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On The Move: Trades & Transactions

Source: Twins add Aybar on Minors deal

Veteran expected to compete for backup infielder role
MLB.com

The Twins have signed veteran infielder Erick Aybar to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training, a source told MLB.com.

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

The Twins have signed veteran infielder Erick Aybar to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training, a source told MLB.com.

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

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

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

Minnesota Twins

Dodgers claim righty Chargois from Twins

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tigers, Liriano agree to 1-year deal

MLB.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

Avila said they saw Liriano throw recently in Miami.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Detroit Tigers, Francisco Liriano

Rangers add Chavez to pitching mix

MLB.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Texas Rangers, Jesse Chavez

Rangers emerge as favorites to sign Martinez

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Texas Rangers

Rays acquire Hudson, deal Dickerson to Bucs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pirates acquire All-Star OF Dickerson from Rays

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)

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

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

Pittsburgh Pirates, Tampa Bay Rays, Corey Dickerson

Benoit, Nationals complete one-year deal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grapefruit League action approaches

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

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

All but one

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

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

Washington Nationals, Joaquin Benoit

Gomez set to join Rays on one-year deal

MLB.com

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

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

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

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

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

Gomez looks like the perfect fit.

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

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

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

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

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

Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)

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

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

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

Tampa Bay Rays, Carlos Gomez

Saunders signs Minors deal, joins OF mix

Brentz reports to Bucs following trade, birth of daughter
MLB.com

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Finalizing a process that began early this offseason, Michael Saunders signed a Minor League contract with the Pirates on Wednesday and reported to the Pirate City complex to join Pittsburgh's growing collection of outfield options.

"At the end of the day, my goal is to find a job in the big leagues and help the team win," Saunders said. "[General manager] Neal [Huntington] and I have been talking the majority of the offseason, just expressing interest and everything. I felt like it was the right opportunity."

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Finalizing a process that began early this offseason, Michael Saunders signed a Minor League contract with the Pirates on Wednesday and reported to the Pirate City complex to join Pittsburgh's growing collection of outfield options.

"At the end of the day, my goal is to find a job in the big leagues and help the team win," Saunders said. "[General manager] Neal [Huntington] and I have been talking the majority of the offseason, just expressing interest and everything. I felt like it was the right opportunity."

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Saunders, who will wear No. 12, was an All-Star with the Blue Jays after hitting .298/.372/.551 with 16 home runs in the first half of 2016. But the lefty-hitting corner outfielder slumped in the second half, however, hitting .178/.282/.357 with eight homers, and struggled to a .202/.256/.344 line with the Phillies and Jays last season.

"He feels as healthy and strong as he's felt in a while," Huntington said. "The hunger that we got from him and his hunger to come back and be what he was in 2016 also was a deciding factor."

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Now, the 31-year-old will try to catch on with the Pirates.

"It's another guy that fits our profile," manager Clint Hurdle said. "It's a guy that's had success. It's a guy that's worked hard. It's a guy that's had to persevere. This guy's faced some adversity. With an opportunity to come in, he's hungry and wants to get his game back in a better place."

But where does he fit on the roster? That remains unclear, as the Bucs have bolstered their outfield depth the past two days by signing Saunders and trading for Bryce Brentz.

Brentz, 29, also reported to Pirates camp on Wednesday, concluding a whirlwind eight-day stretch that included the birth of his first child (daughter Everlee) and the end of his eight-year tenure in the Red Sox system.

"Pretty big week," Brentz said. "New family member, new team. It's pretty awesome."

Video: Bryce Brentz on trade to Pirates

Brentz, who's on the 40-man roster and out of options, showed big power last season due to good health and comfort with his mechanics after he ditched a leg kick and implemented a toe tap. He and Saunders are candidates to make the Opening Day roster. So are Daniel Nava, who's in camp on a Minor League deal, and Jordan Luplow, who will otherwise spend more time in Triple-A.

The Pirates have not committed to a starting left fielder, though Adam Frazier figures to get a lot of work there, nor a fourth outfielder. Unlike last year, when Starling Marte's suspension and Gregory Polanco's injuries significantly tested their limited upper-level outfield depth, they'll have plenty of options and, as a result, a healthy competition this spring.

"We put ourselves in a better position from that standpoint of having depth if something happens to anybody," Hurdle said.

Trainer's room

Director of sports medicine Todd Tomczyk provided the following injury updates:

Right-hander Joe Musgrove's right shoulder discomfort is "minor" and "precautionary," Tomczyk said, and he could resume throwing in the "coming days."

Nava (lower back discomfort) is "rehab-only," Tomczyk said, and did not participate in the last two days' workouts. Huntington said the Pirates hope Nava will return fully and quickly but, regarding the Brentz and Saunders deals, admitted they began to "explore Plan B a little more aggressively when we first got word that Daniel was sore."

Video: Nava discusses why he chose to sign with the Pirates

Reliever Daniel Hudson (sprained ankle) threw a bullpen session Tuesday and is "back in the mix," Tomczyk said.

Right-hander Nick Burdi, a Rule 5 Draft pick, is in the flat-ground portion of his throwing program as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. Non-roster righty Bo Schultz, 11 months removed from Tommy John surgery, is throwing bullpen sessions and preparing to pitch live batting practice.

"Both men are true professionals of rehab in my short time with them. These guys really have owned their rehab," Tomczyk said. "They're diligent, they're hard-working and we envision good things from these guys in regard to their returns."

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

Pittsburgh Pirates, Michael Saunders

Orioles sign Rasmus to Minor League deal

MLB.com

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Colby Rasmus is joining the Orioles on a Minor League deal, giving Baltimore the left-handed bat it needs and adding to a frenzy of moves for the O's over the past week.

Rasmus will be a non-roster invitee in camp and will have to crack the Opening Day roster, though he immediately emerges as a strong candidate to do so.

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Colby Rasmus is joining the Orioles on a Minor League deal, giving Baltimore the left-handed bat it needs and adding to a frenzy of moves for the O's over the past week.

Rasmus will be a non-roster invitee in camp and will have to crack the Opening Day roster, though he immediately emerges as a strong candidate to do so.

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"Colby Rasmus is a proven veteran player in the AL East who is a versatile outfielder with the power and speed to make a meaningful contribution to the 2018 Orioles," executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said in a text message.

Rasmus opened last season on the disabled list -- coming off of hip surgery -- and also hit the DL in June. He was placed on the restricted list in July for personal reasons and it was unknown at the time if he would retire. But Rasmus -- who played in 37 games for Tampa Bay -- is going to give baseball another go, and he fits the O's prescription for a left-handed bat that plays solid defense.

"That's a big part of it," manager Buck Showalter said of Rasmus' ability with the glove. "That's an area we want to get better at and get back to. ... We want to get better there. We also want to have better depth to give Adam [Jones] some time. It's something that was really a challenge for us. I don't want guys playing because we don't have somebody else."

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Rasmus, the O's fourth addition this week, could back up Jones in center and fill the lefty side of what's shaping up to be a right-field platoon. Rasmus has spent seven years in the American League and is a career .242/.311/.438 hitter with a .252/.318/.463 line against righties. If he makes the roster, Rasmus is likely to mostly face right-handers, as the club currently has Chris Davis as the only left-handed hitter slated in its lineup.

A versatile defender, Rasmus played center field in just one game for the Rays in 2017 -- largely sticking to left and right field. However, he began his career as a center fielder and played at least 20 games at the position in each of his first eight seasons.

Rasmus only had 129 plate appearances last season -- 12 against left-handed pitching -- but the splits were still noticeable: .291/.333/.582 against lefties compared to .182/.167/.545 against righties. And in his limited playing time, he crushed the ball, with barrels in 9.5 percent of his plate appearances -- good for eighth-most among players with at least 70 batted balls.

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, Colby Rasmus

Reed's new approach helping him stand out

Reds acquire 20-year-old right-hander Medrano from Rangers
Special to MLB.com

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Cody Reed has already impressed manager Bryan Price with what he's shown on the mound in early bullpen session and the way he's bounced back from what Reed called a "bitter" 2017 season.

"He was really sharp," Price said of Reed's Tuesday bullpen session. "Fastball, slider, changeup were all good, were all spot on. Just like they've been in the first two bullpens."

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Cody Reed has already impressed manager Bryan Price with what he's shown on the mound in early bullpen session and the way he's bounced back from what Reed called a "bitter" 2017 season.

"He was really sharp," Price said of Reed's Tuesday bullpen session. "Fastball, slider, changeup were all good, were all spot on. Just like they've been in the first two bullpens."

Perhaps even more importantly, Price has taken note of Reed's renewed focus on getting back to the big leagues in any capacity.

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"The first challenge is getting to the big leagues, but the second and probably even larger issue is how you handle when you get sent back down," Price said. "Because it doesn't matter what we say as an organization, as a staff, as a manager. A lot of these guys feel like the demotion is the organization telling them, 'We don't believe in you, we don't trust you, we don't want you.' There's nothing further from the truth.

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"Cody completely refocused and recommitted to having a positive attitude and being opportunistic instead of the alternative. He's been very impressive in everything he's done."

Reed certainly enters Spring Training with a competitive approach, ready to fight for a spot on the Major League roster. He hopes it's in the starting rotation, although Price has already told him he's competing for a spot in relief this spring.

"Maybe I'll have a start or two and prove myself, and who knows?" Reed said. "Who says that I can't start? Who says that I'm only going for the bullpen? Who says that I can't pitch 30 games in the Major Leagues? I just need the opportunity. Give me one start, and I'm going to take advantage of it. If I do help the team in the bullpen, that's perfect. I had some pretty good stints out of the bullpen last year. I never came out of the 'pen until last year. Now I know I can do both, so whatever works and whatever helps the team."

Reed pointed to Chris Sale, who spent his first two seasons in the Majors coming out of the bullpen before establishing himself as a starter.

"Hopefully it doesn't take me two years, but we'll see," Reed said. "He's had a pretty good career so far."

Reed's aggressive attitude is a turnaround from the baggage he took to the hill in 2017.

"Last year, I was pretty bitter," Reed said. "I started all spring, and they told me I was in the 'pen, and it was kind of a shockwave. I'd never done it before."

Video: CHC@CIN: Reed fans Russell in the 1st inning

Last season, the 24-year-old struggled with control, walking 61 in 106 1/3 innings for Triple-A Louisville and 19 in 17 2/3 frames for the Reds. He still managed a 3.55 ERA for Louisville, but it was 5.09 in the Majors. While he was with Louisville, he reframed his mental approach.

"It took me all season," Reed said of dealing with his move to the bullpen. "I was in Triple-A and thinking I shouldn't be there, thinking I'd already proved myself in Triple-A. I should be able to go. I had 20 starts there [last season], and I didn't do really well. Every time out, I was just so mad at the world. I probably had about 10 good games in Louisville over the 20 or so starts. Most of the time the bad ones were because I felt the way I felt. I'd go in to a game feeling like, 'Why me? Why am I here?'

"Now I know that I am a Major League pitcher and I can get guys out and I can strike guys out. I can go long in the games. I know I can. So this year, I think, is going to be really good."

Reds acquire right-hander Medrano

The Reds acquired right-handed pitcher Miguel Medrano from the Rangers on Wednesday in exchange for $350,000 in international bonus pool money.

Medrano, 20, has spent two seasons in the Dominican Summer League. He's pitched 15 games for Texas there, including 12 in 2017, 10 of which were starts. Medrano went 5-1 with a 2.59 ERA last year, striking out 61 and walking seven in 59 innings.

The $350,000 represents the remainder of the Reds' allocation for international signings.

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com.

Cincinnati Reds

Tillman: Baltimore 'really where I wanted to be'

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

SARASOTA, Fla. -- He had been lurking around the Ed Smith Stadium complex for days waiting on official word. On the heels of a long offseason, right-hander Chris Tillman was finally able to step out into the spotlight on Wednesday morning and rejoin the place he's called home since 2008.

"It is a relief," said Tillman, who inked a one-year contract to return that has a base salary of $3 million and can reach $10 million in incentives. "I've been stuck inside looking out the windows for the last three days, so it feels good to finally be able to join the team and get out and get my feet under me."

SARASOTA, Fla. -- He had been lurking around the Ed Smith Stadium complex for days waiting on official word. On the heels of a long offseason, right-hander Chris Tillman was finally able to step out into the spotlight on Wednesday morning and rejoin the place he's called home since 2008.

"It is a relief," said Tillman, who inked a one-year contract to return that has a base salary of $3 million and can reach $10 million in incentives. "I've been stuck inside looking out the windows for the last three days, so it feels good to finally be able to join the team and get out and get my feet under me."

• Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Schedule

Not that it will take long to acclimate. The veteran -- whose presence in Sarasota earlier this week created quite the buzz inside the clubhouse -- has long been a popular fixture and one of the leaders of the pitching staff. Now, the 29-year-old will get a chance to re-establish himself as a guy the Orioles can count on.

"We need the veteran leadership that Chris Tillman brought to our clubs from 2012 to 2016," executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said. "Here's a guy who was a tough pitcher in the division, one of the top starting pitchers in the American League and a very dependable guy. He was on the mound when we went to the playoffs in 2016. At his age, having the benefit of training for the winter, there's a good chance he can come back and pitch [well]."

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To clear a roster spot, the Orioles designated outfielder Jaycob Brugman for assignment.

Slowed by injury last spring, Tillman never looked quite right, going 1-7 with a 7.84 ERA in 24 games (19 starts) that included a demotion to the bullpen.

So, what went wrong?

"Everything," said Tillman. "There wasn't a whole lot that went right, beginning in the offseason. I think that's a huge part of it for a starting pitcher, is the preparation in the offseason to make 30 starts and to feel strong and confident with what you're bringing to the table for the team. I was a little bit behind last year based on the circumstances."

Video: Ghiroli on the Orioles re-signing Tillman

Tillman, who lives nearby, has had a normal offseason and has been throwing at the O's complex with their permission as a free agent. He said vice president of baseball operations Brady Anderson reached out on the first day of the offseason and the right-hander's heart has always been with the O's.

"It's special to me. It's the only place I know. It really is," Tillman said. "I think for me and my family, my wife and my parents, they've only really seen me pitch in a Baltimore uniform other than high school, so that was a big part of it. And you've got to go where you're comfortable and your family is comfortable."

Prior to last year, Tillman had been a rock for an inconsistent Orioles rotation. He had a solid year in 2016 for the O's, going 16-6 and posting a 3.77 ERA in 30 starts. 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, he'll get the chance to return to form and help the club rebound from a last-place finish in the AL East.

"I've never had a player be so good in one year and struggle so much the next year at Chris' age. And I'm sure Chris didn't see it coming, certainly our club didn't see it coming. Our staff didn't see it coming. You have to find the right balance to that," Duquette said.

"The volatility of the performance was significant and here's a contract where Chris can give us the innings and if he pitches well, he can be rewarded and he could go back out on the market. Some people call these pillow contracts, the important thing for the player is you don't fall asleep on that pillow contract. You go out and you pitch."

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