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UPDATE: Reds ink Ryan Madson to one-year, $8.5 million deal

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UPDATE: Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that the deal is worth $8.5 million guaranteed while Bob Nightengale of USA Today adds that it includes some performance-based incentives.

The Phillies will receive two draft picks as compensation for Madson, though the new CBA stipulates that the Reds will not surrender their first-round pick.  Instead, the Phils are expected to pick prior to the Reds (14th overall) in the first-roundUPDATE: Silly new CBA rules. It appears the Phillies will get a supplemental first-round pick and a second-round pick.

11:50 PM, Tuesday: Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the deal is worth in excess of $10 million.

11:31 PM, Tuesday: Heyman adds that it’s a one-year deal. Still need to see the dollar amount, but you have to love this if you’re the Reds. And while Madson didn’t get the deal we all thought he would get back in November, he could get his money next offseason if he proves healthy and effective in 2012.

10:55 PM, Tuesday: Ryan Madson has finally found a home. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the 31-year-old right-hander has agreed to terms with the Reds. No word on the specifics yet.

Madson saved 32 games in 34 chances with the Phillies in 2011 and owns a 2.89 ERA over the past five seasons. He’s an improvement over the declining Francisco Cordero in the closer role and just the latest sign that the Reds are going for it in the National League Central.

7:50 PM, Tuesday: According to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer and Mark Sheldon of MLB.com, a Reds’ source has downplayed the club’s interest in Madson.

6:35 PM, Tuesday: The Reds remain in contact with Francisco Cordero about serving as their closer this season, but Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the club is also in “serious” talks with Ryan Madson.

Many consider Madson one of the biggest losers of the offseason since his reported four-year, $44 million deal with the Phillies fell through in the early part of November. Potential suitors have gone in other directions, leaving one of the best relievers in baseball out of a job. The Reds recently acquired right-hander Mat Latos from the Padres, so there’s no question they’re going for it in the National League Central, although Cordero would likely come at a significantly lower price.

Reds general manager Walt Jocketty told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer this afternoon that he hopes to have the Cordero situation resolved “one way or another” this week, so one wonders if he is talking to Madson in order to force his hand.

Report: Rays having “advanced talks” with free agent reliever Tommy Hunter

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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported this morning that free agent reliever Tommy Hunter required core muscle repair surgery earlier this offseason. Coming off a disappointing 2015, it’s understandable why he’s still on the market, but it sounds like he has at least one significant lead.

Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times hears that the Rays are having “advanced talks” with Hunter as they attempt to add an experienced arm to their bullpen. Nothing is considered close and Hunter is also talking to other clubs. Meanwhile, the Rays have been in touch with veteran reliever Ryan Webb while monitoring the trade market.

Hunter posted a 2.88 ERA as a late-inning arm from 2013-2014, but he compiled a mediocre 4.18 ERA over 58 appearances last season between the Orioles and Cubs. On the bright side, his velocity has held steady and his control is still very good. Despite the down year and core muscle surgery, Topkin writes that Hunter may be holding out for a multi-year deal.

Pirates sign left-hander Cory Luebke

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Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
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Eric O'Flaherty wasn’t the only reclamation project added by the Pirates today, as the club also announced that they have signed left-hander Cory Luebke to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Luebke once looked like a solid rotation piece for the Padres, but he hasn’t thrown a pitch in the majors since April 27, 2012. He’s undergone a pair of Tommy John surgeries since. Now 30 years old, he logged seven innings in the minors last season before requiring a procedure to remove loose bodies around a nerve in his forearm. The Padres cut ties with him in November after declining a $7.5 million club option for 2016.

It’s hard to count on much from Luebke at this point, but he told Adam Berry of MLB.com that he feels healthy and hopes to compete for a bullpen job in the spring.

White Sox reportedly considering Ian Desmond

Ian Desmond
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
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Many have speculated on a potential match between the White Sox and Ian Desmond this winter, but we haven’t heard much in the way of legitimate interest. That could be changing with spring training right around the corner, as MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that Chicago is among the teams considering the free agent shortstop.

After turning the page on Alexei Ramirez this offseason, the White Sox currently have Tyler Saladino in line to serve as their starting shortstop in 2016. The 26-year-old is considered a strong defender, but he batted .225/.267/.335 with four homers over 254 plate appearances as a rookie in 2015. Desmond is coming off a nightmare of a walk year and has seen his strikeout rate climb by 8.5 percent since 2012, but he possesses more offensive upside and it’s not hard to imagine a bounceback campaign while calling U.S. Cellular Field home.

Similar to fellow free agents Yovani Gallardo and Dexter Fowler, Desmond is attached to draft pick compensation after turning down a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from the Nationals. It’s a big reason why a potential deal with the Rays is reported to be a “long shot.” Chicago’s No. 10 overall pick in this year’s draft is protected, so they would give up their No. 28 overall pick if they sign a qualifying offer free agent like Desmond.

Pirates sign reliever Eric O’Flaherty

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Left-hander Eric O'Flaherty has agreed to a minor-league deal with the Pirates that includes an invitation to spring training.

O’Flaherty was one of the best relievers in the league for the Braves from 2009-2013, posting a combined 1.99 ERA in 249 innings, but Tommy John elbow surgery derailed his career and he struggled for the A’s and Mets in 2015 while dealing with shoulder problems.

It’s tough to know if O’Flaherty is healthy at this point, but the 31-year-old southpaw certainly has a chance to be a nice reclamation project for the Pirates on a no-risk contract.