Chone Figgins eyeing return
Utility man Chone Figgins is looking to sign with an MLB team this offseason after taking the 2013 season off, reports Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.
Figgins plans on working out for teams in Florida later this week in an effort to show he can still play and be of use to a club.
After spending most of his career as a speedy utility player with good on-base skills with the Angels, Figgins signed a four year deal worth $35 million with the Seattle Mariners prior to his age-32 season in 2010. He only managed to play three of those seasons, hitting .227/.302/.283 while gradually losing playing time. He was released by the Mariners prior to 2013. The Miami Marlins picked him up, but cut him at the end of spring training.
Now 35, Figgins is hoping to continue his playing career and wipe away the memories of his performance with Seattle. A team that is looking for depth at multiple positions could take a chance on him despite his poor hitting in recent years. After all, Yuniesky Betancourt is still able to find work.
If a team does take a flier on Figgins, it's almost certain they could get him on a minor league deal with an invite to spring training.
Yankees close to deal with Sizemore
Once a promising young second baseman (who can also play third), Sizemore has played a total of two games since 2011 due to multiple ACL tears. In 2011, his sophomore season, he hit .245/.342/.399 with 11 home runs.
Sizemore certainly fills a position of need for New York. The Yankees are currently without a solid second or third baseman with the losses of Robinson Cano to free agency and Alex Rodriguez to a 162-game suspension.
Sizemore will be given a shot to make the roster in spring training.
Yankees may not make major infield signing
Though they are close to a deal with Sizemore, the Yankees likely will not sign any more infielders to a major league contract this offseason, reports Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
That would mean the Yankees will not sign players that could majorly benefit them at second or third base like Michael Young. It also means they are out on Stephen Drew, whom the team has been eyeing all offseason as Derek Jeter insurance.
New York had made it a goal to stay under the $189 million luxury tax this offseason. After signing Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran, that plan appeared to be in jeopardy. However, Alex Rodriguez's suspension will save them over $27 million next season. Even if they sign Masahiro Tanaka, the Yankees may be in position to stay under the tax limit.
Signing a Young or Drew could once again place them dangerously close to that number, however. Because of that, it looks like the Yankees may be content to see what they have in players like Kelly Johnson, Brendan Ryan, Eduardo Nunez and Sizemore.
Scheppers may move into Rangers rotation
With Derek Holland out until mid-season due to torn cartilage in his knee, the Rangers are scrambling to find a new fifth starter. Enter Scheppers, a former top prospect who had been among the team's top relief pitchers last year. In just his second season, Scheppers pitched in 76 games and posted an outstanding 1.88 ERA and 1.07 WHIP.
Those numbers may have been enough to convince the Rangers to give him a shot at starting now that there is a position available. Unlike many top prospects, he had not primarily been a starter in the minors. In 95 appearances, he started just 12 games.
Brewers slow offseason according to plan
The Milwaukee Brewers have not done much this offseason. In fact, they remain the only team in MLB that has not signed a free agent to a major league deal. General manager Doug Melvin says that the team's quiet offseason was expected at the end of 2013, reports Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The Brewers have gone after a couple of free agents as they have looked to fill their hole at first base. They first attempted to bring back Corey Hart before he took a bigger deal with the Mariners. Milwaukee also offered a contract to James Loney that was reportedly similar to the one he eventually signed to remain with the Rays.
The Brewers' biggest move this offseason has been trading outfielder Norichika Aoki to the Royals for relief pitcher Will Smith. Ryan Braun will now move to right field to open up a spot for Khris Davis, who impressed as a rookie last year.
Melvin says the team is still looking for a first baseman (they are still discussing a potential deal with the Mets involving Ike Davis) and a veteran reliever. For now, however, the team is content going with their younger players to fill holes in the roster.