<span class="vcard">Aaron Gleeman</span>

wKansas City Royals' Joe Blanton throws a pitch against the Cincinnati Reds during the first inning of a spring training baseball game Wednesday, March 11, 2015, in Goodyear, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Joe Blanton signs $4 million deal with the Dodgers


Joe Blanton resurrected his career as a reliever for the Royals and Pirates last season and now he’s signed a one-year, $4 million deal with the Dodgers, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

Blanton spent a decade as a durable back-of-the-rotation starter, but had a brutal 2013 season for the Angels and then didn’t pitch in the majors at all in 2014.

He made it back to the big leagues with the Royals and then joined the Pirates in late July, combining to throw 76 innings with a 2.84 ERA and 79/16 K/BB ratio while being used almost exclusively as a reliever for the first time in his career at age 34.

Blanton looked like a totally different pitcher working out of the bullpen and that’s the role he’ll fill with the Dodgers, who’re taking a relatively inexpensive one-year flier on his 2015 performance being the real deal.

Mets prospect Eudor Garcia suspended 80 games for PEDs

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Mets minor leaguer Eudor Garcia, a 2014 fourth-round draft pick who played last season at Single-A, has been suspended 80 games following a positive test for performance-enhancing substances Bumetanide and Furosemide.

Garcia showed a lot of promise while hitting .296 with nine homers and a .783 OPS in 105 games at low Single-A Savannah as a 21-year-old third baseman, but now he’ll be forced to sit out the first three months of the 2016 season.

Once eligible, he’ll likely begin the season at Single-A.

MLB investigating gambling charges against Yu Darvish’s brother

Yu Darvish

Yu Darvish‘s younger brother, Sho Darvish, was arrested in October and charged with gambling and operation a betting ring in Japan and now Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News reports that “Major League Baseball is investigating.”

Fraley stresses that Yu Darvish “has not been accused of any illegal activity” and MLB vice president for communications Michael Teevan issued a statement saying: “We are aware of this situation and are looking into it, per our standard protocols.”

Here are some details about Sho Darvish’s arrest:

Darvish is alleged to have accepted about 1,850 wagers valued at 10,000 yen each — about $85 in United States currency — on games in both circuits. There was no indication that any of the bets involved Rangers games.

Angels “not going after” Yoenis Cespedes because of luxury tax

Yoenis Cespedes

Yoenis Cespedes and the Angels seem like a natural fit, but Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com reports that owner Arte Moreno is determined to stay under the luxury tax threshold and is “not going after” Cespedes.

At the moment the Angels have Daniel Nava and Craig Gentry atop their left field depth chart, which could be a decent low-cost platoon but certainly isn’t going to excite the fan base at all. Moreno has thrown big money around plenty in the past, but apparently no longer views that as a smart plan.

In the wake of Justin Upton signing a six-year, $132.75 million deal with the Tigers there have been several prominent reports of Cespedes’ market being a robust one, but so far at least there doesn’t appear to be a strong favorite to sign him.

Reds bypass election process to put Pete Rose in team Hall of Fame


Pete Rose may never get into Cooperstown, but the Reds announced that MLB’s all-time hits leader will be inducted into their team Hall of Fame in late June … nearly 30 years after his final game in Cincinnati.

C. Trent Rosencrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that in doing so the Reds will be “bypassing the usual election process and changing its rule that had matched the rule of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, barring those on baseball’s permanently ineligible list from induction.”

Why now, when the Reds could have bypassed those team Hall of Fame guidelines for induction at any point in the past three decades? It’s unclear, but in a statement released to the media Reds president Bob Castellini said Rose going into the team Hall of Fame “will be a defining moment in the 147-year history of this storied franchise.”

Rose was permanently banned by MLB in 1989 and last month commissioner Rob Manfred announced that he would not be overturning the ban, citing Rose’s failure to change his ways and lack of understanding about the situation in general. Rose held a press conference in Las Vegas the next day to address Manfred’s decision. Perhaps a new commissioner making it clear that Rose wouldn’t be getting into Cooperstown motivated the Reds to put Rose into their team Hall of Fame now, rather than, say, 1996 or 2006.

Rose will be the 86th player inducted into the team Hall of Fame and Rosencrans speculates that the Reds will also soon build a statue of him outside the ballpark as they’ve done with other star players like Joe Morgan and Johnny Bench.