Drew Silva

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Yoenis Cespedes market is “intensifying”


We may be nearing the end of the Yoenis Cespedes free agency saga.

According to Jim Bowden of ESPN and SiriusXM, the market for the 30-year-old slugger is “intensifying” and “something could get done in the next few days.”

Cespedes and his reps at Roc Nation should have a pretty good read on all the available proposals by now, and which teams will be willing to open the purse strings a little further. Cespedes was initially seeking a big long-term deal in the Jason Heyward or Chris Davis range, but nothing of that sort has been put on the table yet and we are now in mid-January.

There was a five-year, $90 million offer at one point from the Orioles, but that’s no longer an option for Cespedes because of the money Baltimore had to spend on re-signing Davis. Teams like the Mets, Tigers, and White Sox are willing to explore something shorter and cheaper, and the O’s could jump back in if the price tag falls far enough.

But you can understand why Cespedes has been reluctant to budge.

The dynamic Cuban posted an impressive .870 OPS (137 OPS+) with 35 home runs, 42 doubles, and 105 RBI in 159 games last summer between Detroit and New York. He ranked seventh among all MLB hitters in FanGraphs’ version of WAR, and his free agency is not tied to draft pick compensation because he was traded midseason.

Diamondbacks have tabled long-term extension talks with A.J. Pollock

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A.J. Pollock was one of the best players in baseball last year, slashing .315/.367/.498 with 20 home runs, 76 RBI, and 39 stolen bases in 157 games while playing excellent defense in center field. He earned his first All-Star nod, his first Gold Glove Award, and the dynamic 28-year-old even received some down-ballot MVP votes.

The Diamondbacks would love to secure Pollock to a long-term contract that would run into his mid-30s, but it’s probably not going to happen this winter.

Via beat writer Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic

The Diamondbacks avoided arbitration on Friday with six players, leaving center fielder A.J. Pollock as their only remaining arbitration-eligible player.

The Diamondbacks had been hoping to find common ground with Pollock on a multi-year deal, but General Manager Dave Stewart said in a text message on Friday evening that those talks have been tabled.

“We, both sides, have for the time being put that away,” Stewart said.

Pollock just entered his first year of arbitration eligibility and he is under contractual control with the Diamondbacks through 2018, so there is no real rush on either side. He filed at $3.9 million and the Diamondbacks countered at $3.65 million. A compromise should be reached before an arbitration hearing is necessary.

Orioles seeking rotation upgrade; still in contact with Yovani Gallardo

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Baltimore has shelled out nearly $208 million this winter to re-sign free agents Matt Wieters, Darren O'Day, and Chris Davis. But zero dollars have been committed to the starting rotation — a rotation that registered a combined 4.53 ERA in 2015 and lost Wei-Yin Chen to the Marlins last week.

So what’s the move here? Yovani Gallardo?

FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal has the latest

The O’s remain in contact with free-agent righty Yovani Gallardo, but signing him would cost them their top pick, No. 14 overall. And now they won’t be getting a pick back for Davis, to whom they made a qualifying offer.

The Orioles could have landed eight of the top 100 selections if free agents Davis, Chen and catcher Matt Wieters all had signed with other clubs, but that number will reduce to five if they sign Gallardo.

Losing out on all those draft picks is a big deal for an Orioles club that can’t spend money like some of the other deep-pocketed organizations in the American League East.

Gallardo: a desperation play for the O’s, or a must-add? He is easily the best free agent starter left on the board, having registered a 3.42 ERA in 33 starts last season for the Rangers.

Anthony Swarzak inks minors deal with Yankees

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Some long relief depth here for New York.

According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Yankees have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with right-hander Anthony Swarzak. The deal will pay Swarzak a $750,000 salary if he makes the major league roster, though it’s almost certain he will open the 2016 season at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Swarzak spent the majority of the 2015 season with the Doosan Bears of the Korea Baseball Organization and struggled in that hitter-friendly league.

He owns a 4.45 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, and 280/131 K/BB ratio in 453 career MLB frames.

Marlins, Dee Gordon reach five-year, $50 million contract extension

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This has been in the works for much of the winter and now it’s official: Dee Gordon has been locked up long term by the Miami Marlins.

According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, it’s a five-year deal worth $50 million guaranteed with a $14 million vesting option for a sixth season.

Gordon had a sensational 2015 with Miami, slashing .333/.359/.418 across 653 plate appearances while playing excellent defense at second base. He led all major leaguers in hits with 205 and stolen bases with 58.

The 27-year-old was entering his first year of arbitration eligibility, so this deal buys out three arbitration years and two years of free agency. At a fairly reasonable price.