February 2016 - Baseball Wiretap

Cubs Convinced Addison Russell Will Thrive At Shortstop

Feb 29, 2016 8:28 AM

The Chicago Cubs are confident that Addison Russell can thrive at shortstop in the Major Leagues.

Ryne Sandberg, Chicago's new community ambassador, is a Hall of Fame second baseman and has given Russell his seal of approval.

"His potential is very good," Sandberg said. "He reminds me of a young Barry Larkin, maybe. He has that kind of look and feel. He's very athletic, and he can improvise on making throws when he gets to balls. There's a little bit of an acrobat in there. But there's some steadiness with him too, which is what you want at the position."

Billy Beane, who traded Russell to the Cubs, has also invoked the Larkin comparison, whileJoe Maddon flashed back to a certain 14-time All-Star the first time he watched Russell field grounders with technical precision.

"He's one of the more efficient young infielders I've ever seen, when it comes to his movements," Maddon said. "I can only compare him to Derek Jeter. For me, Jeter had the perfect method of picking up a ground ball -- like a Gary DiSarcina. It was very simple, very boring. I think Addison fits in that category."

Jerry Crasnick/ESPN

Tags: Chicago Cubs, Misc Rumor

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Rangers Sign Drew Stubbs To Minor League Deal

Feb 29, 2016 8:23 AM

The Texas Rangers have signed Drew Stubbs to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training.

Stubbs, 31, finished last season with the Rangers after being released by the Colorado Rockies.

He will make $1.5 million if on the Major League roster.

Jerry Crasnick/ESPN

Tags: Texas Rangers, Free Agent Rumor, Misc Rumor, Signing

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White Sox Made Two-Year Offer To Dexter Fowler

Feb 29, 2016 8:20 AM

The Chicago White Sox reportedly made a two-year contract offer to Dexter Fowler before he re-signed with the Chicago Cubs.

The White Sox have been linked to a number of trade targets in the outfield this offseason.

Steve Adams/MLB Trade Rumors

Tags: Chicago White Sox, Free Agent Rumor, Misc Rumor

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Piazza To Talk With Cespedes About Being Star In New York

Feb 29, 2016 8:17 AM

Mike Piazza plans to talk with Yoenis Cespedes at New York Mets camp about how to handle being a star in the city.

"I told him that when I talk to him, I'm going to tell him that there's going to be a lot of pressure on him this year. He's going to be expected to do a lot. And I have a little bit of experience knowing that pressure," Piazza said. "And I hope he's able to discipline himself and really refine his strike zone and realize that when the pitchers are not pitching to him, he's got to take his walks. I think you saw that in the World Series a little bit. He just got too anxious and was trying to do too much and was just swinging, trying to hit the ball out of the stadium. I would tell him, 'Look, you don't have to hit the ball out of the stadium. You just have to hit it over the wall. Or hit it off the wall is fine.' That happens sometimes.

"Here's a kid, he came from Cuba. He grew up completely different than what we did. So handling all that and coming to the States, it's culturally different for him. I think we need to be patient and understand."

Adam Rubin/ESPN

Tags: New York Mets, Misc Rumor

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Cleveland's Abraham Almonte Suspended 80 Games

Feb 29, 2016 8:12 AM

Cleveland Indians outfielder Abraham Almonte has been suspended for 80 games by Major League Baseball after testing positive for the performance-enhancing drug Boldenone.

Almonte accepted responsibility for the failed drug test, but said he did not know how the substance got into his system.

"It's hard, because you have to go in front of all the guys that are always pushing for you and helping you," Almonte said. "To me, the team is like a family. A big part of the game, or a small part of the game, I'm part of the team. The part that I see is that they have a missing part right now, and it might hurt the team. I hope not.

"My responsibility now is to work as hard as I can to get ready and help my team whenever they need me back."

ESPN

Tags: Cleveland Indians, Misc Rumor, Suspension

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Orioles End Pie In The Face Celebrations

Feb 29, 2016 1:48 AM

Over the last several years, the Orioles often celebrated victories with center fielder Adam Jones smashing a pie in the hero's face.

But the team has decided to end the practice for safety reasons, according to an ESPN.com report.

ESPN.com

Tags: Baltimore Orioles, Misc Rumor

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Clayton Kershaw To Open For Dodgers

Feb 28, 2016 6:45 PM

New Dodgers manager Dave Roberts joked it was a tough call, but Clayton Kershaw will be the opening day pitcher for Los Angeles for the sixth year in a row.

The three-time Cy Young Award winner will help the Dodgers open the season on April 4 opener against the Padres.

ESPN.com

Tags: Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, Misc Rumor

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Gerrit Cole Disapointed With Current Contract

Feb 28, 2016 2:22 PM

Pirates starting pitching ace Gerrit Cole, coming off a 2015 season that included his first All-Star nod, says he is disappointed by the contract he signed for the 2016 season.

Cole signed for $541,000 on Saturday, the same amount he made last year when he went 19-8 with a 2.60 ERA and finished fourth in National League Cy Young voting. His 2015 base salary was $531,000, and he earned $10,000 for making the All-Star team.

ESPN.com

Tags: Pittsburgh Pirates, Misc Rumor

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Rangers, Ian Desmond Agree On One-Year, $8M Deal

Feb 28, 2016 2:15 PM

The Rangers have agreed on a one-year, $8 million contract with former Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond pending a physical, sources told ESPN.

The Nationals extended a $15.8 million qualifying offer to Desmond, but he elected to test free agency. The Rangers must surrender a first-round draft pick to the Nationals for signing Desmond.

ESPN.com

Tags: Texas Rangers, Washington Nationals, Free Agent Rumor, Misc Rumor, Terms Agreement

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D-Backs Sign Rickie Weeks To Minor League Contract

Feb 28, 2016 12:59 AM

The D-Backs have signed infielder/outfielder Rickie Weeks to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training.

The 33-year-old Weeks spent his first 11 big league seasons in Milwaukee as a second baseman before playing outfield with Seattle last season.

Weeks struggled at the plate with the Mariners, hitting .167 in 37 games before being designated for assignment in June.

ESPN.com

Tags: Arizona Diamondbacks

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Shields OK Not Starting Padres' Opener
Starting pitcher James Shields feels he has plenty left at the age of 34.

ESPN.com

Cubs Sign Shane Victorino To Minor League Deal
Shane Victorino will earn $1M in base salary if he makes the major league club.

ESPN.com

Casey Close, Dan Duquette Trade Words Regarding Dexter Fowler
Dexter Fowler signed a one-year deal with the Cubs on Thursday, a few days after seemingly agreeing to terms on a three-year deal with the Orioles.

Brittany Ghiroli/MLB

Austin Jackson Rejected Offer From Angels
The Angels recently offered Austin Jackson a one-year deal worth between $5 million and $6 million, but it was rejected.

Alden Gonzalez/MLB

Report: Jose Bautista Seeking More Than $150M
In the wake of Jose Bautista's denial that he is seeking a contract extension of five years and $150 million, two reports claim the Blue Jays outfielder is actually looking for a larger deal.

Richard Griffin/Toronto Star

Aroldis Chapman To Receive Suspension In Coming Days
The report didn't include the length of the ban, but the left-hander "will get a ban."

Jon Heyman/CBS Sports

Robinson Cano Responds To Criticism From Former Coach
Robinson Cano addressed former assistant hitting coach Andy Van Slyke's offseason criticism of him before the first full-squad workout of spring training.

Associated Press

Cubs Trade Chris Coghlan To A's For Aaron Brooks
Chris Coghlan, 30, was projected to be Chicago's fourth outfielder.

Carrie Muskat/MLB

Nationals Aren't Negotiating Extension With Bryce Harper
Mike Rizzo says the Nationals are not negotiating a contract extension for Bryce Harper with agent Scott Boras.

Chelsea James/Washington Post

MLB, Union Ban Rolling Blocks By Baserunners
Major League Baseball and the players' union have banned rolling block slides to break up potential double plays.

ESPN

Domonic Brown Signs With Blue Jays
The Blue Jays have signed Domonic Brown to a Minor League contract.

Associated Press

Dexter Fowler Surprises With Return To Cubs
Dexter Fowler was linked to the Orioles on a three-year deal earlier this week.

ESPN

John Henry: Red Sox Will Rely Less On Analytics
Red Sox principal owner John Henry revealed Wednesday that the club is de-emphasizing its reliance on analytics in making major decisions.

Nick Cafardo/Boston Globe

Dodgers Keeping Corey Seager At Shortstop
Corey Seager saw some time at third base last year and scouts have always speculated whether his 6-foot-4 frame would be better suited to third base than shortstop.

Ken Gurnick/MLB

Mike Trout Wants To Steal More Bases
As Mike Trout has become more and more of a power hitter, his stolen bases have decreased.

Alden Gonzalez/MLB

Cole Hamels Sues Promoter Over Victoria's Secret Show
Cole Hamels is suing a London-based event promoter after he wasn't able to attend last year's Victoria's Secret fashion show.

Associated Press

Giancarlo Stanton Trying New Bat To Ease Pressure On Hands
Giancarlo Stanton is trying out a new bat this spring after missing the second half of last season with a broken hand.

ESPN

Yovani Gallardo Signs Restructured Deal With Orioles
The deal is worth $22 million, according to a league source, and could end up being worth $33 million over three years.

ESPN

Orioles Concerned About Yovani Gallardo's Shoulder
The possible snag in the agreement between the Orioles and Yovani Gallardo is over the right-hander's shoulder, according to a report.

Eduardo A. Encina/Baltimore Sun

Cliff Lee Won't Pitch In 2016, Leaning Towards Retirement
Cliff Lee, 37, has not pitched in the Major Leagues since 2014 because of a torn flexor tendon that forced him to undergo surgery and sit out the 2015 season.

ESPN