Hudson endorses Felipe Lopez
Ex-D-back is a big fan of what his friend will bring to Arizona
Orlando Hudson gave a strong endorsement to the player who will likely replace him at second base with the Diamondbacks.
Arizona and Felipe Lopez have agreed on terms for a one-year contract. Lopez, a former All-Star, was released by the Nationals last July but was picked up by the Cardinals and batted .385 with a .426 on-base average in 43 games for the remainder of the season.
"Arizona's in for a treat because you're getting a great player," Hudson, who has known Lopez since both were first-year professionals in the Toronto organization in 1998 and included Lopez in his wedding party last month, told the Arizona Republic. "He's the type of guy who has the talent to be an All-Star every year."
Rhodes finds his match with Reds: Arthur Rhodes had several options to pick from this offseason, as multiple teams reportedly offered him a job. But, in the end, it was the Cincinnati Reds that landed Rhodes, thanks in part to both the proximity to his home and his belief in their pitching staff.
"It's close to my house," Rhodes, who lives in Baltimore in the offseason, told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "They've got a lot of young guys here. They have a chance to be good.
"I feel good. I'll come and do my job. They've got a good starting staff."
Vazquez eager to show abilities; Ramon Vazquez doesn't harbor illusions about winning a starting role with the Pirates, but he knows he can bring a few much-needed attributes to his new club on the field and in the clubhouse.
"Look, I've been a utility guy for five or six years now, and I'm a guy who can play any position, from first to third," Vazquez told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "If a guy goes down for a month or two, I can perform for you there. If I go out there for just a couple days to take the place of a guy who's struggling, maybe I'll open that player's eyes. Maybe I'll show him what he should be doing."
And that includes both on and off the field.
"Sometimes, you need a guy like me, on the field and in the clubhouse," he added. "I know this is a young team, but that's fine. Look at the teams that have been successful the past few years. Look at Tampa Bay. You have to have talent, but you also have to do things the right way, and you have to believe."
Tampa Bay lands Joyce in trade with Tigers: The Devil Rays dipped into their pitching depth to acquire young left-handed slugger Matt Joyce from the Tigers.
The Rays sent Edwin Jackson to Detroit for Joyce, who will compete with Gabe Gross and Fernando Perez for playing time in right field during Spring Training.
"It's just really a situation where with them, they're so deep with their pitching, and we matched up," Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski told the Tampa Tribune. "We didn't want to trade Matt Joyce; we like Matt Joyce. But we do have depth in the outfield."
Splitting time between Triple-A Toledo and Detroit last season, Joyce hit 12 home runs in 92 games for the Tigers. Currently playing for Mexicali in Mexico, he is hitting .291 with eight home runs and 25 RBIs in 30 games.
Ibanez signs three-year deal with Phillies: Former Mariners outfielder Raul Ibanez agreed on terms of a three-year contract with the Phillies. Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik was hoping to retain Ibanez but had nothing but warm wishes for the player.
"I have a great deal of respect and admiration for what Raul did as a Mariner," Zduriencik told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "My big regret is that I never was here when he was doing it. But it's a great deal for him.
"I want to congratulate him, because he deserves this."
Burnett gives Yankees more reason for excitement: Yankees co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner is more then excited to add A.J. Burnett to a pitching rotation that includes CC Sabathia, Chien-Ming Wang and Joba Chamberlain.
"I can sense the excitement and the confidence that's spreading around the entire organization about what we're getting done and what we may get done still," Steinbrenner told the Newsday. "A rising tide lifts all boats, and the confidence and the excitement right now among the team and the organization is contagious."
Bradley gets support from Perry: As the Chicago Cubs continue their search for one more outfielder, the name Milton Bradley continues to pop up. While nothing has yet been completed, Chicago hitting coach Gerald Perry says he'd love to have Bradley on the team.
"He's a competitor, and at times you would have to say he might have to tone it down a little bit," Perry told the Chicago Sun-Times.
"... If I had to have somebody with me in a foxhole or know somebody had my back, I'd take him."
Wood's relief success helps him land with Indians: After spending several seasons as a starting pitcher with the Chicago Cubs, Kerry Wood moved to the bullpen and eventually into the closer's role -- and in 2008 notched 34 saves. That success and his status as a free agent has landed Wood with a new team -- the Cleveland Indians.
"The change of roles benefited him," Cleveland general manager Mark Shapiro told the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Hernandez ready for another new role: It's a new uniform but a familiar role for Ramon Hernandez.
"I've been through this before," Hernandez told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "Oakland, San Diego, Baltimore, my whole career -- I think it will be a lot of fun. It's about good communication, finding out what they like to do and what they don't. The most important thing is to have good communication. That sets up everything."
Hernandez was acquired last week in exchange for outfielder Ryan Freel and two Minor Leaguers.
Farnsworth believes Royals can surprise: Newly signed Kyle Farnsworth believes the Royals have enough talent to surprise some people in 2009 and thinks that his presence could help some of the younger guys on the team.
"Maybe they're the next Tampa Bay," Farnsworth told the Kansas City Star. "Nobody expected Tampa Bay to do anything [last season]. Maybe I come there and hopefully bring a veteran presence to the bullpen, help the guys down there, and good things can happen."
Nelson to test free agency: The Marlins did not tender a contract to reliever Joe Nelson, which made him a free agent. The West Palm Beach, Fla., native was torn between the desire to play for his hometown team and the knowledge he was worth more money than what the Marlins would be willing to pay him.
"It's a double-edged sword," Nelson, who went 3-1 with a 2.00 ERA in 59 games, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "I really wanted to play for the Marlins. I'm a local guy. The other side of that is there are more chances and possibly a little more money [in free agency]. Even if it's a miniscule amount, it comes down to just wanting fair market value for the season I produced. This could be one of my few opportunities to actually do that."
Harris back with Nats for two years: The Nationals avoided a potential arbitration case with Willie Harris, signing the utility player to a two-year contract.
"I tell you what, for me personally this was a dream come true," Harris told the Washington Times. "This is a great organization. I love the way things are shaping up for me."
Padres add Cabrera, Nova: The San Diego Padres added two players in the Rule 5 draft, selecting shortstop Everth Cabrera from the Colorado organization and right-handed pitcher Ivan Nova from the Yankees. Cabrera stole 73 bases at Class A Asheville last year.
"He will get a solid look in Spring Training," Padres general manager Kevin Towers told the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Nova, who hits 95 mph with his fastball, was 8-13 with a 4.36 ERA for Class A Tampa last season.
Astros pick Palmisano in Rule 5 draft: Looking to find catching depth, the Houston Astros selected Louis Palmisano from the Baltimore Orioles in the Rule 5 draft. Palmisano will get a chance to backup Humberto Quintero, the projected starting catcher. While his 2008 season was shortened due to an injury, Palmisano hit .405 with two home runs and 13 RBIs in 13 games in the Arizona Fall League.
"We think he has a legitimate chance to come in and compete for that slot alongside Quintero in the catching ranks," general manager Ed Wade told the Houston Chronicle about Palmisano, 26, who bats right-handed. "He had a meniscus tear in Spring Training. Rather than remove the piece, they sutured it back, which is a longer rehab. He missed more time, but he's 100 percent at this point."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.