Their potential interest in a trade for Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon appears to be on hold, at least or now, but the Blue Jays are definitely in the market for veteran bullpen help.
Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that they’re “making a strong push” to sign right-hander Ronald Belisario and have been “in contact” with right-handers Francisco Rodriguez, Rafael Soriano, and Burke Badenhop.
Toronto’s closer for most of the past three seasons, Casey Janssen, signed a one-year deal with Washington yesterday.
Belisario would likely be a middle relief option given his 5.56 ERA for the White Sox last season and 3.75 career mark, whereas Rodriguez and Soriano would likely be late-inning options and possibly even closers.
Third baseman David Freese and the Angels have avoided arbitration with a one-year, $6.425 million contract.
Freese requested $7.6 million and the Angels countered at $5.25 million, so they’ve settled at the exact midpoint.
Acquired from the Cardinals last offseason, Freese got off to a poor start with the Angels before turning things around and ended up hitting .260 with 10 homers and a .704 OPS in 134 games overall.
Well, here’s an interesting pair of moves.
Gordon Beckham, who played the first five-and-a-half years of his career for the White Sox before being traded to the Angels in August, has re-signed with Chicago on a one-year, $2 million deal.
And to make room for Beckham’s return to the roster the White Sox designated for assignment outfielder Dayan Viciedo, whom they signed to a one-year, $4.4 million deal to avoid arbitration just two weeks ago.
Presumably the White Sox are close to trading Viciedo, because it’s hard to imagine them eating money to cut him loose when they could have done so for free a couple months ago.
Beckham figures to compete with Emilio Bonifacio for playing time at second base (or maybe third base). He showed a lot of promise as a 22-year-old rookie in 2009, but since then Beckham has hit just .241 with a .660 OPS in 662 games.
Veteran catcher John Baker has signed a minor-league deal with the Mariners that includes an invitation to spring training, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
Baker was once a solid starting catcher for the Marlins, but he’s been mostly injured for the past five seasons and hasn’t produced offensively when healthy enough to be in the lineup.
Dating back to 2010 he’s hit .209 with a .540 OPS in 186 games, including .192 with a .504 OPS in 68 games for the Cubs last season.
Joe Blanton’s retirement didn’t last very long.
Blanton called it quits in April after getting released by the Angels and struggling at Triple-A for the A’s, but there were reports of him reconsidering almost immediately and now he’s officially back.
Or at least trying to find another gig.
Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors reports that Blanton is “holding an open workout” for interested teams on February 4 and is now “motivated to pitch.”
Blanton is 34 years old and it’s been a long time since he’s pitched better than a fifth starter, but he’d make sense as rotation depth for plenty of teams on a minor-league contract. He’s made nearly $40 million during his career.