MLB Roundup: Nelson Cruz receiving interest, Cashner and Padres working on long-term deal?

Justin K. Aller

Cruz may have four or five teams interested in him.

Cruz receiving interest

Free agent outfielder has been receiving increased interest on the free agent market and could have four or five teams willing to sign him, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.

Cruz, 33, has not appeared close to an agreement with anyone all offseason long as he has been asking for a four year, $75 million contract. Between his high asking price and the fact that a signing team would have to forfeit a draft pick, clubs have generally stayed away from Cruz this winter.

Despite playing in just 106 games due to a suspension for his connection to Biogenesis, Cruz still hit 27 home runs for the Rangers in 2013 with a .266/.327/.506. With teams now showing more interest, it's possible he may have lowered his asking price to a more reasonable number.

The Mariners have been among the most oft-mentioned teams interested in Cruz all offseason. The Orioles and Rangers have also been keeping an eye on him.

Padres, Cashner working on long-term deal?

Arbitration-eligible pitcher Andrew Cashner and the San Diego Padres are not close to agreeing on a new contract despite a small difference in the numbers the two sides filed at, reports Bill Center of U-T San Diego.

Cashner filed at $2.4 million while the team offered $2.275 million, a difference of just $125,000. Center believes that the only hold-up on a new deal is the probability the club is trying to work out a long-term contract extension with the pitcher.

Cashner, 27, is in just his first year of arbitration and is still under team control through 2016. He posted a 3.09 ERA over 31 games (26 starts) in 2013.

Even if Cashner and the Padres cannot agree on a multi-year deal, the difference in filed amounts is so small that there is virtually no chance that they go to an arbitration hearing.

Wieters letting agent handle contract talks

While the Orioles face an arbitration battle with Matt Wieters, the catcher has not been directly involved in any contract negotiations, reports Brittany Ghiroli of

Wieters said his focus is on playing while adding, "That's what I have agents for," in regards to negotiating a new deal for the 2014 season. He is currently represented by Scott Boras, notorious in baseball for driving a hard bargain with teams.

Baltimore has been hoping to lock up Wieters long-term, but there has reportedly been no progress in those talks so far. Wieters, along with first baseman Chris Davis, is a free agent after the 2015 season. The Orioles are also hoping to extend Davis and shortstop J.J. Hardy.

Wieters and the Orioles are over $2 million apart in arbitration. Wieters filed for $8.75 million while the club offered $6.5 million.

Crain likely to be on DL to start season

New Houston Astros reliever Jesse Crain said Saturday that he is unlikely to be ready for the start of the regular season, reports Joseph Duarte of the Houston Chronicle.

Crain plans on throwing Monday for the first time since he had October surgery on his right biceps. His hope is to throw in one or two spring training games, then rejoin the team in mid-April having missed just a couple weeks of the season.

He split 2013 between the White Sox and Rays. Over 38 games, he had a 0.74 ERA and was elected to the All Star game before suffering a shoulder injury while still with Chicago. After being traded to Tampa Bay while still injured, he was unable to appear in a game for the Rays. Crain signed a one-year deal worth $3.25 million with Houston earlier in the offseason.

Royals DFA Bonifacio

After officially announcing the signing of starting pitcher Bruce Chen, the Royals designated utility man Emilio Bonifacio for assignment Saturday, reports Pete Grathoff of the Kansas City Star.

Kansas City acquired Bonifacio from the Toronto Blue Jays in August 2013, and he hit .285/.352/.348 over 42 games post-trade. However, he had been hitting very poorly for Toronto earlier in the year and, over seven partial seasons, has eclipsed a 650 OPS just once.

Bonifacio does have value as a speedy pinch-runner and utility player, however. His ability to play nearly every position around the diamond could find him a new job with a team soon. Over his career, the only non-pitching spots he has not played are catcher and first base.

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