D-Backs reps willing to fly to Japan to meet with Masahiro Tanaka

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Nick Piecoro of AZ Central is reporting that Diamondbacks officials are willing to fly to Japan to court Masahiro Tanaka. Nothing has been scheduled yet but the interest is there.

The Diamondbacks have had an active off-season, getting involved in two separate three-team trades. In the more recent of the two, they picked up Mark Trumbo from the Angels. They also picked up closer Addison Reed from the White Sox in a separate deal.

Aside from the Dodgers, the NL West is relatively weak, so the Diamondbacks are picking up a lot of ground in a winnable division. Adding Tanaka would be a huge boon to their playoff hopes.

Anibal Sanchez accepts optional assignment to Triple-A

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The Tigers announced on Monday that pitcher Anibal Sanchez has accepted an optional assignment to Triple-A Toledo. Pitcher Warwick Saupold was recalled from Toledo to take Sanchez’s roster spot.

Sanchez, 33, continued to struggle this season pitching out of the bullpen. He gave up 26 runs (21 earned) on 34 hits and nine walks with 22 strikeouts in 21 innings. Nine of those 34 hits were home runs. Sanchez finished the 2015 season with a 4.99 ERA and last season with a 5.87 ERA, so he’s had a rough go of it in recent years.

The decision to go to Triple-A was Sanchez’s, Anthony Fenech of the Free Press reports. Sanchez wants to be stretched out as a starting pitcher again.

Braves release James Loney

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Just a few days after inking him to a minor league deal, the Braves have released first baseman James Loney, the team announced on Monday. Loney became expendable when the Braves acquired Matt Adams from the Cardinals on Saturday as a replacement for the injured Freddie Freeman.

Loney, 33, appeared in two games at Triple-A Gwinnett. He had one hit, a single, and one walk in eight plate appearances.

Loney will likely have to wait for another team to deal with an injured first baseman or DH before he can secure another contract.