Pre-winter meetings notes: Dodgers, Yankees, Rockies

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– The Nationals are talking to free agent Jon Garland, says ESPN.com’s Peter Gammons in his blog.

Garland is surely hoping for some multiyear security this time around after settling for a one-year deal last winter. There’d be little reason for him to take a short-term deal with the Nats when there will probably a contender or two interested in him as a fourth starter.

– Yahoo! Sports’ Steve Henson report the Dodgers are exploring a three-team deal involving Juan Pierre that would net them a starter with a similarly bad deal.

He goes on to say that the Braves and Derek Lowe are not involved. Would the Dodgers take on a contract as bad as Carlos Silva’s to get rid of Pierre? It seems unlikely.

– Sources told FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi that the Rays and Reds have inquired about the Rangers’ Nelson Cruz.

Several other teams likely have as well, but there’s very little reason to think the Rangers would deal Cruz. They’re looking to add right-handed power, not subtract it.

– While Tracy Ringolsby thinks it’s a done deal, the Denver Post’s Troy Renck believes Rafael Betancourt is still weighing whether to take arbitration from the Rockies.

Betancourt likely will accept the offer, as his status as a Type A free agent has really cut into his market. Rafael Soriano appears to be the only other free agent considering accepting arbitration.

– Newsday’s Ken Davidoff tweets that it’s a forgone conclusion that the Yankees will non-tender Chien-Ming Wang and that the Mets are considering Rod Barajas as an alternative to Bengie Molina behind the plate.

Davidoff thinks the Dodgers will be after Wang once he hits the market, but given that he’s unlikely to be ready for Opening Day, Wang probably won’t sign anytime soon.

Brewers to give Mike Moustakas a look at second base

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The Brewers reportedly signed third baseman Mike Moustakas to a one-year, $10 million contract on Sunday. While the deal is not yet official, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports that the Brewers plan to give Moustakas a look at second base during spring training. If all goes well, he will be the primary second baseman and Travis Shaw will stay at third base.

The initial thought was that Moustakas would simply take over at third base for the more versatile Shaw. Moustakas has spent 8,035 of his career defensive innings at third base, 35 innings at first base, and none at second. In fact, he has never played second base as a pro player. Shaw, meanwhile, has spent 268 of his 4,073 1/3 defensive innings in the majors at second base and played there as recently as October.

This is certainly an interesting wrinkle to signing Moustakas, who is a decent third baseman. He was victimized by another slow free agent market, not signing until March last year on a $6.5 million deal with a $15 million mutual option for this season. That option was declined, obviously, and he ended up signing for $5 million cheaper here in February as the Brewers waited him out. Notably, Moustakas did not have qualifying offer compensation attached to him this time around.

Last season, between the Royals and Brewers, the 30-year-old Moustakas hit .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs and 95 RBI in 635 plate appearances.