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Content provided by Rotoworld Player News - Sunday, December 15th, 2013

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Axford likely to get one-year deal from Tribe 12-15-2013
John Axford P PIT
Jordan Bastian of MLB.com believes that John Axford's agreement with the Indians will be a one-year deal, as he still has two years of arbitration eligibility remaining after the 2014 season.

Jordan Bastian on Twitter
Meaning that Axford would still be under team control through the 2016 season when inking a one-year pact. The Tribe will be hoping for a return to Axford's 2011 form, where he led the National League with 46 saves while posting a stellar 1.95 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 86/25 K/BB ratio in 73 2/3 innings.
Several teams interested in Jamey Carroll 12-15-2013
Jamey Carroll 2B WAS
Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports that several teams remain in talks with free agent infielder Jamey Carroll.

Chris Cotillo on Twitter
The Rays, Rangers, Indians, Blue Jays, Royals and Padres have all expressed at least some level of interest at some point this offseason. With this strong level of interest, it wouldn't be surprising for the 39-year-old to secure a major league deal. His limited upside offensively leaves him as an uninspiring option in fantasy leagues however.
Yankees could become interested in Rodney 12-15-2013
Fernando Rodney P SEA
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that Fernando Rodney could emerge as an option for the Yankees.

Ken Rosenthal on Twitter
The Yankees appear set to begin the season with David Robertson as their closer, but have kicked the tires on a couple of veteran options this offseason just in case. With Rodney's list of suitors dwindling, he could become a cost effective option to help strengthen the back of the bullpen.
Indians on the verge of signing John Axford 12-15-2013
John Axford P PIT
Buster Olney of ESPN reports that the Indians are on the verge of signing free agent reliever John Axford.

Buster Olney on Twitter
The 30-year-old right-hander will be tasked with protecting leads in the ninth inning as manager Terry Francona prefers a veteran option with closing experience in that role. He has proven in the past that he's capable of being a dominating presence in the late inning and he gains immediate relevancy in mixed leagues.
Indians expect to sign closer in near future 12-15-2013
Joaquin Benoit P SD
Indians general manager Mark Shapiro indicated Sunday during an interview with MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM, that he expects to sign a closer soon.

Cleveland Plain Dealer
The Tribe is known to have an outstanding offer on the table to Joaquin Benoit, and have expressed interest in John Axford, Grant Balfour and Fernando Rodney as well. Indians skipper Terry Francona has made it clear that he would like a veteran presence with closing experience at the back of his bullpen, with Cody Allen and Bryan Shaw remaining in their familiar setup roles.
Jonathan Sanchez narrows list to three teams 12-15-2013
Jonathan Sanchez P CHC
Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports that free agent left-hander Jonathan Sanchez has narrowed his list to three teams and has a few offers on the table.

Chris Cotillo on Twitter
The 31-year-old reportedly had 7-8 teams show interest in his services. It would still be incredibly surprising to see him wind up with a major league deal, after posting a miserable 1-12 record, 8.73 ERA, 2.15 WHIP and 60/61 K/BB ratio over 78 1/3 innings the past two seasons.
Astros could have interest in Tyler Moore 12-15-2013
Tyler Moore 1B WAS
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports believes that the Astros could have interest in acquiring Tyler Moore from the Nationals.

FOXSports.com
The 26-year-old appeared in 63 games with the Nats in 2013, slashing a mere .222/.260/.347 with four homers and 21 RBI. He has familiarity with Astros skipper Bo Porter from his time in Washington however, and the ability to play first base as well as either corner outfield position.
Strong market remains for Matt Garza 12-15-2013
Matt Garza P MLW
According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, even with the Twins out as a potential suitor, a strong market remains for free agent right-hander Matt Garza.

Jon Heyman on Twitter
Heyman notes Garza's strong 2013 campaign, history of success in the hard-hitting American League East and the fact that he won't require draft pick compensation as the reasons the the high level of interest around the league. The Diamondbacks and Angels are believed to be favorites for the time being.
Mariners could still be in play for Balfour 12-15-2013
Grant Balfour P TB
According to Jen Royle of the Boston Herald, the Mariners could be in the mix to land Grant Balfour if he doesn't accept the current deal on the table from the Orioles.

Jen Royle on Twitter
The three-year offer from the O's is believed to be for around $7 million annually, while Balfour is seeking $8 million per season and a vesting option for a fourth year. The Mariners have a gaping hole at the back of their bullpen right now, and have shown a willingness to spend this offseason, so don't be surprised if they swoop in and end up with the 35-year-old right-hander.
Orioles offer Grant Balfour three-year deal 12-15-2013
Grant Balfour P TB
Jen Royle of the Boston Herald reports that the Orioles have offered Grant Balfour a three-year deal that he is mulling over.

Jen Royle on Twitter
The O's didn't want to extend their offer beyond two years. To add the third season, they lowered the average annual value of the contract, while increasing the incentives that Balfour could earn. It's clear at this point that he is their top target on the free agent market.
Yankees have no intention of trading Gardner 12-15-2013
Brett Gardner LF NYY
Yankees team president Randy Levine clarified Sunday that the team has "absolutely no intention' of trading Brett Gardner.

ESPN New York
Speculation has run rampant since the Yankees signed Jacoby Ellsbury that they would have to deal an outfielder, but Gardner appears to be staying put. Levine noted that the organization likes the dynamic of Gardner and Ellsbury at the bottom and top of the lineup, and the tremendous defensive situation they provide together in the outfield.
Yankees interested in re-signing Reynolds 12-15-2013
Mark Reynolds 1B MLW
CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports that the Yankees are interested in bringing back Mark Reynolds.

Jon Heyman on Twitter
Reynolds would offer some protection at third base with Alex Rodriguez's status up in the air and could also start some at DH against left-handers. The 30-year-old is also receiving interest from the Twins, Brewers, Angels and Rays, among others, after batting .220/.306/.393 with 21 homers for the Indians and Yankees last season.
Cardinals nearing one-year deal with Ellis 12-15-2013
Mark Ellis 2B STL
Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals are close to signing Mark Ellis to a one-year contract.

Derrick Goold on Twitter
Goold says Ellis just needs to pass a physical before the deal is announced. The Cards plan to hand over the second base job to Kolten Wong after moving Matt Carpenter to third, but Ellis will provide some nice insurance should Wong struggle. He batted .264/.328/.357 with 13 homers over the last two seasons for the Dodgers and offers a reliable glove.
Floyd could complete Braves deal by Monday 12-15-2013
Gavin Floyd P ATL
ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reports that Gavin Floyd could complete a deal with the Braves by Monday.

ESPN.com
David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution first reported on Saturday that a deal between the two was close. The particulars of the contract are not yet known. Floyd is coming off surgery to repair his ulnar collateral ligament and a torn flexor tendon in his elbow, but he's hoping to be major league-ready by mid-May.
Tribe will get RP with closer experience 12-15-2013
John Axford P PIT
Indians president Mark Shapiro told Jim Bowden of SiriusXM in an interview Sunday that the club "will get a back end bullpen arm with closing experience in (the) next week or two."

Jim Bowden on Twitter
The Tribe has been connected to both John Axford and Joaquin Benoit and seems likely to land one or the other soon. Benoit is reportedly leaning towards signing with the Padres, so Axford could be the favorite to wind up in Cleveland. Current Indians relievers Cody Allen and Bryan Shaw have been mentioned as possible closer options, but it appears the team is more comfortable having someone with ninth inning experience.
Cubs shut down Lake from Winter League play 12-15-2013
Junior Lake LF CHC
The Cubs have shut down Junior Lake from Dominican Winter League play.

Chicago Tribune
They've invoked a "fatigue" clause in Lake's contract, preferring that the young outfielder get some rest before spring training. He was leading the league with a .343 batting average and was sixth with a .457 slugging percentage before the Cubs informed Estellas de Oriente they could no longer use the 23-year-old. Lake is likely to be in the Cubs' Opening Day lineup next season, whether it be in left or center field.
Alex Colome will be ready for spring training 12-15-2013
Alex Colome P TB
The Rays expect Alex Colome (elbow) to be 100 percent for spring training.

Tampa Bay Times
Colome missed the final three months of last season due to a strained elbow, but he didn't require surgery and will enter spring training with no limitations. The young right-hander should begin next season in the Triple-A rotation.
Braves sign Hamilton to minor league pact 12-15-2013
Mark Hamilton 1B STL
Braves signed 1B Mark Hamilton to a minor league contract.

Chris Cotillo on Twitter
The deal includes an invitation to spring training. The 29-year-old spent this past season in the Red Sox organization, batting .265/.365/.458 while playing mostly with Triple-A Pawtucket. He'll represent organizational depth for the Braves.