Hot Stove roundup: Nats get catching depth
Several teams followed the lead of the Dodgers and D-backs and officially opened Spring Training for pitchers and catchers on Thursday. The rest will follow between Friday and Monday.
But that doesn't mean the Hot Stove has been switched off, as a handful of free agents are still available and some clubs continue to look for ways to improve via trade.
The Nationals, for instance, found a strong backup for catcher Wilson Ramos on Thursday, acquiring switch-hitter Jose Lobaton and two prospects from the Rays for young right-hander Nathan Karns.
In other news from around the league:
• The Indians announced their four-year, $25 million extension with outfielder Michael Brantley. The deal buys out Brantley's arbitration eligibility and includes an option for a fifth year.
• The Orioles have agreed to a three-year deal with South Korean pitcher Suk-min Yoon, pending a physical, a source told MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli. However, physicals led Baltimore to void two other deals this offseason. Yoon could fit as a starter or a reliever with the O's.
• Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said that his team isn't likely to spend more this offseason, meaning that free-agent shortstop Stephen Drew won't be going to Queens.
• Cuban free agents Aledmys Diaz and Odrisamer Despaigne worked out for Major League scouts during a showcase in Arizona. Diaz, an infielder, and Despaigne, a right-handed pitcher, both hope to sign with a team by the end of the month.
• The Mariners officially signed free-agent closer Fernando Rodney to a two-year contract and inked veteran lefty Randy Wolf to a Minor League deal. They also placed outfielder Franklin Gutierrez on the restricted list after he informed them that he will miss the season with a chronic gastrointestinal issue.
• The Cubs officially reached deals with free-agent righties Jason Hammel and James McDonald, on the same day they revealed that Jake Arrieta has been dealing with tightness in his shoulder that will push him behind schedule.
• The Phillies released veteran righty Chad Gaudin after he did not pass a physical. The two sides had agreed to a Minor League contract in January.
• The Rays are likely to sign free-agent lefty Erik Bedard, according to multiple reports. The 34-year-old Bedard went 4-12 with a 4.59 ERA in 32 games, including 26 starts, for the Astros last season.