C.J. Wilson

UPDATE: C.J. Wilson likely to take five-year deal from Angels

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10:28 p.m. EST update: Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports says Wilson is expected to accept a five-year deal from the Angels. The Marlins offered six years, but the left-hander has apparently chosen to return to his native southern California instead.

10:05 p.m. EST update: C.J. Wilson has arrived at the winter meetings in Dallas and is expected to meet with both the Marlins and Angels before the night is out.

7:50 p.m. EST update: Mr. Ken Rosenthal begs to differ. His source is reporting that the Marlins are the “best bet” for Wilson, while the Angels are a close second. The Rangers appear to have fallen out of the mix.

It’s been reported all day that the Marlins are at six years with Wilson, while the belief is that the Angels only want to go five. Wilson, however, is a California native and may choose the Angels’ offer anyway.

6:40 p.m. EST update: The Bergen Record’s Bob Klapisch reports that Wilson and the Angels are very close to finalizing a deal. No additional information was provided, but the Angels are believed to be at five years, rather than six. It could be in the same neighborhood as the five-year, $82.5 million contracts given to A.J. Burnett and John Lackey by the Yankees and Red Sox, respectively.

5:10 p.m. EST update: The Marlins’ signing of Mark Buehrle doesn’t necessarily take them out of the mix for Wilson. Jon Heyman reports that the Marlins are still involved in the bidding. Many others, however, believe that Wilson is quite a bit more likely to head to Anaheim.

4:05 p.m. EST update: FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi states that the Nationals are out on Wilson. The Rangers still seem to be in the mix, but it looks like the Marlins and Angels will be the higher bidders.

3:20 p.m. EST update: The Marlins have upped their offer to Wilson to six years, according to MLB Network’s Tom Verducci. However, Danny Knobler still labels the Angels as the clear favorites for the left-hander, who is believed to be seeking more than $15 million per year. A decision isn’t expected before late tonight, according to Knobler.

12:20 p.m. EST update: Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A.Times states that the Angels are “still very much a favorite” to sign Wilson and that they’re not one of the five teams in contention for Mark Buehrle.

12:15 p.m. EST update: A source tells ESPN’s Karl Ravech that the Marlins have gone to six years in their offer for Wilson. There’s good reason for skepticism about this one, though, as the Marlins are still waiting to see what Albert Pujols is going to do.

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MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reports that the Angels have stepped up their efforts to sign C.J. Wilson and are hoping to get a deal done today.

If signed, Wilson would join Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana in what could be the AL’s best rotation. Of course, that alone might not allow the Angels to overtake the Rangers. The Angels finished with the AL’s best ERA last season, yet were 10th in the league in runs scored and ended up a full 10 games behind Texas at 86-76.

If the Angels do want to upgrade their offense, we learned last night that they’re receiving calls on Santana.

Wilson went 16-7 with a 2.94 ERA for Texas last season. He finished seventh in the AL in ERA and sixth with 206 strikeouts.

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

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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.