bases if given 550 plate appearances with the Rays. As for the Yankees, the acquisition of Drury likely eliminates the chance of the club opening the season with both Torres and Andujar in the starting lineup, though one of the two prospects may still have an opportunity to land a spot.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, Arizona Diamondbacks

Sources: Rays sign Gomez to one-year deal

MLB.com @wwchastain

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Rays wasted little time in addressing their void in right field, as Carlos Gomez has agreed to an incentive-laden one-year, $4 million deal with the club, 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, as Carlos Gomez has agreed to an incentive-laden one-year, $4 million deal with the club, 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.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

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.

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 2004.

Tampa Bay Rays, Carlos Gomez

Triple-H's hit triple digits, wow Cards mates

Rookies Hicks, Helsley and Hudson likely to factor into 'pen
MLB.com @JoeTrezz

JUPITER, Fla. -- The results on the back fields, the spring thinking goes, hardly matter. The impressions, though, the takeaways, could go a long way toward shaping a season. Take Tuesday, for example, when Cardinals pitchers faced hitters for the first time in live batting practice.

Luke Voit won't remember grounding a Jordan Hicks sinker to short. Kolten Wong won't remember squaring up one of Hicks' heaters, then squibbing the next. But Voit won't forget the sink, just like Wong won't forget the sizzle that made him hop out from under the batting turtle, hands stinging, and say: "Wow. Even when you hit this kid, you have to [really] hit it."

JUPITER, Fla. -- The results on the back fields, the spring thinking goes, hardly matter. The impressions, though, the takeaways, could go a long way toward shaping a season. Take Tuesday, for example, when Cardinals pitchers faced hitters for the first time in live batting practice.

Luke Voit won't remember grounding a Jordan Hicks sinker to short. Kolten Wong won't remember squaring up one of Hicks' heaters, then squibbing the next. But Voit won't forget the sink, just like Wong won't forget the sizzle that made him hop out from under the batting turtle, hands stinging, and say: "Wow. Even when you hit this kid, you have to [really] hit it."

Cardinals Spring Training information

Voit and Wong were the only Cardinals to face Hicks, the owner of the one of the youngest and more powerful arms in camp and the No. 13 Cards prospect per MLB Pipeline. But they were two of the many with an opinion after seeing the 21-year-old throw in a competitive setting for the first time. A crowd of coaches and veterans gathered to watch Hicks, who despite not pitching above Class A figures to factor into the club's bullpen picture this season, along with fellow hard-throwing prospects Dakota Hudson and Ryan Helsley, the Cards' No. 7 and No. 22 prospects, respectively.

Hicks' fastball, which is said to have hit 102 mph, inspired whistles and exaggerated facial expressions from behind the batting cage.

"That's the impression I want to make," Hicks said afterward. "I want to leave it all out there, no matter where I'm at. This was the first competitive one, so I felt really amped up."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Hours later, it still had the clubhouse talking.

"It's heavy, hard and with lots of sink," Wong said.

"There was a lot of hype about him and from what I heard," said Voit. "And I was impressed, just like everybody else was."

Despite the calls for them to sign a certain high-profile closer, the club's reluctance to commit to a particular ninth-inning option stems from its expectation that, at some point, Hicks, Helsley and Hudson factor in. All have fastballs that can reach triple digits. Hicks has a four-seamer he's learning to locate up, and a two-seamer that runs down and in to righties.

"He's going to shatter some bats," Wong said.

Helsley, 23, throws four pitches. The highlight is his heater, which routinely hovers around 98 mph. Hudson, also 23, relies on a power sinker and wipeout slider. Both reached Triple-A Memphis last season.

Helsley was part of the group that threw to hitters Tuesday. He inspired gossip by striking out infielder Breyvic Valera, an extreme contact hitter who may make the club specifically because of his ability to put the ball in play.

"He never strikes out," Helsley said. "If I struck him out, it was an OK day."

Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.

St. Louis Cardinals, Ryan Helsley, Jordan Hicks

Back spasms have Andrus out as precaution

MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus sat out of Wednesday's workout while dealing with back spasms. The Rangers said it was more precautionary than anything because it is early in Spring Training.

If this were the regular season, Andrus would have been in the lineup. He usually is.

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus sat out of Wednesday's workout while dealing with back spasms. The Rangers said it was more precautionary than anything because it is early in Spring Training.

If this were the regular season, Andrus would have been in the lineup. He usually is.

Andrus is entering his 10th season with Texas, and he has never been on the disabled list. He played in 158 games last year and at least 145 per season since he was a rookie in 2009. The shortstop played in 147 games in '16, even though he was bothered by a sports hernia for much of the season.

"I think that is my No. 1 goal every year -- play as much as I can and fight through injuries," Andrus said. "Find a way to be there for my team."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Andrus said he learned that from Michael Young and Adrian Beltre.

"They told me your body could be feeling [terrible] and you still might go 4-for-4," Andrus said. "If something is bothering you, why take a week off? You can still find a way to help the team. That's the thing I admire about other players is playing every day."

Bochy speaks highly of Moore

The Rangers acquired left-handed starter Matt Moore in a trade from the Giants this offseason. Giants manager Bruce Bochy said the Rangers are getting a "good one," even though Moore struggled in San Francisco.

Tweet from @Sullivan_Ranger: Matt Moore throwing a batting practice session pic.twitter.com/60aXOFElnd

"I loved my time with Matt," Bochy said. "Matt was a great teammate. I thank him for all he did. Never missed starts. He had some struggles last year. I remember bringing him [to the office] and maybe giving him a break, skip a start, catch his breath. He insisted no, he wanted to get back out there. That's the competitor that he is. He really pitched well at the end of the year."

Moore was 6-15 with a 5.52 ERA in 31 starts for the Giants in 2017. He had a seven-game stretch from Aug. 18 to Sept. 20 in which he was 3-2 with a 3.38 ERA before allowing eight runs in 1 1/3 innings in his final outing.

"Everybody has their ups and downs in this game," Bochy said. "Mostly his command would get away from him, and his delivery would get out of sync occasionally. But he found it. ... If you look at his last few starts, he was throwing the ball well."

Outfielders parading to mound

Minor League first baseman/outfielder Royce Bolinger is being switched to pitcher after five seasons. He had a couple of appearances on the mound at Gonzaga during his college career.

Bolinger follows Jairo Beras and James Jones, two other former outfielders who were switched to the mound in the past couple of years. Beras had a 5.02 ERA in 14 appearances in Class A last year, and then went to Instructional League for more work.

"The big progress we saw was in Instructional League," farm director Jayce Tingler said of Beras. "It's upper 90s [mph]. ... One thing we have worked on is his slider. It is a live arm. It's easy strikes. What we were most encouraged with was how he picked up his slider and how well he was able to throw it for strikes. He's got real weapons. If he stays healthy, he could pitch in the upper levels in a short time."

Jones, who played for the Mariners in 2014-15, was switched to the mound after being acquired by the Rangers. He underwent Tommy John surgery in '16, but is at full strength again. Jones was a pitcher in college at Long Island University.

"Guys are buzzing about him, especially the rehab guys who have put a ton of time into it," Tingler said. "He's healthy and throwing his fastball very well -- mid-to-low 90's, pretty good breaking ball."

Rangers beat

??? The Rangers worked out Wednesday morning in 40-plus-degree temperatures. Beltre stayed indoors doing his work. The Rangers are letting Beltre take it slow this spring because he has a history of minor leg issues in Spring Training.

??? Because of the condensed Spring Training, the Rangers will not have any intrasquad games before the Cactus League opener on Saturday against the Cubs.

??? Moore, who has been dealing with soreness behind his right knee, threw live batting practice without any issues on Wednesday.

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, Elvis Andrus

Showcase attracts top international prospects

Sixty players from 7 countries put talents on display for scouts
MLB.com @JesseSanchezMLB

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Eloy Jimenez was here months before he was a Cub, and years before he joined the White Sox.

Young Red Sox infielder Rafael Devers, Yankees infield prospect Gleyber Torres and A's infielder Franklin Barreto made their mark on these fields. Braves infielder Ozzie Albies and Mets infielder Amed Rosario shined here, too.

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Eloy Jimenez was here months before he was a Cub, and years before he joined the White Sox.

Young Red Sox infielder Rafael Devers, Yankees infield prospect Gleyber Torres and A's infielder Franklin Barreto made their mark on these fields. Braves infielder Ozzie Albies and Mets infielder Amed Rosario shined here, too.

Now in its seventh year, Major League Baseball's International Prospect Showcase for players eligible to sign when the international signing period begins July 2 has proven to be a launching pad for some of the game's brightest young stars, and a valuable platform for the scouts that want to see them in action.

Sandy Alcantara (Marlins), Francisco Mejia (Indians), Luis Torrens (Padres) and Richard Urena (Blue Jays) also participated in MLB's International Prospect Showcase.

"It's exciting to see and to be able to track the development of the players at an early age," said Joel Araujo, MLB's senior manager of international talent development. "We have seen guys at this event make it to the big leagues, and there's no reason to believe we won't have a group of big leaguers come out of this event as well."

Tweet from @JesseSanchezMLB: The official name of the stadium for this week���s @MLB���s International Prospect Showcase is Estadio Quisqueya Juan Marichal. There���s an awesome statue of the Dominican Dandy near the main entrance. pic.twitter.com/mMGP3i1vbS

Major League Baseball started the MLB Amateur Prospect League in 2011 with showcases in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. In early '12, MLB combined the two showcases to create the first international prospect event. Now, there are also tryouts in Brazil, Colombia, Curacao, Nicaragua, Panama and Mexico that feed into the annual event.

This year, 60 players representing those countries plus Cuba are participating in the two-day showcase that started Wednesday at Estadio Quisqueya Juan Marichal.

"This is really the one event where all of these prospects can come together and showcase their talents for all of our clubs," said Kim Ng, senior vice president of baseball operations for Major League Baseball. "One of the most important things to the Commissioner is the globalization of the game, and we feel that this event -- because we are growing and the number of countries participating is increasing -- is truly representative of where the game is going in terms of getting that global talent in."

The showcase portion of the event began Wednesday morning with a timed 60-yard run, infield and outfield practice, along with batting practice and one game in front of more than 220 scouts. A doubleheader is scheduled for Thursday.

Among the top prospects to watch are outfielders Jose De La Cruz (Dominican Republic), Alvin Guzman (Dominican Republic) and Misael Urbina (Venezuela), along with infielders Marco Luciano (Dominican Republic), Noelvi Marte (Dominican Republic), Orelvis Martinez (Dominican Republic) and Junior Sanquintin (Dominican Republic). Diego Cartaya and Francisco Alvarez are highly regarded catchers from Venezuela, and Cuban right-handed pitchers Sandy Gaston and Osiel Rodriguez are considered among the top pitchers eligible to sign July 2.

Tweet from @JesseSanchezMLB: Running down a dream. Here���s outfield prospect Misael Urbina (Venezuela) running 60 yards in front of scouts here at Estadio Quisqueya. The timed run is the first part of the morning workout here at @MLB International Prospect Showcase. pic.twitter.com/9bv5nU2gC7

The teens are a work in progress. The international market also continues to take shape.

The Blue Jays, Brewers, D-backs, Mariners, Phillies, Rangers, Red Sox, Rockies, Tigers, Twins, and Yankees are expected to be aggressive in the upcoming signing period. The Cubs, Dodgers, Giants and Royals -- teams that will no longer be in the penalty for exceeding their past international bonus pool spending -- are also expected to be very active.

The A's, Astros, Braves, Cardinals, Nationals, Padres, Reds and White Sox are in the maximum penalty and cannot sign players for more than $300,000 during the upcoming period.

In terms of prospects, it's not unusual for international classes to feature an unusually high number of athletic shortstops and center fielders. And while this year's group includes prospects like Luciano, Marte and Martinez, some characterized the overall class as a collection of raw power at the plate and on the mound.

It's worth noting that Rodriguez, Gaston and Starlyn Castillo (Dominican Republic) are already throwing fastballs in the mid-90 mph range. There's also an argument to be made that the best all-around prospect is Cartaya, and he's a true catcher.

It's to be determined how Cuban outfielder Julio Pablo Martinez, who was cleared Wednesday to sign as soon as March 6, will impact the international market. He could sign during the current signing period or the next. For now, the Yankees, Marlins and Rangers are the front-runners to sign him.

"We are getting the top players internationally in this event, and it really has become the best of the best in the world in terms of players who sign under the international guidelines," Araujo said. "It's a place that clubs realize they have to attend, and it's a testament to the growth of the international market overall."

Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.

Double rake: Williams almost dents car again

Homer from Phils slugger nearly hits Kapler's rental for second consecutive day
MLB.com @ToddZolecki

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Maybe Phillies manager Gabe Kapler should move his car.

Phillies outfielder Nick Williams nearly hit Kapler's rental car with a home run for the second consecutive day Wednesday at Carpenter Complex. Williams dented the roof of Kapler's car on Tuesday, hitting a home run over the right-field fence at Mike Schmidt Field.

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Maybe Phillies manager Gabe Kapler should move his car.

Phillies outfielder Nick Williams nearly hit Kapler's rental car with a home run for the second consecutive day Wednesday at Carpenter Complex. Williams dented the roof of Kapler's car on Tuesday, hitting a home run over the right-field fence at Mike Schmidt Field.

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"If he is destroying cars and it happens to be mine, no problem," Kapler said.

But why not park his vehicle elsewhere?

"No, no," Kapler said, smiling. "We're going to make it a bullseye for him. We'll have a running joke, and it's a great way to build relationships. That's part of the whole scientific plan to make this work."

Kapler said he and his coaching staff have been impressed with the way Williams has looked and performed in camp. Rhys Hoskins, Odubel Herrera, Aaron Altherr and Williams figure to be part of the regular outfield rotation, with Hoskins and possibly Herrera regular presences in the lineup.

"[Williams] is really shining," Kapler said. "He just walks around with a perpetual smile. But clearly our hitting coaches are enthused about the bat path, the way he lofts the ball to the middle of the field. Some hitters, when they hit their best ball, it's on the ground. And Nick, when he makes his most solid contact, he has a nice loft to his swing. And in the middle of the field, there are not many guys that can drive the ball like he can."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Kapler stressed that he is not worried about finding enough plate appearances for Hoskins, Herrera, Altherr and Williams. Hoskins can play first base whenever Carlos Santana is not there. There are pinch-hitting and double-switch opportunities. There are designated hitter opportunities in Interleague Play.

Kapler said everybody will be satisfied.

"Not concerned," Kapler said. "They're all going to get a ton of reps. They all very well may be in the lineup on more days than not."

Bring on Tampa

The Phillies host the University of Tampa baseball team in an exhibition game Thursday afternoon at Spectrum Field. Right-hander Jerad Eickhoff will pitch the first inning.

Philadelphia has a two-game winning streak against Tampa. It lost to the Division II college team in 2015.

The Phillies have not said who will start Friday's Grapefruit League opener against the Blue Jays in Dunedin.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Philadelphia Phillies, Nick Williams

A not-so-crazy pace of play solution

Baseball is at its best when there is movement in the game
MLB.com @JPosnanski

So you probably have seen the new pace of play rules that will be instituted this season. They seem pretty reasonable. The league and the players did not add a pitch clock, so that part was deferred, but there were a few changes agreed upon to speed things up.

1. The between-inning breaks will be sped up a little bit. Umpires will begin each half inning more quickly -- they will begin the inning-starting process with 20 seconds left in the break -- so if you're watching a game on television, you should see the first pitch within a few seconds of returning from a commercial.

So you probably have seen the new pace of play rules that will be instituted this season. They seem pretty reasonable. The league and the players did not add a pitch clock, so that part was deferred, but there were a few changes agreed upon to speed things up.

1. The between-inning breaks will be sped up a little bit. Umpires will begin each half inning more quickly -- they will begin the inning-starting process with 20 seconds left in the break -- so if you're watching a game on television, you should see the first pitch within a few seconds of returning from a commercial.

2. Each team will be limited to six mound visits per game, not counting the visits to actually replace the pitcher or visits for injuries. That seems pretty good. I don't know too many fans of mound visits.

3. Pitching changes should be a little bit quicker.

4. Teams will get better access to instant replays, so should be able to challenge plays more quickly.

Video: Castrovince, Justice discuss pace-of-play rules

None of those rules seems especially onerous -- really, they are all already in the spirit of the rules. I don't know how much time they will actually save, but in my mind, the point has never been "time." The point has been pace. I don't care if a game is three and a half or four hours if it is crisply played (though, admittedly, it's hard to imagine a crisply played four-hour game that is less than, say, 14 innings). Baseball has a nice unhurried rhythm, and it should never lose that.

But the game is also at its best when it is active, when everything moves, when the pitcher is throwing, when the batter is swinging, when the fielders are engaged. A lot of standing around isn't fun to watch, even for hardcore baseball fans.

I think the new rules will probably speed up the pace some.

• MLB announces pace of play initiatives for '18

But I'd like to offer up a couple of more dramatic rule changes. These will be, admittedly, controversial. But I really think they would help the pace of play.

Here goes:

Rule: When the bases are unoccupied, the pitcher shall deliver the ball within 12 seconds after he receives the ball. Each time the pitcher delays the game by violating this rule, the umpire shall call "Ball." The umpire shall also insist that the catcher return the ball promptly to the pitcher, and that the pitcher take his position on the rubber promptly. Obvious delay by the pitcher should be penalized by the umpire.

Sure, I know: That's harsh. Twelve seconds. That's not a lot of time. But I have faith. I think the pitchers can do it. And I think umpires should be given the authority to keep the game going, to get everything moving.

Here's another rule I've been thinking about -- well, it's not a rule, more like a directive:

Rule: Umpires shall encourage the on-deck batter to take position in the batter's box quickly after the previous batter reaches base or is put out. Umpires will not call "Time" at the request of the batter or any member of his team once the pitcher has started his windup or come to a set position, even though the batter claims "dust in his eyes," "steamed glasses," "didn't get the sign" or for any other cause.

Again, I realize this can be a little bit harsh. But as we try to speed up the game, this seems to me a concept that can quicken the pace of the game. Let's stop slowing things down between pitches.

• Players, managers react to changes

In addition to those admittedly contentious concepts, I'd make it illegal to intentionally delay the game by throwing the ball to players other than the catcher when the batter is in position, except in an attempt to retire a runner. Now, I admit that "attempt to retire a runner" is a bit vague -- you could make the argument that any throw to a base with a runner on is an "attempt to retire a runner." But I would give the umpire some latitude to decide if the pitcher is really trying to get an out or is just throwing to bases to slow down the game. If, after a warning by the umpire, such delaying action is repeated, the pitcher shall be removed from the game.

Video: Counsell discusses pace-of-play initiative

I assume by now you have either decided that none of this -- the 12-second pitch timer, the batter can't call timeout, the pitcher who throws repeatedly and pointless to bases can eventually be removed from the game -- is possible given the current climate of the game, or much more likely, you have figured something else out:

All of these are already in baseball's official rulebook. They've been rules for a long time. They have grown rusty from underuse, but they are there, and they are very real.

The 12-second rule was actually updated in 2005 -- it used to give pitchers 20 seconds after they got ball to pitch. That same year, the rule book gave umpires the freedom to make sure pitchers and hitters were ready to go as soon as the commercial break ended (they could call a ball or strike if they were not), gave the directive that visits to the mound should be done as quickly as possible, and essentially gave the umpires the authority to do what was necessary to keep the game moving.

Everybody understands at some level that baseball is just a better game when there's movement and action and a sense of urgency. Maybe, in the end, the game will need a clock and pressures and incentives to get the pace of play moving. But really, the rules are already in place. If everyone would believe in them, enforce them and generally abide by them, I think the pace of play problem would mostly go away.

Joe Posnanski is a national columnist for MLB.com.

All clubs to don Douglas caps for ST openers

MLB.com @_dadler

All 30 Major League teams will wear Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School baseball caps before their Spring Training games this weekend to show support for the Parkland, Fla., community and the Stoneman Douglas student body after the tragic shooting at the school on Feb. 14.

Players across MLB will then be signing the caps and auctioning them to raise money for the Broward Education Foundation, which will benefit the official Stoneman Douglas Victims' Fund. Seventeen people were killed in the shooting, including 14 students and three staff members.

All 30 Major League teams will wear Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School baseball caps before their Spring Training games this weekend to show support for the Parkland, Fla., community and the Stoneman Douglas student body after the tragic shooting at the school on Feb. 14.

Players across MLB will then be signing the caps and auctioning them to raise money for the Broward Education Foundation, which will benefit the official Stoneman Douglas Victims' Fund. Seventeen people were killed in the shooting, including 14 students and three staff members.

Video: Teams to wear Stoneman Douglas hats for ST openers

"It's a tragedy. It was a tragedy that hit the state of Florida, where we have two teams, but obviously has very specific baseball connections," Commissioner Rob Manfred said. "Really a very strong sentiment among the clubs that this was the appropriate thing to do immediately."

MLB teams will wear the caps pregame on Friday and will also be allowed to wear them during their games. Since they're off on Friday, the Royals and Rangers will don the hats on Saturday.

The Commissioner approved the use of the caps during all games on Friday, the Spring Training openers for most of the clubs.

The effort started with a few Grapefruit League teams, which wanted to wear the caps pregame, and it quickly spread across camps in Florida and Arizona. Soon all 30 teams had decided to join in the support and fundraising effort for the school community.

Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo attended Stoneman Douglas, and spoke at a prayer vigil at Pine Trails Park the day after the shooting. 

"It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do," Rizzo said Monday about meeting with families of the victims of the shooting. "You don't know what to say, there's nothing you can say. When people get shot, you're grateful they're alive. When they pass away, you're grateful you knew them. Just to see how real it is, it's sad and it's why I'm so proud of what they're doing back in Parkland and how everyone is coming together. They're going to turn this tragedy into something positive.

"The caps made for the fundraising effort will be provided to all players, coaches and umpires."

The Stoneman Douglas High School caps are reminiscent of how the Mets wore NYPD and FDNY caps following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001. The Mets donned the caps to honor the first responders in their first game after the attacks, in Pittsburgh on Sept. 17, and again in their return to New York four days later. In that memorable game at Shea Stadium, Mike Piazza hit the go-ahead home run in the eighth inning to lead the Mets to an emotional win over the Braves.

David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.

Marlins sign Maybin to one-year deal

Special to MLB.com

JUPITER, Fla. -- While Don Mattingly's Marlins will enter the season with a mostly new-look outfield, one of the team's old faces is back.

Cameron Maybin, who spent the 2008-10 seasons with the Marlins after being acquired in the Miguel Cabrera trade with the Tigers, signed a one-year deal reportedly worth $3.25 million plus incentives for performance with the club. He will wear No. 1 with the Marlins and feels he can participate in game action this weekend.

JUPITER, Fla. -- While Don Mattingly's Marlins will enter the season with a mostly new-look outfield, one of the team's old faces is back.

Cameron Maybin, who spent the 2008-10 seasons with the Marlins after being acquired in the Miguel Cabrera trade with the Tigers, signed a one-year deal reportedly worth $3.25 million plus incentives for performance with the club. He will wear No. 1 with the Marlins and feels he can participate in game action this weekend.

"I'm excited about what I can bring back as a little bit [of an] older player," Maybin said on Wednesday morning. "I learned some good things in those seasons. ... I'm just here to try and help out, try and lead them in the right direction."

Maybin, who turns 31 in April, split last year between the Angels and Astros and stole 33 bases. He won a World Series title with Houston, batting .286 across six postseason games. Though Maybin hit only .186 in 21 regular-season games with the Astros, the former first-round Draft pick said he picked up plenty of leadership advice from older teammates.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"Finishing up with Houston last year, I've been able to take so many things ... from Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann and some of those veteran guys on how to bring a clubhouse together," Maybin said, "how to create a way of cherishing every win. I think sometimes at the big league level, you get used to doing it so much that we don't take time to cherish a team victory."

Miami enters the 2018 season with questions in the outfield following offseason trades of Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, and Marcell Ozuna. Utility player Derek Dietrich is the only outfielder who has been assured a starting job by Mattingly. With Dietrich in left, prospects Lewis Brinson, Braxton Lee and Magneuris Sierra will battle for spots in center and right. If they are not ready for big league action, Maybin provides insurance at all three outfield positions.

Maybin said the signing came together over roughly a three-day period, as talks with teams sped up after the Super Bowl earlier this month.

Marlins general manager Michael Hill said Maybin's skillset and maturity were key factors in inking the 11-year veteran outfielder to a contract.

Video: Brinson brings speed, athleticism to Marlins

"Anyone who's spent time with him knows what he represents as a person, as a teammate, as a professional," Hill said. "I think those are all qualities that, as we continue to build this organization, those are things that are important to us on top of being talented."

Added Mattingly: "Cameron's got a reputation of being a great teammate, and I think that's one of the things you do look at with younger guys. Knowing that you want to play the game a certain way, you really want a clubhouse presence [like Maybin.]"

Maybin already has first-hand experience of Brinson, who was acquired in the Yelich trade, having played against him in a rehab assignment last season. Brinson is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Marlins' No. 1 prospect and could earn his way onto the team's Opening Day roster with a strong showing this spring.

"He's got a tremendous talent, kind of reminds me of a younger me looking at him," Maybin said of Brinson. "I'm just excited to talk to him, pick his brains and bounce things off him to help him become the best player he can be."

Video: Zinkie on Maybin's 2018 fantasy impact

Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)
Coming off a season in which he tied his career high with 10 homers and placed fifth in the Majors with 33 steals, Maybin warrants attention in all roto leagues now that he is set for a full-time role with the Marlins. But as a career .255 hitter who has tallied 400 at-bats in just one of the previous five seasons, the speedster should be considered a boom-or-bust, speed-first asset who is best left for his potential in your draft's final rounds.

Jake Elman is a contributor to MLB.com.

Miami Marlins, Cameron Maybin

Darvish impresses teammates with first live BP

Right-hander says he fits in 'naturally with the team'
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

MESA, Ariz. -- Yu Darvish and Kyle Schwarber squared off for the first time since the National League Championship Series during a live batting practice session on Tuesday. In October, Darvish was on the Dodgers, but now he and Schwarber are teammates.

"It definitely reminded me of the NLCS, but he didn't swing," Darvish said of Schwarber, who did not take a swing at any of the five pitches from the right-hander. "I hope to face him again soon in practice games."

MESA, Ariz. -- Yu Darvish and Kyle Schwarber squared off for the first time since the National League Championship Series during a live batting practice session on Tuesday. In October, Darvish was on the Dodgers, but now he and Schwarber are teammates.

"It definitely reminded me of the NLCS, but he didn't swing," Darvish said of Schwarber, who did not take a swing at any of the five pitches from the right-hander. "I hope to face him again soon in practice games."

Actually, only Willson Contreras took a swing during the 25-pitch session. It seemed the Cubs players wanted to see what their new starting pitcher could do. Darvish was OK with that.

• Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Gear

"If [Schwarber] swung, it would probably go over the fence," Darvish said of the Cubs slugger, who hit a solo home run off him in Game 3 of the NLCS last October. "It's a good thing he didn't."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

The right-hander, who signed a six-year deal with the Cubs a week ago, said his new teammates have been very friendly.

"It seems like I fit in naturally with the team," he said.

The Cubs are pretty impressed.

"He's insane," Contreras said, referring to Darvish's pitches. "The movement he has on the baseball, on the breaking balls and the fastball command he has is crazy."

Tweet from @CarrieMuskat: #Cubs hitters waited to give Darvish fist pump after session pic.twitter.com/DgIuIe6Zrw

"It's Feb. 20 -- wow," Cubs manager Joe Maddon of Darvish's first live batting practice. "My impression from the side as an opponent has always been that when he's right on, he has this low fastball with great carry. I walk up and that's all [the hitters] are talking about. Obviously, he's feeling pretty good about himself. His delivery looks clean, the ball was coming out of his hand well.

"I know it's early, I'm certain his adrenaline was flowing a little bit, but he threw the ball great -- great with great conviction," Maddon said. "I'm more of a purist. I looked at the delivery and how the ball was reacting at home plate and it was outstanding."

Video: Maddon discusses Darvish's bullpen session

Obviously, the pitchers have an edge during the live batting practice because they've been in camp longer. Still, Maddon liked what he saw.

"It's just that he's got that low carry working already," Maddon said, before explaining, "Low carry -- when a pitcher is able to start the ball out low in the strike zone, normally as a hitter, you process that it's going to drop more and become a ball. His pitch has the rotation on it so well, it hits that plane and stays on it. Your mind thinks it's going to go below. Guys who are able to do that -- I used to catch Mark Langston and he was like that. There are certain guys who spin it low and keep the plane and those guys are tough."

Even though he did pitch an extra month because of the World Series last year, Darvish said he's treating this Spring Training like any other one. The Cubs will be careful with his Cactus League outings. Contreras has some work to do, too. How will he call seven different pitches?

"I have to figure that out," Contreras said, laughing.

Have any of the Cubs players tried to learn Japanese?

"Not one," Darvish said. "I think [former Cubs infielder Munenori] Kawasaki got them too tired learning Japanese."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Chicago Cubs, Yu Darvish

Source O's sign Rasmus to Minors deal

MLB.com @Britt_Ghiroli