The Atlanta Braves are close to signing free agent starting pitcher Gavin Floyd, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Terms of a potential deal have not yet been reported, but it is likely to be an incentive-laden one-year pact given the right-hander's injury status.
Floyd made only five starts in 2013 before undergoing Tommy John surgery in May. He has appeared in 199 games (187 starts) during his 10-year career, posting an even 70-70 record, a 4.48 ERA and a perfectly average 100 ERA+; he is essentially the epitome of a league-average starter. He had also been quite durable until his recent elbow operation, making at least 29 starts every year from 2008-12 and throwing at least 187 innings in each season from 2008-11.
Floyd, who turns 31 in January, is likely to miss the beginning of the 2014 season while his arm recovers. If he does indeed sign with Atlanta, he will join a rotation that features Kris Medlen, Mike Minor, Julio Teheran and Brandon Beachy, all of whom are under 29 years of age. The Braves already lost veteran Tim Hudson, who signed with the Giants as a free agent in November, and they may lose Paul Maholm to free agency as well, so Floyd could slot in as the inning-eating veteran on a young staff. Floyd spent the last seven seasons with the Chicago White Sox.
Yankees interested in
The Yankees are still searching for a second baseman after losing homegrown superstar Robinson Cano to the Seattle Mariners as a free agent and watching their top back-up plan, Omar Infante, sign a four-year deal with the Kansas City Royals on Friday. New York does have Kelly Johnson as an option at second, but the 31-year-old's bat and glove are both likely league-average at best at this point in his career.
Barney, on the other hand, is as talented on one side of the field as he is futile on the other side. The 28-year-old is one of the top defensive second basemen in baseball; he won a Gold Glove in 2012 and posted gaudy defensive metrics in each of the last two seasons. However, he is a complete zero with the bat. He hit .208/.266/.303 in 2013, and has a career .628 OPS in 470 games over four seasons with Chicago. If the Yankees were to acquire him and pair him with Brendan Ryan up the middle, then they could sport the most extreme all-defense, no-offense middle infield in baseball.
Barney is eligible for arbitration this winter, and MLB Trade Rumors estimates his 2014 salary at $2.1 million. This raise in compensation could prompt the rebuilding Cubs to deal the one-dimensional defensive whiz, especially with 21-year-old top prospect Javier Baez knocking on the door after posting a .983 OPS in 54 games in Double-A last season. It is unclear what the Yankees might send to Chicago in a potential deal for Barney.
Burnett pitched well for the Pittsburgh Pirates over the last two seasons, posting a 107 ERA+ in each campaign, but the right-hander has been contemplating retirement this winter. After earning a label as an injury-prone hurler in his twenties, Burnett has been extremely durable in his thirties; he has made at least 30 starts and thrown at least 186 innings in each of his last six seasons, covering ages 31-36. He has also turned in roughly league-average production during that span of time, posting a 4.20 ERA, a 98 ERA+ and a 2.40 strikeout-to-walk ratio. In 2013, Burnett accrued a 3.30 ERA and 209 strikeouts in 191 innings.
Baltimore could use some help in their rotation after losing Scott Feldman to the Houston Astros as a free agent and watching Jason Hammel explore the open market. The Orioles current stable of starters includes Miguel Gonzalez, Chris Tillman, Bud Norris and Wei-Yin Chen, each of whom is under 30 years of age, so there is still room for a veteran hurler on the staff. Cotillo reports that the team is waiting to hear back from Burnett before exploring any other options, so he appears to be their top choice on the free-agent market.
McGehee spent the 2013 season playing for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japan's NPB, where he was a teammate of pitching phenom Masahiro Tanaka and former major leaguer Andruw Jones. He batted .292/.376/.515 in 144 games, and his 28 home runs were tied for the second-most in the six-team Pacific League. The Golden Eagles won last season's Japan Series, which is the equivalent of MLB's World Series.
The 31-year-old McGehee spent five seasons in the major leagues before leaving for Japan. He showed promise at the plate for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2009 (.301 batting average) and 2010 (23 home runs, 104 RBI), but was unable to maintain his success long-term. Overall, he batted .257/.314/.414 with 61 home runs in 551 career games, and he played below-average defense which improved somewhat over time. He last played in the majors in 2012 -- he split the season between the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Yankees and posted a .643 OPS in 114 games.
The Marlins used Placido Polanco as their primary third baseman in 2013, but he hit poorly and is a free agent. They were interested in free agent Juan Uribe, but he signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday.