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

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Rangers sign former All-Star Ryan Ludwick

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Looking for some veteran outfield depth, the Rangers have signed former All-Star Ryan Ludwick to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star Telegram reports that Ludwick will get $1.75 million if he makes the Opening Day roster out of spring training.

Ludwick had a big 2012 season with the Reds, hitting .275 with 26 homers, but posted a sub-.700 OPS in each of the past two years while playing a total of 150 games. At age 36 he’d probably be best suited for a part-time role facing mostly left-handed pitchers.

White Sox release Dayan Viciedo, eat $733,000 after failing to find a trade

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After designating him for assignment last week and failing to find a trade partner the White Sox have released outfielder Dayan Viciedo.

Lots of people were surprised when the White Sox tendered him a 2015 contract and then avoided arbitration with Viciedo for $4.4 million because there seemingly wasn’t much of a fit for him following a very disappointing 2014 campaign.

When they designated him for assignment last week the assumption was that general manager Rick Hahn was confident about finding a trade, but instead in releasing Viciedo the team will eat $733,000–one-sixth of his non-guaranteed arbitration salary.

In the grand scheme of things $733,000 is nothing to an MLB team, but when retaining Viciedo seemed weird from the start the decision-making involved in wasting that money stands out. Viciedo figures to land a big-league gig somewhere, but it won’t be for anywhere near $4.4 million and it probably won’t be an everyday role.

Cardinals sign Carlos Villanueva

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Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that the Cardinals have signed right-hander Carlos Villanueva to a minor-league deal.

Villanueva is coming off a two-year, $10 million deal with the Cubs, during which he threw 206 innings with a 4.27 ERA split between the rotation and bullpen.

He’s bounced back and forth between roles for basically his entire career, giving the Cardinals some flexibility along with the additional depth. Villanueva has a 4.26 ERA in 863 career innings, including an ERA between 4.00 and 4.65 in five straight seasons.

Royals “haven’t discussed James Shields for a while now”

James Shields
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James Shields finally appears close to making a decision, with multiple reports suggesting that he has long-term offers in hand and could choose a team by the end of this week.

There’s still a lot of mystery surrounding the process, but it sounds like Shields re-signing with the Royals can be crossed off the list.

Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports that Royals officials “say they haven’t discussed Shields for a while now” and are “focused on” getting the draft pick compensation for his departure.

Kansas City acquired Shields from Tampa Bay in 2013–along with Wade Davis–and he made 34 starts in both seasons with the Royals, logging a total of 456 innings with a 3.18 ERA.

Cubs sign former Mets lefty Pedro Feliciano

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Left-hander Pedro Feliciano has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Cubs that’ll be worth $700,000 if he makes the Opening Day roster, reports Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com.

Feliciano was worked extremely hard by the Mets as a situational southpaw, leading the league in appearances in 2008, 2009, and 2010 … and has been injured ever since. He’s appeared in just 25 games since 2011 and is now 38 years old, so Feliciano is a long shot to contribute much to the Cubs’ bullpen.