– According to ESPN’s Jason Stark, the Marlins still plan to make an aggressive run at free agent 1B Albert Pujols over the next few days, even after committing 6-years/$111M to SS Jose Reyes. The Fish have constantly downplayed their chances at signing both Reyes and Pujols, but that’s obviously not the case. According to the report, one source who spoke with the Marlins’ brass said Sunday that Reyes’ contract was structured in a way that would enable them to sign one more prominent free agent, with El Hombre atop the list. The Marlins met with Pujols in Miami before Thanksgiving, just days after a similar session with Reyes, and made the free-agent first baseman a nine-year offer for considerably less than the reported 9-year/$198M offer from the Cardinals that Pujols turned down last winter. Miami, however, is apparently prepared to up their offer, just as they did with Reyes, assuming Pujols shows genuine interest in signing with the Marlins. Of note, Pujols’ agent is expected to meet with the Cardinals on Monday. Stay tuned.
– Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post reports that the Phillies are “strong players” for 3B Aramis Ramirez. While 3B Placido Polanco remains under contract for the 2012 season and has an option for 2013, A-Ram would be a massive offensive upgrade over a declining veteran. Ramirez, 33, registered a healthy .871 OPS with 26 home runs and 93 RBI in 149 games this past year for the Cubs. He’s also drawing heavy free agent interest from the Angels and Brewers.
– According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Brewers and Cardinals are the Phillies’ primary competition for SS Jimmy Rollins. Olney is expecting Rollins to ultimately return to Philadelphia, and reported earlier Monday morning that GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has already been in talks with Rollins’ agent at the Winter Meetings. Rollins, 33, batted .268/.338/.399 with 16 homers and 30 stolen bases in 142 games this past season.
– According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Dodgers and LHP Clayton Kershaw have discussed a long-term deal. The negotiations are still in the preliminary stage, as Kershaw is eligible for arbitration for the first time this winter and is under team control through 2014. He may prefer to go year-to-year, which may also be best for the club until their ownership situation is settled. Kershaw won the NL Cy Young Award this past season with a sparkling 2.28 ERA and 248 strikeouts.
– According to Jason Stark of ESPN.com, Marlins’ SS Hanley Ramirez has agreed to shift to third base in light of the team signing SS Jose Reyes. Emilio Bonifacio and Chris Coughlan will split time in centrefield.
– According to Steve Henson of Yahoo! Sports, the D’Backs are “after” free agent RHP Hiroki Kuroda. Kuorda is thought to be seeking a contract worth $12-13M annually. The Cubs, Rockies and Angels are also known to have interest, and there’s been some speculation that Kuroda might return home to Japan. There’s also a belief that the only MLB club Kuroda will play for is the Dodgers. Kuroda posted a strong 3.07 ERA in 32 starts this past year for Los Angeles.
– According to the John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, reports suggesting that the Giants submitted a bid for Japanese SS Hiroyuki Nakajima are “not accurate.” FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi reported Monday morning that the Giants made a posting offer for the 29-year-old, but the Giants’ front office is denying it. Nakajima batted .297 with 16 home runs, 100 RBI and 21 stolen bases this past year in Japan.
– The Nets have been “the most aggressive suitor” for F Nene. They feel Nene would complement F Brook Lopez well, and with lots of salary cap space available, the club will do everything possible to get G Deron Williams to sign a long-term extension.
– Wizards’ F Andray Blatche (shoulder) is still only about 75 -80% healthy. ”It’s a process. I’m in good shape. By the time I get done working out with Joe and going into training camp, I should be ready.” He should still be fine for the regular season.
– Kevin Nash stated this evening on Twitter that he’s packing his wrestling gear for tomorrow night’s Raw SuperShow in Tampa, Florida. As of Saturday, both Nash and Triple H were scheduled for the event. The official website for the St. Pete Times Forum removed Triple H from advertising today after he had been scheduled for the show. He wrote,
“Made up my mind, packing my wresteling gear. Someones getting a beat down in Tampa tomorrow night on Raw.”