After a couple of slow weeks to begin the offseason, things are really starting to pick up across Major League Baseball. On Sunday, two notable free agents signed contracts while a couple of trade and free agency rumors started to gain traction.
Jhonny Peralta signs 4-year, $53 million deal with Cardinals
There's a new shortstop in St. Louis. In what is being viewed by most as a win-now move for the Cardinals, veteran shortstop Jhonny Peralta agreed to a four-year deal with the Redbirds to replace Pete Kozma on the infield. Peralta is coming off a 50-game suspension for his involvement with Biogenesis, and some are skeptical of the deal, including a couple of professional players who feel cheating is being rewarded by big pay days.
Peralta has been one of the game's better shortstops over the last three years, batting .278/.334/.438 with solid work in the field. He will turn 32 next May, so there's a pretty good chance his production starts to decline in the coming years.
Jose Molina re-signs with the Rays
Molina has spent the last two years as a part-time starting catcher with the Rays. On Sunday, he re-signed with the club for two more years and $4.5 million.
Molina, 38, has bounced around the big leagues since 1999, and he's appeared in 201 games over the last two seasons while splitting time with Jose Lobaton. While he won't hit for average or much power, he's still solid behind the plate and serves as a valuable veteran presence in the clubhouse.
Marlins eyeing Phil Hughes, Dioner Navarro as free agent fits
Could the Marlins actually spend money this offseason? According to a report, the club is looking at Phil Hughes as a potential veteran starting pitcher to add to their starting rotation. The Fish have a ton of young power arms in their system, but they lack anyone who's really spent more than a full year or two in the big leagues.
Hughes would certainly fit the bill, making 132 starts over the last seven seasons. His career ERA is an unimpressive 4.51, though he's had to deal with the short porches in Yankee Stadium for most of that. A move to spacious Marlins Park could do wonders for his career.
Dioner Navarro could also be an option for Miami. The 29-year-old catcher is coming off a career year, hitting .300 with an .856 OPS in 2013. He would add some punch to a lineup that struggled last season.
Angels interested in Bronson Arroyo, Bartolo Colon
After losing Jason Vargas to the Royals earlier in the week, the Angels are looking to add a starting pitcher to their rotation. Bronson Arroyo and Bartolo Colon are two possible options for the Halos, who went 78-84 last season despite having one of the highest payrolls in baseball.
Arroyo, 36, has a career 4.19 ERA over 355 starts. He's been incredibly durable throughout his career, tossing at least 199 innings in every season since 2005.
Colon, 40, is coming off two very solid seasons with the Athletics. It would seem he's due for a one-year deal given his age and declining velocity, though he may be able to pull off a club or mutual option for the second year given how weak the starting pitching market is this winter.
Blue Jays looking for starting pitcher, not discussing Bautista trade
Toronto always seems to be one of the busier clubs in baseball each offseason. While they haven't done anything yet, it seems general manager Alex Anthopoulos is actively looking to improve his starting rotation. Anthopoulos also said the club isn't even thinking about dealing sluggers Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion despite a few reports earlier in the offseason.
In 2013, the Blue Jays ranked 25th in team ERA at 4.26.