Aaron Gleeman

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Cubs offered James Shields a three-year, $60 million deal

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Before signing with the Padres for $75 million James Shields got some late interest from the Cubs, with Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reporting that Chicago jumped into the mix last week once it was clear Shields’ overall market was somewhat underwhelming.

According to Rosenthal–and the New York Post, too–the Cubs offered Shields a three-year, $60 million deal even after inking Jon Lester to a six-year, $155 million deal earlier this offseason.

Shields ultimately decided to play at home in San Diego, choosing the Padres’ four-year, $75 million offer that includes an option for a fifth year. But it’s telling that the Cubs were willing to spend another big chunk of money and suggests they’ll probably be in the market for top-of-the-rotation help again next winter when guys like Jordan Zimmermann, Zack Greinke, David Price, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, Doug Fister, and Mat Latos could all be on the market.

UPDATE: Blue Jays, Tigers haven’t talked about Dioner Navarro

Casey Janssen, Dioner Navarro
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UPDATE: Mike Wilner of Sportsnet 590 The Fan reports that the Blue Jays and Tigers haven’t discussed Navarro. It appears that the possibility has been discussed internally with the Tigers, but no trade talks have occurred yet.

1:20 p.m. ET: With designated hitter Victor Martinez needing knee surgery and catcher Alex Avila a question mark due to concussions, the Tigers could be in the market for some catching/DH depth.

And according to Jeff Blair of Toronto Sportsnet they’ve “had discussions” with the Blue Jays about acquiring Dioner Navarro, who started last season and is now in a backup role thanks to the signing of Russell Martin.

Navarro hit .274 with 12 homers and a .712 OPS in 139 games last season and the switch-hitter is owed $5 million for 2015. Blair writes that the Blue Jays want pitching in return for the 31-year-old catcher.

Jon Jay signs two-year deal with Cardinals, avoids arbitration

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Jon Jay and the Cardinals have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year contract. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch says it’s worth $10.975 million.

Jay was arbitration eligible for the second time after hitting .303 with three homers and a .750 OPS in 140 games last season while holding off Peter Bourjos to remain St. Louis’ starting center fielder.

He requested $5 million for 2015 and the Cardinals countered at $4.1 million. The two-year deal will also buy out his third and final season of arbitration eligibility and Jay can still become a free agent following 2016.

Rays sign Jake Elmore

Jake Elmore
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Jake Elmore, who was dropped from the 40-man roster by the Pirates last week, has signed a minor-league deal with the Rays that includes an invitation to spring training.

Elmore has hit just .221 with a .579 OPS in 87 games as a big leaguer for three different teams, but he’s a career .313 hitter with a .407 on-base percentage in the minors and has experience all over the field defensively.

He’ll try to grab a bench job in Tampa Bay, but may be headed back to Triple-A at age 28.

Padres not done yet, preparing big bid for Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada

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Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada is able to sign with any team now after officially being declared a free agent by MLB and Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that the Padres are preparing to make a strong push for him.

San Diego’s entire offseason has been filled with headline-grabbing moves, including signing James Shields to a four-year, $75 million contract that figures to be announced shortly.

Moncada has held private workouts for interested teams and the 19-year-old is expected to land a big contract, perhaps in excess of $40 million. And by signing him for that type of money teams would forfeit their ability to spend significant bonuses on international prospects for the next couple seasons. According to Passan the Padres “are working out Moncada today.”