The Yankees have begun talks with Andruw Jones

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According to Jon Heyman of SI.com, the Yankees have started talks with free agent Andruw Jones, though a deal is not believed to be close. Heyman wrote earlier this week that the Bombers were considering Jones.

The Yankees are pursuing Jones in part because they need a right-handed hitting outfielder, but also because they are concerned about Marcus Thames’ defense. The 33-year-old Thames was a nice surprise last season, batting .288/.350/.491 with 12 home runs, 33 RBI and an 841 OPS, but he can’t touch the versatility or defensive reputation of Jones.

Jones, who will turn 34 in April, batted .230/.341/.486 with 19 home runs and 49 RBI for the White Sox last season, including a .256/.373/.558 batting line in 102 plate appearances against southpaws.

We have become accustomed to players switching teams pretty frequently these days, and Jones has done his fair share of that over the past few seasons, but there would be something weird about seeing him in a Yankees uniform. It feels like it was just yesterday that he hit home runs off Andy Pettitte and Brian Boehringer in Game 1 of the 1996 World Series.

Francisco Rodriguez is being sued by his former landlord

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John Wisely of the Detroit Free Press reports that current free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez is being sued by his former landlord for damage to the rented property as well as missing artwork. The landlord is asking for $80,000 after having kept Rodriguez’s $15,000 security deposit.

The lawsuit says that Rodriguez damaged a bedroom TV, a crystal floor lamp, glass shelves in the bar, glass tiles in the master bath, and a Moroccan mirror in the powder room. Additionally, the suit claims that the bedding is stained and paint has chipped, as well as other damages. And the piece of art that is allegedly missing, which depicts a tiger, is valued at more than $10,000.

Rodriguez has not yet been served with the suit, but the landlord has been speaking to his managers.

The Nationals released Rodriguez, 35, two weeks ago after having signed him to a minor league contract in late June. He started the season with the Tigers, but struggled to a 7.82 ERA over 25 1/3 innings before being released.

Report: Rays acquire Lucas Duda from the Mets

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MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that the Rays have acquired first baseman Lucas Duda from the Mets. The Mets will receive pitching prospect Drew Smith in return, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

Duda, 31, is batting .246/.347/.532 with 17 home runs and 37 RBI in 291 plate appearances for the Mets this season. He’ll provide a potent bat in the Rays’ lineup as they attempt to overcome their current 2.5-game deficit in the AL East.

Smith, 23, is the Rays’ No. 30 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He ascended from High-A to Triple-A already this season, posting an aggregate 1.60 ERA with a 40/9 K/BB ratio over 45 innings across four stops with High-A Lakeland (Tigers), High-A Charlotte (Rays), Double-A Montgomery, and Triple-A Durham.