Roundup: Edmonds, Damon close to deals?
Outfielders continue to look for work as Hot Stove simmers
The free-agent picture continues to become clearer as Spring Training draws closer. And Tuesday provided a few more answers for the Hot Stove.
Edmonds market down to 2
It started off as a comeback aimed specifically at the Cardinals. Then it grew toward other teams, as well. Now it doesn't include the Cardinals at all, according to the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. The publication is reporting that the list of potential suitors for veteran outfielder Jim Edmonds has narrowed down to two, and the Cardinals are not one of those clubs. The identity of the two clubs that are interested is not known, but the Globe-Democrat said they're two teams willing to pay the 39-year-old more than the minimum salary the Cardinals "likely" would have offered.
Sources told the Globe-Democrat that negotiations "could be completed within the next two or three days." Edmonds, who was out of baseball in 2009 and will be 40 in July, said on a radio show recently that the Yankees were one of the interested suitors, but on Saturday, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told The News Journal his club is "not on Jim Edmonds at all." The Tigers and Braves are also reportedly looking for an extra outfielder. Edmonds wanted to return to the Cardinals, but they already have a set outfield with Matt Holliday, Colby Rasmus and Ryan Ludwick, and Edmonds would prefer to get more at-bats. One of his goals is to reach 400 career home runs, which he is 18 away from, his agent previously told FoxSports.com.
A's sign Sheets for $10M
The Athletics apparently wanted Ben Sheets pretty bad, and exactly one week after seeing him throw a bullpen session, they were rewarded with the free-agent right-hander's services. Sheets agreed to a one-year, $10 million contract with the A's. For Sheets, it gives him the opportunity to anchor a young staff and play in a spacious, pitcher-friendly ballpark. For the A's, it gives them a legitimate offseason signing after missing out on the likes of Adrian Beltre and Aroldis Chapman. Sheets missed the entire 2009 season after elbow surgery, but he reportedly impressed scouts at a throwing session in Louisiana last Tuesday and has drawn his fair share of interest since. The Mets, Rangers, Cubs and Mariners were reportedly among those clubs.
A's still after Damon with return to Yankees unlikely
On Monday, Johnny Damon was viewed by ESPN.com as a potential Plan B for the A's if they couldn't sign Sheets. But now it looks like he's just part of the plan, period. Via Twitter, ESPN's Buster Olney wrote: "Even in the aftermath of the Sheets agreement, the Oakland-Damon dialogue is continuing." Olney cautions that the 36-year-old free-agent outfielder "wouldn't get a lot of money" from Billy Beane and the A's, but there seemingly aren't many teams bidding on Damon in the first place.
The Yankees, however, all but closed the door on Damon's four-year tenure in pinstripes on Tuesday, as general manager Brian Cashman told MLB.com's Bryan Hoch that the free-agent outfielder remains out of the club's financial reach. "I'm not having any discussions on him," Cashman told MLB.com in a telephone interview. "His abilities exceed the money that I have."
Thome heading to Minnesota
The Twins added slugger Jim Thome to the mix by signing the veteran to a one-year deal, MLB.com's Kelly Thesier reported. Thome, who is expected to be the club's left-handed bat off the bench, will earn $1.5 million and can reach $750,000 in incentives. The 39-year-old will see some time at designated hitter as well, but Jason Kubel remains the club's primary DH.
Nady heads to Cubs
The Cubs got some much-desired depth for their outfield by reaching a tentative agreement on a one-year deal with Xavier Nady, Yahoo! Sports first reported. The deal is contingent on a physical, which could be a little more than standard protocol with regard to Nady, who is coming off his second Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery. But Nady, like Sheets, has proven he's productive when healthy. During his last full season in 2008, spent with the Pirates and Yankees, the 31-year-old right-handed hitter batted .305 with 25 homers and 97 RBIs. In Chicago, he could platoon with the lefty-hitting Kosuke Fukudome in right field. According to SI.com, his contract is worth $3.3 million plus $2 million in incentives based on games played.
Padres add Garland to rotation
MLB.com's Corey Brock reported that the Padres signed right-hander Jon Garland to a one-year deal with a mutual option for 2011. FOXSports.com reported Garland will make $4.7 million this season, with a mutual option for $6.75 million in 2011. If the Padres decline, he gets a $600,000 buyout. If Garland rejects it, the buyout is $300,000. Garland will bring stability to the Padres rotation as he has made at least 32 starts in each of the last eight seasons.
Tejada (re)introduced in Baltimore
The Orioles brought back one of their most accomplished ex-players when they introduced Miguel Tejada at Camden Yards. The veteran shortstop now comes in as the Orioles' third baseman, with recent acquisition Garrett Atkins going to first base and Cesar Izturis entrenched as the shortstop. O's president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said he wanted to make sure he surrounded his young core with "as many quality Major League players as we could find." MacPhail also said the signing gives the O's more flexibility against right-handed and left-handed pitching. As for Tejada, the 35-year-old, who shined with the O's from 2004-07, said, "I think this is a second chance to be a winner."
Dodgers re-sign Belliard, Ausmus
The Dodgers re-signed free-agent infielder Ronnie Belliard -- a surprise spark for them down the stretch last season -- to a one-year, $825,000 contract plus incentives, according to MLB.com's Ken Gurnick. Belliard, who will turn 35 in April, hit .351 with five homers and 17 RBIs in 24 games for the Dodgers, eventually taking the starting job at second base from Orlando Hudson. He then hit .300 in the playoffs while starting all eight games. Belliard now jumps into the mix for the starting job at second base for the 2010 season, joining Blake DeWitt and recent signee Jamey Carroll.
The Dodgers also re-signed veteran catcher Brad Ausmus to a one-year deal with an option for 2011, according to Gurnick. The one-year deal is worth $850,000 and also includes a mutual option for 2011 worth $1 million. Ausmus, 40, hit .295 with a homer and nine RBIs in 107 plate appearances in Los Angeles in '09.
Rays, Cubs in on Park
The Cubs and Rays "are among teams eyeing" veteran right-hander Chan Ho Park, who has experience as a starter and reliever, according to SI.com. The 36-year-old went 3-3 with a 4.43 ERA in 45 games (seven starts) for the Phillies during the 2009 regular season, then hurled 3 1/3 shutout innings in the World Series. In his 38 relief appearances, Park put up a 2.52 ERA -- compared to a 7.29 ERA as a starter.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.