Oswalt Back? Utley Rebound? Charlie Looking For Bats Crushing Balls

Oswalt remains unsigned; Philly return possible

By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Roy Oswalt remains a free agent, and his agent said Thursday that Oswalt might wait to sign until later in the season.

Don’t be surprised if the Phillies make a run at him, if they need him.

Roy Oswalt

While there are multiple reports Oswalt’s top two choices are the Cardinals and Rangers, a source told MLB.com on Thursday that Oswalt also is very interested in returning to Philadelphia. It is not a stretch to think that if something happens to one of the Phils’ starters that Philadelphia general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. would sign Oswalt as a replacement.


Hitting foremost on Manuel’s mind this spring

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Charlie Manuel is setting a clear tone for his hitters in Spring Training.

The Phillies manager talked with Jimmy Rollins for more than 15 minutes in his office Thursday, on the eve of the team’s first full-squad workout Friday.

“We talked about how we wanted to play, we talked some about hitting,” Manuel said. “It was good. Jimmy’s always been a good student as far as knowing how to play the game and all about the game, and I felt like before we got going here that I would want to sit down and talk to him.”

Manuel wants his team to take a better approach at the plate, and he wants his hitters to talk more about their hitting during the season. He hopes that will help the Phillies avoid the postseason offensive slumps that played a big role in ending their last two seasons.

“I want to talk to all of our guys,” Manuel said. “I want our guys to talk about hitting. I want guys like Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins and [Ryan] Howard and [Shane] Victorino … I want to have more talk about hitting, talking about getting good balls to hit, not giving away at-bats, things like that.

“With our pitching and everything like that, we need to score the runs that we’re supposed to score. If we have a guy on third base with less than two outs early in the game, we need to score one run. If we have two guys on, we need to make sure we score one run, instead of a guy standing there maybe trying to bust the game open.”

Manuel also confirmed Rollins will be his leadoff hitter this season, which is not a surprise.

Utley has utmost confidence he’ll bounce back

By Todd Zolecki

CLEARWATER, Fla. — The Phillies saved arguably the biggest storyline for last.

Almost every day since Spring Training started, the Phillies sent a different player to the media room at Bright House Field for a news conference. Jonathan Papelbon spoke last Friday about leaving the Red Sox and joining the Phillies. Cole Hamels talked Monday about his impending free agency. Roy Halladay spoke Tuesday about his continued pursuit of a World Series championship and his (embellished) encounter with an anaconda on the Amazon River. Ryan Howard talked Wednesday about his recovery from left Achilles surgery.

Chase Utley spoke Thursday.

Chase Utley rounding the bases after hitting a...

Utley could mean the most to the Phillies’ success in 2012. He certainly seems to be the most intriguing player to watch. While Howard’s recovery is important, he might not feel completely like himself until next season. And while Hamels’ future with the Phillies is key, Utley is trying to bounce back from the worst season of his career while playing with a chronic right knee condition.

If Utley bounces back this season, it would be a tremendous boost to the lineup and make the Phillies feel a little better about their future.

If he’s unable to bounce back, it could signal a premature end to one of the best second basemen of his generation.

Naturally, Utley likes his chances of turning around his career.

“I think I can overcome this without a doubt,” Utley said. “I have pride in how I play and the way I play and that’s not going to change.”

But pride can’t overcome an unhealthy body. Utley missed the first 46 games last season because of a chronic knee condition. Utley avoided surgery, which could have ended his career, but he could not keep his legs strong through the rest of the season. The result? He hit just .259 with 11 home runs, 44 RBIs and a .769 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 398 at-bats. Utley showed little of the power he had in the past. His .769 OPS was his worst since his rookie season in 2003.

It was a precipitous fall for Utley. He had a .915 OPS as a first-time everyday second baseman in 2005. It went to .906 in ’06, .976 in ’07, .915 in ’08, .905 in ’09 and .832 in ’10 before dipping under .800 last season.

Utley said he is confident he can return to his All-Star form.

“It feels significantly better,” he said. “Last year, it was very uncomfortable, especially the first week [of Spring Training]. Right now, I think I’m in a good place. The goal for me is to kind of stay in the same place and improve in small increments and not try to irritate it to the point where I’d have to slow down. So we’ll see how it goes.”

Utley changed his offseason workout routine, incorporating more stretching and manual therapy and not as much weightlifting. He tried to make his legs stronger without putting as much strain and pounding on his knees.

“This offseason, I was able to strengthen them, maybe not quite as much as in the past, but they’re definitely stronger than they were going into last year,” Utley said. “My goal now is to maintain that. Ideally, it would be nice to make them stronger, but at the same time, I have to keep them loose and take it easy.”

Utley will have a lighter workload this spring. Fewer hours on the field, maybe fewer games. The whole idea is keeping him as fresh and strong as possible for the season. And even then, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said Utley won’t play more than 150 games this season.

“It’s something I’m always going to have to monitor, forever, to be honest,” Utley said of his knee. “But I think I have a game plan put together that I’m able to overcome it. But again, it’s something I’m going to have to deal with on a daily basis, and I’m willing to put the effort into making sure it’s OK.”

Utley struggled so much last season that Manuel finally pulled him from the No. 3 spot in the lineup. It’s likely Utley opens the season back in that spot, but Manuel might be forced to pull him again if he can’t knock in runs like he has in the past.

“It’s always frustrating when you’re not playing well,” Utley said. “Even when I am playing well, I’m still not satisfied. You still have to have that drive on a daily basis and try to figure out ways to help the team win.”

Utley had a chance to help his team in the ninth inning in Game 5 of the National League Division Series. He flied out to the warning track, momentarily giving Phillies fans in the ballpark hope that the team might tie the game.

Utley acknowledged there were a few balls last season that he thought he squared up, but couldn’t drive like he had in the past because of his weaker legs.

“I tried not to let it affect me mentally,” he said. “Once you think about it mentally, it’s going to change your approach and make you even more frustrated. And that’s something you don’t want to be. I tried to put it behind me. I tried to take every game the same way, try to find a way to win. Where that’s hitting a home run, getting on base, drawing a walk, getting hit by a pitch, those are the things I try to do on a daily basis.”

His ability to do all those things with regularity will play big in the Phillies’ success in 2012.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

HOT STOVE Still Afire Before Spring Rains Reign

Free Agent Pool Still Dripping With Talent

Babe Ruth, full-length portrait, standing, fac...

The Babe

All 2011 Free Agents Still Unsigned and Available

PLAYER POSITION AGE STATUS 2011 TEAM NEW TEAM YEARS RANK DOLLARS
Rick Ankiel CF 32 Free Agent Washington NR
Luis Ayala RP 34 Free Agent New York NR
Miguel Batista RP 40 Free Agent New York NR
Mike Baxter RF 27 Free Agent New York NR
Andrew Brackman SP 26 Free Agent New York NR
Pat Burrell LF 35 Free Agent (B) San Francisco NR
Orlando Cabrera 2B 37 Free Agent San Francisco NR
Shawn Camp RP 36 Free Agent (B) Toronto NR
Fabio Castillo RP 22 Free Agent Texas NR
Ramon Castro C 35 Free Agent Chicago NR
PLAYER POSITION AGE STATUS 2011 TEAM NEW TEAM YEARS RANK DOLLARS
Eric Chavez 3B 34 Free Agent New York NR
Pedro Ciriaco SS 26 Free Agent Pittsburgh NR
Todd Coffey RP 31 Free Agent Washington NR
Brooks Conrad 2B 32 Free Agent Atlanta NR
Aaron Cook SP 32 Free Agent Colorado NR
Alex Cora 3B 36 Free Agent Washington NR
Dan Cortes RP 24 Free Agent Seattle NR
Craig Counsell 2B 41 Free Agent Milwaukee NR
Juan Cruz RP 33 Free Agent Tampa Bay NR
Johnny Damon DH 38 Free Agent Tampa Bay 27
PLAYER POSITION AGE STATUS 2011 TEAM NEW TEAM YEARS RANK DOLLARS
Greg Dobbs 3B 33 Free Agent Florida NR
J.D. Drew RF 36 Free Agent Boston 47
Zach Duke SP 28 Free Agent Arizona NR
Chad Durbin RP 34 Free Agent Cleveland NR
Willie Eyre RP 33 Free Agent Baltimore NR
Jeff Francis SP 31 Free Agent Kansas City 35
Kosuke Fukudome RF 34 Free Agent Cleveland NR
Jon Garland SP 32 Free Agent Los Angeles NR
Cole Garner RF 27 Free Agent Colorado NR
Chris Gimenez C 29 Free Agent Seattle NR
PLAYER POSITION AGE STATUS 2011 TEAM NEW TEAM YEARS RANK DOLLARS
Ross Gload 1B 35 Free Agent Philadelphia NR
Mike Gonzalez RP 33 Free Agent Texas NR
Vladimir Guerrero DH 36 Free Agent (B) Baltimore NR
Carlos Guillen 2B 36 Free Agent Detroit NR
Rich Harden SP 30 Free Agent Oakland NR
Willie Harris LF 33 Free Agent New York NR
Brad Hawpe 1B 32 Free Agent San Diego NR
Jeremy Hermida RF 28 Free Agent San Diego NR
Livan Hernandez SP 36 Free Agent Washington NR
Koyie Hill C 32 Free Agent Chicago NR
PLAYER POSITION AGE STATUS 2011 TEAM NEW TEAM YEARS RANK DOLLARS
Rich Hill RP 31 Free Agent Boston NR
Raul Ibanez LF 39 Free Agent (B) Philadelphia NR
Conor Jackson 1B 29 Free Agent Boston NR
Edwin Jackson SP 28 Free Agent (B) St. Louis 11
Jason Jaramillo C 29 Free Agent Pittsburgh NR
Kelly Johnson 2B 29 Free Agent (A) Toronto 17
Andruw Jones LF 34 Free Agent New York 37
Jason Kendall C 37 Free Agent Los Angeles NR
Casey Kotchman 1B 28 Free Agent Tampa Bay NR
Hong-Chih Kuo RP 30 Free Agent Los Angeles NR
PLAYER POSITION AGE STATUS 2011 TEAM NEW TEAM YEARS RANK DOLLARS
Hiroki Kuroda SP 36 Free Agent (B) Los Angeles 13
Aaron Laffey SP 26 Free Agent Kansas City NR
Derrek Lee 1B 36 Free Agent (B) Pittsburgh NR
Scott Linebrink RP 35 Free Agent Atlanta NR
Rodrigo Lopez SP 36 Free Agent Chicago NR
Ryan Ludwick LF 33 Free Agent (B) Pittsburgh NR
Damaso Marte RP 36 Free Agent New York NR
Hideki Matsui DH 37 Free Agent Oakland NR
Aaron Miles 2B 35 Free Agent Los Angeles NR
Trever Miller RP 38 Free Agent Boston NR
PLAYER POSITION AGE STATUS 2011 TEAM NEW TEAM YEARS RANK DOLLARS
Kevin Millwood SP 37 Free Agent Colorado NR
Sergio Mitre RP 30 Free Agent New York NR
Peter Moylan RP 33 Free Agent Atlanta NR
Xavier Nady 1B 33 Free Agent Arizona NR
Magglio Ordonez RF 38 Free Agent (B) Detroit NR
David Ortiz DH 36 Free Agent (A) Boston 10
Ramon Ortiz RP 38 Free Agent Chicago NR
Roy Oswalt SP 34 Free Agent (A) Philadelphia 22
Micah Owings SP 29 Free Agent Arizona NR
Vicente Padilla RP 34 Free Agent Los Angeles NR
PLAYER POSITION AGE STATUS 2011 TEAM NEW TEAM YEARS RANK DOLLARS
Corey Patterson LF 32 Free Agent St. Louis NR
Ronny Paulino C 30 Free Agent New York NR
Brad Penny SP 33 Free Agent Detroit NR
Juan Pierre CF 34 Free Agent (B) Chicago NR
Joel Pineiro SP 33 Free Agent Los Angeles NR
Horacio Ramirez RP 32 Free Agent Los Angeles NR
Edgar Renteria SS 36 Free Agent Cincinnati NR
Jo-Jo Reyes SP 27 Free Agent Baltimore NR
Arthur Rhodes RP 42 Free Agent (B) St. Louis NR
Will Rhymes 2B 28 Free Agent Detroit NR
PLAYER POSITION AGE STATUS 2011 TEAM NEW TEAM YEARS RANK DOLLARS
Francisco Rodriguez RP 28 Free Agent (A) Milwaukee 28
Ivan Rodriguez C 40 Free Agent Washington NR
Ramon Santiago 2B 32 Free Agent Detroit NR
Joe Saunders SP 30 Free Agent Arizona NR
Doug Slaten RP 31 Free Agent Washington NR
Andy Sonnanstine SP 28 Free Agent Tampa Bay NR
Ryan Spilborghs RF 32 Free Agent Colorado NR
Ryan Theriot SS 32 Free Agent St. Louis NR
Jason Varitek C 39 Free Agent (B) Boston NR
Javier Vazquez SP 35 Free Agent Florida 12
PLAYER POSITION AGE STATUS 2011 TEAM NEW TEAM YEARS RANK DOLLARS
Tim Wakefield SP 45 Free Agent Boston NR
Brandon Webb SP 32 Free Agent Texas NR
Dan Wheeler RP 34 Free Agent (B) Boston NR
Jamey Wright RP 37 Free Agent Seattle NR
Chris Young SP 32 Free Agent New York NR

All 2011 Free Agents Signed and Ranked By Contract Signing Amount

PLAYER POSITION AGE STATUS 2011 TEAM NEW TEAM YEARS RANK DOLLARS
Albert Pujols 1B 32 Signed (A) St. Louis LA Angels 10 2 $250,000,000
Prince Fielder 1B 27 Agreed Milwaukee Detroit 9 1 $214,000,000
Jose Reyes SS 28 Signed (A) New York Miami 6 4 $106,000,000
C.J. Wilson SP 31 Signed Texas LA Angels 5 NR $77,500,000
Yu Darvish SP 25 Agreed Japan Texas 6 NR $60,000,000
Mark Buehrle SP 32 Signed (A) Chicago Miami 4 6 $58,000,000
Jonathan Papelbon RP 31 Signed (A) Boston Philadelphia 4 18 $50,000,058
Jimmy Rollins SS 33 Signed (A) Philadelphia Philadelphia 3 5 $38,000,000
Aramis Ramirez 3B 33 Signed (A) Chicago Milwaukee 3 7 $36,000,000
Michael Cuddyer RF 32 Signed (A) Minnesota Colorado 3 15 $31,500,000
PLAYER POSITION AGE STATUS 2011 TEAM NEW TEAM YEARS RANK DOLLARS
Heath Bell RP 34 Signed (A) San Diego Miami 3 40 $27,000,000
Carlos Beltran RF 34 Agreed San Francisco St. Louis 2 9 $26,000,000
Josh Willingham LF 32 Signed (A) Oakland Minnesota 3 20 $21,000,000
Jason Kubel LF 29 Signed (B) Minnesota Arizona 2 41 $15,000,000
Joe Nathan RP 37 Signed Minnesota Texas 2 42 $14,500,000
Coco Crisp CF 32 Signed Oakland Oakland 2 26 $14,000,000
Rafael Furcal SS 34 Agreed St. Louis St. Louis 2 38 $14,000,000
Frank Francisco RP 32 Signed (B) Toronto NY Mets 2 46 $12,000,000
Aaron Harang SP 33 Signed San Diego LA Dodgers 2 NR $12,000,000
Wei-Yin Chen SP 26 Signed Japan Baltimore 3 NR $11,338,000
PLAYER POSITION AGE STATUS 2011 TEAM NEW TEAM YEARS RANK DOLLARS
Aaron Hill 2B 29 Signed (B) Arizona Arizona 2 30 $11,000,000
Clint Barmes SS 32 Signed (B) Houston Pittsburgh 2 NR $10,500,000
Chris Capuano SP 33 Signed New York LA Dodgers 2 NR $10,000,000
David DeJesus RF 32 Signed (B) Oakland Chicago Cubs 2 21 $10,000,000
Bruce Chen SP 34 Signed (B) Kansas City Kansas City 2 34 $9,000,000
Mark Ellis 2B 34 Signed (B) Colorado LA Dodgers 2 NR $8,750,000
Ryan Madson RP 31 Signed (A) Philadelphia Cincinnati 1 16 $8,500,000
Tsuyoshi Wada SP 30 Signed Japan Baltimore 2 NR $8,150,000
Carlos Pena 1B 33 Signed Chicago Tampa Bay 1 14 $7,250,000
Jamey Carroll SS 37 Signed Los Angeles Minnesota 2 NR $6,750,000
PLAYER POSITION AGE STATUS 2011 TEAM NEW TEAM YEARS RANK DOLLARS
Ramon Hernandez C 35 Signed (B) Cincinnati Colorado 2 32 $6,400,000
Jerry Hairston Jr. 2B 35 Signed Milwaukee LA Dodgers 2 NR $6,000,000
Luke Scott OF 33 Agreed Baltimore Tampa Bay 1 NR $6,000,000
Grady Sizemore CF 29 Signed Cleveland Cleveland 1 25 $5,000,000
Matt Capps RP 28 Signed Minnesota Minnesota 1 NR $4,750,000
Paul Maholm SP 29 Agreed Pittsburgh Chicago Cubs 1 24 $4,750,000
Erik Bedard SP 32 Signed Boston Pittsburgh 1 23 $4,500,000
Francisco Cordero RP 36 Agreed Cincinnati Toronto 1 44 $4,500,000
Juan Rivera LF 33 Signed Los Angeles LA Dodgers 1 NR $4,500,000
Alex Gonzalez SS 34 Signed (B) Atlanta Milwaukee 1 NR $4,250,000
PLAYER POSITION AGE STATUS 2011 TEAM NEW TEAM YEARS RANK DOLLARS
Wily Mo Pena DH 30 Signed Seattle Japan 2 NR $4,050,000
Rod Barajas C 36 Signed (B) Los Angeles Pittsburgh 1 NR $4,000,000
Jonathan Broxton RP 27 Signed Los Angeles Kansas City 1 NR $4,000,000
Freddy Garcia SP 35 Signed New York NY Yankees 1 36 $4,000,000
Darren Oliver RP 41 Signed (A) Texas Toronto 1 NR $4,000,000
Chien-Ming Wang SP 31 Signed Washington Washington 1 50 $4,000,000
Willie Bloomquist LF 34 Signed Arizona Arizona 2 NR $3,800,000
Octavio Dotel RP 38 Signed (B) St. Louis Detroit 1 NR $3,500,000
Jon Rauch RP 33 Signed Toronto NY Mets 1 NR $3,500,000
Wilson Betemit 3B 30 Agreed Detroit Baltimore 2 NR $3,250,000
PLAYER POSITION AGE STATUS 2011 TEAM NEW TEAM YEARS RANK DOLLARS
Ryan Doumit C 30 Signed (B) Pittsburgh Minnesota 1 29 $3,000,000
LaTroy Hawkins RP 39 Signed Milwaukee LA Angels 1 NR $3,000,000
Jason Marquis SP 33 Signed Arizona Minnesota 1 NR $3,000,000
John McDonald SS 37 Signed Arizona Arizona 2 NR $3,000,000
Nick Punto 3B 34 Signed St. Louis Boston 3 NR $3,000,000
Cody Ross OF 31 Signed (B) San Francisco Boston 1 39 $3,000,000
Kerry Wood RP 34 Agreed Chicago Chicago Cubs 1 NR $3,000,000
Laynce Nix OF 31 Signed Washington Philadelphia 2 NR $2,500,000
Norichika Aoki OF 30 Signed Japan Milwaukee 2 NR $2,250,000
Yuniesky Betancourt SS 29 Signed (B) Milwaukee Kansas City 1 NR $2,000,000
PLAYER POSITION AGE STATUS 2011 TEAM NEW TEAM YEARS RANK DOLLARS
Casey Blake 3B 38 Signed Los Angeles Colorado 1 NR $2,000,000
Fernando Rodney RP 34 Signed Los Angeles Tampa Bay 1 NR $2,000,000
Nate McLouth OF 30 Signed Atlanta Pittsburgh 1 NR $1,750,000
Takashi Saito RP 41 Signed (A) Milwaukee Arizona 1 NR $1,750,000
Jeff Keppinger 2B 31 Signed San Francisco Tampa Bay 1 NR $1,525,000
Endy Chavez OF 33 Signed Texas Baltimore 1 NR $1,500,000
Hisashi Iwakuma SP 30 Signed Japan Seattle 1 NR $1,500,000
Jose Molina C 36 Signed Toronto Tampa Bay 1 NR $1,500,000
Kelly Shoppach C 31 Signed Tampa Bay Boston 1 NR $1,350,000
Henry Blanco C 40 Signed Arizona Arizona 1 NR $1,250,000
PLAYER POSITION AGE STATUS 2011 TEAM NEW TEAM YEARS RANK DOLLARS
Mark Kotsay OF 36 Signed Milwaukee San Diego 1 NR $1,250,000
Jim Thome 1B 41 Signed Cleveland Philadelphia 1 43 $1,250,000
Reed Johnson RF 35 Agreed Chicago Chicago Cubs 1 NR $1,150,000
Chad Qualls RP 33 Signed San Diego Philadelphia 1 NR $1,150,000
Scott Hairston RF 31 Signed New York NY Mets 1 NR $1,100,000
George Sherrill RP 34 Signed Atlanta Seattle 1 NR $1,100,000
Jonny Gomes OF 31 Signed Washington Oakland 1 NR $1,000,000
Gerald Laird C 32 Signed St. Louis Detroit 1 NR $1,000,000
Brad Lidge RP 35 Signed (B) Philadelphia Washington 1 NR $1,000,000
Mike MacDougal RP 34 Signed Los Angeles LA Dodgers 1 NR $1,000,000
PLAYER POSITION AGE STATUS 2011 TEAM NEW TEAM YEARS RANK DOLLARS
Guillermo Mota RP 38 Signed San Francisco San Francisco 1 NR $1,000,000
Jack Wilson SS 34 Signed Atlanta Atlanta 1 NR $1,000,000
Jose Mijares RP 27 Signed Minnesota Kansas City 1 NR $925,000
Bartolo Colon SP 38 Agreed New York Oakland 1 33 $900,000
Matt Treanor C 35 Signed Texas LA Dodgers 1 NR $850,000
Dontrelle Willis SP 30 Signed Cincinnati Philadelphia 1 NR $850,000
Joel Zumaya RP 27 Signed Detroit Minnesota 1 NR $850,000
Mark DeRosa OF 36 Signed San Francisco Washington 1 NR $800,000
Adam Kennedy 2B 36 Signed Seattle LA Dodgers 1 NR $800,000
Brian Schneider C 35 Signed Philadelphia Philadelphia 1 NR $800,000
PLAYER POSITION AGE STATUS 2011 TEAM NEW TEAM YEARS RANK DOLLARS
Clay Hensley RP 32 Agreed Florida San Francisco 1 NR $750,000
J.C. Romero RP 35 Signed Colorado St. Louis 1 NR $750,000
Eli Whiteside C 32 Signed San Francisco San Francisco 1 NR $600,000
Josh Bard C 33 Signed Seattle LA Dodgers NR Minor Lg
Ronny Cedeno SS 28 Signed Pittsburgh NY Mets 1 31
John Grabow RP 33 Signed Chicago LA Dodgers NR Minor Lg
Cesar Izturis SS 31 Signed Baltimore Milwaukee NR Minor Lg
Kevin Kouzmanoff 3B 30 Signed Colorado Kansas City NR Minor Lg
Jose Lopez 2B 28 Signed Florida Cleveland NR Minor Lg
Jason Michaels OF 35 Signed Houston Washington NR Minor Lg
PLAYER POSITION AGE STATUS 2011 TEAM NEW TEAM YEARS RANK DOLLARS
Lyle Overbay 1B 35 Signed Arizona Arizona 1 NR
Jorge Posada DH 40 Retired New York NR
Chris Snyder C 30 Agreed Pittsburgh Houston 1 NR
Omar Vizquel SS 44 Agreed Chicago Toronto NR
Total: $1,332,238,058

All Stats Via ESPN.com
________________________________________________

Hot Stove MLBlog: News, notes and analysis

MLB.com

The offseason maneuvering is in full swing. Stay up on all the trades, signings, rumors and analysis with the Hot Stove MLBlog.

Roy Oswalt

Yankees talking with Bill Hall The Yankees have engaged in discussions with free agent Bill Hall about a possible utility role, the New York Daily News reported.

Citing a person with knowledge of the situation, the newspaper reported that Hall is considering “a couple of teams.” The Yankees would likely only offer Hall a Minor League contract with a chance to make the club in Spring Training.

Hall, 32, batted a combined .211 last season with the Astros and Giants. The Yankees currently have Eduardo Nunez and Ramiro Pena in line as bench candidates who can play multiple infield positions and some outfield.

— Bryan Hoch

Angels bring back Rodriguez on Minors deal The Angels previously inked reliever Francisco Rodriguez (not K-Rod) to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training. Rodriguez, the Mexico native who was signed as an amateur free agent by the Angels in 2005, will make $481,000 if he makes the big league club.

The 28-year-old right-hander was designated for assignment this offseason, then slipped through waivers and became a free agent. During his rookie season in 2010, Rodriguez put up a 4.37 ERA and a 1.521 WHIP in 43 appearances. Last season, though, shoulder woes limited him to 13 2/3 innings in the Majors and 10 innings in the Minors.

In seven seasons in the Minors, Rodriguez has gone 25-37 with a 5.27 ERA in 215 games (47 starts).

— Alden Gonzalez

Rangers to meet with Oswalt Monday; What about Cardinals? Roy Oswalt remains one of the biggest names on the free agent market this offseason, and it looks like the Rangers have some interest in adding him to their already-loaded pitching staff.

The club is planning to meet with Oswalt and his agent, Bob Garber, on Monday for a get-together that is “exploratory,” MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan reports. The addition of Oswalt could be costly, particular for a club that has three arbitration cases remaining and not much opportunity in the starting rotation.

“He’s somebody we’ve talked about, but we’re happy with our rotation and our pitching staff,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “He’s intriguing, but I’m not sure exactly how it fits.” Oswalt lives in Mississippi and has a long-standing relationship with Rangers club president Nolan Ryan. The Cardinals are also interested, and are high on Oswalt’s list, but St. Louis general manager John Mozeliak denied this weekend that a deal is in the works.

The Cardinals, who are also pretty well set in terms of starting pitching, are reportedly at least seriously in the running for Oswalt. MLB Network Radio reported Friday night that a deal was very close, and ESPNBoston.com reported that night that Oswalt has “elected to stay in the National League” and that he is “likely” to sign with the Cardinals “soon.”

But, as MLB.com’s Matthew Leach reported, Mozeliak wrote in an e-mail that reports were “not true.”

— Joey Nowak

Greinke, sans agent, open to extension  Brewers pitcher Zack Greinke, who is currently operating without an agent, told MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy that he would still consider a contract extension.

Greinke is preparing to enter his second season with Milwaukee and the final year of his four-year, $38 million extension he signed in January 2009. He cut his ties with CAA Sports last year, after the Brewers acquired Greinke in a trade with the Royals.

“It’d be me in charge as of right now,” he said. “So, we’ll see how long that lasts.”

Greinke, who was 16-6 with a 3.83 ERA and 201 strikeouts last season with the Brewers, had this to say about a possible extension: “I’ll talk to them about it. I don’t really want to talk to anyone else about it. But I like the business of baseball. It’s exciting for me. It’s not like I plan on being my agent, but it is exciting being able to know what’s going on behind the scenes.”

— Joey Nowak

Indians’ deal with Lugo is off The Indians reached an agreement on a Minor League contract with veteran infielder Julio Lugo more than a week ago, but MLB.com has learned that the proposed deal is no longer expected to come to fruition.

Lugo, 36, was going to receive an invitation to attend Spring Training with the big league club with a shot at competing for a bench job. His chances of making the Opening Day roster appeared thin, and now he will re-enter the free-agent pool.

In parts of 12 Major League seasons — including stops with the Astros, Rays, Dodgers, Red Sox, Cardinals, Orioles and Braves — Lugo has hit .269 over 1,352 career games. Last year, he signed a Minor League contract with Atlanta in May, but was ultimately released in September.

Lugo hit .231 (12-for-52) in 13 games for Triple-A Gwinnett and .136 (6-for-44) in 22 games with the Braves during the 2011 season. The  infielder hits right-handed and has experience at second base, shortstop, third base and in the outfield.

Right now, the Indians have 20 non-roster invitees in the fold for this spring.

–Jordan Bastian

Reds add Jeff Francis Looking to supplement their rotation with extra depth, the Reds reached a Minor League deal late Wednesday with left-handed pitcher Jeff Francis, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com and MLB Network.

Reds general manager Walt Jocketty told MLB.com last week that his club was interested in adding Francis, a free agent.

Francis, 30, was 6-16 with a 4.82 ERA in 31 starts last season with the Royals.  Most of his career had been spent with the Rockies from 2004-10. He was a 17-game winner in 2007.

Lifetime, Francis is 61-66 with a 4.78 ERA in 181 games (180 starts).

— Mark Sheldon

Betancourt contract with Rox goes official Rockies reliever Rafael Betancourt passed his physical, which makes his new contract official. The Rockies picked up his 2013 option and added an option for ’14 for Betancourt, who became the team’s closer late last season.

In addition, Betancourt and new Rockies catcher Ramon Hernandez were boyhood friends and state all-star teammates in Venezuela. Hernandez’s history with young pitchers should help the Rockies’ staff.

— Thomas Harding

Angels extend offer to Ayala, nothing imminent The Angels are one of a handful of teams that have tendered a formal offer to Luis Ayala, but a source familiar with the negotiations said the free-agent reliever is still weighing his options and a decision is not imminent.

It’s unclear at this point whether the Angels have offered a Major League or a Minor League contract, but they are believed to be in the mix along with the Orioles, Yankees, Astros and perhaps others. Considering he’s coming off a bounceback season with the Yankees, one that saw him post a 2.09 ERA and a 1.268 WHIP in 56 innings, the 34-year-old right-hander would likely command a Major League deal.

The Angels were among four teams interested in adding Francisco Cordero, but he wound up agreeing to terms on a one-year, $4.5 million contract with the Blue Jays on Tuesday. Cordero is reportedly headed to Toronto to serve as a setup man — a pretty clear indication that the Blue Jays’ offer trumped that of the Angels and other suitors.

— Alden Gonzalez

Cespedes declared a free agent Yoenis Cespedes is now a free agent.

On Wednesday, Major League Baseball sent out a notice to the clubs advising them that Cespedes, as a resident of the Dominican Republic, is not subjected to the Amateur Draft and may now sign as a free agent.

On Tuesday, the outfield prospect established residency in the Dominican Republic.

Cespedes, who just finished a stint with Aguilas Cibaenas in the Dominican Winter League, recently said the Marlins, Cubs, White Sox, Orioles, Tigers, and Indians have expressed the most interest in signing him. He is expected to command a contract greater than the one received by Cuban left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman, who signed a six-year, $30.25 million deal with the Reds in January 2010.

The Marlins are on record saying they believe Cespedes’ best fit is in Miami, with its strong Cuban community. The club is prepared to make a substantial offer — between four and six years — for the power-hitting outfielder.

Reports that he is not interested in signing with the Marlins are not true, an industry source said.

Cespedes hit .333 with 33 home runs, 99 RBIs and 11 stolen bases over 90 games in Cuba during the 2010-11 season, and many believe he can be inserted into the 2012 Opening Day starting lineup for the team that signs him.

He hit .143 with one home run and 10 strikeouts in 35 at-bats for the Aguilas.

— Jesse Sanchez

Reds get Valdez, sign Masset Bypassing the free-agent market for backup infielders that can play shortstop, the Reds executed a trade Wednesday that brought utility infielder Wilson Valdez from the Phillies for left-handed reliever Jeremy Horst.

Valdez spent the last two seasons in Philadelphia and batted .249 with a .294 on-base percentage, one home run and 30 RBIs over 99 games in 2011. A lifetime .243 hitter, the 33-year-old Valdez has also spent time with the White Sox, Mariners, Padres, Dodgers and Mets.

Out of Valdez’s 342 career big league games, 190 have been played at shortstop where he owns a .980 fielding percentage. Many might remember him doing the Reds in as the winning pitcher of the May 25, 2011 game that lasted 19 innings at Citizen Banks Park. With his team out of pitchers, Valdez moved from second base and pitched a scoreless top of the 19th inning.

Also, Nick Masset signed a two-year contract to avoid arbitration. Terms were not immediately known.

— Mark Sheldon

Reports: Red Sox have made offers to Oswalt, Jackson The two most alluring starting pitchers who remain free agents have both received offers from the Red Sox, according to reports Wednesday.

Roy Oswalt’s received a “significant” offer, according to CBS Sports’ Danny Knobler, while Jim Bowden of ESPN reported via Twitter that the Sox have made an offer to Edwin Jackson, whom they prefer over Oswalt.

Oswalt was limited by back problems last year, so Jackson could be viewed as a more sure thing, at least in terms of innings. Oswalt reportedly is being selective with possible destinations, turning down an offer from the Tigers.

— Evan Drellich

Marlins primed to bid on Cespedes Cuban sensation Yoenis Cespedes is on the verge of becoming a free agent, and the Marlins are expected to make a strong push for the 26-year-old outfielder.

Cespedes has established residency in the Dominican Republic, which had kept him in a holding pattern for months. Now, the outfielder is awaiting approval from Major League Baseball to be declared a free agent.

Recently, Cespedes said the Marlins, Cubs, White Sox, Orioles, Tigers and Indians had expressed the most interest. The Marlins are on record saying they believe Cespedes’ best fit is in Miami, with its strong Cuban community. They are prepared to make a substantial offer — between four and six years — for the power-hitting outfielder.

There is a feeling within the organization that another impact bat is needed to reach the postseason, and Cespedes is a five-tool player. The Marlins also feel Cespedes can handle center field, but some wonder if that is his best position. Because of his size, he may profile more as a corner outfielder. But he has the speed to play all three positions.

In recent weeks, Cespedes got some game experience while playing with Aguilas Cibaenas in the Dominican Winter League. He showed glimpses of his power, but he’s also rusty.

If he signs with Miami, he certainly would get a strong look in Spring Training, but chances are he would open the season at either Triple-A New Orleans or Double-A Jacksonville.

If everyone is healthy and Cespedes wins the center field job for Opening Day, Emilio Bonifacio then could go back to being a super-utility player.

The bottom line is the Marlins feel they would be a more rounded and deeper team with Cespedes.

— Joe Frisaro

Cespedes gains residency in Dominican The bidding is about to begin.

Cuban outfield prospect Yoenis Cespedes has established his residency in the Dominican Republic and is now waiting on approval from Major League Baseball to be declared a free agent, his representative, Edgar Mercedes, said.

Cespedes, who just finished a stint with Aguilas Cibaenas in the Dominican Winter League, recently said the Marlins, Cubs, White Sox, Orioles, Tigers, and Indians have expressed the most interest in signing him.

He is expected to command a contract greater than the one received by Cuban left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman, who signed a six-year, $30.25 million deal with the Reds in January 2010.

— Jesse Sanchez

Yankees could trade for a DH In a conference call with reporters discussing the Michael Pineda trade, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that he’d be more inclined to trade from his pitching depth to acquire a designated hitter than to sign one on the free-agent market.

When the Yankees officially announced the signing of right-hander Hiroki Kuroda, they’ll have seven starters vying for five spots. CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Pineda, Phil Hughes, A.J. Burnett and Freddy Garcia are the other six.

“Maybe I use our excess pitching to find a bat,” Cashman said. “That’s a possibility. … We stretched the payroll to get [Kuroda] done, so I’m not sure what we have financially. I think we’ll look at the trade market first and foremost and see where that takes us.”

Among the DH options out there, the Yankees have reportedly heard from Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, Vladimir Guerrero and Raul Ibanez, but are not thought to consider any of them an urgent priority.

— Bryan Hoch

Cuban lefty Concepcion works out for Rangers Free-agent pitcher Gerardo Concepcion worked out for the Rangers in front of a contingent that included owner Nolan Ryan at the team’s complex in the Dominican Republic on Monday, and the club is among the favorites to sign the Cuban left-hander.

The Rangers, Yankees, Cubs and White Sox have expressed the most interest in signing the left-hander, according to Concepcion’s agent, Jaime Torres. The Marlins, Phillies, Giants, Blue Jays, Red Sox and Royals have also shown interest.

Concepcion has one offer on the table, and is expected to sign a Major League contract during the next two weeks, the agent said.

“Everything is great. I really don’t know how to describe it,” Concepcion, 18, said by phone from the Dominican Republic. “All the training and exercise I have done is paying off. I’ve worked so hard to get here. I’m so happy. It’s like a dream come true.”

Concepcion, who was named Rookie of the Year in the Cuban Serie Nacional in 2010-11, after posting a 10-3 record and a 3.36 ERA in 21 games with Industriales de la Habana, defected from Cuba last June during the World Port Tournament in the Netherlands. He later established residency in Mexico, and was declared a free agent last week.

He has been working out in the Dominican Republic and starred in a showcase for Major League scouts on the island last Thursday.

— Jesse Sanchez

Millwood reportedly signs with Mariners Nine days after making the trade that cleared out Michael Pineda’s spot in their starting rotation, the Mariners have apparently signed a possible replacement in veteran right-hander Kevin Millwood.

News of an agreement between the Mariners and Millwood came via his own family, through a posting on Facebook by his sister Erika. It was subsequently confirmed by CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman, who reports that it is a Minor League deal with an invitation to Spring Training.

Millwood, who turned 37 on Christmas Eve, last season went 4-3 in nine starts with the Rockies, who returned him to the Majors in mid-August after he had spent most of the year in the Minors in the Yankees and Red Sox organizations.

The Mariners would be the seventh club of Millwood’s career, during which he has compiled a record of 163-140 with a 4.10 ERA. He also has a no-hitter to his credit, against the Giants on April 27, 2003 while with the Phillies.

A two-time 18-game winner with the Braves in 1999 and 2002, Millwood reportedly had a chance to remain in Colorado on a $1 million contract with an additional $1 million in incentives.

— Tom Singer

Ayala now on Angels’ radar The Angels have expressed interest in free-agent reliever Luis Ayala, a source with knowledge of the situation told MLB.com. Right now, though, it appears they’re one of four clubs interested in giving the 34-year-old right-hander a big league contract, an industry source said.

Ayala signed a Minor League deal with the Yankees last February and had a big bounce-back year, posting a 2.09 ERA and a 1.268 WHIP in 56 innings (spanning 52 appearances). For his big league career, he has a 3.47 ERA and a 1.286 WHIP in seven seasons.

Ayala has been lights out while pitching for the Yaquis de Obregon of the Mexican winter league this offseason, giving up just two earned runs in 19 2/3 innings (good for an ERA of 0.92) while striking out 13 batters and walking four. A report out of Mexico said Ayala was choosing between the Angels and Orioles, but a source said that of Saturday, teams hadn’t begun tendering formal offers.

The Angels signed veteran reliever LaTroy Hawkins to a $3 million contract in December and are looking to add more depth to a bullpen that was tied for the American League lead in blown saves last season. Ayala could be drawn to Southern California because of its strong Mexican-American presence and its close proximities to Ayala’s native country.

— Alden Gonzalez

Scutaro dealt from Red Sox to Rockies BOSTON — The Red Sox traded shortstop Marco Scutaro to the Rockies in exchange for right-hander Clayton Mortensen, the clubs announced on Saturday.

Scutaro will be Colorado’s starting second baseman. For the Red Sox, the main motive of the deal was to clear some salary space, so they could add another proven starter to their rotation.

Veteran free agent Roy Oswalt is one intriguing possibility. Edwin Jackson is another candidate on the free-agent market. The White Sox are said to be dangling righty Gavin Floyd in trade talks.

Mortensen is a veteran of three seasons, who has compiled a 4-8 record and 5.12 ERA over 24 appearances (13 starts).

— Ian Browne

More moves coming for Reds?The Reds have added a closer, a left fielder, a starting pitcher and a lefty setup man. What’s next?

Infielder … maybe.

The free-agent market for infielders who can play shortstop and back up rookie Zack Cozart is rather thin. It’s thin enough that Reds general manager Walt Jocketty is thinking trade rather signing someone from the open market.

“We’re still talking to a couple of clubs,” Jocketty said late Friday. “We’ll know something by next week, hopefully. I don’t think there’s a lot of guys out there free agent wise.”

Jocketty did not divulge which clubs he was chatting with.

Of the free-agent shortstops, there’s only Ryan Theriot, Miguel Tejada and former Red Edgar Renteria. In recent days, ex-Red Orlando Cabrera retired and Jack Wilson signed with the Braves.

Jocketty said that there has been some interest shown to Theriot.

“We’ve talked to him, had some conversations,” Jocketty said.

Asked if he was optimistic something could get done, Jocketty responded “not today.”

• If the Reds sign nobody and don’t pull off a trade, Jocketty said he’d be comfortable going with what is already in house. That would mean Cozart and Paul Janish would be the team’s shortstops, with Cozart on the inside track to start.

• The Reds are continuing to look at adding to their depth with possible Minor League contract offers. One player they’re taking a look at, Jocketty confirmed, is pitcher Jeff Francis.The left-handed Francis, 30, was 6-16 with a 4.82 ERA in 31 starts last season with the Royals.  He was with the Rockies from 2004-10 and was a 17-game winner in 2007.

— Mark Sheldon

A’s reportedly have strong interest in Manny Manny Ramirez is turning the heads of at least a few teams as the outfielder looks to return to Major League Baseball, but no club is more interested in the 12-time All-Star than the A’s, according to a report by ESPN.

The 39-year-old Ramirez, who retired last season after violating the league’s banned substances policy for the second time, has been working out in Miami and plans to have open workout sessions for interested teams later this month.

The Orioles and Blue Jays already have watched Ramirez hit, according to the report, but a source told ESPN that Oakland is “very interested” in Ramirez.

“The Orioles and Blue Jays saw Manny work and Baltimore liked what it saw, but Oakland has been the team that has expressed the most interest, even before having him work out,” the source told ESPN.

Ramirez, a 19-year veteran, has hit .312 with 555 home runs during his career with the Indians, Red Sox, Dodgers, White Sox and Rays.

If Ramirez were to sign with a team, he would serve a 50-game suspension stemming from his positive test last season. Ramirez and MLB had previously agreed on lowering the suspension from 100 games, which is the typical punishment for a second positive test.

— Cash Kruth

Pena returns to Rays Carlos Pena is returning to the Rays after spending a year away, a source confirmed on Friday.

The 33-year-old first baseman’s one-year contract is worth $7.25 million. Pena spent the 2007-10 seasons with Tampa Bay before joining the Cubs as a free agent last offseason, and his two best seasons came with the Rays (46 home runs in ’07, 39 in ’09).

Pena’s home run total for the Cubs last year (28) matched his output with the Rays in 2010. He hit .225 with a .357 on-base percentage in 2011, marks that are in line with his respective .239 and .352 clips lifetime.

Pena will take a pay cut from his $10 million salary a year ago.

— Evan Drellich

Yanks have heard from Vlad, Ibanez The Yankees have heard from the representatives for free agents Vladimir Guerrero and Raul Ibanez about their opening at designated hitter, Newsday’s Ken Davidoff reports.

Guerrero and Ibanez could join a crowd of candidates vying for the Yankees’ attention in the wake of last week’s Jesus Montero trade to the Mariners. New York is known to have reached out to the representatives for Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui and Carlos Pena, but it is believed that the Yankees have only between $1 million and $2 million to spend on a DH.

Internally, the Yankees are touting a tandem of Andruw Jones and Minor League slugger Jorge Vazquez to tackle DH duties, while also using the spot to help rest players like Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira. Davidoff’s report also noted that Jack Cust’s representatives talked to the Yankees, but Cust agreed to a contract with the Astros on Tuesday.

— Bryan Hoch

Astros reach one-year deal with Cust Jack Cust, who has hit 105 home runs in a 10-year Major League career that has spanned six teams, has agreed to a one-year deal with the Astros that includes an option for 2013, according to a baseball source.

The deal is pending a physical and could be announced as soon as Wednesday. Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow declined to comment.

Cust, 33, appeared in 67 games before being cut loose last July by the Mariners, for whom he batted .213 with three homers and 23 RBIs. He spent the previous four seasons with the Oakland A’s, hitting 97 homers and driving in 281 runs in that span. He’s played primarily left field, right field and designated hitter in his career.

— Brian McTaggart

Rockies make offer to veteran Moyer For now, the Rockies’ 2012 potential Opening Day starting rotation can be called the “under-30 club.” But that could change, considerably, with one potential signing.

Looking for a veteran to help guide the young rotation, the Rockies could be bringing in 49-year-old left-hander Jamie Moyer. The Rockies have made an offer of a Minor League contract, and a club official told MLB.com on Tuesday morning that “it’s in his court.”

Moyer had Tommy John ligament transfer surgery in his throwing elbow in December 2010 and worked for ESPN as an analyst last year, but stated all along he oped to pitch again in 2012. He went 9-9 with a 4.84 ERA for the Phillies in 2010.

By making the offer, the Rockies are signaling that they believe Moyer can be a help to them, not merely a novelty, although his potential signing sparks folks to go digging for trivia. For example, when Moyer made his Major League debut for the Cubs on June 16, 1986, the following competitors for the Rockies’ 2012 rotation had not been born: Jhoulys Chacin (Jan. 7, 1988), Tyler Chatwood (Dec. 16, 1989), Juan Nicasio (Aug. 31, 1986), Drew Pomeranz (Nov. 22, 1988) and Alex White (Aug. 29, 1988).

One of Moyer’s teammates on the 1986 Cubs was Rockies television color commentator George Frazier, then a relief pitcher.

The Denver Post, which reported the offer to Moyer on Monday night, also reported that the Rockies are looking at trading for a second baseman, with the Red Sox’s Marco Scutaro and the Mets’ Justin Turner as possibilities.

— Thomas Harding

Reds get Ludwick MLB.com has learned via a source Monday night that outfielder Ryan Ludwick has agreed to a one-year contract with a mutual option for 2013. The dollar figure remains unclear, but the Reds weren’t expected to spend a lot to fill their opening for a fourth outfielder.

Ken Rosenthal at FOX Sports and MLB Network was first with the story.

Ludwick, 33, batted .237 with 13 home runs last season in a combined 139 games with the Padres and Pirates. He has a history with Reds general manager Walt Jocketty, having played for him with the Cardinals. Ludwick spent the 2007-09 seasons in St. Louis and hit a career best 37 homers with 113 RBIs in 2008.

This fills the Reds need for a fourth outfielder that can mainly play left field in a quasi-platoon with Chris Heisey.

— Mark Sheldon

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
__________________________________________________

All 2011 Free Agents Signed and Unsigned
PLAYER POSITION AGE STATUS 2011 TEAM NEW TEAM YEARS RANK DOLLARS
Rick Ankiel CF 32 Free Agent Washington NR
Norichika Aoki LF 30 Signed Japan Milwaukee 2 NR $2,250,000
Luis Ayala RP 34 Free Agent New York NR
Rod Barajas C 36 Signed (B) Los Angeles Pittsburgh 1 NR $4,000,000
Josh Bard C 33 Signed Seattle LA Dodgers NR Minor Lg
Clint Barmes SS 32 Signed (B) Houston Pittsburgh 2 NR $10,500,000
Miguel Batista RP 40 Free Agent New York NR
Mike Baxter RF 27 Free Agent New York NR
Erik Bedard SP 32 Signed Boston Pittsburgh 1 23 $4,500,000
Heath Bell RP 34 Signed (A) San Diego Miami 3 40 $27,000,000
PLAYER POSITION AGE STATUS 2011 TEAM NEW TEAM YEARS RANK DOLLARS
Carlos Beltran RF 34 Agreed San Francisco St. Louis 2 9 $26,000,000
Yuniesky Betancourt SS 30 Signed (B) Milwaukee Kansas City 1 NR $2,000,000
Wilson Betemit 3B 30 Agreed Detroit Baltimore 2 NR $3,250,000
Casey Blake 3B 38 Signed Los Angeles Colorado 1 NR $2,000,000
Henry Blanco C 40 Signed Arizona Arizona 1 NR $1,250,000
Willie Bloomquist LF 34 Signed Arizona Arizona 2 NR $3,800,000
Andrew Brackman SP 26 Free Agent New York NR
Jonathan Broxton RP 27 Signed Los Angeles Kansas City 1 NR $4,000,000
Mark Buehrle SP 32 Signed (A) Chicago Miami 4 6 $58,000,000
Pat Burrell LF 35 Free Agent (B) San Francisco NR
PLAYER POSITION AGE STATUS 2011 TEAM NEW TEAM YEARS RANK DOLLARS
Orlando Cabrera 2B 37 Free Agent San Francisco NR
Shawn Camp RP 36 Free Agent (B) Toronto NR
Matt Capps RP 28 Signed Minnesota Minnesota 1 NR $4,750,000
Chris Capuano SP 33 Signed New York LA Dodgers 2 NR $10,000,000
Jamey Carroll SS 37 Signed Los Angeles Minnesota 2 NR $6,750,000
Fabio Castillo RP 22 Free Agent Texas NR
Ramon Castro C 35 Free Agent Chicago NR
Ronny Cedeno SS 28 Signed Pittsburgh NY Mets 1 31
Endy Chavez CF 33 Signed Texas Baltimore 1 NR $1,500,000
Eric Chavez 3B 34 Free Agent New York NR
PLAYER POSITION AGE STATUS 2011 TEAM NEW TEAM YEARS RANK DOLLARS
Bruce Chen SP 34 Signed (B) Kansas City Kansas City 2 34 $9,000,000
Wei-Yin Chen SP 26 Signed Japan Baltimore 3 NR $11,338,000
Pedro Ciriaco SS 26 Free Agent Pittsburgh NR
Todd Coffey RP 31 Free Agent Washington NR
Bartolo Colon SP 38 Agreed New York Oakland 1 33 $900,000
Brooks Conrad 2B 32 Free Agent Atlanta NR
Aaron Cook SP 32 Free Agent Colorado NR
Alex Cora 3B 36 Free Agent Washington NR
Francisco Cordero RP 36 Agreed Cincinnati Toronto 1 44 $4,500,000
Dan Cortes RP 24 Free Agent Seattle NR
PLAYER POSITION AGE STATUS 2011 TEAM NEW TEAM YEARS RANK DOLLARS
Craig Counsell 2B 41 Free Agent Milwaukee NR
Coco Crisp CF 32 Signed Oakland Oakland 2 26 $14,000,000
Juan Cruz RP 33 Free Agent Tampa Bay NR
Michael Cuddyer RF 32 Signed (A) Minnesota Colorado 3 15 $31,500,000
Johnny Damon DH 38 Free Agent Tampa Bay 27
Yu Darvish SP 25 Agreed Japan Texas 6 NR $60,000,000
David DeJesus RF 32 Signed (B) Oakland Chicago Cubs 2 21 $10,000,000
Mark DeRosa LF 36 Signed San Francisco Washington 1 NR $800,000
Greg Dobbs 3B 33 Free Agent Florida NR
Octavio Dotel RP 38 Signed (B) St. Louis Detroit 1 NR $3,500,000
PLAYER POSITION AGE STATUS 2011 TEAM NEW TEAM YEARS RANK DOLLARS
Ryan Doumit C 30 Signed (B) Pittsburgh Minnesota 1 29 $3,000,000
J.D. Drew RF 36 Free Agent Boston 47
Zach Duke SP 28 Free Agent Arizona NR
Chad Durbin RP 34 Free Agent Cleveland NR
Mark Ellis 2B 34 Signed (B) Colorado LA Dodgers 2 NR $8,750,000
Willie Eyre RP 33 Free Agent Baltimore NR
Prince Fielder 1B 27 Agreed Milwaukee Detroit 9 1 $214,000,000
Jeff Francis SP 31 Free Agent Kansas City 35
Frank Francisco RP 32 Signed (B) Toronto NY Mets 2 46 $12,000,000
Kosuke Fukudome RF 34 Free Agent Cleveland NR
PLAYER POSITION AGE STATUS 2011 TEAM NEW TEAM YEARS RANK DOLLARS
Rafael Furcal SS 34 Agreed St. Louis St. Louis 2 38 $14,000,000
Freddy Garcia SP 35 Signed New York NY Yankees 1 36 $4,000,000
Jon Garland SP 32 Free Agent Los Angeles NR
Cole Garner RF 27 Free Agent Colorado NR
Chris Gimenez C 29 Free Agent Seattle NR
Ross Gload 1B 35 Free Agent Philadelphia NR
Jonny Gomes LF 31 Signed Washington Oakland 1 NR $1,000,000
Alex Gonzalez SS 34 Signed (B) Atlanta Milwaukee 1 NR $4,250,000
Mike Gonzalez RP 33 Free Agent Texas NR
John Grabow RP 33 Signed Chicago LA Dodgers NR Minor Lg
PLAYER POSITION AGE STATUS 2011 TEAM NEW TEAM YEARS RANK DOLLARS
Vladimir Guerrero DH 36 Free Agent (B) Baltimore NR
Carlos Guillen 2B 36 Free Agent Detroit NR
Scott Hairston RF 31 Signed New York NY Mets 1 NR $1,100,000
Jerry Hairston Jr. 3B 35 Signed Milwaukee LA Dodgers 2 NR $6,000,000
Aaron Harang SP 33 Signed San Diego LA Dodgers 2 NR $12,000,000
Rich Harden SP 30 Free Agent Oakland NR
Willie Harris LF 33 Free Agent New York NR
LaTroy Hawkins RP 39 Signed Milwaukee LA Angels 1 NR $3,000,000
Brad Hawpe 1B 32 Free Agent San Diego NR
Clay Hensley RP 32 Agreed Florida San Francisco 1 NR $750,000
PLAYER POSITION AGE STATUS 2011 TEAM NEW TEAM YEARS RANK DOLLARS
Jeremy Hermida RF 28 Free Agent San Diego NR
Livan Hernandez SP 36 Free Agent Washington NR
Ramon Hernandez C 35 Signed (B) Cincinnati Colorado 2 32 $6,400,000
Aaron Hill 2B 29 Signed (B) Arizona Arizona 2 30 $11,000,000
Koyie Hill C 32 Free Agent Chicago NR
Rich Hill RP 31 Free Agent Boston NR
Raul Ibanez LF 39 Free Agent (B) Philadelphia NR
Hisashi Iwakuma SP 30 Signed Japan Seattle 1 NR $1,500,000
Cesar Izturis SS 31 Signed Baltimore Milwaukee NR Minor Lg
Conor Jackson 1B 29 Free Agent Boston NR
PLAYER POSITION AGE STATUS 2011 TEAM NEW TEAM YEARS RANK DOLLARS
Edwin Jackson SP 28 Free Agent (B) St. Louis 11
Jason Jaramillo C 29 Free Agent Pittsburgh NR
Kelly Johnson 2B 29 Free Agent (A) Toronto 17
Reed Johnson RF 35 Agreed Chicago Chicago Cubs 1 NR $1,150,000
Andruw Jones LF 34 Free Agent New York 37
Jason Kendall C 37 Free Agent Los Angeles NR
Adam Kennedy 2B 36 Signed Seattle LA Dodgers 1 NR $800,000
Jeff Keppinger 2B 31 Signed San Francisco Tampa Bay 1 NR $1,525,000
Casey Kotchman 1B 28 Free Agent Tampa Bay NR
Mark Kotsay RF 36 Signed Milwaukee San Diego 1 NR $1,250,000
PLAYER POSITION AGE STATUS 2011 TEAM NEW TEAM YEARS RANK DOLLARS
Kevin Kouzmanoff 3B 30 Signed Colorado Kansas City NR Minor Lg
Jason Kubel LF 29 Signed (B) Minnesota Arizona 2 41 $15,000,000
Hong-Chih Kuo RP 30 Free Agent Los Angeles NR
Hiroki Kuroda SP 36 Free Agent (B) Los Angeles 13
Aaron Laffey SP 26 Free Agent Kansas City NR
Gerald Laird C 32 Signed St. Louis Detroit 1 NR $1,000,000
Derrek Lee 1B 36 Free Agent (B) Pittsburgh NR
Brad Lidge RP 35 Signed (B) Philadelphia Washington 1 NR $1,000,000
Scott Linebrink RP 35 Free Agent Atlanta NR
Jose Lopez 2B 28 Signed Florida Cleveland NR Minor Lg
PLAYER POSITION AGE STATUS 2011 TEAM NEW TEAM YEARS RANK DOLLARS
Rodrigo Lopez SP 36 Free Agent Chicago NR
Ryan Ludwick LF 33 Free Agent (B) Pittsburgh NR
Mike MacDougal RP 34 Signed Los Angeles LA Dodgers 1 NR $1,000,000
Ryan Madson RP 31 Signed (A) Philadelphia Cincinnati 1 16 $8,500,000
Paul Maholm SP 29 Agreed Pittsburgh Chicago Cubs 1 24 $4,750,000
Jason Marquis SP 33 Signed Arizona Minnesota 1 NR $3,000,000
Damaso Marte RP 36 Free Agent New York NR
Hideki Matsui DH 37 Free Agent Oakland NR
John McDonald SS 37 Signed Arizona Arizona 2 NR $3,000,000
Nate McLouth CF 30 Signed Atlanta Pittsburgh 1 NR $1,750,000
PLAYER POSITION AGE STATUS 2011 TEAM NEW TEAM YEARS RANK DOLLARS
Jason Michaels LF 35 Signed Houston Washington NR Minor Lg
Jose Mijares RP 27 Signed Minnesota Kansas City 1 NR $925,000
Aaron Miles 2B 35 Free Agent Los Angeles NR
Trever Miller RP 38 Free Agent Boston NR
Kevin Millwood SP 37 Free Agent Colorado NR
Sergio Mitre RP 30 Free Agent New York NR
Jose Molina C 36 Signed Toronto Tampa Bay 1 NR $1,500,000
Guillermo Mota RP 38 Signed San Francisco San Francisco 1 NR $1,000,000
Peter Moylan RP 33 Free Agent Atlanta NR
Xavier Nady 1B 33 Free Agent Arizona NR
PLAYER POSITION AGE STATUS 2011 TEAM NEW TEAM YEARS RANK DOLLARS
Joe Nathan RP 37 Signed Minnesota Texas 2 42 $14,500,000
Laynce Nix LF 31 Signed Washington Philadelphia 2 NR $2,500,000
Darren Oliver RP 41 Signed (A) Texas Toronto 1 NR $4,000,000
Magglio Ordonez RF 38 Free Agent (B) Detroit NR
David Ortiz DH 36 Free Agent (A) Boston 10
Ramon Ortiz RP 38 Free Agent Chicago NR
Roy Oswalt SP 34 Free Agent (A) Philadelphia 22
Lyle Overbay 1B 35 Signed Arizona Arizona 1 NR
Micah Owings SP 29 Free Agent Arizona NR
Vicente Padilla RP 34 Free Agent Los Angeles NR
PLAYER POSITION AGE STATUS 2011 TEAM NEW TEAM YEARS RANK DOLLARS
Jonathan Papelbon RP 31 Signed (A) Boston Philadelphia 4 18 $50,000,058
Corey Patterson LF 32 Free Agent St. Louis NR
Ronny Paulino C 30 Free Agent New York NR
Carlos Pena 1B 33 Signed Chicago Tampa Bay 1 14 $7,250,000
Wily Mo Pena DH 30 Signed Seattle Japan 2 NR $4,050,000
Brad Penny SP 33 Free Agent Detroit NR
Juan Pierre CF 34 Free Agent (B) Chicago NR
Joel Pineiro SP 33 Free Agent Los Angeles NR
Jorge Posada DH 40 Retired New York NR
Albert Pujols 1B 32 Signed (A) St. Louis LA Angels 10 2 $250,000,000
PLAYER POSITION AGE STATUS 2011 TEAM NEW TEAM YEARS RANK DOLLARS
Nick Punto 3B 34 Signed St. Louis Boston 3 NR $3,000,000
Chad Qualls RP 33 Signed San Diego Philadelphia 1 NR $1,150,000
Aramis Ramirez 3B 33 Signed (A) Chicago Milwaukee 3 7 $36,000,000
Horacio Ramirez RP 32 Free Agent Los Angeles NR
Jon Rauch RP 33 Signed Toronto NY Mets 1 NR $3,500,000
Edgar Renteria SS 36 Free Agent Cincinnati NR
Jo-Jo Reyes SP 27 Free Agent Baltimore NR
Jose Reyes SS 28 Signed (A) New York Miami 6 4 $106,000,000
Arthur Rhodes RP 42 Free Agent (B) St. Louis NR
Will Rhymes 2B 28 Free Agent Detroit NR
PLAYER POSITION AGE STATUS 2011 TEAM NEW TEAM YEARS RANK DOLLARS
Juan Rivera LF 33 Signed Los Angeles LA Dodgers 1 NR $4,500,000
Fernando Rodney RP 34 Signed Los Angeles Tampa Bay 1 NR $2,000,000
Francisco Rodriguez RP 28 Free Agent (A) Milwaukee 28
Ivan Rodriguez C 40 Free Agent Washington NR
Jimmy Rollins SS 33 Signed (A) Philadelphia Philadelphia 3 5 $38,000,000
J.C. Romero RP 35 Signed Colorado St. Louis 1 NR $750,000
Cody Ross LF 31 Signed (B) San Francisco Boston 1 39 $3,000,000
Takashi Saito RP 41 Signed (A) Milwaukee Arizona 1 NR $1,750,000
Ramon Santiago 2B 32 Free Agent Detroit NR
Joe Saunders SP 30 Free Agent Arizona NR
PLAYER POSITION AGE STATUS 2011 TEAM NEW TEAM YEARS RANK DOLLARS
Brian Schneider C 35 Signed Philadelphia Philadelphia 1 NR $800,000
Luke Scott LF 33 Agreed Baltimore Tampa Bay 1 NR $6,000,000
George Sherrill RP 34 Signed Atlanta Seattle 1 NR $1,100,000
Kelly Shoppach C 31 Signed Tampa Bay Boston 1 NR $1,350,000
Grady Sizemore CF 29 Signed Cleveland Cleveland 1 25 $5,000,000
Doug Slaten RP 31 Free Agent Washington NR
Chris Snyder C 30 Agreed Pittsburgh Houston 1 NR
Andy Sonnanstine SP 28 Free Agent Tampa Bay NR
Ryan Spilborghs RF 32 Free Agent Colorado NR
Ryan Theriot SS 32 Free Agent St. Louis NR
PLAYER POSITION AGE STATUS 2011 TEAM NEW TEAM YEARS RANK DOLLARS
Jim Thome 1B 41 Signed Cleveland Philadelphia 1 43 $1,250,000
Matt Treanor C 35 Signed Texas LA Dodgers 1 NR $850,000
Jason Varitek C 39 Free Agent (B) Boston NR
Javier Vazquez SP 35 Free Agent Florida 12
Omar Vizquel SS 44 Agreed Chicago Toronto NR
Tsuyoshi Wada SP 30 Signed Japan Baltimore 2 NR $8,150,000
Tim Wakefield SP 45 Free Agent Boston NR
Chien-Ming Wang SP 31 Signed Washington Washington 1 50 $4,000,000
Brandon Webb SP 32 Free Agent Texas NR
Dan Wheeler RP 34 Free Agent (B) Boston NR
PLAYER POSITION AGE STATUS 2011 TEAM NEW TEAM YEARS RANK DOLLARS
Eli Whiteside C 32 Signed San Francisco San Francisco 1 NR $600,000
Josh Willingham LF 32 Signed (A) Oakland Minnesota 3 20 $21,000,000
Dontrelle Willis SP 30 Signed Cincinnati Philadelphia 1 NR $850,000
C.J. Wilson SP 31 Signed Texas LA Angels 5 NR $77,500,000
Jack Wilson SS 34 Signed Atlanta Atlanta 1 NR $1,000,000
Kerry Wood RP 34 Agreed Chicago Chicago Cubs 1 NR $3,000,000
Jamey Wright RP 37 Free Agent Seattle NR
Chris Young SP 32 Free Agent New York NR
Joel Zumaya RP 27 Signed Detroit Minnesota 1 NR $850,000

Philadelphia Phillies logo

Free Agent Team Spending

TEAM DOLLARS
LA Angels $330,500,000
Detroit $218,500,000
Miami $191,000,000
Philadelphia $94,550,058
Texas $74,500,000
LA Dodgers $43,900,000
Milwaukee $42,500,000
St. Louis $40,750,000
Colorado $39,900,000
Minnesota $39,350,000
Arizona $35,800,000
Baltimore $24,238,000
Pittsburgh $20,750,000
Chicago Cubs $18,900,000
Tampa Bay $18,275,000
NY Mets $16,600,000
Kansas City $15,925,000
Oakland $15,900,000
Toronto $8,500,000
Cincinnati $8,500,000
Boston $7,350,000
Washington $5,800,000
Cleveland $5,000,000
NY Yankees $4,000,000
Seattle $2,600,000
San Francisco $2,350,000
San Diego $1,250,000
Atlanta $1,000,000
Chicago Sox $0
Houston $0

Related articles

Oswalt to Rangers?

Oswalt would join already deep Texas stable

With or without righty, Rangers loaded with rotation candidates

By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com

ARLINGTON — The Rangers have had their meeting with free-agent pitcher Roy Oswalt. There is no word yet if Texas will actually sign him, as a source said the situation remains ongoing and unresolved.

If the Rangers sign Oswalt, they would be adding a proven, experienced Major League pitcher to their 40-man roster. They would be a signing a two-time 20-game winner who was clearly a No. 1 starter in his prime.

Roy Oswalt

They would also have unprecedented starting-pitching depth. There were years in the Rangers’ history when they would have gladly settled for a rotation consisting of the sixth-through the 10th-best starters on their current roster. There are teams in the Major Leagues right now that would be thrilled to have that for their current rotation.

That is, assuming the Rangers actually sign Oswalt, which is not yet the case and may not come to pass. If it does, a case could be made that the Rangers would have at least 10 pitchers who could be considered legitimate candidates for a Major League rotation.

Here is at look at those 10:

Colby Lewis

Colby Lewis

Credentials:He is a durable right-hander who is 26-23 in 64 starts and 401 1/3 innings over the past two years. He is 4-1 with a 2.34 ERA in eight playoff starts.

Concerns:He doesn’t throw as hard as the other starters and relies on pinpoint control and location. He has allowed 56 home runs over the past two years, tied for the fourth most in the Majors.

Outlook:Lewis is scheduled to be the Rangers’ Opening Day starter. He can be a free agent after the season.

Derek Holland

Credentials:He had a breakthrough season in 2011, going 16-5 with a 3.95 ERA in 32 starts. He was 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA in the postseason. The Rangers see him as a pitcher who can dominate with his stuff.

Concerns:He has a tendency to be erratic, but that disappeared in the second half of last season, when he went 9-1 with a 3.06 ERA in 14 starts.

Outlook:The Rangers thought highly enough of Holland this winter to discuss a long-term contract with him even though he is not yet eligible for arbitration. The deal did not get done, but the Rangers still think highly of him. They will not be taking him out of the rotation.

Yu Darvish

Credentials:He was a superstar in Japan and appears to be the best pitcher from that country to make the jump to the United States. He is 25 years old, stands 6-foot-5 and the reports say he has dominating stuff.

Concerns:He has never pitched in the Major Leagues and will have a number of adjustments to make. Most notable will be handling the Texas heat.

Outlook:The Rangers did not invest $111 million in him so that he could pitch out of the bullpen.

Matt Harrison

Credentials:He was 14-9 with a 3.39 ERA that ranked as the 15th lowest in the American League last season. He had a WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched) of 1.28. It was the fourth-best WHIP on the staff but also the seventh-best by a qualifying Rangers pitcher since the beginning of the 1994 season.

Concerns:He did not pitch particularly well during the World Series last year. He has probably had more physical issues during his career, especially with his shoulder, than any returning starter on the staff.

Outlook:He would likely be the pitcher who would face the biggest threat from Oswalt.

Alexi Ogando

English: Alexi Ogando, Texas Rangers pitcher.

Credentials:He was an AL All-Star in 2011 in only his second season in the Majors. He ended up 13-8 with a 3.51 ERA.

Concerns:He was 4-5 with a 4.48 ERA in the second half, which suggested opponents caught up with his lack of Major League-caliber secondary pitches.

Outlook:He is likely headed back to the bullpen to make room for Darvish even if the Rangers don’t sign Oswalt.

Neftali Feliz

Credentials:He pitched well as a starting pitcher in the Minors until moving to the bullpen at the Major League level. He was one of the best closers in the game the past two years.

Concerns:He needs to sharpen his secondary pitches and adjust to the increased work load as a starter. He also needs to be more economical with his pitches as a starter.

Outlook:The Rangers are committed to shifting him to the rotation.

Roy Oswalt

Credentials:He is 159-93 with a 3.21 ERA in 329 Major League games, including 326 starts. He won 20 games in both 2004 and ’05. He is 5-2 with a 3.73 ERA in 13 postseason appearances.

Concerns:He is 34 and has a history of back issues. He was 9-10 with a 3.69 ERA in 23 starts for the Phillies last year.

Outlook:He wants to be a starter, and his agent is making that clear. If the Rangers sign him, it wouldn’t be because they want him in the bullpen.

Scott Feldman

English: Scott Feldman pitching on April 9, 2009

Credentials:He was the Rangers’ Pitcher of the Year in 2009, when he went 17-8 with a 4.08 ERA and was their Opening Day starter in 2010.

Concerns:He has spent the past two years recovering from surgery on his right knee.

Outlook:There are clubs that would love to have him in their rotation but most likely he will be a middle/long reliever again for the Rangers. He pitched well in that role in the playoffs.

Michael Kirkman

English: Michael Kirkman, Texas Rangers pitcher.

Credentials:Don’t forget this guy was the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year in 2010 and was a legitimate candidate for the rotation last spring. If he had pitched better in March, he might have beaten out Ogando for a spot in the rotation after Tommy Hunter went down with an injury.

Concerns:He got out of whack last season and did not pitch well, either at the Major League level or Triple-A Round Rock, where his ERA went from 3.09 in 2010 to 5.05.

Outlook:His best chance to make the club will be as a left-handed reliever.

Martin Perez

Credentials:He is ranked 29th on MLB.com’s list of Top 100 prospects and doesn’t turn 21 until April.

Concerns:He was 4-4 with a 6.43 ERA in 10 starts at Triple-A last season. He seems to take time in adjusting to a higher level and better competition.

Outlook: There were so many years when the Rangers would have killed for a pitching prospect of this magnitude and he would have been the biggest story of Spring Training. Now his best shot is making the team as a reliever but he might be better off starting the season back in Triple-A.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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.

Related articles

Comparing Every Current Philadelphia Phillie to a Former Player

By Greg Pinto (Featured Columnist)

127831798_crop_650x440

Rob Carr/Getty Images

We live in a very materialistic world where the focus of our daily lives is based on the here and now and very rarely on the future, and even more rarely, the past. The Philadelphia Phillies are certainly not exempt from this thought process. Over the last few seasons, the idea has been to “win now.”

Those guys are prospects for a reason, so we’ll trade them for a proven player. That pricey free agent would sure look nice in red pinstripes, but the depth on the bench is certainly going to suffer if we sign him.

That’s been the thought process for the last few seasons, and will be as long as the Phillies have a core of players intent on winning a World Series and calling any other result a failure. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. First and foremost, it means the Phillies are winning.

The dangerous situation is getting caught up in the here and now and turning a blind eye towards the future. We must look at the past for information and interpret it towards the future. I thought that comparing each player on the Phillies’ roster would be an interesting way to apply that idea.

This slide show will observe a player’s career to date, take his statistics, and compare them to a past player who followed a similar career path. Just for fun, maybe that player’s career can give us some insight into what the future holds for the Phillies.

Vance Worley Compares To…

Tiant_display_image

Luis Tiant and Roy Oswalt, through age 23.

W L ERA IP SO
Vance Worley 12 4 2.86 144 131
Luis Tiant 10 4 2.83 127 105
Roy Oswalt 14 3 2.73 141 144

2011 was the first season for Vance Worley spent primarily as a starting pitcher, and because there isn’t much of a track record here, I almost decided not to compare him to other pitchers in this regard. However, the similarities are almost too striking to Luis Tiant and Roy Oswalt to ignore.

All three of these pitchers started their careers at a young age, and all three were very underrated for their talent levels. So while most people expect to see some regression from Worley in the near future, he is certainly in some good company through age 23.

Dontrelle Willis Compares To…

Hurst_display_image

…Oliver Perez*, and Bruce Hurst through age 29.

W L ERA IP SO
Dontrelle Willis 72 69 4.17 1221 896
Bruce Hurst 70 67 4.33 1242 877

The addition of Oliver Perez to this group is more of an editorial than anything, simply because when I think of the career path Dontrelle Willis took, I can’t help but to compare him to the former Pittsburgh Pirates‘ ace.

Both players were highly touted to begin their careers. Both players had phenomenal seasons with one team (Willis with the Florida Marlins, Perez with the Pirates) before moving on to new teams. Willis would flame out with the Detroit Tigers, Perez with the New York Mets.

Now, both are trying to revitalize their careers as relief pitchers, but because Willis has dominated lefties in recent years, he still has an MLB job.

Numbers wise, Willis compared much more favorably to Bruce Hurst, former left handed pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, San Diego Padres, Colorado Rockies, and Texas Rangers.

Through most of his career, Hurst was a very solid, middle of the rotation starting pitcher, but he struggled mightily at the back end of his career, and after leaving the Padres, he had obviously left his best days behind him.

Ty Wigginton Compares To…

72328012_display_image
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Ed Sprague, through age 33.

H 2B HR RBI BA OBP SLG
Ty Wigginton 1087 232 158 548 .265 .325 .443
Ed Sprague 1010 225 152 558 .247 .318 .419

Ty Wigginton compares favorably to quite a few corner infielders who had a bit of a power strike but weren’t overly successful over the entire course of their careers, the most closely of whom is former first baseman / third baseman, Ed Sprague.

Sprague spent 11 seasons in the MLB as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays, Oakland Athletics, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners and Boston Red Sox. Sprague was an every day player early in his career, but by the time he had joined the A’s, found himself playing much more of a bench role, very similar to Wigginton, who will become a reserve with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Shane Victorino Compares To…

126126671_display_image
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

…Coco Crisp, through age 30.

H 2B HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
Shane Victorino 908 166 79 354 .279 .344 .438
Coco Crisp 941 180 67 365 .277 .332 .410

This comparison surprised me a little bit. With the Philadelphia Phillies, Shane Victorino has developed into one of the game’s most well rounded players, using his speed to his advantage, but also playing well above average defense, hitting for power, and hitting for average as well.

Though on a slightly smaller scale, Coco Crisp, who recently agree to a two-year deal with the Oakland A’s, has been a very similar player. Though Victorino may be heading in a different direction as he hits his prime, through age 30 the similarities are unavoidable.

What really caught my attention was each player’s respective number of stolen bases: 162 for Victorino and 169 for Crisp.

Wilson Valdez Compares To…

Hudson_display_image

…Johnny Hudson, through age 33.

H 2B HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
Wilson Valdez 230 43 6 92 .243 .290 .330
Johnny Hudson 283 50 4 96 .242 .296 .314

As a reserve player, Wilson Valdez compares favorably to a lot of players who saw limited playing time, the most favorable of whom was former Brooklyn Dodgers infielder Johnny Hudson. “Mr. Chips,” as he was called, played for seven seasons in the MLB, also spending time with Chicago Cubs and New York Giants.

Interestingly enough, Hudson finished 25th in the league’s MVP voting in 1938, something that Valdez will likely never have the chance to do.

Chase Utley Compares To…

81933165_display_image
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

…Jeff Kent, through age 32.

H 2B HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
Chase Utley 1198 258 188 694 .290 .377 .505
Jeff Kent 1228 274 194 793 .284 .348 .493

When he announced his retirement in 2009, Jeff Kent was widely considered one of the best offensive second baseman to ever play the game, so to be in his company through your age 33 season is certainly a good sign.

Though his career numbers may have stalled a bit due to injury, Chase Utley got off the same kind of start to his career that Kent did, and both had tremendous power hitters in the order with them at various points during their careers.

Kent is a borderline Hall of Fame player, and if Utley can match his career, the Philadelphia Phillies would be in good shape.

Jim Thome Compares To…

53203724_display_image
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

…the careers of Sammy Sosa and Frank Thomas.

H 2B HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
Jim Thome 2287 444 604 1674 .277 .403 .556
Sammy Sosa 2408 379 609 1667 .273 .344 .534
Frank Thomas 2468 495 521 1704 .301 .419 .555

Though Jim Thome will play at least one more season with the Philadelphia Phillies, it isn’t hard to look back on his career and recognize that he is a Hall of Fame caliber player. A member of the 600 HR club, it is important to note that Thome hit all of his home runs steroid-free.

Can the same be said for former Chicago Cubs’ great Sammy Sosa, who was listed on the infamous “Mitchell Report?” Though his numbers are the closest to Thome’s, Sosa tested positive for performance enhancing drugs.

What about Frank Thomas? The “Big Hurt” never tested positive for PEDs, and his home run total does not come close to Thomes’s, though, Thomas was probably the more well-rounded hitter.

At the end of the day, the two closest comparisons to Thome’s career really put just how good the slugger has been throughout his career into perspective.

Mike Stutes Compares To…

50947754_display_image
Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images

…former Philadelphia Phillies’ relief pitcher Toby Borland?

No statistical data here, but instead, a link to an article by fellow Bleacher Report contributor Mike Lacy, who wrote about the similarities between the Phillies’ careers of retired pitcher Toby Borland and current Phils’ reliever, Mike Stutes.

When injuries plagued the Phillies’ bullpen in 2011, it was Stutes who got the call to the MLB to step in and help out. Initially, he was assigned menial tasks pitching in the middle innings, but soon enough, manager Charlie Manuel was asking him to pitch big innings and get important outs in the later innings.

Borland was called up during the strike-shortened 1994 season, but didn’t last long. Control was his ultimate downfall, and the Phillies sent him packing. However, Borland would soon return to the MLB after working on his control, and in 1995, he became an effective reliever out of the bullpen. By 1996, he was the set-up man, but ultimately faltered.

Will Stutes follow a similar career path?

Brian Schneider Compares To…

238139_display_image
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

…the career of Pat Borders.

H 2B HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
Brian Schneider 761 162 65 380 .247 .321 .369
Pat Borders 831 168 69 346 .253 .288 .375

There are a few catchers in the history of the game that compare favorably to the career of Brian Schneider, but Pat Borders sticks out because of how similar their careers were.

Schneider was drafted by the Montreal Expos and stayed with the club when they moved to the nation’s capital to become the Washington Nationals. Following the 2007 season, he became a back-up catcher, bounding around between the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies.

Borders had a similar career. Drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays, Borders was the starting catcher for most of eight seasons, but following that stint, became a back-up catcher for a slew of different teams. The only clubs he spent more than one season with, however, were the Seattle Mariners and the Cleveland Indians, and all but two of his 17 seasons in the American League.

Carlos Ruiz Compares To…

Diaz_display_image

…Bo Diaz, through age 32.

H 2B HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
Carlos Ruiz 495 121 36 231 .265 .357 393
Bo Diaz 475 99 51 271 .256 .303 .396

If Bo Diaz sounds familiar to most Phillies’ fans, he should. After all, the man was the club’s starting catcher in 1983, when the Phillies challenged the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series, but ultimately came up short. Carlos Ruiz had a similar experience in 2009, when the Phillies failed to defeat the New York Yankees.

All in all, Diaz was a solid catcher. He also spent parts of his MLB career with the Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, and Cincinnati Reds.

Pound for pound, Ruiz is probably the better catcher, but through their age 32 seasons, there are a few surprising similarities.

Jimmy Rollins Compares To…

Trammell_display_image

…Alan Trammell, through age 32.

H 2B HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
Jimmy Rollins 1866 388 170 725 .272 .329 .432
Alan Trammell 1926 329 152 810 .288 .355 .420

Jimmy Rollins and Alan Trammell may not be the closest comparison on this list, but as far as the Philadelphia Phillies’ shortstop is concerned, the former Detroit Tigers’ great posted the numbers closest to his own, the next best being Craig Biggio.

Being in Trammell’s company is definitely a good thing, as he spent his entire 20-season career with the Tigers, building a fringe Hall of Fame career in the process.

Rollins follows a similar path. The Phillies’ shortstop is in an excellent position to spend his entire career in Philadelphia, and at the end of the day, he has something that Trammell’s Hall of Fame resume does not: An MVP Award.

Placido Polanco Compares To…

75827241_display_image
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

…Julio Franco and Tony Fernandez, through age 35.

H 2B HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
Placido Polanco 1966 320 101 681 .301 .346 .406
Julio Franco 1922 299 120 861 .301 .363 .419
Tony Fernandez 1925 333 77 682 .282 .338 .392

Who would have thought that at some point in the future, we would be able to find a way to compare Placido Polanco to Julio Franco, former member of the Philadelphia Phillies traded to the Cleveland Indians as part of the infamous “five-for-one” deal that brought Von Hayes to Philadelphia? Well, here we go.

Franco, of course, will forever be known for the longevity of his career. He played for several different teams, his best years with the Texas Rangers, and when he retired after the 2008 season, Franco was 48-years-old.

Another player who had a similar approach at the plate to Polanco and Franco was Tony Fernandez. Fernandez spent most of his big league career with the Toronto Blue Jays, but like Franco, had a long career, jumping from team to team on one-year deals at the end.

Hunter Pence Compares To…

127512047_display_image
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

…Aubrey Huff and Rondell White, through age 28.

H 2B HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
Hunter Pence 835 157 114 412 .292 .343 .485
Aubrey Huff 805 157 120 421 .288 .342 .478
Rondell White 830 167 103 391 .294 .349 .479

For me personally, this was the most surprising comparison on the list.

Today, when we think of Hunter Pence, we think of one of the game’s best right fielders. With the ability to hit for average and power, play above average defense, and run, he is a legitimate five-tool player, and has proven so throughout his career.

When I think of Pence, Aubrey Huff isn’t exactly the first person that comes to mind. The current member of the San Francisco Giants was originally drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and had a few nice seasons before moving on to the Houston Astros, Baltimore Orioles, Detroit Tigers, and now, the Giants.

Rondell White was drafted by the Montreal Expos and spent most of his career there before bounding around on one-year deals, though he did spend two years with the Minnesota Twins, Chicago Cubs, and Detroit Tigers, respectively.

Needless to say, the numbers are the only things that tie these three players together, and while I would like to say that Pence has the most upside, this certainly makes you stop and wonder.

Jonathan Papelbon Compares To…

133991279_display_image
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

…Mariano Rivera, Trevor Hoffman, and Bryan Harvey, through age 30.

W L ERA SV GF SO
Jonathan Papelbon 23 19 2.33 219 334 509
Mariano Rivera 33 17 2.63 165 245 395
Trevor Hoffman 34 25 2.77 188 300 507
Bryan Harvey 17 25 2.34 171 268 438

If you want to know the real reason that the Philadelphia Phillies wanted Jonathan Papelbon to be their closer moving forward, this is it. Talk about elite company.

Papelbon closely compares to New York Yankees’ closer Mariano Rivera, who has more saves than any man in the history of the game. He also compares closely with the next man on that list, Trevor Hoffman, who dominated the ninth inning with the San Diego Padres.

The fourth name on this list belongs to a lesser known closer of the California Angels, Bryan Harvey. He led all of baseball in saves in 1991, and would eventually save 40 games for the Florida Marlins after joining them in the expansion draft.

Laynce Nix Compares To…

121826420_display_image
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

…Scott Hairston, through age 30.

H 2B HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
Laynce Nix 409 96 64 226 .244 .288 .430
Scott Hairston 204 413 68 198 .245 .303 .435

The Philadelphia Phillies brought Laynce Nix aboard this winter to help out at the plate against right handed pitching, and interestingly enough, they also had some interest (and may continue to pursue) free agent outfielder Scott Hairston.

With both players being bench players at this point in their careers, these two compare favorably to a number of different players, but this is certainly this closest match. Hairston spent four years with the Arizona Diamondbacks before bouncing around to a number of teams, most recently, the New York Mets.

John Mayberry Jr. Compares To…

Mayberry_display_image

…John Mayberry Sr.

Why not?

After struggling to make a name for himself prior to 2011, John Mayberry Jr. struggled with the Philadelphia Phillies to the point that there just isn’t enough of a track record to compare his stats against MLB players.

Instead, let us compare him to his father, John Mayberry Sr., who 15 seasons in the MLB and gave his son those good baseball genes to get him to the show. Mayberry Sr. spent the bulk of his career with the Kansas City Royals, Toronto Blue Jays, and Houston Astros, also spend a year with the New York Yankees.

A big, powerful guy, he had a similar build to his son. Mayberry Sr. would go on to slug 255 home runs in his career—a number I’m sure the Phillies would like to see his son eclipse.

Cliff Lee Compares To…

Newcombe_display_image

…Don Newcombe, through age 32.

W L ERA IP SO
Cliff Lee 119 69 3.65 1641 1323
Don Newcombe 130 73 3.54 1796 966

Any pitcher looking to succeed should be happy with the ability to compare himself to former Brooklyn Dodgers’ pitcher Don Newcombe at any point in his career. Cliff Lee can say that, as through age 32, he has posted similar numbers to the former Dodger.

Both lefties, the numbers aren’t the only similarities. Both Lee and Newcombe won a Cy Young Award, and both were traded for underwhelming hauls during their careers.

Kyle Kendrick Compares To…

112146415_display_image
Rob Carr/Getty Images

…Joe Blanton, through age 26.

W L ERA IP SO
Kyle Kendrick 43 30 4.41 598 275
Joe Blanton 42 34 4.10 633 369

I’m really not sure whether or not this is good news for Kyle Kendrick.

First and foremost, the obvious comparison here is that both Kendrick and Joe Blanton play for the Philadelphia Phillies (and yes, Blanton will still get his own slide.) Kendrick was acquired via the draft, Blanton via trade from the Oakland Athletics.

Outside of the numbers, however, the careers of these two players have been quite different. The Phillies thought enough of Blanton to move top prospects for him in 2008 to bolster their playoff run, but didn’t think enough of Kendrick to leave him in the starting rotation in 2011, opting to spend more than $100 million on Cliff Lee in free agency.

Ryan Howard Compares To…

80569753_display_image
J. Meric/Getty Images

…Richie Sexson, through age 31.

H 2B HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
Ryan Howard 1043 189 286 864 .275 .368 .560
Richie Sexson 1135 230 273 844 .269 .350 .526

As long as Ryan Howard’s career takes him nowhere near Safeco Field in Seattle, as Richie Sexson’s did, this may not even be a relevant comparison by the time Howard retires at some point in the future.

Outside of their handedness, there are obvious comparisons for these two first basemen. First and foremost is the raw power. By the time Sexson retired, he had hit 306 home runs, and Howard is on pace to shatter that milestone.

The real question is Howard’s health. Will that Achilles tendon be the bane of his career, in much of the same way that injuries slowed down Sexson?

Cole Hamels Compares To…

Smiley_display_image

…John Smiley, through age 27.

W L ERA IP SO
Cole Hamels 74 54 3.39 1161 1091
John Smiley 76 51 3.49 1095 697

This may not be the comparison that some people were expecting for Cole Hamels, but let’s not forget, before 2010, you would have fought tooth and nail for the right to call Hamels an “ace.”

Now that he has established himself as just that and his career is on a completely different track, comparing him to John Smiley seems a bit silly at first glance. After all, Smiley would only be in the MLB until age 32.

Through age 27, however, the two lefties had very similar careers. Smiley’s longest tenure was with the Pittsburgh Pirates, but he also spent five seasons with the Cincinnati Reds.

What uniform will Cole Hamels be wearing in 2013?

Roy Halladay Compares To…

83042118_display_image
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

…Mike Mussina, through age 34.

W L ERA IP SO
Roy Halladay 188 92 3.23 2531 1934
Mike Mussina 199 110 3.53 2668 2126

There are a few surprising comparisons on this list, and this is one that caught me off guard. With the way he has pitched in recent seasons, I think that some Philadelphia Phillies’ fans would expect to see Roy Halladay’s name listed with an all-time great. Instead, he is listed with another workhorse: Mike Mussina. (I’ll leave whether or not Mussina is an “all-time great” or not up to your discretion.)

Mussina spent his career with the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees, and though he never won a Cy Young Award, “Moose” was the model of consistency. The same could be said for Halladay, who throws up similar, outstanding numbers year in and year out, and owns two Cy Young Awards.

Jose Contreras Compares To…

51333499_display_image
Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images

…the career of Cory Lidle.

W L ERA IP SO
Jose Contreras 77 67 4.54 1154 869
Cory Lidle 82 72 4.57 1322 838

With Jose Contreras’ days as a starting pitcher well in the rear-view mirror, I think it is safe to look at the 40-year-old’s career in hindsight. Before his days with the Philadelphia Phillies, Contreras was known for his work as a starting pitcher for the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox.

Oddly enough, his career was very similar to the one by another former Phillie and Yankee, Cory Lidle. When the Phillies were not a competitive team in the mid 2000s, the club acquired Lidle from the Cincinnati Reds for very little. He would later be sent to the Yankees in the same deal that sent Bobby Abreu to the Bronx Bombers.

Domonic Brown Compares To…

Strawberry_display_image

…the build and skill-set of Darryl Strawberry.

Without much statistical evidence to go off of here, we’ll compare Domonic Brown to the player that scouts believe he can become, and then some: Former New York Mets’ outfielder Darryl Strawberry.

It is hard to ignore the similarities. Both are tall outfielders with great baseball talent. Both were left handed and both have incredible potential at the plate. Though Strawberry never had much of a batting average, he had surprising power and excellent on-base skills, including instinctive base running.

Joe Blanton Compares To…

125596261_display_image Denis Poroy/Getty Images

…Aaron Harang, through age 30.

W L ERA IP SO
Joe Blanton 73 62 4.32 1243 812
Aaron Harang 69 66 4.25 1177 981

Because Joe Blanton has never done anything overly spectacular in his career (well, on the mound anyway, because his home run in the World Series was pretty spectacular,) his career compares favorably to a number of middle of the road pitchers (including Oil Can Boyd, who has the best name of the group.)

One name that caught my eye is Aaron Harang, who signed a deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers this winter. Both are big right handed starters with similar repertoires. Neither relies on his fastball and neither has an excellent off-speed pitch.

Perhaps the greatest similarity is their proficiency for underwhelming results.

Antonio Bastardo Compares To…

121497269_display_image
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

…Bill Bray, through age 25.

W L ERA IP SO
Antonio Bastardo 10 4 3.86 100 115
Bill Bray 8 7 3.86 112 107

This may be an outside the box comparison, but in the long run, the results speak for themselves. The greatest similarity between Antonio Bastardo and Bill Bray of the Cincinnati Reds is their handedness. Both operate as left handed specialists, though Bastardo has shown to be effective against right handed hitters as well.

It’s a small sample size, and if 2011 was any indication, Bastardo’s career may end up going in a completely different direction. The Phillies’ sure hope so. The success of their bullpen depends on it.

For up to the minute Phillies’ news, check out Greg’s blog: The Phillies Phactor.

Related articles