– Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com was told by baseball sources that Cardinals’ GM John Mozeliak expects to meet with 1B Albert Pujols’ agent, Dan Lozano, before the end of the GMs’ meetings in Milwaukee this week. ”Dan and I have touched based with one another, but we haven’t had a face-to-face (meeting) or anything of that nature. At some point, we will. Our goal is to try to find a way to keep Albert Pujols, and that’s what we’ll focus on as we move forward.” Pujols reportedly rejected a 9-year/$210M deal from the Cardinals before talks broke off in February, but Crasnick was told by a source that the Cards’ offer didn’t top the $200M mark.
– According to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com, the Red Sox have made an offer to DH David Ortiz. Details are unclear, but the Red Sox have been in touch with Ortiz’s representatives over the past few days. The Boston Globe is reporting that the Red Sox are scheduled to meet with Ortiz’s agent, Fern Cuza, on Tuesday night, so it’s possible more progress will be made. Ortiz, 36 on Friday, made $12.5M this season while batting .309/.398/.554 with 29 homers, 96 RBI and a .953 OPS. He is likely hoping for a similar salary on a multi-year contract.
– Reds’ GM Walt Jocketty re-iterated Tuesday that he has no plans to trade 1B Joey Votto this winter. Jocketty added that his goal is to sign Votto to a contract extension within the next year. The 28-year-old is set to earn $9M next season and $17M in 2013 before becoming a free agent.
– Jon Heyman of SI.com hears that the Rangers intend to move RHP Neftali Feliz into the starting rotation next season. GM Jon Daniels has previously said that he wants to make a decision on the matter before spring training, although nothing is official yet. Previous reports have indicated that Feliz would potentially stay as the closer if the Rangers keep LHP C.J. Wilson or sign another free agent starter, but it now appears that the move will happen regardless of where Wilson signs. If Feliz is indeed moved to the rotation, Texas will likely bid on a free agent closer.
– Ken Davidoff of NY Newsday writes that the Rays “haven’t ruled out” re-signing DH Johnny Damon. The Rays reportedly “liked his offense” and “loved his personality,” but it will ultimately come down to how much he’s asking for. Damon, 38, made $5.25M this season while batting .261/.326/.418 to go along with 16 homers, 73 RBI and a .743 OPS over 647 plate appearances.
– The Twins have signed SS Jamey Carroll to a 2-year/$6.75M contract. Carroll, 38 in February, is expected to be the new starting shortstop next season. He has batted .290 with a .368 on-base percentage over the past two years with LA and is a great defensive player, so he should work fine as a short-term plug.
– According to Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com, the Cubs have had multiple discussions with the agent for LHP Mark Buehrle. Buehrle, 33 in March, has spent his entire career with the ChiSox. The Marlins have been his most prominent suitor until now, but he is reportedly drawing interest from as many as 10 teams.
– Ken Davidoff of NY Newsday reports that the Mets are interested in free agent RHP Jason Marquis. The Mets reportedly view him as a replacement for LHP Chris Capuano, who is hoping for a multi-year contract this winter. Marquis, 33, posted a 4.43 ERA over 23 starts this season between the Nationals and D’Backs before suffering a fractured right fibula in mid-August. Marquis is believed to be looking for a 1-year contract in order to bounce back before becoming a free agent again following next season.
– White Sox’ GM Ken Williams said Tuesday that LHP Chris Sale will be in the starting rotation next season. Sale has pitched exclusively out of the bullpen, posting a 2.58 ERA and 111/37 K/BB ratio over 94 1/3 innings. The ChiSox used a six-man rotation for most of the season, but a hole could open up if LHP Mark Buehrle signs elsewhere.
– Red Sox’ GM Ben Cherington will travel to the Dominican Republic on Friday to see Cuban OF Yoenis Cespedes. Cespedes, 26, has already drawn heavy interest from around the game and is expected to have a private workout with the Cubs this week. While it could take up to two months for him to be declared a free agent in MLB, he is reportedly seeking a contract similar to the $30.25M deal that Reds’ LHP Aroldis Chapman signed in 2010.
– Red Sox’ OF Josh Reddick (left wrist) underwent surgery Tuesday to repair torn cartilage. Reddick will rest for 3 weeks before beginning a rehab program, but should be ready for spring training. The 24-year-old batted .280/.327/.457 with seven homers, 28 RBI and a .784 OPS over 278 plate appearances with the Red Sox this season.
– According to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times, Brewers’ hitting coach Dale Sveum will have his second interview for the Cubs’ managerial vacancy on Tuesday. The Cubs have also spoken with Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux, Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar, Jr., Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin and Red Sox bench coach DeMarlo Hale. Sveum is also scheduled for his second interview with the Red Sox on Wednesday.
– The D’Backs have officially signed 2B Aaron Hill to a 2-year/$11M contract. The D-Backs declined Hill’s $8M options for 2012 and 2013 last month. The 29-year-old enjoyed success after being acquired from the Jays in August, batting .315/.386/.492 with two homers, 16 RBI and an .878 OPS over 142 plate appearances.
– The Dodgers have reportedly signed C Matt Treanor to a 1-year/$1M contract. Treanor, 35, batted just .214/.338/.291 over 242 plate appearances between the Royals and Rangers this season.
– Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that the Twins have made contact with Matt Sosnick, the agent for C Ryan Doumit and C Josh Willingham. Talks are considered preliminary, but if the team can’t re-sign OF Michael Cuddyer, you can bet they’ll push harder for Doumit and Willingham. Doumit is a poor defensive catcher, but also has experience playing first base and right field. Willingham, who hit 29 homers with Oakland this season, could be out of Minny’s price range.
– According to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the market for free agent SS Rafael Furcal “may be moving past” the Cardinals’ comfort level. The Cards were hoping to re-sign the 34-year-old, who batted .255/.316/.418 with 17 homers and 16 RBI in 50 games this year with the Cards. But Furcal has drawn enough interest to where he might be priced out of the Cardinals’ range. The Brewers are known to be in the running.
– 2B Neil Walker’s extension talks with the Pirates have “cooled,” according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The two sides were discussing a long-term contract back in August, but those talks have stopped. Walker isn’t even eligible for salary arbitration yet and is under team control through 2016, so the Pirates probably aren’t in much of a hurry. He batted .273 with 12 home runs and a .742 OPS across 159 games this past season for Pittsburgh.
– FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Padres have signed OF Mark Kotsay to a 1-year/$1.25M contract. The 35-year-old batted .270/.329/.373 in 255 plate appearances this past year for the Brewers.
– The Stars have placed D Alex Goligoski (broken thumb) on the IR. Goligoski was injured in a 3-1 loss at Pittsburgh. There was no immediate word on how long he’ll be out. Through 15 games this season, Goligoski is averaging 21:10 and is 2-4-6.
– Oilers’ D Ryan Whitney (sprained right knee) is roughly 2 weeks away from returning, while D Cam Barker (sprained ankle) is expected to miss the next month. Whitney missed the last nine games with a sprained right knee that has plagued him since 2008-09. He’s only played in four of the Oilers’ 17 games this season. Barker suffered the injury in Thursday’s 6-3 loss to the Bruins. The 25-year-old missed three games earlier this season with a shoulder injury and has one goal in 12 games.
– Panthers’ F Mikael Samuelsson (groin/visa) isn’t expected to make his debut with the team until next week at the earliest.
– Following his return to WWE RAW on Monday, THQ announced that Mick Foley will be a downloadable character in the upcoming WWE ’12 video game.
– Dolph Ziggler will pull double duty for the second consecutive WWE pay-per-view event as he is now slated to defend the United States Championship against Zack Ryder this Sunday at Survivor Series. He will also compete in the 5-on-5 Traditional Survivor Series Tag Team Match featuring Team Orton vs. Team Barrett. The updated card is as follows:
John Cena and The Rock vs. The Miz and R-Truth
World Heavyweight Championship Match: Mark Henry (c) vs. Big Show
WWE Championship Match: Alberto Del Rio vs. CM Punk
5-on-5 Traditional Survivor Series Tag Team Match: Team Orton (Randy Orton, Sheamus, Mason Ryan, Kofi Kingston and Sin Cara) vs. Team Barrett (Wade Barrett, Cody Rhodes, Jack Swagger, Hunico and Dolph Ziggler)
Divas Championship Match: Beth Phoenix (c) vs. Eve
United States Championship Match: Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. Zack Ryder
– The ratings are in for Monday’s 3-Hour “RAW Gets Rocked” edition of WWE RAW. The 3-hour broadcast drew a 3.25 rating with an average of 4.74 million viewers. The final two hours (RAW’s usual timeslot) did a strong 3.37 rating (4.95 million viewers), up from recent weeks. Here are the hourly numbers:
Hour 1: 4.31 million viewers
Hour 2: 5.00 million viewers
Hour 3: 4.91 million viewers
Once again, for the 9th time in the past 12 weeks, RAW lost viewership in the final hour.
USA Network executive Ted Linhart tweeted the following about Monday’s RAW ratings:
“Key 18-49 demo 8:00 p.m.=2.1M (best 8:00 p.m. Raw hour since June 09) 9:00 p.m.=2.55M (best since May) 10:00 p.m.=2.6M (best since April)… Full Raw show=2.44M P18-49 & 4.7M total viewers making USA #1 cable ent. net by large margins, attracting more men than some bdcasters.”
– WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross tweeted on Tuesday afternoon that he’s not scheduled to be at Sunday’s Survivor Series pay-per-view:
“I’m not booked at Survivor Series @this time. I am booked in Waco to see OU-Baylor Sat. IF I set up sauce stand @ MSG Sunday, wud u come by?”
– Mick Foley has addressed the Rock Bottom he took from The Rock on Monday’s RAW. Foley tweeted on Tuesday afternoon:
“Why did (The Rock) layeth the smacketh down on my candy ass? I just wanted a hug. I bet he’s feeling quite a bit of remorse right now.”
– Maria Kanellis announced during last night’s AfterBuzzTV broadcast for Monday Night Raw that she will be returning to the squared circle on February 25, 2012 for New York City based promotion Family Wrestling Entertainment. It will be her first match in two years and outside of WWE—she last competed at the February 23, 2010 WWE Superstars taping. She was released from her contract with WWE three days after the event and recently resurfaced on the wrestling scene to support her boyfriend, Ring of Honor talent Mike Bennett, at independent shows. She stated last Tuesday on Facebook that she had resumed wrestling training.
– Former WWE star Kenny Dykstra worked a dark match at tonight’s SmackDown taping in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He put over Justin Gabriel.