Updated 1-Month MLB Power Rankings: Where Does Your Favorite Team Stand?

Where does your favorite MLB team stand after the season’s first month?

By Joel Reuter (Featured Columnist) on BLEACHER REPORT

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 23:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on April 23, 2012 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

 Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

1: Texas Rangers (16-6, Previous: 1)

Despite their worst week of the season so far, the Rangers maintain the top spot after taking two of three from the Yankees, then dropping two of three to the Rays.

Josh Hamilton (.395 BA, 9 HR, 25 RBI) continues to be the AL version of Matt Kemp, while the rest of the offense is doing its part as well with five other players tallying double-digit RBI. The Rays proved the Rangers are human, but there is still little question that the Rangers are the best team in baseball right now.

2: Tampa Bay Rays (14-8, Previous: 8)

It was a fantastic week for the Rays as they swept the Angels at home before going to Texas and taking two of three from a Rangers team that was undeniably the best team in baseball going into the week.

While the Rangers still get the nod over the Rays here, there is a lot to like about the Rays. From a deep offense that is light years better than last season to their immensely talented pitching staff, they could certainly challenge the Rangers for the top spot in the near future.

3: St. Louis Cardinals (14-8, Previous: 2)

After dropping two of three to the rival Cubs in Chicago, the Cardinals took two of three from the Brewers at home to maintain a three-game lead in the NL Central.

The starting pitching outside of Adam Wainwright (7.32 ERA) has been phenomenal, and David Freese (.333 BA, 5 HR, 20 RBI) continues to carry an offense that has gotten consistent contribution up and down the lineup.

4: Los Angeles Dodgers (16-6, Previous: 6)

Matt Kemp

Matt Kemp

The Dodgers dropped two of three to the Braves to open the week, but bounced back to sweep a good Nationals team for a 4-2 week that kept them atop the NL West and gave them the NL’s best record.

The offense has consisted almost exclusively of Matt Kemp (.425 BA, 11 HR, 24 RBI) and Andre Ethier (.277 BA, 5 HR, 24 RBI). While they have been great, the rest of the team needs to start hitting around them. Of note, Ted Lilly is very quietly 2-0 with a 0.90 ERA through three starts.

5: Atlanta Braves (14-8, Previous: 7)

A 4-2 week pulled the Braves even with the Nationals atop the NL East, as they took two of three from a good Dodgers team and finished up a series victory over the Pirates with a win on Sunday.

The team pulled a shocker of sorts when they sent 2011 All-Star Jair Jurrjens (9.37 ERA) down to Triple-A, but the move corresponded with Tim Hudson coming off the disabled list, so the team should be fine in the short term. They are off to a good start, but there is a ton of room for improvement across the board in Atlanta.

6: Washington Nationals (14-8, Previous: 4)

The difference between the No. 3 spot and the No. 7 spot on this list is minimal, but a four-game losing streak left them at 2-4 on the week, and they fall a bit because of it.

That said, I am still very much a believer in the Nationals, as their pitching (2.33 team ERA) is going to keep them in most games. The call-up of Bryce Harper should allow the Nationals to get some much-deserved national attention, and also gives them a boost not many teams can find in their farm system.

7: Baltimore Orioles (14-8, Previous: 16)

After skeptically inching them up the rankings the past few weeks, I will officially admit I am now drinking the Orioles’ Kool-aid, as a 5-1 week that included a sweep of the Blue Jays has put them in first place in the AL East.

With an offense that ranks 10th in runs scored and a pitching staff that ranks seventh in ERA, they are doing everything well right now. Five players have double-digit RBI, and J.J. Hardy (.181 BA) and Nick Markakis (.244 BA) are not among them. Once those two get going, the Orioles could be even better.

8: New York Yankees (12-9, Previous: 5)

The Yankees had a tough week on the schedule as they opened the week dropping two of three to the Rangers before taking two of three from the Tigers for a respectable 3-3 showing.

However, they drop on this list due to the news that Michael Pineda is done for the year with a shoulder injury. With Phil Hughes (7.88 ERA) and Ivan Nova (5.18 ERA) struggling and Freddy Garcia (12.51 ERA) moved to the bullpen in favor of untested David Phelps, the rotation is once again a huge question mark.

9: Detroit Tigers (11-11, Previous: 3)

It was a tough week for the Tigers, as they were swept by the Mariners and then dropped two of three to the Yankees as they nearly doubled their loss total with a 1-5 week.

On top of that, they released long-time Tiger Brandon Inge and lost Delmon Young indefinitely after he was arrested and charged with hate-crime harassment. They will look to get things back on track against the Royals and White Sox this coming week, and they still have to be considered among the AL favorites despite this hiccup.

10: Toronto Blue Jays (12-10, Previous: 9)

The Blue Jays completed a four-game sweep of the Royals on Monday before turning around and being swept themselves by the Orioles. They then took two of three from the Mariners for a 3-4 week.

Edwin Encarnacion (.310 BA, 7 HR, 20 RBI) is 5-for-9 with three home runs and seven RBI in his last three games, and he’s been moved to the cleanup spot in hopes of better protecting Jose Bautista. The real story, though, has been their starting pitching, as four of their five starters have ERAs under 4.00.

11: New York Mets (13-9, Previous: 14)

It was a busy week for the Mets, as they played eight games in seven days and at the end of it all walked away with a 5-3 record, including a sweep of the Marlins mid-week.

They’ll be getting center fielder Andres Torres back from injury on Monday, shifting rookie Kirk Nieuwenhuis to left field as the lineup should be improved moving forward. As long as their pitching staff—especially the starters—keeps performing like they have, the Mets are on track to do much better than expected.

12: San Francisco Giants (12-10, Previous: 12)

The Giants dropped two of three to the Reds to open the week, but salvaged things by taking two of three from the lowly Padres for a 3-3 finish.

Buster Posey (.353 BA, 4 HR, 9 RBI) has bounced back great from his injury last season, but the offense is still struggling to score runs. The biggest stat of the week for the Giants, though, was Tim Lincecum’s eight-inning, zero-run outing as he is back on track after a horrible start.

13: Arizona Diamondbacks (11-11, Previous: 10)

After losing two of three to the Phillies to open the week, the Diamondbacks managed to finish 3-3 in taking two of three from the struggling Marlins.

The team finally had enough of Josh Collmenter’s struggles (9.82 ERA), moving him to the bullpen and calling up their No. 8 prospect Patrick Corbin (1.67 ERA, 27 IP at Double-A) to make his big league debut. As long as they can consistently score runs, they should be able to find a rotation that works with perhaps the youngest starting pitching depth in baseball.

14: Boston Red Sox (10-11, Previous: 23)

After plummeting from 12th to 23rd in the rankings last week, the Red Sox seem to have righted the ship as they went 6-1 this week, sweeping the Twins before taking three of four from the White Sox.

Led by David Ortiz (.395 BA, 4 HR, 18 RBI), their offense has been solid despite a slow start from Kevin Youkilis and the absence of Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury. Their pitching continues to be a question mark, but as long as they continue to post double-digit run totals like they did three times last week they’ll win games.

15: Cincinnati Reds (11-11, Previous: 20)

The Reds moved to second in the NL Central with a 4-2 week, as they captured two of three from both the Giants and Astros.

Jay Bruce (.296 BA, 7 HR, 17 RBI) is on fire right now, as the highly touted offense is finally performing up to expectations. Now if only the notoriously slow-starting Mat Latos (5.97 ERA) can start paying dividends, they’d be in pretty good shape.

16: Philadelphia Phillies (10-12, Previous: 11)

My feeling early on was that the Phillies’ pitching would be enough to outweigh their aging and injury-riddled lineup, but another subpar 3-3 week in which they dropped two of three to the Cubs again showed the holes in their roster.

The unexpected trio of Carlos Ruiz, Juan Pierre and Ty Wigginton are the only everyday players with averages over .253, and Hunter Pence is the only player with double-digit RBI at 11. Kyle Kendrick has struggled filling in for the injured Cliff Lee, and all-in-all things just don’t look great in Philly right now.

17: Cleveland Indians (11-9, Previous: 18)

A rough week from the Tigers and a 3-3 showing by the Indians has put Cleveland in first place in the AL Central, as they dropped two of three to the lowly Royals before salvaging the week in taking two of three from the struggling Angels.

The starting pitching has been hit-or-miss, and the offense has no true standout player at this point, but they continue to win games. In what looks to be a wide-open AL Central, they should be able to stay in contention if nothing else.

18: Milwaukee Brewers (10-12, Previous: 15)

The Brewers stayed in the division last week, taking two of three from the Astros before dropping two of three to the Cardinals in St. Louis.

There is little doubt that the team misses Prince Fielder’s bat, and the struggles of Rickie Weeks (.193 BA) and Aramis Ramirez (.228 BA) have only magnified the loss. Their pitching staff may be a bigger concern, though, as Randy Wolf (7.17 ERA) and Yovani Gallardo (6.08 ERA) have struggled mightily.

19: Chicago White Sox (11-11, Previous: 17)

Last week, I was torn apart in the comments section for only moving the White Sox up one spot after a 4-1 week, my reasoning being I wasn’t sold on them just yet. Now, after a 2-5 week I can’t help saying I told you so.

That said, the White Sox have been better than expected, led by Paul Konerko (.383 BA, 5 HR, 15 RBI) and Jake Peavy (3-1, 1.67 ERA), and their solid start could be enough to delay what was expected to be a full-blown rebuilding season.

20: Seattle Mariners (11-12, Previous: 25)

The Mariners swept the Tigers in Detroit to open the week before dropping two of three to the Blue Jays at home, but they have to be happy with a 4-2 week against two of the league’s top teams.

They tallied 30 runs in their four wins and just two in their two losses, and that is how their season will go as they have the pitching to compete but will only be as good as their offense allows them.

21: Los Angeles Angels (7-15, Previous: 13)

After giving them the benefit of the doubt through the first three weeks of the season, a 1-5 week and a the third-worst record in the American League simply can’t be overlooked. The Angels were swept by the Rays and dropped two of three to the Indians, ekeing out a 2-1 win on Saturday.

The call-up of uber-prospect Mike Trout, who was hitting .403 in Triple-A, could be the spark the team needs to get things going. A hot streak by Albert Pujols (.216 BA, 0 HR, 4 RBI) certainly wouldn’t hurt either.

22: Colorado Rockies (10-11, Previous: 19)

A 2-4 week saw the Rockies drop two of three to the Pirates and Mets, although they did explode for 18 runs on Friday in a victory over the Mets.

They acquired a good deal of starting pitching depth in the offseason, and they are already dipping into it as former A’s starter Guillermo Moscoso was called up with Jeremy Guthrie on the disabled list. The rotation has undoubtedly been their weakness to this point, with just one starter (Jamie Moyer, 3.14) with an ERA under 4.00.

23: Oakland Athletics (11-12, Previous: 21)

The A’s took two of three from the White Sox before dropping two of three to the Orioles, as they have struggled to find any consistency so far this season.

Despite having the worst team batting average in all of baseball at .205, the A’s have managed to stay competitive thanks to their pitching staff. Jarrod Parker (6.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 Ks) could make them even better after looking strong in his first start. Now they just need to find someone who can hit the ball.

24: Pittsburgh Pirates (9-12, Previous: 24)

The Pirates took two of three from the Rockies to open the week, then dropped two of three to the Braves in Atlanta as they held on to fourth place in the NL Central.

They continue to score runs at an alarmingly low pace, with just 49 through 21 games, but their pitching has been fantastic—their 2.77 team ERA thanks ranks third in all of baseball.

25: Chicago Cubs (8-14, Previous: 29)

The Cubs are in the midst of their best stretch of the season thus far, as they took two of three from the rival Cardinals to open the week and completed a 4-2 week with a victory over the Phillies on Sunday.

Tony Campana (.435 BA, 6 SB, 6 R) has provided a spark, taking over in center field for the departed Marlon Byrd, and the starting rotation has impressed, with Matt Garza throwing seven innings of one-hit ball to cap the week.

26: Miami Marlins (8-13, Previous: 22)

A sweep at the hands of the Mets opened the Marlins’ week, and they dropped two of three to the Diamondbacks to close things out, as a 1-5 week dropped them to last place in the NL East.

So far, the team has been perhaps the biggest disappointment in all of baseball. It starts with their superstars as Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez are both hitting .205, while Josh Johnson sports a 5.34 ERA.

27: Houston Astros (8-14, Previous: 26)

The Astros managed a 2-4 week on the road, taking one game each from the Reds and Brewers as they dropped to last place in the NL Central.

The offense has been solid, led by Jose Altuve (.373 BA) and J.D. Martinez (19 RBI), but the team desperately needs someone in the rotation to step up alongside Wandy Rodriguez (2-2, 1.72 ERA).

28: San Diego Padres (7-16, Previous: 28)

The Padres had a tough draw this week, facing the Nationals and Giants as they managed to win one game in each series for a 2-4 week.

Their pitching is starting to come around, and their bullpen has been terrific, but that doesn’t mean much when they’re not scoring runs. Chris Denorfia (team-high .282 average) has moved into a starting spot in left field, but it’s going to take a lot more than that for the Padres to turn things around.

29: Kansas City Royals (6-15, Previous: 30)

Two losses to open the week pushed the Royals’ losing streak to 12 games, but they rallied to take the final two games of their series with the Indians before splitting two games with the Twins for a modest 3-3 week.

However, they are still 0-10 at home on the season.

Alex Gordon (.232 BA, 4 HR, 10 RBI) has begun to turn things around after moving out of the leadoff spot in the order, and if Eric Hosmer (.188 BA, 5 HR, 13 RBI) could follow suit it would go a long way toward helping the Royals at least find some consistency.

30: Minnesota Twins (6-15, Previous: 27)

With a win over the Royals on Sunday, the Twins managed to snap a six-game losing streak, as they were swept by the Red Sox to start the week before dropping one of two to the Royals for a 1-4 week.

Josh Willingham (.353 BA, 5 HR, 15 RBI) remains the team’s offensive leader, while Joe Mauer (.325 BA, 1 HR, 13 RBI) continues to show he is finally healthy. However, they may have the worst pitching staff in baseball, and that will continue to keep them near the bottom of the rankings.

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Raul Off To The Yanks

Phils get compensatory pick for Ibanez

By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com

CLEARWATER, Fla. — The Phillies will get a supplemental pick between the first and second rounds in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft because the New York Yankees signed Raul Ibanez to a contract on Monday.

Yankee Stadium on July 1, 2010

The Phillies had offered Ibanez salary arbitration last winter, with the understanding Ibanez would not accept it.

Philadelphia earlier received two draft picks as compensation when the Reds signed reliever Ryan Madson to a contract.

Howard’s recovery progressing nicely

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Ryan Howard seems to be making progress.

Ryan Howard (left) and Manny Ramirez

Howard took swings in the batting cage, fielded ground balls, and jogged lightly around the diamond on Monday at Bright House Field. He is recovering from left Achilles surgery, which is expected to cost him at least the first month of the 2012 season. The Phillies are hopeful Howard could return to action sometime in May, but time will tell.

Howard will meet with reporters to discuss his recovery on Wednesday.

“He did good,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “Really good. … We’re definitely not going to hurry him along. The trainers and the doctors, they check him out and they correspond with him every day. It’s not like we’re pushing him to get back. I think where he’s at — go ask [head athletic trainer] Scott Sheridan or [team physician Michael] Ciccotti — they’ll tell you they think he’s ahead of [schedule]. But that doesn’t mean we’re going to take him out there and run him through strenuous practice programs, right now. We want to monitor him and work him along. To say he’s going to start the season, that would be a reach. I think there’s a good chance he’s going to miss some time. How much? I don’t think it’s going to be as much as you think, but we’ll wait and see.”

Thome arrives at camp in great condition

CLEARWATER, Fla. — General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said on Sunday that Jim Thome‘s physical looked better than the one he took with the Phillies in 2003, which was the first year of his five-year, $85 million contract.

Jim Thome with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2005

Thome, staying true to character on Monday, downplayed any accolades thrown his way.

“You try to come [to] camp in good shape, sure,” Thome said. “I’m a little lighter, now. I’m excited. I’m ready.”

Thome has been asked countless times since he signed with the Phillies in November about his ability to play first base this season. His answer remains unchanged: He will not know until he actually plays. Thome is taking ground balls, but nothing can simulate playing in a game like physically playing in a game. He hopes to work into that gradually. But until Thome plays his first Grapefruit League game next month, it seems unlikely anybody will have a better idea about it.

Thome also said he isn’t sure how many at-bats he thinks he needs to stay sharp at the plate.

“That’s up to Charlie [Manuel],” Thome said. “My role is to be a bench guy, but also to be ready to go when called upon — if that’s two days a week, if that’s four days a week, whatever position he puts me in. It’s up to the player to get ready for that — it’s not about the at-bats, it’s not about home runs, it’s not about any of that. It’s about winning a World Series, and trying to be part of a team that’s been successful for quite a while.”

Worth noting

• Right-hander Jose Contreras, who is recovering from right elbow surgery, could throw off a mound on Tuesday.

• Jimmy Rollins appeared in camp in fine spirits.

• Shane Victorino, who appears on Monday’s night episode of “Hawaii Five-O,” is expected in camp on Tuesday.

Charlie Manuel

• Manuel will be supporting Special Olympics Sarasota County, when he appears at the Forum Salon from 3-6 p.m. ET on March 1 in downtown Sarasota. A $5 donation gets an autograph from Manuel.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Zo Zone. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

A.J. Burnett To Pirates?

Pirates, Yanks continue talking Burnett deal

 By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com

NEW YORK — The Yankees and Pirates are continuing discussions about a trade that would end right-hander A.J. Burnett’s turbulent tenure in pinstripes.

Pittsburgh is among four clubs that has reportedly shown interest in dealing for the 35-year-old Burnett, who helped the Yankees win the 2009 World Series but has followed with two inconsistent seasons.

A.J. Burnett

A.J. Burnett (Photo credit: Keith Allison)

A source told MLB.com that of the teams showing interest in Burnett, Pittsburgh appears to be the most likely trade partner. The Yankees are willing to pick up part of the $33 million Burnett is owed over the next two seasons, the remaining portion of a five-year, $82.5 million contract signed before the ’09 season.

Furthermore, another Major League source portrayed the Pirates as being “optimistic” of eventually working out a deal, with only “the money and players exchanged” yet to be determined. In return for raising the amount of Burnett’s contract they would be willing to undertake, the Pirates would expect a discount in the prospect or prospects the Yankees seek in return.

New York and Pittsburgh are said to still be haggling over the exact dollar amount that will be handled by the Yankees in the deal, which could exceed $10 million, as well as what players the Pirates would surrender in return.

ESPN.com reported that the Yankees have asked for first baseman and outfielder Garrett Jones, but that request was rejected by the Pirates.

While the Yankees originally pursued Burnett to serve as a one-two punch with CC Sabathia at the head of the rotation, two unsatisfying seasons with thick ERAs have pushed him further back on New York’s depth chart.

Burnett is 34-35 with a 4.79 ERA in his three seasons with the Yankees, and his combined 5.20 ERA for 2010 and ’11 has deleted patience from the grandstands.

Part of Burnett’s troubles may stem from his diminished fastball velocity; Burnett spoke honestly on at least one occasion about how he felt hitters no longer were uncomfortable standing in against him, suggesting he needed to learn to pitch inside more.

However, Burnett did harness his command and repertoire to pitch well in a crucial American League Division Series start, helping send the series back to New York with a Yankees win in Game 4 at Detroit.

Despite his 11-11 record and 5.15 ERA, last season represented something of a bounce-back year for Burnett, considering his multiple issues in 2010.

CC Sabathia

That season, Burnett clashed at various times with catcher Jorge Posada, sliced the palms of his hands attacking a Yankee Stadium clubhouse door in July and pitched a September game in Baltimore with an unexplained black eye.

The Yankees have largely supported Burnett, but they also currently have seven starters to fit into five rotation slots. That figures to have Burnett heading to Spring Training competing with Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia to serve as the fifth starter.

At the moment, the Pirates also have a full rotation, but that includes Charlie Morton, whose season-opening availability is in question after he underwent hip surgery in October. Pittsburgh’s other starters are Erik Bedard, signed as a free agent, and incumbents James McDonald, Kevin Correia and Jeff Karstens, also a former Yankee.

Jeff Karstens

Beyond the Morton uncertainty, the Pirates’ interest in Burnett reflects their hope that a return to the National League could energize the career of the right-hander, who has struggled primarily with inconsistency since leaving Florida as a free agent after the 2005 season.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has acknowledged that he would listen to trade offers for Burnett, while lauding the fact that despite Burnett’s struggles, he has not been on the disabled list with New York and has been a reliable innings-eater.

Burnett’s contract with the Yankees includes a list of 10 teams he cannot be traded to. The New York Post reported last week that all of those clubs are on the West Coast; Burnett’s wife, Karen, dislikes flying from their Maryland home.

Through seven seasons with the Marlins, Burnett crafted a career ERA (3.73) he never reached in any of the six years he spent in baseball’s toughest division with the Blue Jays and the Yanks.

The Yankees are also interested in acquiring a left-handed bat to help out in the designated hitter role after dealing top prospect Jesus Montero to the Mariners in January,but it is thought the club only has about $1-2 million to spend in that area.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog,Bombers BeatTom Singer contributed to this report. Follow @Tom_Singer on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Playing The Field- Where Will Fielder Land?

Fielder leads list of players in limbo

The Sports Xchange

By now, Prince Fielder surely expected his own celebratory press conference, when he would join the flurry of activity for baseball’s offseason elite players. He would flash a big grin, don a jersey and cap, and prepare for a season as a poster child for his franchise, the way Albert Pujols, C.J. Wilson and Jose Reyes had before him.

But, with just a month to go before spring training, Fielder—despite his .299 average, 38 home runs and 120 RBI last season for the Milwaukee Brewers—remained a man with no cap or jersey to wear and no contract to celebrate Friday.

Instead, Yu Darvish, the Japanese pitching sensation, was expected to be feted by the Texas Rangers—his own lavish deal potentially damaging Fielder’s ability to sign with Texas.

Prince Fielder (left) and Derrek Lee

 

Fielder, who at 27 has 230 career home runs, topped the list of a few high-profile names who remained unsigned at that point, including Roy Oswalt, Edwin
Jackson, Johnny Damon and Cuban power hitter Yoennis Cespedes.

None were as surprising to see still listed as free agents as Fielder, who was the most talented slugger available this side of Pujols. He could become the first player to sign a $100 million or more contract this late in the offseason, according to SI.com.

Or he could continue to be surprised at his lack of activity.

While it made sense to think teams were initially waiting out the fellow first baseman Pujols before committing to Fielder, it’s now been more than a month since he signed with the Angels, leaving Fielder alone atop the free agent class.

But while there are reports of interest from the Rangers (even after the Darvish signing) and Washington Nationals and a few other rumors, Fielder has remained in limbo. Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum has already ruled out Fielder as a possibility because the club recently acquired young, power-hitting first baseman Anthony Rizzo.

The usual big-spending New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are set at first base.

So, Fielder’s choices have been limited.

“I think everybody thought he would have signed by now,” Brewers general manager Doug Melvin told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “In that regard, I’d have to say it’s a little surprising.”

Despite missing all but one game in the past three seasons, though, there have been reports that Fielder’s 5-foot-11, 275-pound frame have caused some suitors to fret over the prospect of a long-term deal.

Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks at Spring Trai...

With Fielder’s agent, Scott Boras, notorious for working out mega-contracts for his biggest clients, the Brewers never made a formal long-term offer to retain the first baseman who had not played for another team, according to the Journal Sentinel.

Instead, the team early in the offseason attempted to get Fielder to sign for one year and the chance to hit the free-agent market again next year, but he didn’t bite, according to the paper.

The Nationals could make a push, according to SI.com, as they have built a star-studded young rotation and would like to supplement it with Fielder’s bat.

The Rangers are not quite out of the running. Multiple reports have indicated Texas could still try to pull off their own version of the 1-2 punch the division rival Angels did in landing Pujols and Wilson, by pairing Fielder with Darvish. Rangers GM Jon Daniels told reporters signing Fielder was “very unlikely” after the huge financial commitment Texas made in acquiring Darvish from Japan—nearly $120 million in posting fees and a six-year contract.

But reports persisted that Texas, after reaching the World Series, but losing two years in a row, could still land Fielder.

Oswalt, 34, owns a 159-93 career record, but struggled with back pain last season for the Philadelphia Phillies. That has likely scared off teams. Reports indicated there could be some interest by the Atlanta Braves and Boston Red Sox, but that neither team was likely to commit.

Damon has reportedly drawn the interest of his old team, the Yankees, who are looking for a cost-effective DH. With Carlos Pena re-signing with the Tampa Bay Rays, that gives the Yankees one less option, though they were also reportedly talking to another ex-DH, Hideki Matsui.

Jackson, another Boras client, went 12-9 with a 3.79 ERA last year, and reports have indicated his price tag has scared teams off. The Yankees had deemed him too expensive for their budget, and they added two big names to the rotation in Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda.

The Cubs, Chicago White Sox and Florida Marlins have reportedly been interested in Cespedes, with the Cubs reportedly leading the race for the slugging outfielder’s services.

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