D.J. Short

Tampa Bay Rays' Logan Forsythe (11) hits into a force-out while at bat during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015, in St. Petersburg, Fla.  (AP Photo/Luke Johnson)
AP Photo/Luke Johnson

Rays close to two-year extension with Logan Forsythe

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We noted earlier tonight that the Rays agreed to one-year deals with Alex Cobb, Jake McGee, and Brandon Guyer to avoid arbitration, but Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the club is now close to a two-year extension with infielder Logan Forsythe.

Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish hears that the deal is worth $10.25 million and includes an option for a third year. Forsythe was arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter, so the new deal will buy out at least his final two years of arbitration and potentially his first year of free agency.

Forsythe was originally expected to begin 2015 as a platoon player at second base, but he ended up being one of the team’s most valuable regulars. The 29-year-old broke out with a .281/.359/.444 batting line to go along with 17 home runs, 68 RBI, and nine stolen bases.

Report: Blue Jays and Yovani Gallardo have been in touch this week

Yovani Gallardo
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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After re-signing Marco Estrada and adding J.A. Happ and Jesse Chavez, the Blue Jays were expected to be done working on their rotation for the 2016 season. That’s apparently not the case.

According to Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca, the Blue Jays have shown interest in free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo all winter and the two sides have been in touch as recently as this week.

Arguably the top starting pitcher remaining on the free agent market, Gallardo posted a career-low 3.42 over 34 starts last season with the Rangers. There were some warning signs attached, as he averaged 3.3 BB/9 while posting a career-low 5.9 K/9.

Teams like the Royals, Orioles, and Astros have been mentioned as possible landing spots for Gallardo in recent weeks, but being attached to draft pick compensation surely hasn’t help his market. With that in mind, Nicholson-Smith notes that the cost and the draft pick are two possible hurdles for the Blue Jays.

Rays granted permission to look for new stadium sites

FILE - This is a Sept. 21, 2014, file photo showing Tropicana Field,  before a baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and Tampa Bay Rays, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Rays have reached a deal with St. Petersburg that would allow the team to search for new stadium sites on both sides of Tampa Bay. The team has played since its inception in Pinellas County at what now is called Tropicana Field. The agreement, slated for a vote Thursday, Dec. 11, by the St. Petersburg City Council, would allow the Rays to evaluate sites on the east side of the bay in Hillsborough County, where Tampa is located.  (AP Photo/Reinhold Matay, File)
AP Photo/Reinhold Matay, File
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Here’s a potentially significant development in the ongoing Rays’ stadium saga.

According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, the St. Petersburg City Council approved an agreement Thursday — by a vote of 5-3 — to allow the Rays to look for new stadium locations outside the city and in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.

As Charlie Frago of the Tampa Bay Times notes, this was the third time that St. Petersburg mayor Rick Kriseman tried to get a deal done. The first one was shot down last December and the second ended in a deadlock a few months later.

The Rays’ stadium issues have been well-documented. Partially due to location, the team hasn’t drawn well despite some very successful teams. They are also stuck in a brutal lease at Tropicana Field through 2027. Rays owner Stuart Sternberg has long said that the current situation isn’t viable, leading to speculation about a possible sale or a move to Montreal. Naturally, Sternberg was happy coming out of today’s vote:

We’re still a long way from a new stadium, but today’s development is welcome news for Rays fans.

MLB just released the following statement:

“Major League Baseball appreciates this step forward taken by the St. Petersburg City Council and remains fully supportive of Stu Sternberg’s vision to bring this stadium process to conclusion. Mr. Sternberg’s patience and persistence throughout the franchise’s long-standing efforts have illustrated his commitment to fans of the region. We look forward to further progress in the weeks and months as the Rays strive to ensure the future of the franchise with a first-class ballpark in the region.”

Report: Orioles have made offer to Yoenis Cespedes

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UPDATE: No word on the exact offer, but ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Orioles are willing to give Cespedes a five-year deal in the range of $75-90 million. He also hears that the team has grown frustrated with the lack of progress in talks with Chris Davis and might be close to walking away. Could the Cespedes offer be an attempt to force a resolution?

6:03 p.m. ET: After being quiet for most of the winter, we are finally seeing some movement in the market for free agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.

According to Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports, the Orioles have made an offer to Cespedes. The specifics of that offer aren’t yet known. However, Kubatko writes that the club prefers him over fellow free agent Justin Upton. Part of this could be that Cespedes won’t cost a draft pick while Upton would. Nothing new has developed with Chris Davis, so this is a signal that the Orioles aren’t willing to wait much longer to get ready for 2016.

Cespedes, 30, is coming off a career year where he batted .287 with an .870 OPS to go along with 35 home runs and 105 RBI. Still, he hasn’t been able to land that lucrative contract many had him pegged for. The Mets have reportedly kept in touch about a short-term deal, but he still appears likely to end up elsewhere. Could Baltimore be that spot?

Rays avoid arbitration with Alex Cobb, Jake McGee, Brandon Guyer

Alex Cobb
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File
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MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that the Rays have avoided arbitration with right-hander Alex Cobb, reliever Jake McGee, and outfielder Brandon Guyer.

Cobb, who underwent Tommy John surgery last May and missed the entire season, will receive a $4 million salary. This matches what he made through the arbitration process last winter. He figures to be in rehab mode for most of this season, but the Rays have him under team control through 2017. The 28-year-old owns a 3.21 ERA over his first 81 starts in the majors and was considered the Rays’ ace going into last year.

Coming off a 2.41 ERA a 48/8 K/BB ratio over 37 1/3 innings last season, McGee will earn $4.8 million in 2016. It’s a nice raise from the $3.55 million he made in 2015. With the 29-year-old getting more expensive through the arbitration process, it’s easy to understand why the Rays have had him and Brad Boxberger on the block this winter. Like Cobb, McGee will be eligible for free agency after 2017.

Guyer, who was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter, will get $1.185 million in 2016. He played well in a part-time role last season, batting .265/.359/.413 with eight home runs, 28 RBI, and 10 stolen bases over 128 games.