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On The Move: Trades & Transactions

Tillman: Baltimore 'really where I wanted to be'

Orioles finalize 1-year deal to bring back veteran right-hander
MLB.com

SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Orioles officially announced the return of Chris Tillman to Baltimore on a one-year contract on Wednesday, adding the veteran righty who has been in the organization since 2008.

Despite being a late sign and garnering other interest from multiple clubs, Tillman said Tuesday he always thought he'd end up back with the O's.

SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Orioles officially announced the return of Chris Tillman to Baltimore on a one-year contract on Wednesday, adding the veteran righty who has been in the organization since 2008.

Despite being a late sign and garnering other interest from multiple clubs, Tillman said Tuesday he always thought he'd end up back with the O's.

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"You know what, I did," Tillman said. "We were in communication the whole offseason. It was one of the teams that was consistent. This is the place I've been my whole career -- I don't know anywhere else. Same with my wife. Baltimore is a place that we're comfortable in, and I think this is really where I wanted to be."

Tillman -- who can earn up to $10 million in performance-based incentives -- is looking to rebound from a disappointing 2017 season that saw the 29-year-old go 1-7 with a 7.84 ERA in 24 games (19 starts) that included a demotion to the bullpen.

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"Just getting back to who I am," Tillman said of the key to this season. "I kind of got away from it last year. Get back to who I am, be myself and most importantly have fun. Last year, not fun. You're not having fun when you're losing. Go out, have fun and be the last team standing."

Tillman had a solid year in 2016 for the O's, going 16-6 and posting a 3.77 ERA in 30 starts. Baltimore believes he can return to form and help the club rebound from a last-place finish in the American League East. In nine career big league seasons, all with the Orioles, Tillman is 73-55 with a 4.43 ERA in 203 games (198 starts).

Now, Tillman will join a rotation that includes Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy and new Oriole Andrew Cashner, who signed a two-year deal last week.

"I've gotten to see him quite a bit playing against him and watching him on TV. I'm pumped," Tillman said of Cashner. "I got to meet him [Monday] and have all good things to say so far."

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, Chris Tillman

Orioles finalize 1-year deal with Tillman

MLB.com

SARASOTA, Fla. -- He's back.

Free-agent right-hander Chris Tillman is returning to the Orioles on a one-year Major League contract that marks the club's second rotation addition in a week.

SARASOTA, Fla. -- He's back.

Free-agent right-hander Chris Tillman is returning to the Orioles on a one-year Major League contract that marks the club's second rotation addition in a week.

The contract, which was announced by the club Wednesday, has a base salary of $3 million that offers Tillman the chance to earn up to $10 million in performance bonuses. Tillman, who had been working out in Sarasota of late, took his physical on Monday at Ed Smith Stadium, but he did not throw or participate in camp.

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"I think last year was a struggle for him, obviously to get healthy and then mechanically. But I saw him throw a couple days before camp here and he looked really good," Orioles starter Kevin Gausman said. "Obviously, they probably saw him, too. Yeah, he looked like the old Tilly that I know and we all know. Really good fastball command and he had that angle back, and that's a big thing for him.

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"Definitely excited to have him back, and more than anything, I think his leadership is going to be big for us."

Tillman's return should help bolster an Orioles rotation that includes recent addition Andrew Cashner, who signed a two-year deal with an option last Thursday. And the club may not be done, with executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette -- who has historically continued to add throughout the spring -- still looking to acquire outside help for the rotation.

"We know what Tillman is capable of. I think it's a great move," reliever Darren O'Day said. "Having been through seasons that were compromised by injuries, whether we admit it or not, it takes a while to get back to yourself. If we get a Tillman of previous years, we are going to be a lot stronger than we thought. It's really exciting."

Tillman, a bounce-back candidate, drew interest from several other clubs including the Twins, Jays and Tigers. He threw for the Tigers over the weekend, though the main issue was 40-man roster space for other clubs including Detroit, which was interested in a Minor League deal with a big league camp invite for Tillman.

The Orioles -- who designated outfielder Jaycob Brugman for assignment to make room on their 40-man roster -- are hoping Tillman can rebound from a disappointing 2017 season that will allow him to re-establish his value before re-entering the free-agent market.

"I think he's got the chance to pitch well for somebody this year," said manager Buck Showalter, who spoke in hypotheticals because the deal was not yet official. "A lot of the challenges he had last year -- this time last year -- aren't there. Somebody's going to reap the benefits. I don't know anybody in this camp who's won more than what, 33 games before last year."

With the O's, Tillman will get a chance to return to the organization he's called home since 2008. The 29-year-old was slowed last spring with an injury and never appeared right, going 1-7 with a 7.84 ERA in 24 games (19 starts) that included a demotion to the bullpen. He had a solid year in '16 for the O's, going 16-6 and posting a 3.77 ERA in 30 starts. Baltimore believes he can return to form and help the club rebound from a last-place finish in the American League East. In nine career big league seasons, all with the Orioles, Tillman is 73-55 with a 4.43 ERA in 203 games (198 starts).

Tillman will join a rotation that includes Cashner, Gausman and Dylan Bundy, with the fifth spot up for grabs this spring.

"Good teams need to be deep there and have some maneuverability with it," Showalter said. "If you think you're going to break camp with five pitchers and have them be able to stay healthy and productive for 162 games, you're kidding yourself. I want to get to the point where we're not taking the last man standing, that we're sending down some people [that] we're going, 'Gosh, I hope we're making the right decision. This is the tough one.' That hasn't always been the case, and I think that's got a chance to happen this year."

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, Chris Tillman

Yanks land Drury from D-backs in 3-team deal

New York trades Solak to Tampa Bay, Widener to Arizona
MLB.com

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees padded their infield depth by acquiring Brandon Drury from the D-backs on Tuesday, part of a three-team trade that could reduce the urgency to begin the season with prospects Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres on the roster.

Drury came at the price of two prospects, with infielder Nick Solak going to the Rays and right-hander Taylor Widener shipped to Arizona. Solak (No. 8) and Widener (No. 14) were listed among New York's Top 15 prospects, according to MLB Pipeline, and both players had been participating in big league camp.

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees padded their infield depth by acquiring Brandon Drury from the D-backs on Tuesday, part of a three-team trade that could reduce the urgency to begin the season with prospects Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres on the roster.

Drury came at the price of two prospects, with infielder Nick Solak going to the Rays and right-hander Taylor Widener shipped to Arizona. Solak (No. 8) and Widener (No. 14) were listed among New York's Top 15 prospects, according to MLB Pipeline, and both players had been participating in big league camp.

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In addition, outfielder Steven Souza Jr. was traded from Tampa Bay to Arizona, while left-hander Anthony Banda moved from Arizona to Tampa Bay along with two players to be named.

General manager Brian Cashman said on Monday that the Yankees were expecting to host a competition for second and third base, where Andujar and Torres are eyeing spots in the Opening Day lineup. Danny Espinosa, Jace Peterson, Ronald Torreyes and Tyler Wade are also vying for attention.

Video: Boone excited for potential of Torres and Andujar

Prior to Tuesday's trade, manager Aaron Boone watched Andujar and Torres take grounders on a back diamond of the George M. Steinbrenner Field complex and said that he was "trying to contain my excitement" regarding the duo. Boone added that he believed both would develop into impact Major Leaguers, though perhaps not to open the regular season.

"I feel like if either one of those guys were to be on our Opening Day roster, it would be clear in our eyes, and probably somewhat of a consensus that, 'Hey man, there's no denying that these guys belong on this club,'" Boone said.

Drury's arrival does not necessarily rule out Andujar or Torres beginning the year in the Majors, but the 25-year-old provides a solid and cost-effective option who has played mostly second base, third base and the corner-outfield spots during his three years in the big leagues.

Cashman had been in contact with Arizona regarding Drury since at least the Winter Meetings in December, when the clubs also discussed left-hander Patrick Corbin. Last season, Drury hit .267 with 37 doubles, 13 homers, 63 RBIs and a .764 OPS in 135 games, including 109 starts at second base.

Video: ATL@ARI: Drury puts on defensive clinic at second

Solak, 23, split the 2017 season between Class A Tampa and Double-A Trenton, combining to hit .297/.384/.452 with 26 doubles, 12 homers and 53 RBIs in 130 games. A second-round Draft pick in 2016, Solak led the Florida State League in on-base percentage and OPS (.856) while ranking second in batting average.

Widener, 23, made 27 starts for Tampa in 2017, going 7-8 with a 3.39 ERA and 129 strikeouts. A 12th-round Draft pick in 2016, Widener led the Florida State League in starts, WHIP (1.15), opponents' batting average (.206) and K/9 (9.73), while ranking third in strikeouts and fourth in ERA.

To make room for Drury on the 40-man roster, outfielder Jabari Blash was designated for assignment.

Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)

Chris 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 D-backs lineup. Meanwhile, Mallex Smith becomes a late-round steals source who could swipe 35 bases if given 550 plate appearances with the Rays this year. 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.

Video: Zinkie on fantasy implications of Souza, Drury deal

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007.

New York Yankees, Brandon Drury

Rays receive pair of prospects, trade Souza

MLB.com

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Rays continued to get younger on Tuesday, when they traded right fielder Steven Souza Jr. to the D-backs as part of a three-team deal that returns two prospects and two players to be named.

The Rays received left-hander Anthony Banda, who was the D-backs' No. 4 prospect per MLB Pipeline, along with second baseman Nick Solak, the Yankees' No. 8 prospect.

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Rays continued to get younger on Tuesday, when they traded right fielder Steven Souza Jr. to the D-backs as part of a three-team deal that returns two prospects and two players to be named.

The Rays received left-hander Anthony Banda, who was the D-backs' No. 4 prospect per MLB Pipeline, along with second baseman Nick Solak, the Yankees' No. 8 prospect.

The Yankees received utility man Brandon Drury from the D-backs and sent Minor League right-hander Taylor Widener to Arizona.

The trade comes after a busy weekend that saw the Rays acquire first baseman C.J. Cron in a trade with the Angels, trade right-hander Jake Odorizzi to the Twins for shortstop prospect Jermaine Palacios and designate left fielder Corey Dickerson for assignment.

In December, the Rays traded third baseman Evan Longoria to the Giants, receiving infielder Christian Arroyo, outfielder Denard Span and a pair of Minor Leaguers in return.

"The moves prior to [the Souza deal], there were factors involved there where we were moving pieces from areas of depth we felt we could absorb and come out of the other end OK, especially with the addition of C.J. to our group," Rays general manager Erik Neander said. "This move was one that was really driven by Arizona's pursuit of Steven, and their desire to add him to their club."

Video: HOU@ARI: Banda gets Altuve swinging in the 1st

Neander said the Rays felt this deal was one they couldn't pass up "in terms of continuing to build out a really strong core" of young players.

Neander added that for the Rays to be a "sustainable winner" and to escape "the middle territory where we've been the last two years," they need to continue to build that young core. However, Neander still feels the team will be competitive this season, even though it must fill the void left by Souza's departure, which should likely be attempted before the end of Spring Training.

"This isn't a team that's going to win 60 games this year, this is a team with respect to the quality of the pitching we have and the quality of the defense we're going to have. We're going to be competitive," Neander said. "And that's still something that we believe."

Video: Neander on trading for prospects Banda and Solak

Rays fans will see a drastically different lineup this season, as the club's top four home-run leaders from last year -- Souza, Dickerson, Longoria and Logan Morrison -- are departed, though Dickerson and Morrison have not yet found landing spots.

The Rays entered the offseason with a mandate from principal owner Stu Sternberg to lower the payroll, and Tuesday night's deals, along with the moves over the weekend, lowered the payroll by approximately $15 million.

Banda, 24, debuted for Arizona last summer, compiling a 5.96 ERA over eight appearances (four starts). He led the D-backs' Minor League organizations in strikeouts and finished second in ERA in 2016, while reaching Triple-A for the first time, but he struggled to a 5.39 ERA over 22 starts for Triple-A Reno last year.

"A lefty that physically checks a lot of boxes," Neander said of Banda. "He's got a three-pitch mix right now. He's got a quality fastball that has reached the upper 90s, has a developing feel for a breaking ball that we'd like to see get a little more consistent and a good changeup.

"From all indications, good makeup, good work ethic, good character, somebody who will be right in the mix for us when he comes over to our camp."

Video: ARI@SF: Banda whiffs seven over six solid innings

MLB Pipeline grades Banda's curveball as his best pitch (earning a 60 on the 20-80 scale), followed by his mid-90s fastball, with a 55 grade.

Solak, 23, hit .297/.384/.452 with 12 homers and 53 RBIs for Class A Advanced Tampa and Double-A Trenton last season. The former University of Louisville standout is known for his ability to get on base and for hitting the ball from gap to gap, more for average than power. Solak also possesses plus speed, per MLB Pipeline, and was appreciated for his competitiveness while in the Yankees' farm system.

"[Solak] is someone who has a very long history of hitting," Neander said. "He can flat-out hit. He's a wonderful kid with a burning desire to improve and to make the most of what he has."

Souza, 28, hit .239/.351/.459 with 30 home runs and 78 RBIs in 2017, earning the Don Zimmer Award, given to the Rays' Most Valuable Player by the Tampa Bay chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Souza said he was surprised by the deal, but he understands baseball is a business and that getting traded is part of the equation. When asked if he had a message for the fans, the popular right fielder said, "I do."

"This is a hard time," Souza said. "I think it's a confusing time for Rays fans. And I love every Rays fan that ever supported us dearly. ... I think it's really hard in a time like this to see the silver lining. And they need to trust the front office and the GM, the coaching staff and the players, that they're trying to do what's best for the long-term future of the organization.

"It's not an easy job being the GM of a Major League team when there's a budget that's not very realistic that they have to meet. So I think that through the tough times, real fans stand beside a team when it goes through its low times and when it goes through its high times."

Video: Souza Jr. thankful for his time with Rays

Neander stressed several times that Tuesday night's deal was not money-driven, but rather "a pure baseball decision" based on the return they got for Souza.

The Rays acquired Souza from the Nationals on Dec. 19, 2014, in a three-way deal that also included the Rays sending Wil Myers to the Padres.

Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)

Chris 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 D-backs lineup.

Meanwhile, Mallex Smith becomes a late-round steal who could swipe 35 bases if given 550 plate appearances with the Rays this year. As for the Yankees, the acquisition of Drury likely eliminates the chance of the club opening the season with both Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar in the starting lineup, though one of the two prospects may still have an opportunity to land a spot.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2004.

Tampa Bay Rays, Anthony Banda, Steven Souza Jr., Nick Solak

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

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

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

Red Sox trade Brentz to Pirates for cash

MLB.com

The Red Sox and Pirates have agreed to a deal that will send outfielder Bryce Brentz to Pittsburgh in exchange for cash considerations, the clubs announced Tuesday afternoon.

The trade clears up a spot on Boston's 40-man roster to make room for J.D. Martinez, whom the Red Sox reportedly signed to a five-year deal on Monday. The club has yet to announce that signing.

The Red Sox and Pirates have agreed to a deal that will send outfielder Bryce Brentz to Pittsburgh in exchange for cash considerations, the clubs announced Tuesday afternoon.

The trade clears up a spot on Boston's 40-man roster to make room for J.D. Martinez, whom the Red Sox reportedly signed to a five-year deal on Monday. The club has yet to announce that signing.

Brentz clubbed a career-high 31 home runs in 120 games for Triple-A Pawtucket in 2017 and was named to the International League midseason and postseason All-Star teams.

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The 29-year-old batted .271 and slugged .529 with 75 runs scored and 85 RBIs for the PawSox last season.

A first-round Draft pick by Boston in 2010, Brentz has hit .287 with five doubles, one home run and nine RBIs in 34 career Major League games, all with the Red Sox.

Brentz is a lifetime .262 hitter in 716 games at the Minor League level.

Boston Red Sox, Pittsburgh Pirates, Bryce Brentz

Anibal joins Twins, eager to make rotation case

MLB.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Anibal Sanchez officially joined the Twins on Tuesday, as the veteran right-hander passed his physical and signed a $2.5 million non-guaranteed contract that will see him earn $500,000 if he doesn't make the roster. It also includes $2.5 million in incentives.

Sanchez, who agreed to terms on Friday and worked out at the CenturyLink Sports Complex for three days before the move became official, was added to the 40-man roster. To make room for Sanchez, Trevor May was placed on the 60-day disabled list as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Anibal Sanchez officially joined the Twins on Tuesday, as the veteran right-hander passed his physical and signed a $2.5 million non-guaranteed contract that will see him earn $500,000 if he doesn't make the roster. It also includes $2.5 million in incentives.

Sanchez, who agreed to terms on Friday and worked out at the CenturyLink Sports Complex for three days before the move became official, was added to the 40-man roster. To make room for Sanchez, Trevor May was placed on the 60-day disabled list as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.

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Sanchez will compete for a spot in the rotation with other candidates such as Phil Hughes, Adalberto Mejia and Tyler Duffey. Twins manager Paul Molitor said he's leaning toward a four-man rotation, with Jose Berrios, Jake Odorizzi and Kyle Gibson considered locks to make the club.

"I'm happy to be here with this team," Sanchez said. "It's one of the teams that I saw a lot when I was with Detroit. I know it's a really good group. It's a really good opportunity for me."

The Twins believe Sanchez still has something left in the tank, even after struggling the past three seasons with the Tigers in which he posted a combined 5.67 ERA over 415 2/3 innings. He had a 6.41 ERA last season, but he still struck out 104 and walked 29 in 105 1/3 innings. His 21.6 percent strikeout rate was exactly the MLB average, while his 6 percent walk rate was two points better than average.

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The issue is Sanchez served up 26 homers, but the Twins believe he can cut that down by using his effective offspeed pitches more because most of the damage has come against his fastball. Opposing batters hit just .125 with a .188 slugging percentage against his splitter last season, but .337 with a .579 slugging percentage against his fastball, per Statcast™.

"His analytics on some of the factors [our evaluators] feel are significant were a lot better than his results," Molitor said. "Obviously, the long ball bit him a lot. A lot of people think it has to do with pitch usage and some other things. But they really liked a lot of the weapons he still has. They think he got away from things that would give him a better chance to be successful."

Sanchez, who turns 34 on Feb. 27, also showed he was healthy down the stretch after a rash of injuries, including a left hamstring strain. He used his pitch mix more effectively and posted a 2.74 ERA with one homer allowed over his final four starts.

"At the end of the season was one of the parts when everything came together," Sanchez said. "From when the season started to when the season ended, it was like a really big roller coaster to me. But I finished strong."

Sanchez, who threw a bullpen session on Tuesday alongside new acquisition Odorizzi, knows he has to compete for a spot this spring, which is the same situation he found himself in last year with Detroit. He ended up starting the year in the bullpen before heading to Triple-A to get stretched out to start again.

Sanchez, who trained in Miami this offseason as his wife give birth to their son, Anibal Alejandro, on Dec. 22, isn't likely to be a bullpen candidate for the Twins this year, so he's made it a point to try to regain the effectiveness that made him a reliable starter for the Marlins and Tigers before his struggles in recent years.

"I worked a lot in the offseason to get back to normal with my mechanics without being sore," Sanchez said. "I feel good right now. Really, really good and strong. I feel healthy. This is the important thing."

Minnesota Twins, Anibal Sanchez

Hosmer's arrival will reshape outfield, lineup

MLB.com

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Thirteen months ago, the Padres hosted a news conference at Petco Park in which they unveiled their first baseman of the future. Earlier that day, Wil Myers put pen to paper on a massive multiyear contract. And he was presumed to be the anchor at that position for half a dozen years.

Enter Eric Hosmer, who finalized an eight-year deal on Tuesday.

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Thirteen months ago, the Padres hosted a news conference at Petco Park in which they unveiled their first baseman of the future. Earlier that day, Wil Myers put pen to paper on a massive multiyear contract. And he was presumed to be the anchor at that position for half a dozen years.

Enter Eric Hosmer, who finalized an eight-year deal on Tuesday.

Video: Padres reportedly sign Hosmer to eight-year deal

First and foremost, Myers will move to the outfield, and he began taking reps in right field Sunday when he arrived in camp. In November, general manager A.J. Preller phoned his then-first baseman, asking whether he'd be willing to switch positions. Myers, thrilled at the prospect of acquiring one of the game's top free agents, gladly agreed.

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"I would rather have a guy like that here than to play first base," Myers said, later adding, "I don't think it's going to be that difficult to learn that position again. I've played there plenty of times. I feel like the adjustment will be pretty easy."

They haven't settled on whether Myers will be in left field or right field, but he'll begin camp in right, where he's a bit more comfortable from his time with Tampa Bay. Myers arrived in Peoria on Sunday having added 20 pounds of muscle after the club asked him to bulk up during the offseason.

There's work ahead for Myers, who was subpar defensively from 2013-15. But the majority of his struggles came during a '15 experiment that placed him in center field. The Padres think he's more than capable in one of the corner spots. As the Padres considered the Hosmer signing this offseason, skipper Andy Green watched every fly ball hit in Myers' direction from '14, and he came away with that conclusion.

"He's as athletic as anybody in Major League Baseball," Green said. "You don't hit 30 home runs and steal 20-plus bases if you're not. He can fly. … He's got plenty enough speed to play literally anywhere on the baseball field. I don't think anything's going to be a real challenge for him that way."

Suddenly, that leaves Jose Pirela and Hunter Renfroe locked in a battle for one spot. It's a tricky proposition.

Video: Outlook: Renfroe has growing power, OBP must improve

Without question, Pirela is coming off a better season. He batted .288/.347/.490 and was arguably San Diego's best hitter. But Renfroe is two years younger and was one of the organization's top prospects ahead of his rookie campaign last year. Despite his on-base woes, Renfroe's power can be game-changing, and the club certainly isn't ready to cast him aside.

There could be a simpler solution. Earlier this month, Green hinted at giving Pirela some reps at second base, where he played from 2014-16.

Pirela's defense at second was suspect, however, and that initially prompted his move to the outfield. As it stands, the Padres currently have a pair of left-handed-hitting second basemen -- Cory Spangenberg and Carlos Asuaje -- already battling for that job.

"It's good for our culture, it's good for our clubhouse for guys to know, 'I've got to perform if I want to play for the Padres, because if not, there's somebody else right there knocking on the door waiting to come.'" Green said. "The more competitive we can make it to get at-bats on the roster, the better of a club we're going to be."

Perhaps it's likeliest the Padres opt to use Pirela at second against left-handed pitchers, while he otherwise splits time with Renfroe in the outfield. A team source noted that a trade remains possible, too, though nothing specific has yet been discussed. (Pirela, coming off a career year, would appear to be the likeliest candidate.)

In any case, the Padres clearly have a few roster-based questions to answer before they break camp in late March. With Hosmer on board, it's a problem they are happy to have.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

San Diego Padres, Eric Hosmer, Wil Myers, Jose Pirela, Hunter Renfroe

Evaluating best potential fits for Moustakas

MLB.com

Coming off a career year, and in a thin free-agent market at third base, Mike Moustakas appeared to be in line to land one of the more hefty contracts for a position player this offseason. But this winter's stalled market, the loaded lineup hitting free agency next year and the Draft pick compensation attached to him for turning down a qualifying offer from the Royals may have created apprehension that has left the two-time All-Star unsigned as Spring Training begins.

With J.D. Martinez joining the Red Sox according to sources, Moustakas is arguably the top hitter available. He was named the American League Comeback Player of the Year last season after setting career highs in home runs (38, a Royals record), runs scored (75), RBIs (85) and slugging percentage (.521) a year removed from tearing his right ACL just 27 games into the 2016 season. He also boasts a postseason pedigree as a key cog in the Royals' back-to-back AL pennant runs in '14 and '15.

Coming off a career year, and in a thin free-agent market at third base, Mike Moustakas appeared to be in line to land one of the more hefty contracts for a position player this offseason. But this winter's stalled market, the loaded lineup hitting free agency next year and the Draft pick compensation attached to him for turning down a qualifying offer from the Royals may have created apprehension that has left the two-time All-Star unsigned as Spring Training begins.

With J.D. Martinez joining the Red Sox according to sources, Moustakas is arguably the top hitter available. He was named the American League Comeback Player of the Year last season after setting career highs in home runs (38, a Royals record), runs scored (75), RBIs (85) and slugging percentage (.521) a year removed from tearing his right ACL just 27 games into the 2016 season. He also boasts a postseason pedigree as a key cog in the Royals' back-to-back AL pennant runs in '14 and '15.

Moustakas has been linked most prominently to four clubs this offseason -- the Braves, Royals, Yankees and Cardinals. Using FanGraph's depth-chart projections, which scale each team's positional breakdown by forecasted Wins Above Replacement, here are the pros and cons of how Moustakas might fit for each of the four clubs he has been most linked to. For context, Moustakas has a 2.8 projected fWAR for 2018.

Braves
Projected 3B WAR: 1.0 (29th in MLB)
Current third basemen: Johan Camargo, Rio Ruiz, Charlie Culberson, Adonis Garcia

Pros: The Braves are on the back end of their multiyear rebuild and could be sneaky contenders in the National League East. But other than superstar first baseman Freddie Freeman, the club's positional nucleus is largely built on young talent, such as shortstop Dansby Swanson, second baseman Ozzie Albies and waiting-in-the-wings outfielder Ronald Acuna, MLB Pipeline's No. 2 overall prospect. Moustakas would bring a veteran presence and fill a power void (Atlanta finished with 165 homers in 2017, third fewest in MLB) in the club's hitter-friendly new ballpark.

Video: Moustakas earns AL Comeback Player of Year Award

Cons: Atlanta appears a year or two away from being in position to pursue high-profile free agents, and MLB.com's Mark Bowman has reported that the Braves aren't inclined to pursue Moustakas for several reasons. Once the $21.5 million in payroll expenses associated with the Matt Kemp trade in December clears, general manager Alex Anthopoulos will have roughly $50 million to spend next offseason. The Braves also have the game's No. 1 farm system, per MLB Pipeline, and conventional logic would suggest that they will attempt to rise on their cost-effective younger talent -- particularly third baseman Austin Riley, MLB Pipeline's No. 97 overall prospect, who could be Major League ready by 2019. Signing Moustakas would also cost the Braves their third-highest Draft pick.

Royals
Projected 3B WAR: 1.4 (27th in MLB)
Current third basemen: Cheslor Cuthbert, Ramon Torres, Raul Mondesi, Ryan Goins

Pros: Moustakas, the No. 2 overall pick by Kansas City in the 2007 Draft, embodied the largely homegrown Royals roster that rose through the Minors and helped the club win its first championship in 30 years in '15. He will go down as one of the most decorated players in Royals history, regardless of where he signs. But a reunion would further cement his legacy there and would fill the gaping void he left at third. The club had reportedly been more inclined to re-sign Eric Hosmer -- and had reportedly made him a nine-figure offer -- though Hosmer agreed to a deal with the Padres on Saturday, potentially creating more financial flexibility for the Royals to more aggressively turn their sights to Moustakas. There would also be no Draft pick compensation in re-signing him.

Cons: Moustakas is one of three key Royals from 2017 -- with Hosmer and center fielder Lorenzo Cain -- who hit free agency the same year. This offseason thus represented a long-envisioned date signaling a potential rebuild, which appears to be manifesting with Hosmer now in San Diego and Cain in Milwaukee. Projected at 69 wins, second fewest in the AL, with an underwhelming farm system and plenty of personnel needs elsewhere, signing costly free agents isn't within the blueprint of rebuilding clubs.

Video: Must C Classic: Moustakas hits Royals' record 37th HR

Yankees
Projected 3B WAR: 1.7 (24th in MLB)
Current third basemen: Miguel Andujar, Tyler Wade, Ronald Torreyes

Pros: Imagine injecting Moustakas into an already lethal lineup that includes Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez. Couple the versatility that Moustakas would offer with his left-handed bat and Yankee Stadium's short porch to right, and the power potential is boundless. Moustakas' 18 homers of less than 400 feet in 2017, per Statcast™, were tied for third most in MLB. And what makes Moustakas even more fitting is the Yankees' question mark at third base, which is currently projected to be manned by the promising yet inexperienced Andujar, the Yankees' No. 5 prospect who is just 22.

Cons: Moustakas would cost more than a hefty contract for New York. A lofty deal could push the Yankees over the luxury-tax threshold that they've explicitly attempted to remain under, and Moustakas would come with significant Draft pick compensation -- the Yankees would forfeit their second- and fifth-round picks, as well as $1 million in international bonus pool money, given that they exceeded the luxury tax last year. The club has also been strongly speculated to pursue Manny Machado when he becomes a free agent next offseason.

Cardinals
Projected 3B WAR: 2.6 (15th in MLB)
Current third basemen: Jedd Gyorko, Matt Carpenter, Greg Garcia, Breyvic Valera

Pros: The Cardinals entered the offseason planning to bolster their lineup, and they were linked to possible trades to do so at third base -- for Machado, Josh Donaldson and Evan Longoria -- in addition to Moustakas as a potential free-agent acquisition. They're currently in line to go with Gyorko as their primary third baseman, with Carpenter contributing, though each appears better off in a utility role. Moustakas would establish consistency. And as opposed to next year's high-profile free agents Machado and Donaldson, Moustakas would likely command a much more affordable long-term contract. Given the Cards' ambition to supplant the Cubs atop the NL Central, following their aggressive pursuit of Stanton and trading for Marcell Ozuna, Moustakas may make the most sense in St. Louis of any of the clubs listed here.

Cons: Busch Stadium isn't necessarily revered as hitter-friendly, though neither is Kauffman Stadium. However, Moustakas hit just 14 of his 38 homers at home last year. The Cardinals are believed to not want to delve into a long-term deal with Moustakas, and because they neither received revenue sharing nor exceeded the luxury tax in 2017, they would forfeit their second-highest Draft pick and $500,000 in international signing money.

Mike Moustakas

Sources: Red Sox have 5-year deal with J.D.

Slugger coming off career-best 45 HRs, 104 RBIs in 2017
MLB.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The prolonged courtship of slugger J.D. Martinez has paid off for him and the Red Sox, as MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported via sources that the sides have reached agreement on a five-year, $110 million contract that includes opt-outs after the second and third years of the deal.

The club hasn't announced the signing, which is pending a physical.

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The prolonged courtship of slugger J.D. Martinez has paid off for him and the Red Sox, as MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported via sources that the sides have reached agreement on a five-year, $110 million contract that includes opt-outs after the second and third years of the deal.

The club hasn't announced the signing, which is pending a physical.

Hot Stove Tracker

Martinez gives the Red Sox the big bat they need to supplement a lineup that finished last in the American League with 168 homers last season. Even with the lack of power, Boston still won the AL East with 93 wins for the second straight season.

It took a while, but the Red Sox have now countered the blockbuster move the Yankees made earlier this winter when they acquired Giancarlo Stanton.

Video: Castrovince, Justice on Martinez signing with Red Sox

An outfielder, Martinez is likely to get a lot of his playing time for the Red Sox at designated hitter. The club has a strong starting outfield of Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts. Despite earlier trade rumors, sources have told MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi that the Red Sox are leaning toward keeping Bradley.

Video: Browne on how Cora will use Martinez in the outfield

Hanley Ramirez, who had been slotted in as Boston's starting designated hitter, will now share time at first base with Mitch Moreland. Ramirez can also DH when Martinez plays the outfield.

Boston's lineup on March 29 for Opening Day at Tropicana Field could look something like this:

1. Mookie Betts, RF
2. Andrew Benintendi, LF
3. Hanley Ramirez, 1B
4. J.D. Martinez, DH
5. Rafael Devers, 3B
6. Xander Bogaerts, SS
7. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
8. Eduardo Nunez, 2B
9. Christian Vazquez, C
Chris Sale, SP

As far as the Red Sox were concerned, positional alignments were a non-factor in their pursuit of Martinez. They were focused on getting his bat.

Video: MLB Tonight: Where Martinez fits in Red Sox lineup

It's easy to see why. The 30-year-old Martinez had the best season of his career in 2017, mashing 45 homers in just 432 at-bats and leading the Major Leagues with a .690 slugging percentage.

Martinez did much of his damage down the stretch last season after getting traded from the Tigers to the D-backs. Arizona was the other main suitor for Martinez.

Fenway fans will now be treated to Martinez taking aim at the inviting Green Monster with his big, right-handed swing. However, this isn't to say Martinez is a pull hitter. He has an all-field approach with plenty of power to center and right-center.

Video: J.D. Martinez reportedly agrees to deal with Red Sox

The Red Sox established Martinez as their primary target for this offseason back in November.

After Boston offered Martinez a five-year deal worth more than $100 million a few weeks back, the sides remained at a stalemate until talks finally surged forward with momentum on Monday.

Video: Must C Classic: Martinez hits four homers, plates six

Baseball's offseason has started to pick up in recent days, most notably when first baseman Eric Hosmer agreed to terms with the Padres on an eight-year deal on Saturday.

Rather than moving ahead to alternatives when negotiations were stalled with Martinez, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski stayed focused on his top target.

It was Dombrowski who took a flyer on Martinez with the Tigers on March 24, 2014, just two days after the outfielder had been released by the Astros.

Martinez swiftly emerged into a threat for Detroit and he was the best slugger on the free-agent market this winter.

The Red Sox will have a lineup led by Martinez, Betts, Benintendi and slugging 21-year-old third baseman Devers. The club also expects talented shortstop Bogaerts to regain his form after an injury-plagued second half last season. Bradley and Ramirez are two other players who battled through injuries in 2017, and an uptick is certainly possible this season.

Combine that with a pitching staff that includes an elite ace in Chris Sale, a top closer in Craig Kimbrel and a five-time All-Star lefty coming back from an injury in David Price, and the Red Sox feel good about their chances to make a deep run in October after losing in the AL Division Series the last two years.

Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)

While replicating his astonishing 2017 pace (45 homers, 104 RBIs in 119 games) will be a tall task, Martinez can be counted on to make another run at 40-plus homers and rank among the AL leaders in RBIs as part of a talented Red Sox lineup. The slugger warrants consideration during Round 2 of 2018 drafts, within the vicinity of star sluggers such as Kris Bryant, Carlos Correa and Joey Votto. While manager Alex Cora's immediate plans for Martinez are unclear at this time, this signing could reduce the playing time available for Moreland, Ramirez and Bradley. As a result, all three can now go undrafted in shallow leagues.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox, J.D. Martinez

Cardinals reunite with Motte on Minors deal

MLB.com

JUPITER, Fla. -- The Cardinals' continued search for bullpen help led them to an old friend as the club officially agreed to terms on a Minor League deal with right-hander Jason Motte on Monday.

The deal includes an invite to Major League Spring Training, where Motte will join a crowded field of pitchers vying for bullpen roles.

JUPITER, Fla. -- The Cardinals' continued search for bullpen help led them to an old friend as the club officially agreed to terms on a Minor League deal with right-hander Jason Motte on Monday.

The deal includes an invite to Major League Spring Training, where Motte will join a crowded field of pitchers vying for bullpen roles.

"If it was meant to be, someone was going to call," Motte said. "If not, I'd be home on carpool duty like I have been all offseason. I'm obviously glad to be here and be playing."

Cardinals' Spring Training info

A former fan favorite in St. Louis, Motte steadily climbed the Cardinals' bullpen depth chart for six seasons after debuting with the club in 2008, elevating to the closer role late during the '11 season and finishing with a National League-best 42 saves in '12, with a 2.75 ERA and a career-high 72 innings. Using predominantly a fastball that could reach triple digits, Motte struck out 10.8 batters per nine innings that season, walking just 2.1 batters per nine.

"I'm not throwing 101 [mph] anymore, but even when I was throwing really, really fast, you have to locate," Motte said. "I learned that early on. In 2008, 2009, 2010, I was in the upper 90s, 100, but if you throw down the middle, these guys are going to hit it. I kept them off balance by throwing in, out, up, down, then my cutter started coming around. The difference is now, I may not be throwing 100."

Video: WS2011 Gm7: Motte pitches ninth to seal Series win

Motte tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow the next spring and subsequently missed the entire 2013 season. He struggled to regain his old velocity after that, and his production suffered. With a fastball Statcast™ tracked at an average of 93.7 mph last season, Motte's strikeout rate (6.0 K/9) ranked among the Majors' lowest for a full-time reliever.

The 35-year-old returns to St. Louis after consecutive one-year stints with the Cubs, Rockies and Braves, during which he posted a 3.99 ERA. Motte went 1-0 with a 3.54 ERA over 46 appearances for Atlanta in 2017.

A former collegiate catcher, the Cardinals selected Motte in the 19th round of the 2003 Draft out of Iona College. He converted to pitching three years later, and by '11, he was pitching in the World Series. The image of Motte, arms open in celebration after the Cardinals recorded the final out in Game 7, remains an iconic image around Busch Stadium.

"I still think I got something there," Motte said. "You have to locate, keep them off balance. Balls that get hit hard are balls not executed."

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

St. Louis Cardinals, Jason Motte

Giants sign lefty reliever Watson to 2-year deal

Contract includes player option for 2020; Gregorio designated for assignment
MLB.com

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants added a much-needed left-hander to solidify their bullpen by agreeing with free agent Tony Watson on a two-year contract with a player option for a third season, the team announced on Monday.

Multiple sources first confirmed the deal on Saturday. The length of the contract, which reportedly is valued between $7 million and $9 million guaranteed, enabled the Giants to keep their player payroll under the threshold for the Competitive Balance Tax.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants added a much-needed left-hander to solidify their bullpen by agreeing with free agent Tony Watson on a two-year contract with a player option for a third season, the team announced on Monday.

Multiple sources first confirmed the deal on Saturday. The length of the contract, which reportedly is valued between $7 million and $9 million guaranteed, enabled the Giants to keep their player payroll under the threshold for the Competitive Balance Tax.

Spring info | Tickets | Schedule

Before the deal was officially announced, manager Bruce Bochy said, "We're talking about an outstanding player."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Right-hander Joan Gregorio was designated for assignment to clear room on the 40-man roster for Watson.

Giants closer Mark Melancon, a teammate of Watson's in Pittsburgh from 2013-16, acknowledged trying to persuade his friend to sign with San Francisco.

"I couldn't be more ecstatic," Melancon said. "The guy is one of the most professional people I've ever been around. I spent three-and-a-half, four years with him. There's not one negative thing that I can ever say about him."

Video: Melancon talks reunion with Watson

The Giants' left-handed bullpen contingent had looked shaky. Steven Okert and Josh Osich have demonstrated talent but remain erratic. Will Smith is in the latter stages of recovery from Tommy John surgery, and he probably won't be ready to perform in the Majors until May. Ty Blach is able-bodied, but he'll likely be needed in the starting rotation.

Watson isn't strictly a left-handed specialist who's summoned primarily to retire left-handed batters, however. For his career, he has limited lefty hitters to a .216 average and .574 OPS, comparable to the .226 average and .661 OPS recorded against him by right-handed batters.

In 14 career appearances at AT&T Park, Watson is 0-1 with two saves. He has allowed 16 hits in 12 1/3 innings but no home runs there.

A National League All-Star in 2014, when he appeared in a league-high 78 games, Watson owns a career record of 33-17 with 30 saves. In 2012, one year after his rookie campaign, he began a six-season streak in which he made at least 67 appearances each year.

"He's very businesslike," Melancon said. "He's here to get the job done. I think that fits this clubhouse and our M.O. here."

Watson, 32, split last season between the Pirates and Dodgers, who acquired him at the non-.waiver Trade Deadline. Watson made 11 postseason relief appearances for the Dodgers, including five in a row in Games 2-6 of the World Series. He yielded two earned runs in seven innings during the entire postseason.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

San Francisco Giants, Tony Watson

Source: Benoit, Nats agree to one-year deal

Club yet to confirm; righty reliever entering 16th season
MLB.com

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- The Nationals agreed to a one-year deal with free-agent right-hander Joaquin Benoit, a source confirmed to MLB.com on Monday afternoon.

The club has not confirmed the deal, which was first reported by ESPN, and will be worth $1 million. Benoit had a locker at the Nationals' complex on Monday, although his deal has yet to be officially announced.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- The Nationals agreed to a one-year deal with free-agent right-hander Joaquin Benoit, a source confirmed to MLB.com on Monday afternoon.

The club has not confirmed the deal, which was first reported by ESPN, and will be worth $1 million. Benoit had a locker at the Nationals' complex on Monday, although his deal has yet to be officially announced.

The Nats will be counting on a bounce-back season from Benoit, 40, who posted a 4.65 ERA last season with the Phillies and Pirates. But Benoit had been a reliable reliever and setup man, keeping his ERA at 3.68 or lower from 2010-16. This will be his ninth team in his 16-year Major League career.

Washington has had a potential need in its bullpen develop recently when right-hander Koda Glover arrived to camp with a sore shoulder. Glover has not been cleared to throw, and although he is participating in other baseball activities, the Nationals will be cautious with him. Perhaps signing Benoit is an indication of their level of concern for Glover.

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Glover said he was not worried about his shoulder Monday morning. He did admit his shoulder felt similar to last season, although less severe, when inflammation in his shoulder ultimately ended his season.

"It's just a little tightness, he said. "We're pulling on the reins a little bit, we're going to take it slow. That's where we're at."

All but one
Position players were scheduled to report to West Palm Beach by Monday, and manager Dave Martinez said everyone expected has reported for camp. The only player who has not reported is 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