The market for Jermaine Dye

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When Vladimir Guerrero agreed to terms with the Rangers on Saturday
night, it dealt a heavy blow to the market for free agent outfielder
Jermaine Dye. The Rangers maintained dialogue with Dye even as
they negotiated with Guerrero, offering both similar base salaries in
the area of the $3-5 million. According to Evan Grant of the Dallas
Morning News, manager Ron Washington met with Dye in California as recently as Friday.

Dye, who turns 36 later this month, now finds himself in a free agent
market with few remaining opportunities. Let’s take a quick look at a couple
possible fits.

Yankees: The World Champions
have denied interest in the past and Dye wouldn’t really fit in their
outfield — he’s only played 27 games in left field in his career and
rates as one of the worst defensive outfielders in the major leagues — but he
would come at half the price of Johnny Damon and projects as a powerful
right-handed bat off the bench or insurance for the oft-injured Nick
Johnson. That said, the versatile Jerry Hairston
Jr. would probably be a better fit for the team’s needs.

Giants: Probably the most
logical destination for the California-native, the Giants may be
willing to live with his shoddy defense if it means he can add some
punch to their lineup. There are a lot of moving parts in San
Francisco, as Mark DeRosa could possibly play third base with Pablo
Sandoval sliding over to first base and the recently re-signed Juan
Uribe returning to a super utility role. As it stands right now, the
Giants are still trying to sign a first baseman (they’ve been linked to
Adam LaRoche), a plan that would likely send DeRosa to the
outfield.

Braves: It’s a sentimental
choice since Dye was originally drafted by the Braves in 1993, but
don’t count on it happening. His addition would not only cripple their
defense, but it would make their lineup too right-handed. It would also
block top prospect Jason Heyward, who has primarily played right field
in the minor leagues.

As you can see, not much out there. Dye’s value couldn’t be much lower
after his second-half collapse, but remember that he has hit at least
24 home runs in six out of the last seven seasons. Someone will take a
chance on a rebound.

Report: Teams reluctant to gamble on Cliff Lee

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.

Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.

In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.

Orioles reconsidering signing Yovani Gallardo

Yovani Gallardo
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.

Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.

Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.

The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.

Freddy Garcia is calling it a career

Screenshot 2016-02-07 at 10.16.43 AM
Elsa/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.

Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.

“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”

Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.

Video: 2016 will be a season to remember

Carlos+Correa+Houston+Astros+v+Arizona+Diamondbacks+Ctyu5RiU3SWl
Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.

It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.