Rangers the front-runners for Jon Garland?

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Thumbnail image for jon garland dodgers.jpgIn his usual Sunday column of baseball notes for the Boston
Globe, Nick Cafardo writes that a market is beginning to develop for
free agent right-hander Jon Garland,
with the Rangers emerging as the early front-runner.



Garland, 30, was 11-13 with a 4.01
ERA and 1.40 WHIP last season, including a 2.72 ERA in six starts with
the Dodgers down the stretch. Though his career ERA sits at 4.42,
Garland is one of the most reliable secondary starters around, logging
at least 32 starts and 191 2/3 innings in each of the past eight
seasons.




Staying in the National League would
be beneficial for his career, but with the Nationals most likely
out of the running after the Jason Marquis signing, he might not have
much of a choice. Like Marquis, at least Garland has the reputation as a
groundball pitcher, so he’d be a better addition than say, Jarrod
Washburn, for the homer-happy Ballpark at Arlington. Appropriately
enough, Jason Marquis’ two-year, $15 million deal with Washington is a
pretty good benchmark for what Garland figures to find in free agency.
Garland earned $7.25 million last season.

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.