Cubs avoid arbitration with Justin Ruggiano at $2 million

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As first reported by Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Cubs have avoided salary arbitration with outfielder Justin Ruggiano by reaching a one-year, $2 million contract for 2014. Ruggiano asked for $2.45 million and was offered $1.6 million when arbitration figures were exchanged earlier this month.

The Cubs acquired Ruggiano from the Marlins in early December for Brian Bogusevic and will use him as an active fourth outfielder this season.

Ruggiano, 31, batted .222/.298/.396 with 18 home runs and 15 stolen bases in 128 games last year for Miami. He hit .313/.374/.535 with 13 homers and 14 steals in 80 games for the Fish in 2012.

The Indians have expressed an interest in Asdrubal Cabrera

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Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports that the Indians have expressed interest in Asdrubal Cabrera.

Cabrera, who began his career in Cleveland, would be a utility guy. Which is not exactly the Indians’ greatest need — they need a starting pitcher above all else — but improvement is improvement. Not much improvement in Cabrera’s case as he’s hitting .250/.333/.398 with nine homers in 70 games this season, but that’s useful if he’s cool with a strictly utility role. Which he’d have to be given that the Indians are solid at second, third and short.

Cabrera would come pretty cheaply of course. Partially because he’s not major piece, partially because he sort of hilariously demanded a trade last month. In large part because he wants to play shortstop which, now that I think about it, may complicate this whole “Cabrera for a utility role” idea the Indians seem to have.

The Rangers are shopping Yu Darvish

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Jeff Passan of Yahoo reports that the Rangers “have started reaching out to teams potentially interested in acquiring” Yu Darvish.

Texas is only 4.5 games out of the second Wild Card slot, but there are five teams ahead of them and they’ve really never had any traction this year. Such is not the stuff on which a team bases an all-in playoff run. Darvish, meanwhile, is in his walk year, so the Rangers have some incentive to get value for him. Passan says the Astros, Brewers, Yankees, Indians, Rockies and Dodgers could have interest in him, but really, he’d improve any contender.

Darvish is 6-8 with a 3.45 ERA and 131 strikeouts and 42 walks in 125.1 innings.