Thanks to early signings, infield market clearing up

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Everything else is moving as slowly as anticipated, but the non-first base portion of the infield market has been extremely active in the early part of the winter, and now that Chone Figgins (apparently), Marco Scutaro and Placido Polanco have all agreed to terms, the picture for Orlando Hudson, Adrian Beltre and others is coming into sharper focus.
First, let’s look at the teams still hunting for new regulars:
2B: Dodgers, Cubs, Mets, D-backs, Twins, Marlins, Astros, Rays, Mariners, Rockies, Indians
3B: Orioles, Twins, Giants, Cardinals, Astros, Angels, Red Sox, Marlins, White Sox, A’s
SS: Tigers, Nationals, Reds, A’s, Pirates
The teams in italics are more the clubs that will consider changes if a situation changes or if someone falls into their laps.
And still left in free agency:
2B: Orlando Hudson, Felipe Lopez, Kelly Johnson*, Adam Kennedy, Juan Uribe, Jamey Carroll, Ronnie Belliard
3B: Adrian Beltre, Mark DeRosa, Garrett Atkins*, Joe Crede, Pedro Feliz, Troy Glaus, Melvin Mora
SS: Miguel Tejada, Orlando Cabrera, Khalil Greene, Adam Everett, Craig Counsell, Bobby Crosby
Johnson and Atkins both figure to be non-tendered later this month.
So, let’s find some potential matches:
Hudson – We know he isn’t returning to the Dodgers. A move to New York and the Mets makes a ton of sense if the club can find a way to shed a portion of Luis Castillo’s contract first. If the Mets opt to stay away, then the Cubs might be able to land his services at a modest bargain.
Lopez – He seems like the best fit for the Dodgers at this point. A two-year deal worth $10 million-$12 million would be reasonable.
Beltre – Beltre is now clearly the No. 1 third baseman on the market, but unless the Giants step up, he’s probably not going to get the kind of deal he wants. I still think the Red Sox would love to have him if they could get the Twins or someone to eat half of the $12 million that Mike Lowell is owed.
DeRosa – The Twins could use his right-handed power, and he’s likely to be more affordable than Beltre.
Atkins – Baltimore is a good fit. The Orioles will jwant a one-year option with Josh Bell on the way, and Atkins will be looking for a situation in which he can rebuild his value.
Tejada – Given that the teams still in the hunt for shortstops are going to be bargain hunters, it seems nearly certain that Tejada will end up at third base, maybe with the Cardinals.
Cabrera – Cabrera might also shift over, though he’d be going to second. He’ll probably have to wait for Hudson and Lopez before he finds himself in demand.

The Padres non-tendered RHP Tyson Ross

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 04:  Tyson Ross #38 of the San Diego Padres walks off the field as he's taken out of the game in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on opening day at PETCO Park on April 4, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
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Per a report by MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell, the Padres non-tendered right-handed starter Tyson Ross on Friday, cutting loose their top ace after three seasons with the club.

Ross, 29, was sidelined for the bulk of the season with inflammation in his right shoulder and underwent thoracic outlet surgery in October. His injuries limited him to only 5 1/3 innings in 2016, during which he gave up seven runs and struck out five in a 15-0 blowout against the Dodgers.

Prior to his lengthy stint on the disabled list, the right-hander earned 9.5 fWAR and pitched to a 3.07 ERA and 9.2 K/9 rate in three full seasons with the Padres. He avoided arbitration with a one-year, $9.625 million deal prior to the 2016 season after leading the league with 33 starts and delivering a 3.26 ERA and career-best 4.4 WARP over 196 innings in 2015.

The Padres appear open to bringing Ross back to San Diego, reported Cassavell, albeit not at such a steep cost. Cassavell quoted Padres’ GM A.J. Preller, who was reportedly in trade talks involving Ross but unable to strike a deal, likely due to the right-hander’s recent health issues. Preller denied that those same health issues factored into the club’s decision to non-tender their ace.

With the move, Ross became one of 35 major leaguers to enter free agency on Friday.

Angels’ Pujols has foot surgery, could be sidelined 4 months

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols had surgery on his right foot Friday, possibly sidelining him past opening day.

Angels general manager Billy Eppler said Pujols had the procedure Friday in North Carolina to release his plantar fascia, the ligament connecting the heel to the toes. The three-time NL MVP was bothered by plantar fasciitis repeatedly during the season, but played through the pain in arguably the strongest year of his half-decade with the Angels.

Eppler said the surgery typically prevents players from participating in baseball activities for three months, along with another month before they’re ready to resume playing in games. Opening day for Los Angeles is April 3, and the Angels hope Pujols can be ready.

“He’s at that point in his career where he’s keenly aware of what’s happening with his body,” Eppler said in a phone interview. “I don’t put the timetable on Albert like you would with your younger players. We’ll just see in Albert’s case, as he progresses, what his timetable is.”

Pujols, who turns 37 next month, batted .268 last year with 31 homers and 119 RBIs, the fourth-most in the majors – although his .780 OPS was among the worst of his career. He largely served as a designated hitter instead of playing first base due to problems with his hamstrings and feet.

Pujols heads into 2017 with 591 career homers, ranking him ninth in major league history. He is 18 homers behind Sammy Sosa for eighth place.

After playing in pain until the final week of the Angels’ disappointing season, Pujols began shock wave therapy on his foot early in the offseason, believing he wouldn’t need surgery.

But Pujols’ foot became more painful in recent weeks despite the therapy, and he huddled with the Angels’ top brass to decide on surgery after his most recent trip to see Dr. Robert Anderson in North Carolina. Continuing with conservative care would have required 10 more weeks, forcing Pujols to miss the first half of the 2017 season if he still required surgery.

“He just felt that the pain had gotten to a point where he was comfortable” having surgery, Eppler said. “If we did delay it, you’re just looking at 2 1/2 more months into the season.”

Pujols had a different type of surgery on his right foot last winter, but recovered in time for opening day. He also had plantar fasciitis in his left foot during the 2013 season, eventually forcing him out for the year when his fascia snapped.

Pujols has five years and $140 million remaining on the 10-year, $240 million free-agent contract that pried him out of St. Louis, where he won two World Series and became a nine-time NL All-Star.

The Angels haven’t won a playoff game since Pujols’ arrival and Mike Trout‘s concurrent emergence as one of baseball’s best players. They went 74-88 last season, the injury-plagued club’s worst record since 1999.