UPDATE: Brad Penny tells us he’s close to signing a contract

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UPDATE: Buster Olney of ESPN.com hears that the Tigers are looking like the front-runners to sign Penny.

8:30 PM: Brad Penny just cut out the middleman and gave us the latest update on his job search via his Twitter account.

“Getting close to finding my new home. Should know by the end of the day.”

Penny, 32, posted went 3-4 with a 3.23 ERA and 35/9 K/BB ratio over his first nine starts with the Cardinals last season before suffering a season-ending lat injury in May.

It’s not clear who the front-runner might be here, but we have heard Penny mentioned most often in connection with the Tigers this winter. Of course, his previous stint in the American League didn’t go so well. He went 7-8 with a 5.61 ERA and 89/42 K/BB ratio over 131 2/3 innings with the Red Sox in 2009.

Angels hire Brad Ausmus as special assistant to the GM

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Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports that the Angels have hired former Tigers manager Brad Ausmus as a special assistant to GM Billy Eppler.

Ausmus, 48, managed the Tigers for four seasons, accruing a 314-332 (.486) record. The Tigers fired him after the 2017 season and hired former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire in his place.

Ausmus will assist with scouting and evaluations of players in the Angels’ system, amateurs, and players in other organizations.