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Content provided by Rotoworld Player News - Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

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Tigers bring back Duane Below 12-17-2013
Duane Below P DET
Tigers signed LHP Duane Below to a minor league contract.

Chris Cotillo on Twitter
It's not clear whether the deal includes an invitation to spring training. Below split his time in 2013 between the Marlins and Tigers before finishing the year in Korea. He'll be minor league depth.
Mariners to re-sign OF Franklin Gutierrez 12-17-2013
Franklin GutiƩrrez RF LAD
FOX Sports' Jon Morosi reports that the Mariners are close to re-signing Franklin Gutierrez to a one-year contract.

Jon Morosi on Twitter
It will be a major league contract. Morosi notes that the M's "have been encouraged" by recent reports on Gutierrez's health and are in need of a right-handed bat. Gutierrez has averaged just 57 games played over the last three seasons due to injury, but when he's healthy he's a good defensive center fielder and can hit left-handed pitching.
Kendrys Morales being pursued by DL teams 12-17-2013
Kendrys Morales DH TOR
Kendrys Morales' agent, Scott Boras, said both National League and American League teams are pursuing his client.

Jon Morosi on Twitter
Morales really should be a designated hitter, but an NL club might try to hide his bat at first base if his price drops far enough. ESPN's Buster Olney reported last week that it's possible the Mets could go after Morales if the 30-year-old remains a free agent into February or March. The team that signs Morales will have to forfeit a draft pick, which really hurts his market.
Cole Gillespie inks minors deal with Mariners 12-17-2013
Cole Gillespie LF MIA
Mariners signed OF Cole Gillespie to a minor league contract.

Chris Cotillo on Twitter
The deal figures to include an invitation to spring training. Gillespie played 28 games for the Giants and Cubs last season, batting just .203/.294/.237. He'll function as organizational depth for the Mariners.
Price/Indians report 'completely off base' 12-17-2013
David Price P BOS
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times was told that the report stating that the Rays have asked the Indians for Carlos Santana, Danny Salazar and more in trade talks for David Price is "completely off base."

Marc Topkin on Twitter
Cleveland Plain-Dealer columnist Terry Pluto reported earlier Tuesday that the Rays asked for Santana, Salazar and possibly even Francisco Lindor for Price, but the report never passed the smell test. The Indians are one of surely many teams that have checked in on the asking price for Price, but the Rays don't appear close to a deal with anyone.
Chris Carpenter signs with Japanese club 12-17-2013
Chris Carpenter P BOS
Red Sox released RHP Chris Carpenter. They gave him his release in order to let him sign on with Japan's Yakult Swallows. Carpenter holds a 5.17 ERA and 10/17 K/BB ratio over 15 2/3 career major league innings.
Cubs ink Jose Veras to one-year, $4M deal 12-17-2013
Jose Veras P ATL
Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes reports that the Cubs have agreed to terms with Jose Veras on a one-year, $4 million contract.

Enrique Rojas on Twitter
The deal also includes a $5.5 million option for 2015. With no others in their bullpen possessing extensive closer experience, the Cubs are likely to hand the ninth inning over to Veras. The 33-year-old reliever posted a 3.02 ERA while striking out a batter per frame for the Astros and Tigers this past season while converting 21 of 25 save chances.
Mariners ink Furbush to $750,000 contract 12-17-2013
Charlie Furbush P SEA
Mariners and LHP Charlie Furbush avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $750,000 contract.

Jeff Passan on Twitter
Furbush actually fell short of Super Two status, but it was a near-miss and MLB and the players' union both agreed that he should have an inflated salary in 2014. Furbush, 27, boasts a 3.31 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 10.8 K/9 in 119 appearances since the start of the 2012 season.
Indians sign Matt Treanor to minors deal 12-17-2013
Matt Treanor C LAD
Indians signed C Matt Treanor to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. Treanor did not play affiliated ball in 2013. He'll act as organizational depth at catcher for the Tribe.
Astros finalize one-year contract with Albers 12-17-2013
Matt Albers P CWS
Astros signed RHP Matt Albers to a one-year, $2.45 million contract with a $3 million option for 2015. The deal was agreed to on Monday evening and then finalized Tuesday after Albers passed his pre-signing physical. The 30-year-old right-hander had a cool 3.14 ERA in 63 innings this past season with the Indians and should do fine in a setup role with Houston.
Dodgers reach two-year deal with J.P. Howell 12-17-2013
J.P. Howell P TOR
According to Buster Olney of ESPN, the Dodgers have reached a two-year deal with J.P. Howell.

Buster Olney on Twitter
It will carry $11.25 million in guaranteed money and also includes a $6.25 million vesting option for 2016. Howell drew interest from a range of teams, but the Dodgers outbid them all to bring him back. The veteran left-hander posted a dominant 2.03 ERA and 1.05 WHIP across 62 innings this past season for Los Angeles.
Mark Mulder seeking major league contract 12-17-2013
Mark Mulder P
The Giants were interested in Mark Mulder but backed out after he requested a major league contract.

Alex Pavlovic on Twitter
Mulder hasn't pitched in a big league game since 2008 and he wasn't effective after 2005, so he's likely going to have to settle for a non-guaranteed minor league deal if he indeed decides to go through with this comeback attempt. The lefty turned 36 years old in August.
Giants sign Morse to one-year, $6M contract 12-17-2013
Michael Morse 1B PIT
Giants signed OF Michael Morse to a one-year, $6 million contract. Morse can also earn a bit more through performance-based incentives. He's a poor defensive outfielder, but the Giants are set with Brandon Belt at first base and will use Morse as their primary left fielder in 2014. The 31-year-old owns a .281/.334/.473 career slash line.
Blue Jays sign Steve Tolleson to minors deal 12-17-2013
Steve Tolleson 2B BAL
Blue Jays signed INF Steve Tolleson to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Ben Nicholson-Smith on Twitter
Tolleson is a .225/.273/.350 career hitter in 129 major league plate appearances. The 30-year-old utilityman is highly doubtful to crack Toronto's Opening Day roster.
Yankees and Reynolds not close to deal 12-17-2013
Mark Reynolds 1B COL
There is mutual interest between the Yankees and free agent Mark Reynolds, but "as far as a deal there is nothing even remotely close," according to the Wall Street Journal's Dan Barbarisi.

Dan Barbarisi on Twitter
A reunion with Reynolds would buy New York insurance at third base with Alex Rodriguez's status up in the air. Reynolds has also received interest from the Twins, Brewers, Angels and Rays this winter. The free-swinging 30-year-old hit .220/.306/.393 with 21 homers over 504 plate appearances this year.
Report: Yanks interested in INF Baker 12-17-2013
Jeff Baker 1B MIA
The Yankees are interested in free agent infielder Jeff Baker, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

Joel Sherman on Twitter
Baker elected to become a free agent in mid-October after being designated for assignment by the Rangers. New York would like to add another utility infielder capable of handling third base. The 32-yer-old Baker slashed .279/.360/.545 with 11 home runs in 74 games this past season with Texas and has a reputation as a lefty-killer.
GM fairly confident in Parnell's neck health 12-17-2013
Bobby Parnell P DET
Mets GM Sandy Alderson is "fairly confident" that Bobby Parnell (neck) will be fully healthy for spring training.

ESPN New York
Parnell had surgery in September to repair a herniated disk in his neck. "He's regained the weight," Alderson said. "He's about to start throwing again. And we don't anticipate any problems. But that's one of the reasons we're going to have him come back up to New York -- to be seen not necessarily for a surgical follow-up, but just an overall review. But right now we don't have any reason to believe he won't be ready." The Mets are hoping that their closer will be a go for spring training, but Alderson added that New York would like to add another late-innings reliever.
2B Murphy hopes to remain with the Mets 12-17-2013
Daniel Murphy 2B WAS
Daniel Murphy wants to remain with the Mets.

ESPN New York
The Mets have reportedly shopped Murphy aggressively this offseason but haven't found an acceptable package. "I was able to keep track of it a little bit," said Murphy. "It didn't seem like there was a whole, whole lot going on. ... I want to be in New York. We've struggled the last couple of years, and I also feel like hopefully my best baseball is ahead of me. So when you feel like you've been a little part of the problem, you want to be a part of the solution. So that's what I'm looking forward to -- to hopefully being part of the solution around here." Murphy, under team control for two more seasons, is arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter after batting .286/.319/.415 with 13 homers and 23 steals for the Mets in 2013.
Report: O's give Balfour 2-years, $14MM 12-17-2013
Grant Balfour P TB
Roch Kubatko of reports that Grant Balfour will sign a 2-year, $14 million contract with the Orioles.

Roch Kubatko on Twitter
Half a million dollars will be deferred in each season. Balfour reportedly had a better offer on the table but spurned it to join what he considered to be a better situation. Baltimore ended up doing pretty well in its nifty game of closer arbitrage this offseason. First, it dumped Jim Johnson and the eight-figures it would have been forced to pay him on the A's for Jemile Weeks. Then, with the savings, the O's were able to sign both Balfour and setup man Ryan Webb (two-years, $4.5 million).
Hahn believes Davidson's defense is improving 12-17-2013
Matt Davidson 3B CWS
White Sox general manager Rick Hahn believes Matt Davidson is still improving defensively.

CSN Chicago
Hahn acquired Davidson from the Diamondbacks for closer Addison Reed on Monday with the intention of making him Chicago's everyday third baseman. "Solid actions, strong arms, good hands," Hahn said. "The question you'll hear from time to time with scouts and has been written about publicly is about the lateral movement. We think it has improved. We think it's going to continue to improve. We see him over there for the long term once the development is finished." Davidson, the 35th overall pick in the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft, slashed .280/.350/.481 with 17 home runs, 32 doubles and 74 RBI in 115 games this past season at Triple-A Reno.
O's and Balfour close on two-year contract 12-17-2013
Grant Balfour P TB
The Orioles and Grant Balfour are close to agreeing on a two-year contract, reports Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal.

Ken Rosenthal on Twitter
Baltimore and Balfour have been flirting with one another all month and they finally decided to consummate. The Orioles, in essence, have traded closers with the A's after shipping Jim Johnson to the A's for Jemile Weeks earlier this winter. Balfour was hoping for a three-year deal, but it apparently didn't materialize. This is a nice landing spot for the 35-year-old right-hander's fantasy value.
Report: Yanks, M's reach dead end on Ackley 12-17-2013
Dustin Ackley LF NYY
The Yankees and Mariners made no traction on a potential Dustin Ackley trade, according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal.

Ken Rosenthal on Twitter
Ackley owns an underwhelming .245/.315/.354 batting line over his first three seasons in the majors, but still retains some top prospect sheen. A change of scenery to get him out of Safeco Field might help, but Ackley apparently won't be relocating to the Big Apple. Still just 25-years-old, Ackley has shown that he can handle both second base and center field.
Kubel to earn $2 million if he makes Twins 12-17-2013
Jason Kubel LF MIN
Jason Kubel will earn $2 million in 2014 if he makes the Twins' Opening Day roster and can earn another $1 million via incentives.

St. Paul Pioneer Press
Kubes will earn $150,000 if he reaches 300 and 350 plate appearances, and will pocket an additional $200,000 if he makes 400 PAs. An additional $150,000 is available for spending 30 and 60 days on Minnesota's active roster and Kubel will net $200,000 if he makes it to 90 days. Kubel and the Twins reunited last week on a minor league contract. Kubel slugged 30 home runs for the Diamondbacks in 2012 but careened to an ugly .216/.293/.317 slash line with five homers over 97 contests this past season. The veteran outfielder should see plenty of starts at the corner outfield spots and DH.
Harvey (Tommy John) says rehab is going well 12-17-2013
Matt Harvey P NYM
Matt Harvey said that his Tommy John rehab is progressing well.
Harvey underwent Tommy John elbow surgery in October and has already been ruled out for the entire 2014 season. "Everything's going really well," Harvey said. "Obviously, at this point, I wish I could be out there for Opening Day. ... That's not really possible. Rehab is going really well, and my arm feels extremely well. It's a slow process, but everything's going really well. ... Bartolo's [Colon] going to have to hold it down for me while I'm gone."
Alderson: SS Tejada could open '14 as starter 12-17-2013
Ruben Tejada SS SF
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson indicated that Ruben Tejada is more likely to open the 2014 season as the starting shortstop than he was "two months ago."

Adam Rubin on Twitter
Alderson said essentially the same thing earlier this month, and it's starting to sound as though he's just trying to manufacture leverage out of thin air. It's well known that the Mets have soured on Tejada, so a scenario in which Tejada's name is in the Opening Day lineup should be considered a big loss for the Mets' brass, regardless of how aggressively Alderson would like to meddle with the narrative. New York would seem to match up very well as a trade partner with the freewheeling Diamondbacks, who employ a pair of promising shortstops in Chris Owings and Didi Gregorius. Alderson mentioned that "two or three teams are potential trade partners."
Report: Yankees sign Thornton for 2-yrs, $7MM 12-17-2013
Matt Thornton P SD
The Yankees have agreed to a 2-year, $7 million deal with free agent lefty reliever Matt Thornton.

Jack Curry on Twitter
Thorton, 37, is coming off a 3.74 ERA and 30/15 K/BB ratio over 47 1/3 innings this past season between the White Sox and Red Sox. He's a cost-effective replacement for Boone Logan, who suckered the Rockies into paying him $16.5 million over three years. Thornton, at this point in his career, is a decent middle-inning relief option.
TB asked Tribe for big names in Price talks 12-17-2013
David Price P BOS
Cleveland Plain-Dealer columnist Terry Pluto reports that the Rays asked for Carlos Santana, Danny Salazar and Francisco Lindor when the Indians called to ask about David Price.

Cleveland Plain-Dealer
Santana and Salazar "were starting points," according to Pluto, "and the Rays also wanted some top minor league prospects. I heard Francisco Lindor's name also was mentioned." In essence, that request stopped negotiations. Price, 28, owns a spectacular 3.19 career ERA, 1.16 career WHIP and 8.1 career K/9. The southpaw is under contract through the 2015 season.
Should Jimenez and Santana return to KC, CLE? 12-17-2013
Ubaldo Jimenez P BAL
ESPN's Buster Olney writes that the "best possible option" for free agent starters Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana "might be to re-sign with the team they pitched for in 2013."

ESPN Insider
Jimenez and Santana entered this winter gunning for long-term contracts after turning down arbitration offers. Returning to Kansas City and Cleveland, respectively, is "an easier fit, of course, because neither the Royals nor the Indians would have to sacrifice their own first-round draft pick to make it work," writes Olney in his ESPN Insider column. The 29-year-old Jimenez had a 3.30 ERA and 194/80 K/BB ratio over 182 2/3 innings in 2013, and was arguably the game's most effective starter in the second half, posting a 1.82 ERA. Santana, 30, collected a 3.24 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 161/51 K/BB ratio in 211 innings for Kansas City this past season.
1B Loney in Tampa Bay, to have physical 12-17-2013
James Loney 1B NYM
James Loney is in Tampa Bay for a physical and his new three-year, $21 million deal is expected to be announced on Wednesday.

Marc Topkin on Twitter
The 29-year-old first baseman agreed to terms to ensure his return to Tampa last week. After inking a make-good one-year, $2 million deal with the Rays last winter, Loney slashed .299/.348/.430 with 13 home runs and 75 RBI in 158 games. He spurned a host of suitors this time around -- a group led by the Brewers and Pirates -- to return.
Rays pursuing FAs Carroll and Reynolds 12-17-2013
Jamey Carroll 2B WAS
Mark Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Rays are interested in free agent infielders Jamey Carroll and Mark Reynolds.

Marc Topkin on Twitter
Carroll continues to draw a shocking amount of interest for a 39-year-old coming off a season in which he batted just .211/.267/.251 in 249 plate appearances. In addition to the Rays, the Rangers, Indians, Blue Jays, Royals and Padres have all expressed at least some level of interest in Carroll this winter. The 30-year-old Reynolds has drawn interest from the Twins, Brewers, Angels and Rays, amongst others, after batting .220/.306/.393 with 21 homers for the Indians and Yankees last season.
Valverde has not signed contract with Snakes 12-17-2013
Jose Valverde P SD
Updating a previous report, Jose Valverde has not signed a contract with the Diamondbacks.

Enrique Rojas on Twitter
Valverde denied CBS Sports' Jon Heyman's report that he had inked a minor league deal in a conversation with Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes. Valverde recently switched agents from Scott Boras to Praver/Shapiro. The 35-year-old registered a 5.59 ERA over 19 1/3 innings with Detroit in 2013 before the Tigers designated him for assignment.
Ethier responds to rampant trade rumors 12-17-2013
Andre Ethier LF LAD
Andre Ethier responded to trade rumors on Monday.

Los Angeles Times
"I thought I was looking at a headline from last year, or the year before," Ethier said Monday. The 31-year-old is entering the second season of a five-year, $85-million deal. With Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig on the roster, Ethier's streak of five consecutive season openers started with the Dodgers is in jeopardy. Ethier would prefer to remain with the Dodgers, but his versatility may help LA convince a second party to assume a portion of his contract. "I consider myself any position in the outfield. I'm able to play all three," Ethier said. "I guess that's the one good thing -- I'm able, somewhat into my career, to be able to transition to different spots in the outfield."
Report: Floyd left money on table for Braves 12-17-2013
Gavin Floyd P TOR
Gavin Floyd turned down a bigger offer from the Orioles to sign with the Braves, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Baltimore Sun
The 30-year-old inked a one-year, $4 million contract with Atlanta on Monday. Baltimore countered with a two-year offer that could have been worth up to $20 million with incentives. The Orioles insisted on the second year because Floyd isn't expected to be healthy until May. Floyd, who posted a 4.22 ERA and 1.30 WHIP over seven years with the White Sox, will attempt to rebuild his value in 2014 and try out free agency again next winter.
GM's expectations remain high for Harrison 12-17-2013
Matt Harrison P PHI
Rangers GM Jon Daniels has big expectations for Matt Harrison (back, shoulder) in 2014.

Dallas Morning News
Harrison made just two starts in 2013 before going under the knife to repair a herniated disc in his back. "I think he's a big key for us," Daniels said during a radio appearance. "The year before was a 220-inning workhouse. He was huge for the team. When you look at the profile in our ballpark of a left-hander who keeps the ball on the ground, really utilizes the strength of our team with Elvis [Andrus] and [Adrian] Beltre on the left side, you knew every fifth day that he was going to go out there and compete and keep us in the game and more often than not win it. ... Kevin Harmon, our trainer, went out and visited him in Carolina earlier this winter, and we've been getting reports back since, and knock on wood, so far, so good." Harrison expects to be ready for spring training.
Rangers not expecting to re-sign OF Cruz 12-17-2013
Nelson Cruz RF SEA
Rangers GM Jon Daniels doesn't expect to re-sign free agent outfielder Nelson Cruz.

Dallas Morning News
In an appearance on a radio show last week, Daniels said, "I'm not expecting that Nellie will be back, but we haven't closed any doors." In discussing both Cruz and fellow free agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, Daniels said, "I really don't expect any major moves from this point going forward. I fully expect the [Prince] Fielder deal to be the biggest move we make this winter."
Freel was suffering from CTE prior to suicide 12-17-2013
Ryan Freel 3B TEX
Former major leaguer Ryan Freel was suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) when he committed suicide last year.

Florida Times-Union
Freel committed suicide on Dec. 22, 2012 as a 36-year-old. CTE, an incurable disease, is often found in the brains of athletes that play contact sports. Freel, who played eight years in the bigs and retired in 2010, suffered nine or 10 concussions during his career, according to the report. Football players Dave Duerson, Junior Seau and Mike Webster, and hockey player Derek Boogaard have also been diagnosed with the disease. Former NFL star Tony Dorsett recently announced that he was diagnosed with CTE.
Report: Arizona inks Valverde to minors deal 12-17-2013
Jose Valverde P SD
CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports that Jose Valverde has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Diamondbacks.

Jon Heyman on Twitter
Papa Grande's career has derailed over the past two seasons, as he's posted a 4.18 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 67/33 K/BB ratio over 88 1/3 innings. Things really bottomed out in 2013, when the 35-year-old posted a 5.59 ERA over 19 1/3 innings with Detroit. Valverde isn't likely to ever see the ninth inning in Arizona, as the Snakes have a host of pitchers that include Addison Reed, J.J. Putz, David Hernandez and Brad Ziegler ahead of him in the bullpen hierarchy.
Report: Yankees sign Roberts for 1-year, $2MM 12-17-2013
Brian Roberts 2B NYY
The Yankees will sign Brian Roberts to a one-year deal worth $2 million plus incentives, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.

Jon Morosi on Twitter
Morosi's colleague, Ken Rosenthal, first reported news of the Roberts-Yankees marriage on Monday evening. Roberts averaged 152 games played per year and posted a robust .290/.365/.438 slash line between 2004-09, but his career has been wrecked by injuries since. He's averaged just 48 games played per season over the past four years, and posted a sickly .246/.310/.359 line when he's been on the field over that period. New York seems likely to host a second base competition between the 36-year-old Roberts and Kelly Johnson, but counting on Roberts to stay healthy for more than a third of the season is a losing proposition. At least the price was right.
Yankees to sign veteran 2B Brian Roberts 12-17-2013
Brian Roberts 2B NYY
FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports that the Yankees are likely to sign Brian Roberts.

Ken Rosenthal on Twitter
There's no word on the terms, but it'll likely be a one-year deal with a low base salary. Roberts would give the Yanks another option at second base along with Kelly Johnson, as the two could form a platoon following the departure of Robinson Cano. The 36-year-old is obviously a poor bet to stay healthy after averaging just 48 games played over the last four seasons.