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MLB roundup: Mark Mulder looking for 'creative' contract to return to majors, per report

The left-hander hasn't pitched in the majors since 2008.

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Free agent starting pitcher Mark Mulder is looking for a "creative" contract as he continues to eye a return to the major leagues, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Cafardo reports that Mulder has worked out for the Giants, Padres, Diamondbacks, Angels and Phillies, and will likely have to settle for an incentive-laden minor league deal in order to make his comeback.

The 36-year-old Mulder pitched for nine seasons for the Oakland Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals, but his career was cut short after 2008 due to repeated shoulder injuries. The left-hander accrued a 103-60 record in 205 games with a 4.18 ERA (106 ERA+), mostly in Oakland as part of Billy Beane's vaunted Big Three. His career highlights included a pair of All-Star bids, an All-Star start in 2004, a second-place Cy Young finish in his 21-win 2001 season and a 2.34 ERA in seven postseason starts.

Cafardo reports that Mulder's velocity hit 92 mph in his second workout session after sitting at 88 in his first session. During his peak with the A's, his average fastball velocity was around 89-90 mph. Most importantly, he has not shown any signs of discomfort in the shoulder that gave him so many problems during his career.

Other MLB notes

- If Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka is posted this winter, then it could happen as soon as Christmas Eve, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America. However, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times (via Japanese newspaper Nikkan Gendai) suggests that the Rakuten Golden Eagles may wait a bit longer to post their star in order to capitalize on the dollar/yen exchange rate. If he is posted, then the teams who seem most likely to sign him include the Yankees, Diamondbacks and Cubs, according to Edward Creech of MLB Trade Rumors.

- James Loney is one step closer to finalizing his three-year, $21 million contract with the Tampa Bay Rays, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. The two sides are still finishing up the final details of the deal.

Jonah Keri of Grantland notes that the market for Kendrys Morales has been suppressed due to the draft pick compensation connected with him. Keri points out the Rangers as a potential destination for Morales, especially since Texas has already lost its top draft pick after signing Shin-Soo Choo.

From around the network

Nico of Athletics Nation responds to the following statement made by Brad Johnson of FanGraphs regarding young starter Sonny Gray: "If I had to pick a single young pitcher in the game who has the best chance to become a Cliff Lee quality ace, it would be Gray."

RijoSaboCaseyWKRP of Red Reporter takes a look at life after Shin-Soo Choo.

Daniel Russell of DRays Bay notes that Tampa Bay's team doctor was not concerned by the results of Grant Balfour's MRI; the team could be in the running to sign the closer after the Orioles opted against giving him a multi-year contract.

Dajafi of The Good Phight investigates the value of Kyle Kendrick, who has been tendered a contract by Philadelphia and is in line to make around $6.6 million in 2014.

Danny Rockett of Bleed Cubbie Blue gives us the 12 days of Cubs Winter.

Tom Dakers of Bluebird Banter hopes that Toronto has a plan at second base beyond Ryan Goins and Maicer Izturis.

Timothy De Block of The Crawfish Boxes explores the Coors Field effect on defensive metrics in order to determine if Dexter Fowler is a better defender than his numbers suggest.

Azruavatar of Viva El Birdos checks in on the Cardinals' long-term strategy, with a specific look at the team's trade of David Freese.

- No matter what you're doing today, there is always an extra minute to watch Wade Boggs throw knuckleballs. Andrew Mearns of Pinstripe Alley has the goods.

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