Author: Aaron Gleeman

Seth Smith Padres

Orioles interested in Padres outfielders Seth Smith, Will Venable

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Baltimore is looking for outfield help following the departures of Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz. San Diego has excess outfielders following the arrivals of Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, and Wil Myers.

Seems like a good trade match, right? Maybe.

According to Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun “dialogue continues” between the Orioles and Padres, with Seth Smith and Will Venable being Baltimore’s targets.

Smith and Venable are both left-handed hitters and Orioles manager Buck Showalter has shown himself to be a fan of platooning, so they could be especially good fits in Baltimore.

Smith hit .266 with 12 homers and an .807 OPS in 136 games this past season, which is strong production while calling pitcher-friendly Petco Park home. Venable struggled this year, but was a consistently above-average hitter from 2008-2013 and can play center field if needed.

Twins sign Tim Stauffer for $2.2 million

Tim Stauffer Getty
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Right-hander Tim Stauffer has agreed to a one-year, $2.2 million contract with the Twins.

Stauffer had success as a starter early in his career, but injuries led to a shift to the bullpen and he’s fared well there with a 3.63 ERA and 131/43 K/BB ratio in 134 innings during the past two seasons.

However, calling pitcher-friendly Petco Park home for his entire career helps keep Stauffer’s raw numbers looking better than his actual performance. His lifetime ERA is 3.07 at Petco and 4.64 everywhere else, including 4.28 on the road the past two years.

He figures to work middle relief for Minnesota at age 33.

Marlins claim Preston Claiborne off waivers from Yankees

Preston Claiborne Yankees
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Designated for assignment by the Yankees last week, right-hander Preston Claiborne has been claimed off waivers by the Marlins.

Claiborne has held his own as a big leaguer with a 3.79 ERA and 58/24 K/BB ratio in 71 career innings through age 26, so Miami probably views him as a potential middle relief option.

He was originally the Yankees’ 17th-round draft pick in 2010 and debuted in the majors in May of 2013.

Orioles claim Ryan Lavarnway off waivers from Cubs

Ryan Lavarnway
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Looking for some catching depth due to Matt Wieters’ uncertain health status, the Orioles have claimed Ryan Lavarnway off waivers from the Cubs.

Lavarnway has bounced around the waiver wire this offseason after being let go by the Red Sox.

His defense behind the plate draws mixed reviews and he hasn’t hit in the majors yet, but Lavarnway is a career .284 hitter with 32 homers and an .824 OPS in 256 games at Triple-A.

Cardinals, Jordan Walden avoid arbitration with two-year deal

Jordan Walden Getty
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Right-hander Jordan Walden, who was acquired from the Braves in the Jason Heyward swap, has avoided arbitration with the Cardinals by agreeing to a two-year, $6.6 million contract.

Walden’s deal also includes a team option for 2017, which would cover his first year of free agency.

Walden has somewhat quietly been a top-notch setup man for most of his five-year career, throwing 212 innings with a 3.10 ERA and 10.8 strikeouts per nine frames. That includes a 2.88 ERA and 62/27 K/BB ratio in 50 innings for the Braves this past season, so expect Walden to be a big part of the Cardinals’ bullpen.