Tag:Travis Wood
Posted on: February 27, 2012 2:30 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2012 2:44 pm
 

Reds sign Sean Marshall to 3-year extension

Sean MarshallBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Reds announced a three-year extension through 2015 with left-hander Sean Marshall on Monday. The deal is worth $16.5 million, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com.

Cincinnati acquired Marshall in December for left-hander Travis Wood, outfielder Dave Sappelt and infielder Ronald Torreyes. At the time, it seemed like maybe a tad too much for an admittedly very good reliever, but one who would be a free agent after the 2012 season. However, the idea that Marshall would be open to an extension makes the deal make more sense.

"We're obviously very excited about it," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty told reporters, including MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. "When we made the trade for him, we made it intending to extend him. We felt confident we would do that. We wanted to approach it sooner than later. Our goal was to try and get it done before the start of camp, or at least before we started playing games. We did get it done before the games."

Marhshall, 29, was 6-6 with a 2.26 ERA last season, appearing in 78 games and striking out 79 batters in 75 2/3 innings.

Marshall started his career as a starter, but has found his place as a reliever. In his two full seasons out of the bullpen, he's 13-11 with a 2.45 ERA and six saves with 169 strikeouts in 150 1/3 innings.

Last season, he was good against right-handers, but death to lefties. Right-handers hit .249/.302/.297 against him -- hardly All-Star numbers -- but lefties were limited to just .206/.245/.258 against him, as he struck out 31 of the 104 lefties that he faced. The only home run he surrendered was to right-handed hitting Cody Ross.

Marshall will make $3.1 million this season.

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Posted on: February 24, 2012 10:02 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2012 7:57 pm
 

Spring primer: Chicago Cubs



By Matt Snyder


After watching the Cubs go from a 97-win club to a 71-win version in just four seasons, owner Tom Ricketts took serious action in 2011. He fired general manager Jim Hendry and landed his version of a big fish, in former Red Sox GM Theo Epstein. Epstein took over as club president then added Jed Hoyer as general manager and Jason McLeod as senior vice president of scouting and player development, among other front office pieces. The new management group then hired Dale Sveum as the big-league manager and started to clean house. It's going to be a long process, but said process has begun in earnest.

Scott Miller's camp report: Cubs Giddy With Optimism | Likes, Dislikes

Major additions: OF David DeJesus, 1B Anthony Rizzo, 3B Ian Stewart, LHP Paul Maholm, RHP Chris Volstad, LHP Travis Wood
Major departures: RHP Carlos Zambrano, OF Tyler Colvin, RHP Andrew Cashner, 3B Aramis Ramirez, 1B Carlos Pena, LHP Sean Marshall, LHP John Grabow

Probable lineup
1. David DeJesus, RF
2. Starlin Castro, SS
3. Marlon Byrd, CF
4. Bryan LaHair, 1B
5. Alfonso Soriano, LF
6. Ian Stewart, 3B
7. Geovany Soto, C
8. Darwin Barney, 2B

Probable rotation
1. Matt Garza
2. Ryan Dempster
3. Paul Maholm
4. Randy Wells
5. Travis Wood

Chris Volstad will also be in the mix, but I gave Wood the nod because he's left-handed.

Back-end bullpen
Closer: Carlos Marmol
Set-up: Kerry Wood, Jeff Samardzija

Important bench players

IF Jeff Baker, C Welington Castillo, OF Tony Campana, OF Reed Johnson

Prospects to watch
There are two here in particular that could make an impact in 2012: OF Brett Jackson and 1B Anthony Rizzo. It's entirely possible both are in the lineup come August. With Rizzo, it's a matter of whether or not LaHair can hit in the majors long-term -- as he could merely be one of those so-called Quadruple-A players. If that is the case and Rizzo is hitting well in Triple-A, the Cubs might well decide to turn to Rizzo. With Jackson, he's blocked all over the outfield, however, center field could easily be cleared in July. If the Cubs fall out of contention prior to the trade deadline -- and let's face it, that's a pretty good bet -- Byrd is a great trade candidate (sorry, I don't think the Cubs can deal Soriano just yet due to his contract). Byrd is in the final year of his contract and can play all three outfield positions, so surely some contender would cough up one mid-tier prospect for him. If that happens, the logical step for the Cubs would be to see how Jackson fared in center field for the final two months to determine if he can stay there or if he needs to be moved to a corner.

Fantasy sleeper: Bryan LaHair
"Usually, when a player in his late 20s puts up eye-popping numbers at Triple-A like a .331 batting average, 38 homers and 1.070 OPS, he's dismissed right away as a Quadruple-A player, but apparently the Cubs' front office thinks LaHair is different -- and not just because of his impressive 59 at-bat stint in the majors last year. The experiment could still be a failure of Kila Ka'aihue proportions, which is why you shouldn't bother with LaHair in mixed leagues, but late in NL-only formats, why not?" - Scott White [Full Cubs team fantasy preview]

Fantasy bust: Carlos Marmol
"If blown saves were Marmol's only problem, it'd be one thing, but the bottom line is he's not the efficient out-getter that Epstein and Hoyer would like their closer to be. His walk rate is as bad as it gets, and as a result, he's always pitching out of jams. Sure, his high strikeout rate helps compensate for it, but if he produces anything short of a best-in-the-league-type hit rate, his WHIP is in the danger zone." - Scott White [Full Cubs team fantasy preview]

Optimistic outlook
The deep pitching staff throws well and pays immediate dividends, as the bullpen improves with much better rest. Plus, behind the changes in right field and third base, the defense is also improved. Even Marmol's control issues drastically dwindle. LaHair and Stewart prove they can hit major-league pitching throughout the season and DeJesus turns out a perfect leadoff man for the suddenly balanced offense. And the Cubs find themselves right in the thick of the NL Central race with the Cardinals, Reds and Brewers until the end of the season, possibly even finishing somewhere in the top three.

Pessimistic outlook
By the end of July, Garza, Dempster and Byrd are all traded as the Cubs have no shot of making the playoffs. The Cubs try to avoid the cellar in a battle with the Astros, but continue the rebuilding effort and look forward to hitting the 2013 free agency class full-steam (less than $40 million is committed to 2013 payroll so far). Really, this is more realistic than pessimistic, because as much as the Cubs' coaches, players and front office say they're trying to win this year, it's obvious this is a two-year plan at the absolute minimum.

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Posted on: January 4, 2012 4:40 pm
Edited on: January 4, 2012 7:26 pm
 

Epstein talks Zambrano, salaries, Wood, more

By Matt Snyder

New Cubs president Theo Epstein hit the radio waves in Chicago Wednesday afternoon to discuss several different topics. Let's check out the main points, thanks to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com.

• It's pretty easy to understand why many Cubs fans never want to see Carlos Zambrano again (and I'm on their side, by the way), but Epstein hasn't ruled out a Zambrano return. He explained why:

“The Carlos Zambrano of 2011 and years previous can’t fit into the culture that we have here,” Epstein said (MLB.com). “Change needs to happen and change will happen. Either he’ll change and buy in and fit into this culture — and I understand there are a lot of skeptics around about that. I understand that, and frankly, I’m skeptical as well. He needs to prove to us that he can change and be part of this culture or we’ll change the personnel and move forward with people who are proud to be Cubs and treat their teammates with respect, treat the fans with respect and can be part of a winning culture in the Cubs’ clubhouse.”

That's very reasonable. All the Zambrano issues came under Jim Hendry's watch, so Epstein has the right to give him one chance. Without having had any personal interaction with Zambrano before taking the job, Epstein may not feel comfortable just going on what he's read and seen on TV -- especially since it's not easy to unload a $19 million contract. And him making sure to point out that he's skeptical seems like a stern warning to Big Z. (UPDATE: The Cubs have a preliminary agreement in place to trade Zambrano to the Marlins)

• Speaking of albatross contracts, left fielder Alfonso Soriano is still owed $54 million over the next three seasons. Epstein didn't specifically name Soriano, but when asked about highly overpriced players, he said the club has three options:

1. Trade the player and eat a decent portion of the salary.
2. Cut the player.
3. Provide "an infrastructure in which he can improve," per MLB.com.

Cubs offseason
On Soriano, I'm not sure what the Cubs could do without having to eat a ton of money. You play him at first base to eliminate the defensive liability he poses in the outfield, and he's still a first baseman with a .289 on-base percentage who hits around 25 homers. Is that even close to being worth $18 million a year? No. I'd guess the best option is No. 1 and then No. 2 is soon to follow. Either way, that's a load of wasted money.

• As for the recent trade of fan favorite Sean Marshall?

“With what we’re trying to accomplish, which is not just win the World Series in 2012 but build something bigger and more sustainable for the long-term, what’s more valuable to us?” Epstein said (MLB.com). “One season worth of Sean Marshall or five seasons worth of a 25-year-old left-handed starting pitcher [Travis Wood] who can go into our starting rotation … and two prospects we like a lot.”

Well, first of all, he has to say that they are trying to win the 2012 World Series, but they really aren't. Just as I wrote last week, the Cubs aren't going to throw all their chips to the center of the table and try to win immediately just to end some fake curse. They are building a foundation for the future, one that Epstein and company are hoping will provide multiple opportunities for a championship down the road, not just one quick burst.

• He hit on one Wood, so what about the other: Kerry Wood?

“You have a team that really respects a player, wants him back desperately, and you have a player who loves the city, is a huge part of the community here with his family and his foundation and wants to be back,” Epstein said (MLB.com). “If we can’t work this out, we’re doing something wrong.”

• Also, not that it's shocking, but Epstein definitively stated that Bryan LaHair is going to be the Cubs' first baseman in 2012. Now, if he was planning on signing Prince Fielder, Epstein obviously wouldn't say so -- so it's possible the Cubs are still in the bidding. I'm inclined to believe him, though, because of the project nature of this rebuild. And LaHair could possibly be a late bloomer like a Jayson Werth (erase 2011 from your memory, haters, and look at 2008-10) or Ryan Ludwick. LaHair, 29, hit .331/.405/.664 with 38 homers and 38 doubles in 129 Triple-A games last season.

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Posted on: December 23, 2011 12:19 pm
Edited on: December 23, 2011 2:32 pm
 

Reds, Cubs complete Marshall-Wood trade

Dave SappeltBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Reds and Cubs made the trade sending Sean Marshall to Cincinnati and Travis Wood to Chicago official on Friday, with the Reds also sending outfielder Dave Sappelt (right) and minor-league infielder Ronald Torreyes to the Cubs.

The deal had reportedly been agreed upon on Wednesday, thought neither Sappelt or Torreyes had been identified in reports at that point.

The Reds will get Marshall to help their bullpen, while Wood should step right into the Cubs' rotation.

"Sean is not the type of pitcher that we set out looking to trade. He does a lot of things that we like, on the field and off the field. He’s exactly the kind of guy we want to be a Cub," Cubs president Theo Epstein said on a conference call (via MLB.com's Mark Sheldon). "But, he had one year remaining on his contract until free agency, and under the new collective bargaining rules it’s unlikely that he’ll have any draft pick compensation attached to him. So rather than let him walk at the end of the year with essentially nothing in return, we felt turning him into a Major League starting pitcher who has five years of control was certainly worth doing, and obviously [we got] the two prospects on top of that." 

As for the other players, Sappelt played in 38 games for the Reds last season, hitting .243/.289/.318 in 118 plate appearances. The outfielder will turn 25 on Jan. 2. He hit .313/.377/.458 at Triple-A Louisville last season and is a .309/.362/.459 hitter in his minor-league career.  Torreyes is 5-foot-9, 140 pounds, but hit .356/.398/.457 as an 18-year-old at Low-A Dayton, mostly at second base.

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Posted on: December 21, 2011 4:55 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2011 6:05 pm
 

Reds, Cubs close to dealing lefties



By C. Trent Rosecrans

After adding to the front of their rotation, the Reds are adding to the back of the bullpen, getting closer to acquiring Cubs lefty reliever Sean Marshall in return for left-handed starter Travis Wood and two prospects, CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler confirms.

Marshall, 29, has just seven career saves, but figures to be either the closer or set-up man for Cincinnati, which lost closer Francisco Cordero to free agency. Marshall was 6-6 with a 2.26 ERA with the Cubs last season, striking out 79 batters in 75 2/3 innings. He is signed through this season at $3.1 million in 2012 and will be a free agent after the season. He would join fellow lefty Bill Bray in the bullpen, as the team has said it expects Aroldis Chapman to move to the rotation.

Wood, who will be 25 next season, is 11-10 with a 4.18 ERA in 39 big league games and 35 starts. Last season he was 6-6 with a 4.84 ERA, striking out 76 batters in 106 innings. The Reds drafted Wood out of high school in the second round of the 2005 draft. He's under team control through the 2016 season and isn't arbitration-eligible until after the 2013 season.

The Reds sent three of their top 10 prospects to acquire Mat Latos and appear to be selling out for the 2012 race after watching their biggest divisional rivals lose major pieces with the Cardinals losing Albert Pujols and the Brewers facing a season without Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun facing a 50-game suspension.

The Cubs, on the other hand, appear to be listening to offers for just about anyone on their roster -- except for maybe Starlin Castro. Several sources have said the new Cubs brass now sees the state of the franchise as a long-term project and that there will be no real quick fix. David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com wrote the same thing on Wednesday, noting baseball officials say Chicago could be in for a "complete and total rebuild."

Wood would help the team long-term, even if he's nothing more than a fourth or fifth pitcher in Chicago, because he is affordable and under team control for so long. The Cubs could also try to deal closer Carlos Marmol, who is under contract through 2013 and outfielder Marlon Byrd, a free agent after the season, in an attempt to shed payroll and acquire prospects. However, finding takers that will take both money and give prospects could be tough for any of those names. The team's best trade chip is right-hander Matt Garza, who is under team control for the next two seasons. Based on what the Reds gave up for Latos, the Cubs could be tempted to move him for prospects -- the exact thing the previous regime gave up to get Garza.

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Posted on: November 30, 2011 2:13 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Cincinnati Reds

Joey Votto

By C. Trent Rosecrans


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule of this feature, click here.

During the series, we've seen some lineups that would be completely foreign to the hometown fans, and some a little less so. The homegrown Cincinnati Reds, for better or worse, look quite similar to the team that took the field at Great American Ball Park this past season. While there are similar strengths, the same problems also crop up.

Lineup

1. Jay Bruce, RF
2. Justin Turner, 2B
3. Joey Votto, 1B
4. Adam Dunn, LF
5. Juan Francisco, 3B
6. Drew Stubbs, CF
7. Devin Mesoraco, C
8. Zack Cozart, SS

Starting Rotation

1. Johnny Cueto
2. Mike Leake
3. Homer Bailey
4. Travis Wood
5. Zach Stewart

Bullpen

Closer - Aroldis Chapman
Set up - Todd Coffey, Logan Ondrusek, Jordan Smith, Josh Roenicke, Enerio Del Rosario
Long - Sam LeCure

Notable Bench Players

Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal, Adam Rosales, Ryan Hanigan, Chris Heisey, Chris Denorfia, Chris Dickerson. The Reds hypothetical situation behind the plate is the same as their current situation, one underrated catcher and two promising prospects, a problem most teams would envy. The hypothetical Reds also have no real spot for Alonso, although a short leash on Dunn could have this homegrown team toy with the notion of trying Alonso in left -- just like the real Reds.

What's Good?

The lineup's going to put up runs, that's for sure. There are some lineup construction problems, but this team can flat out hit, especially in their home ballpark. The defense isn't as good as it is in real life, it's still not too bad (with the exception of Dunn). The team has a lot of talent behind the plate and the bench is deep with some versatility.

What's Not?

The Reds were unable to repeat their 2010 division title in large part because of the failings of their starting rotation -- that's not fixed with these five. There's also no real answer to the team's search for a leadoff man, just like the real Reds. This bullpen isn't as experienced or strong as the real thing, either.

Comparison to real 2011

While there are some key personel missing, like Brandon Phillips and Francisco Cordero, there's also an added boost to the lineup of Dunn (we'll just assume he would have performed closer to his career numbers than his historically bad 2011 in the familiar confines of Great American Ball Park than in Chicago), the offense would have been about the same. The pitching, though, is still a problem, so this squad may fair a bit worse than the team's 79-83 record. However, the team is interesting, talented and young.

Next: Kansas City Royals

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Posted on: October 4, 2011 1:28 pm
 

R.I.P.: 2011 Cincinnati Reds

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Another season gone, another disappointment for 29 teams as one is immortalized forever. Let’s take a look back at 2011 and forward in Eye on Baseball’s R.I.P. series...

Team name: Cincinnati Reds
Record: 79-83, 3rd place, 17 games back
Manager: Dusty Baker
Best hitter: Joey Votto -- .309/.416/.531 with 29 HR, 103 RBI
Best pitcher:Johnny Cueto -- 9-5, 24 GS, 156 IP, 2.31 ERA, 104 K, 47 BB

Coming off the 2010 National League Central title with pretty much the same team intact, the Reds were expected to challenge for the title again. However, the team could never quite get consistent starting pitching and were on the outside looking in by the All-Star break, close enough not to become sellers at the deadline and ultimately irrelevant for the last two months of the season.

2011 SEASON RECAP

Cueto took a step forward in his development and Votto showed he was anything but a one-hit wonder, while Brandon Phillips played at an All-Star level. Other than that, most every other Cincinnati Red took a step back from their 2010 performance. Bronson Arroyo and Drew Stubbs set dubious marks -- Arroyo allowing 46 homers and Stubbs striking out 205 times. Opening-day starter Edinson Volquez was twice demoted to the minors and third baseman Scott Rolen was limited to just 65 games. Lefty Travis Wood struggled in his second year and right-hander Homer Bailey has yet to find consistency. The team's gaping holes at shortstop and left field were magnified and its rotation wasn't as deep as promised in the spring. In all, disappointment was all around in 2011 as Cincinnati was unable to defend its crown.

2012 AUDIT

The Reds need to follow the lead of the Brewers, who decided to go for it in 2011 instead of worrying what would happen when Prince Fielder left. The Reds still have two more years of Votto, they need to take advantage of that and try to win before Votto goes to greener pastures, not fret about what's going to happen in two years. The Reds still need some help at the top of their rotation, a right-handed power bat for the middle of the lineup and to make a decision about left field and shortstop.

FREE AGENTS

CL Francisco Cordero (team holds a $12 million option for 2012)
2B Brandon Phillips (team holds a $12 million option for 2012)
C Ramon Hernandez
SS Edgar Renteria
LHP Dontrelle Willis

OFFSEASON FOCUS

  • Sell high on first baseman Yonder Alonso. In his first extensive big-league action, the 2008 first-rounder was impressive, hitting .330/.398/.545, displaying a keen understanding of the strike zone. That said, the Reds struggled to find places to play him, considering he's a first baseman and the guy they have there is one of the game's best players. Alonso played 16 games in left field, and aside from a rough weekend in Wrigley Field, didn't embarrass himself. He also played a game at third base without a single ball coming his way. In the end, he's a first baseman. That's where he'll thrive and that's where some team could certainly use him -- just not the Reds. See what you can get for Alonso in a package or straight up. At 24, he's young for a major leaguer, but old for a prospect. His highest value is this offseason.
  • Make a play for a true ace. Yes, Cueto has the potential to be an ace and he looked at times to be an ace this season. However, the Brewers could have said the same thing about Yovani Gallardo after last season. Be bold and bolster the top of the rotation. The Reds were second in the National League in runs scored and fifth in OPS -- there's enough offense to win if the pitching is sound. Sure up the rotation and by default you sure up the bullpen. The Brewers thought bold and they didn't have half the farm system the Reds have. You can send some combination Alonso, Billy Hamilton and one of the two catchers -- Devin Mesoraco or Yasmani Grandal -- away in a deal or two for true front-of-the-rotation help.
  • Pick up Phillips' option, but don't sign him to the long-term deal he's seeking. Phillips will win his third Gold Glove this year and is as good as anyone defensively. He also hit .300/.353/.457. However, he'll be looking for a Dan Uggla-like deal (five years, $62 million), and that's just not something the Reds can afford, especially at non-premium position like second base. He adjusted well to the leadoff role late in the season, hitting .350/.417/.573 in 39 games (38 starts) at the top of the order, but he's still a career .322 OBP guy and his .353 on-base percentage this season was a career-best by .021, aided by a career-best .322 BABIP. Bottom line is he's the best second baseman in the National League, but that comes at a price -- and a price the Reds won't be able to afford past this season.
  • Speaking of not overpaying a specific position, the team vastly overpaid for closer Cordero after the 2007 season, giving him a four-year, $46 million deal plus a $12 million club option for 2012. There's no reason to pick that option up, even though the team has reportedly been talking about an extension with Cordero. Any extension would likely be two years for more than the $12 million he'd make by just picking up the option for next year, but would include a yearly pay cut. Again, that's a move big market teams can afford, but the Reds cannot. Even with likely deferred payments (much like last season's Arroyo extension), Cordero is too costly. He's done his job well in his time in Cincinnati, solidifying a bullpen that had been in tatters before his arrival, but it's too much to pay for a closer. Follow the lead of the Rays and Diamondbacks who were able to rebuild bullpens for less than $12 million based on scrap parts. It's risky, but no more risky (and less expensive) than paying inflated prices for relievers.
  • The team held on to Hernandez even when other teams were desperate for catching. That means either nobody was that desperate for catching, or Hernandez and his agents already told the team he would not accept arbitration -- or both. If the Reds can offer Hernandez arbitration without danger of him accepting it, they'd likely receive two draft picks if Hernandez qualifies as a Type A free agent. With Ryan Hanigan signed through 2013 at a team-friendly rate and Mesoraco left with nothing left to prove in the minors, it's time to move on from Hernandez, who has been productive in his time in Cincinnati. They also have Grandal waiting in the wings, plus Tucker Barnhart, who won the Minor League Gold Glove at catcher.
  • If the Reds are going to go young at shortstop with Zack Cozart and in left field with Chris Heisey, they need to commit to it -- no messing around with another veteran shortstop that will just take up playing time, like Edgar Renteria or Orlando Cabrera. In left, Heisey needs to play and play more, even against left-hander, even though he struggled against them. Juan Francisco has improved at third base and should be the first choice if Rolen isn't healthy.
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Posted on: July 27, 2011 4:56 pm
 

Wednesday afternoon trade rumors

By C. Trent Rosecrans

We actually got the big trades on Wednesday with a three-way deal sending Colby Rasmus to Toronto and Edwin Jackson to St. Louis, as well as the biggest domino of the non-waiver trade deadline falling, as Carlos Beltran will join the Giants on Thursday. But that doesn't mean the rumors stopped, boy oh boy, are they still hot and heavy. Here's our roundup of the morning and early afternoon's rumors:

• One official for a contender told ESPN.com's Jayson Stark that he believes the Rockies will move Ubaldo Jimenez. Apparently there's too much smoke for there not to be fire. The same official told Stark, "You don't do this with your best pitchers unless you're ready to trade him." 

• Even with the Cardinals rebuilding their bullpen in Wednesday's Rasmus deal, they're still talking to the Padres about Heath Bell and Mike Adams, CBSSports.com senior writer Scott Miller tweets.

• The Cubs are apparently interested in dumping two of their higher-priced players, Carlos Zambrano and Alfonso Soriano. Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman tweeted the Cubs are offering up much of the money left on their contracts. A rival front-office member told Heyman, "They'd have to pay 95 percent." Zambrano is making $17.875 million this season and $18 million next season. He has a $19.25 million vesting option for 2013 that takes effect if he is first or second in the 2011 Cy Young vote (not likely) or is in the top four of the 2012 Cy Young vote and is healthy. He has a full no-trade clause. Soriano is signed through 2014 at $18 million per season. The Cubs are hoping the Yankees bite, Buster Olney of ESPN.com tweets.

• A's general manager Billy Beane tells Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he's not interested in giving away any of the available A's players on the cheap. He said the team isn't looking to dump payroll.

• After Beltran turned down the Indians (or his agent did), Cleveland has moved on and is trying to land Rasmus, B.J. Upton and Hiroki Kuroda, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! tweets. Of course, that was before Rasmus was off the table.

• The Astros say they want a "very top" pitching prospect in return for Hunter Pence, Heyman tweets. He notes with that price tag, most expect Hunter to stay in Houston.

• FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal tweets the Braves are now the most interested in Pence, but are also interested in the Padres' Ryan Ludwick.

• The Phillies have done background work on White Sox outfielder Carlos Quentin, Olney tweets. Philadelphia is searching for a bat that would basically replace what Jason Werth did for them last season.

• Rockies outfielder Ryan Spllborghs is a possibility for the Red Sox, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe writes. He also adds the Twins are listening to offers for right-hander Kevin Slowey.

• The Yankees have asked about Florida's Ricky Nolasco, but was told the team would deal him, Heyman tweeted.

• The chances of the Dodgers trading Andre Ethier are "very slim" FoxSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi reports. But there's a chance as Ethier will be a free agent after 2012.

• The Reds are telling teams catcher Devin Mesoraco and shortstop Billy Hamilton are "untouchable," Rosenthal writes. However, he also notes the Rockies wouldn't require either of those two. If a deal didn't include those, it would take some other big pieces, though. The Reds' system is deep enough to have those pieces, such as Yasmandi Grandal, Yonder Alonso, Travis Wood and Mike Leake.

• Even though the Rays have said James Shields is unavailable, Rosenthal tweets Cincinnati is targeting Sheilds over Ubaldo Jimenez.

• With Rasmus off the table, the Nationals are targeting the Twins' Denard Span and could move closer Drew Storen to get the outfielder, Rosenthal said on MLB Network.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com