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Hot Stove roundup: GMs set table for winter deals

Meetings wrap up in Orlando with A's signing of Punto, agent Boras holding court

The General Managers Meetings in Orlando, Fla., concluded Wednesday with only one signing: infielder Nick Punto and the A's agreeing to a one-year deal with a vesting option.

Though that's not quite an eye-catching move, there's no doubt plenty of groundwork was laid by many teams as the Hot Stove season continues this winter.

Wednesday's highlight was agent Scott Boras holding court with reporters and discussing a variety of topics, including three of his top clients: outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Shin-Soo Choo and shortstop Stephen Drew.

Those three don't appear close to signing, instead going through the process like everyone else.

"I think every free agent wants to get their deal done yesterday," Boras said. "There's kind of a tide that works in this process, and every once in a while you have clubs that make quicker decisions than others, and a lot of that has to do with exhausting trade possibilities, along with their plan and design with their owners. Really, it has to do a lot with the math the teams have to do to make the strike. Historically, there's always a few that jump quicker. But for the most part, a lot of teams respond to the pursuit of the player when they know that pursuit of the player has a timetable."

Here's a rundown of Wednesday's rumors and happenings:

AL East
•'s Brittany Ghiroli breaks down rumors of shortstop J.J. Hardy being on the trading block, which Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette shot down.

• Boston general manager Ben Cherington said he is reluctant to deal young arms in a potential trade. Cherington also said he believes it's possible Ellsbury returns to Boston next season, though it doesn't seem as if there's been much communication between the two camps.

Also, second baseman Dustin Pedroia underwent successful surgery on his left thumb Wednesday morning. He will be ready for the regular season but may miss time early in Spring Training.

• Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said he believes entertainer Jay-Z, who is affiliated with CAA Sports representing Robinson Cano, will play a role in negotiations with the second baseman -- though most discussions have been with veteran agent Brodie Van Wagenen.

Elsewhere in Yankeeland, managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner expressed confidence in Derek Jeter's return. Also, free-agent reliever Brian Wilson isn't a fit for the Yankees because he won't shave his beard.

• The Rays spent the GM Meetings gathering information.

AL Central
• On the same day Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer was named the 2013 AL Cy Young Award winner, he told reporters on a conference call, including's Jason Beck, that he's open to a new deal.

"I love it here in Detroit," Scherzer said. "We're capable of putting out a team that's able to win every single year right now. Who wouldn't want to be a part of that? I'm here to win and win a World Series. I realize I've got a good situation here in Detroit. But it also takes two to dance."

• Free-agent outfielder Carlos Beltran, one of the most sought-after bats this offseason, told's Dick Kaegel that it'd be "a great story" if he returned to Kansas City. Beltran was the Royals' second-round pick in the 1995 Draft and played his first six-plus seasons in K.C.

• The Indians hired Matt Quatraro as assistant hitting coach.

AL West
•'s Barry Bloom sat down with A's general manager Billy Beane for an exclusive Q&A.

• Major League owners are expected to approve Rangers co-chairman Ray Davis as the organization's "control person" at the quarterly Owners Meetings on Thursday.

NL East
• The Mets were busy in Orlando, reportedly meeting with shortstop Jhonny Peralta and setting the groundwork for future moves.

• The Braves avoided arbitration and reached a one-year deal with reliever Jonny Venters, who should return from his second Tommy John surgery next summer.

Also, general manager Frank Wren said the Braves' move to their new stadium in 2017 won't impact their decisions for 2014.

• Although they didn't make any deal at the GM Meetings, the Marlins were encouraged by their work in Orlando.

• Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. says the addition of outfielder Marlon Byrd, whom the club signed Tuesday, improves Philadelphia on offense and defense.

•'s Bill Ladson answered Nationals fans' questions in his Inbox, including whether the Nats would think about moving Anthony Rendon.

NL Central
•'s Richard Justice writes that the Reds are trying to shake the feeling of underachievement.

NL West
• The D-backs have two quality shortstops in Chris Owings and Didi Gregorius. If they're both still in Arizona when Spring Training opens, general manager Kevin Towers expects a tight competition.

• Giants general manager Brian Sabean said catcher Buster Posey will not be moving to first base any time soon.

• Teams have inquired about Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler, writes's Thomas Harding. The Rockies also aren't interested in surrendering a first-round Draft pick for those free agents who received qualifying offers. Colorado also had some sticker shock upon hearing catcher Carlos Ruiz received a two-year, $20 million offer, though the Rockies will monitor the situation.

Also,'s Tracy Ringolsby writes that the Rockies are looking to add players -- not trade them away.

• Dodgers president Stan Kasten expressed support for manager Don Mattingly, and's Ken Gurnick breaks down how Punto's signing with Oakland impacts the Dodgers' infield.

Cash Kruth is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth.
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