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Anyone want an expensive, no-defense, washed-up slugger?

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I usually stay away from the “so-and-so was put on waivers” and “so-and-so cleared waivers” stories because they’re pretty dog-bites-man.  Shocker: really expensive guys on non-contenders are placed on and clear waivers all the time.

But sometimes it’s worth looking at the examples of some to remind us of this.  Like today, when within a few minutes we got reports of both Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Lee clearing waivers.  They’re available to anyone who wants them, folks!

Of course Lee is owed $18 million next year and Soriano is owed north of that for the next three seasons — a fact which still boggles my mind — so that may explain why no one wanted them when they could have simply claimed them.  And also explains why it is exceedingly unlikely that either will be the subject of trade talks any time soon.

Word is that the Cubs will kick in many millions to offset Soriano’s salary, but really, even if it’s 95%, there are hardly any teams who need a guy like him. He’s essentially a DH now who can hit a few homers but doesn’t get on base enough to make him worth it.

So that’s waivers in a nutshell.  If anyone interesting, useful and movable is placed on waivers, we’ll first hear about it when the trade is announced, not when they clear.

Spring training will be slightly shortened in 2018

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - MARCH 15:  General view of action between the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants during the spring training game at Scottsdale Stadium on March 15, 2014 in Scottsdale, Arizona. The A's defeated the Giants 8-1. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
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The Associated Press is reporting that the spring training schedule will be shortened by two days starting in 2018. That change comes as part of the new collective bargaining agreement, which was agreed to last month.

Specifically, the voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers, and injured players has been changed to 43 days before the start of the regular season, down from 45. For the rest of the players, the reporting date is 38 days before the start of the regular season, down from 40.

The change goes hand-in-hand with allowing teams 187 days, rather than 183, to complete their 162-game regular season schedule.

While just about everyone seems to be in agreement that the spring training exhibition schedule is too long, team owners are likely very hesitant to shorten that part of the spring schedule because it would cost them money. So they’re just allowing players to arrive to camp a couple of days later.

Report: Rays trade Logan Forsythe to the Dodgers for prospect Jose De Leon

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - AUGUST 4: Logan Forsythe #11 of the Tampa Bay Rays waits in the dugout to get on deck to bat during the third inning of a game against the Kansas City Royals on August 4, 2016 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
Brian Blanco/Getty Images
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Update (7:05 PM EST): The Rays and Dodgers have both announced the trade.

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Update (6:57 PM EST): That was fast. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports the two sides have agreed to the trade. Forsythe for De Leon. An announcement is expected shortly.

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Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that the Dodgers and Rays are “deep into discussions” on a trade involving second baseman Logan Forsythe. Passan adds that the two sides have discussed pitcher Jose De Leon — the Dodgers’ top pitching prospect — as part of the return for Forsythe, but it’s unclear if he’s in the deal currently being discussed.

Forsythe, 30, hit a productive .264/.333/.444 with 20 home runs and 52 RBI in 567 plate appearances in 2016. He was even better the year before, finishing with an .804 OPS. Forsythe can fill the Dodgers’ obvious need at second base, but he also has experience playing third base, first base, shortstop, and corner outfield.

Forsythe is entering the second year of his two-year, $10.25 million contract extension with the Rays. He’ll earn $5.75 million in 2017 and his controlling team has an $8.5 million club option with a $1 million buyout for the 2018 season.