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.

Report: Welington Castillo to be suspended 80 games for violating Joint Drug Agreement

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic confirms a report from journalist Américo Celado that White Sox catcher Welington Castillo will be suspended 80 games for violating baseball’s Joint Drug Agreement. Castillo was believed to have used a steroid, but according to Rosenthal, the substance was not a steroid. More details should come on Thursday.

Castillo, 31, entered Wednesday’s action batting .270/.314/.477 with six home runs and 15 RBI in 118 plate appearances. He has gotten the bulk of the work behind the plate, backed up by Omar Narváez.

Castillo’s absence will likely prompt the White Sox to call up Kevan Smith from Triple-A Charlotte. Smith battled an ankle injury in March and April, so he got a late start to the season. In 102 PA at Triple-A, he has hit .283/.343/.457.