Aaron Gleeman

Juan Pierre Getty

Juan Pierre officially announces his retirement

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Juan Pierre, who sat out last season after struggling for the Marlins in 2013, has officially decided to retire at age 37.

Pierre was a singles-hitting, base-stealing machine and the center fielder finishes his 14-year career with a .295 batting average, 614 steals, and nearly as many walks (464) as strikeouts (479) with just 18 homers.

He led the league in stolen bases three times and hits twice, but also led the league in caught stealing seven times and in total outs made three times while earning nearly $60 million.

Johan Santana’s deal with the Blue Jays has an April 28 opt-out clause

johan santana getty
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One day after signing Johan Santana to a minor-league contract Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos shared some details about the deal.

If he’s called up to the majors Santana will get $2.5 million in guaranteed money and can earn more via incentives. If he’s not called up to the majors Santana has the ability to opt out of the contract and hit the open market again as a free agent on April 28.

Most opt-out clauses are for late-March, with the idea being that players signed to minor-league deals can part ways if they don’t crack the Opening Day. However, in Santana’s case he’s been hurt for so long and is no sure thing to even be healthy enough to pitch in the majors by Opening Day, so the deal gives the two-time Cy Young winner an extra month to assess the situation.

Royals are only looking at Joe Blanton as a reliever

Joe Blanton
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Joe Blanton is attempting a comeback after briefly going into retirement and the veteran starter showed up to Royals camp in The Best Shape Of His Life, but if he makes the team it’ll be as a reliever.

Royals manager Ned Yost made it very clear that Blanton is only being considered for a bullpen job, telling Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com:

The only way he is really going to help us is in the bullpen. We’re not going to stretch him out.

It’ll be an uphill climb for Blanton, because the Royals’ bullpen is one of the best in baseball and there aren’t many openings up for grabs even if he somehow looks good after not pitching in the majors at all last season.

Blanton has spent a decade in the big leagues pitching for five different teams, but 248 of his 265 career appearances have come as a starter and his only year with more than three relief outings was 2013 after he got bumped from the Angels’ rotation for pitching terribly.

Giants sign Ronny Cedeno

Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies
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Journeyman infielder Ronny Cedeno has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Giants.

Cedeno had a brief stint in the majors last season with the Phillies, but spent most of the year at Triple-A hitting .313 with four homers and a .799 OPS in 83 games.

He’s a career .335 hitter in parts of five seasons at Triple-A, but the 32-year-old has batted just .245 with a .641 OPS in 875 games as a big leaguer and is purely a depth signing at this point.

Barry Zito on his one-year retirement: “You want to be back in that game so bad”

Barry Zito
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Barry Zito is trying to resurrect his career with the A’s and the 36-year-old former Cy Young winner told Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News that he regrets sitting out last season as part of what was supposed to be retirement:

I think hanging it up is going to be harder for guys than they realize, after being out of it for a year. You feel like you’re in control of the game, and then you’re not in it, and you want to be back in that game so bad.

We’ve got a long way to go in life once we get out of this thing. That’s not a factor for you when you’re in it. You say, “Ah, I’ve had enough.” But it’s a difficult decision.

All of which is sort of depressing within the context of Zito’s seemingly poor odds of actually cracking the Opening Day roster. In other words, a month from now he might be back in retirement except this time it won’t be by choice.