<span class="vcard">Drew Silva</span>

Jeff Francis
AP Photo/Jack Dempsey

Jeff Francis has retired from baseball


Jeff Francis told MLB.com’s Thomas Harding on Tuesday that he is hanging up his cleats for good after 11-plus major league seasons.

Francis was selected ninth overall by the Rockies in 2002 out of the University of British Columbia and pitched eight total years for Colorado. The most memorable was probably 2007, when he posted a 4.22 ERA (114 ERA+) and 17 wins in 34 starts and led the Rockies to the World Series, where they would fall to the Red Sox.

He also spent time with the Royals, Reds, Athletics, and Yankees.

The native of Vancouver finished up his career in 2015 with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Diamondbacks sign Joaquin Arias to a minor league contract

Joaquin Arias, Miguel Montero
AP Photo/Rick Scuteri

From Jon Heyman of CBS Sports comes word that the Diamondbacks have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with infielder Joaquin Arias. The deal includes an invitation to spring training, where the 31-year-old will try to earn a spot on Arizona’s Opening Day roster.

Arias appeared in an average of 90 games per season during a four-year run with the Giants from 2012-2015 — earning two World Series rings along the way — but he batted just .262/.286/.346 in 843 plate appearances during that stretch. And his career batting line is .265/.293/.350.

Arias’ value comes in his defensive versatility. He can play all over the infield.

Cubs have inquired about new Braves outfielder Ender Inciarte


Ender Inciarte headed to the Braves last week as part of the Shelby Miller trade, but the rangy 25-year-old outfielder might never suit up in an Atlanta uniform.

FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal says the Cubs are “one of a number of teams” to have inquired about Inciarte, whose presence on the north side of Chicago would allow $184 million newcomer Jason Heyward to play his more familiar position of right field. Having plus-plus defenders in both center and right would also make Kyle Schwarber‘s poor defense in left a little easier to swallow.

Inciarte batted .303/.338/.408 with six home runs and 21 stolen bases in 132 games this past season for Arizona and ranked among the league leaders in defensive runs saved.

He is under contractual control through 2020.

Bruce Rondon involved in ugly brawl in Venezuelan Winter League

Bruce Rondon, Clint Fagan
AP Photo/Orlin Wagner

Bruce Rondon was sent home early from Detroit back in September for what Tigers manager Brad Ausmus called “effort level” issues. Once labeled the Tigers’ closer of the future, Rondon finished the 2015 major league season with a rough 5.81 ERA and 1.61 WHIP in 31 innings.

The trouble has now followed the hard-throwing 25-year-old into winter ball back in his native country.

Rondon entered a game Saturday in the seventh inning for Navegantes del Magallanes and promptly struck Bravos de Margarita outfielder Jose Osuna with a 1-0 pitch. Rondon then threw over to first base and began challenging Osuna, a prospect in the Pirates’ system, to meet him at the mound. You can probably guess what happened next

Royals have some interest in Braves outfielder Nick Markakis

Nick Markakis, Nick Swisher
AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson

The defending World Series-champion Royals would love to re-sign Alex Gordon, but it’s very possible that his price tag will ultimately climb beyond their comfort zone. So let’s line up some alternatives.

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says Kansas City has expressed some interest in trading for Braves outfielder Nick Markakis. The 32-year-old just signed a four-year, $44 million free agent contract with Atlanta last offseason, but anyone and everyone seems to be available on that rapidly-rebuilding team.

Markakis batted .296/.370/.376 with three home runs over 156 games in 2015.

Gordon, 31, hit .271/.377/.432 with 13 home runs in 104 games.