Author: Matthew Pouliot

Dale Sveum

Dale Sveum was shot by Robin Yount while hunting quail

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Adding to his already impressive total of 3,142 hits, Hall of Famer Robin Yount accidentally shot Cubs manager Dale Sveum while hunting quail in Arizona, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports.

“The bird went up in front of [Yount] and I was about 50 yards up on the hill,” Sveum said. “He got the bird up and lost track of where I was and pulled the trigger and was like, ‘Uh oh.’ I was looking for birds myself and he was behind me. I got drilled with pellets in the back and the ear.”

In Yount’s defense, he probably thought Sveum was waving him in.

While Sveum said there was some blood involved, he didn’t need stitches for the ear.

Yount and Sveum were Brewers teammates for five years in the 1980s and early 90s and also worked together with the Brewers before Sveum became the Cubs’ manager last season.

Orioles among four teams to meet with Nick Swisher’s agent

Curtis Granderson, Nick Swisher
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There have been mixed messages over just how much the Orioles have to spend this winter, but it looks like they are considering one big-ticket item after meeting with Nick Swisher’s agent, Dan Lozano, on Tuesday.

Three other teams also met with Lozano about Swisher, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Tim Brown.

Swisher, who is married to actress JoAnna Garcia, is believed to prefer to play in New York or Los Angeles, but none of the four clubs with those cities in their names have expressed any interest. San Francisco would seem to be a reasonable compromise, but the Giants are likely out of the mix after re-signing Angel Pagan.

Assuming all of that holds true, Baltimore might be one of the best options for Swisher. He’d likely play left field for the Orioles, replacing Nolan Reimold and Nate McLouth. McLouth is a free agent, and Reimold would likely become trade bait in such a scenario. Alternatively, the Orioles could use Swisher at first base and make Chris Davis their DH.

The Mariners are also believed to be considering Swisher, and the Rangers could enter the mix if Josh Hamilton departs. For that reason, Swisher may wait to see what happens with Hamilton before he picks his destination.

Report: Red Sox could trade Jacoby Ellsbury, re-sign Cody Ross

Jacoby Ellsbury
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Upside, shmupside.

Sources told the Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham that the Red Sox are considering trading Jacoby Ellsbury and re-signing Cody Ross to play right field, with the newly signed Shane Victorino taking over in center field.

Ellsbury, the runner-up for AL MVP honors in 2011, is a free agent after the season and is considered unlikely to sign a long-term extension before he gets to test the waters.

Ross would be a candidate to receive the sixth two- or three-year deal handed out by the Red Sox this winter. They’ve added Victorino ($39 million for 3 years), Mike Napoli ($39 million for 3 years), Jonny Gomes ($10 million for 2 years) and David Ross ($6.4 million for 2 years), plus they’ve retained David Ortiz ($26 million-$30 million for two years). Ross is believed to be seeking about $24 million for three years.

If the Red Sox actually go that route, their odds of returning to contention in the AL East in 2013 would seem to grow even longer. Ellsbury has been injured and ineffective two of the last three years, but he was flat-out awesome in 2011, hitting .321/.376/.552 with 32 homers and 105 RBI in 660 at-bats, and it’s not as though he has any chronic physical problems. Plus, he probably wouldn’t bring all that much in return since he has just the one year left on his deal.

A Red Sox lineup with Ross replacing Ellsbury would also seem to be very susceptible to right-handed pitching:

CF Shane Victorino – S
2B Dustin Pedroia – R
DH David Ortiz – L
1B Mike Napoli – R
RF Cody Ross – R
LF Jonny Gomes – R
3B Will Middlebrooks – R
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia – S
SS Jose Iglesias – N/A

Victorino has always been better against lefties, and he slipped all of the way to .230/.295/.332 against righties last season. Ross and Gomes are also far better against lefties, though Gomes could at least be platooned with Daniel Nava. Napoli, the other new addition, did hit righties better than lefties last year, and he has a solid .253/.347/.498 line against them in his career (.273/.381/.529 against lefties).

Report: Indians offered Shane Victorino $44 million

Shane Victorino
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Finally out from under Travis Hafner’s deal, the Indians tried going big for once, offering free agent Shane Victorino a four-year, $44 million deal, according to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal.

Victorino instead signed a three-year, $39 million contract with the Red Sox, netting him an extra $2 million annually.

The $44 million would have been the biggest contract ever handed out in free agency by the Indians, and the second biggest deal in team history, behind Hafner’s four-year, $57 million deal that just expired. Kerry Wood’s two-year, $20.5 million pact signed four years ago rates as the team’s biggest outside expenditure to date.

It’d seem to be a good sign that the Indians have the money to spend, though one wonders where they might redirect it now. They don’t appear to be in on Michael Bourn or Nick Swisher (who would likely prefer an ocean view anyway). Adam LaRoche would make sense, but they haven’t been mentioned in connection with him. They could go after Cody Ross or Ryan Ludwick. It’s possible they’ll be in the market for two outfielders since Shin-Soo Choo is on the block.

Yunel Escobar a possibility for Rays, A’s and Red Sox

Yunel Escobar
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While there are bigger names out there to be had, perhaps no player is more likely to be traded this week than new Marlins infielder Yunel Escobar.

Escobar was mostly included in the Jose Reyes-Josh Johnson megadeal for salary purposes, and the Marlins have been intent on moving him since the day they picked him up from the Blue Jays. CBSSports.com’s Danny Knobler says the A’s, Rays and Yankees are all interested, and FOXSports.com’s Jon Morosi says the Red Sox are also in the running.

The A’s, Rays and Red Sox would all be looking at Escobar as a shortstop, while the Yankees would presumably use him at third base until Alex Rodriguez is healthy.

According to Knobler, the Marlins’ talks with the A’s regarding Escobar have centered on prospects Grant Green and Brad Peacock. Green, a former first-round pick, has experience at shortstop, second base and in center field. He hit .296/.338/.458 as a 24-year-old in Triple-A last season. Peacock, who was sent to Oakland from the Nationals in the Gio Gonzalez deal, was 12-9 with a 6.01 ERA and a 139/66 K/BB ratio in 134 2/3 innings in Triple-A last season.

One imagines the A’s would like to see what happens with Stephen Drew before they surrender a prospect for Escobar. They already have an offer out to him.