The Chicago Cubs hope Dexter Fowler will provide outfield strength and spark at the top of the batting order. ”He does control the strike zone really well,” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said Monday after acquiring Fowler from the Houston Astros for infielder Luis Valbuena and right-hander Dan Straily. Fowler, 28, hit .276 with eight homers and 35 RBIs last year in his only season with the Astros, who obtained him from Colorado for outfielder Brandon Barnes and right-hander Jordan Lyles.

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Post info: By TheSmallBallWay on January 19th, 2015
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Starting pitchers Alex Cobb and Drew Smyly and centerfielder Desmond Jennings were among eight Tampa Bay Rays avoiding salary arbitration hearings by agreeing to one-year contracts on Friday. Cobb, who moved to the front of the rotation after 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner David Price was traded to Detroit last summer, will earn $4 million. Smyly, one of the players the Rays received in the Price deal, will receive $2.65 million with an opportunity to earn more in bonuses. Jake McGee will make $3.55 million and bullpen mate Kevin Jepsen $3,025,000.

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Post info: By TheSmallBallWay on January 18th, 2015
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The White Sox have agreed to a $9.8 million, one-year contract with pitcher Jeff Samardzija and avoided arbitration. Chicago also agreed to a $2,675,000, one-year deal with catcher Tyler Flowers on Friday, giving the White Sox contracts with all their arbitration-eligible players. He was 7-13 with a 2.99 ERA with the Chicago Cubs and Oakland last year. The White Sox acquired him from the Athletics at baseball’s winter meetings in December, one of several big moves by a team eyeing a jump after two losing seasons.

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Post info: By TheSmallBallWay on January 17th, 2015
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Right fielder Josh Reddick and new third baseman Brett Lawrie were among the players to reach one-year contracts with the Oakland Athletics on Friday and avoid arbitration. Reddick is set to earn $4.1 million in 2015, up from $2.7 million last year, while Lawrie gets a boost from $516,000 to $1,925,000. Lawrie joined the A’s in late November in the trade with Toronto that sent All-Star third baseman Josh Donaldson to the Blue Jays. Right-hander Ryan Cook ($1.4 million), and outfielders Sam Fuld ($1.75 million) and Craig Gentry ($1.6 million) also agreed to one-year contracts.

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Post info: By TheSmallBallWay on January 17th, 2015
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The Indians agreed to one-year contracts with outfielder Brandon Moss, right-hander Bryan Shaw and right-hander Josh Tomlin on Friday, avoiding arbitration a year after they had two cases go to hearings. Cleveland reached deals with all six of its players in arbitration. The Indians agreed with right-hander Carlos Carrasco ($2,337,500), left-hander Marc Rzepczynski ($2.4 million) and third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall ($2.25 million) on Thursday.

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Post info: By TheSmallBallWay on January 16th, 2015
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A federal appeals court upheld the dismissal of antitrust claims in a lawsuit by the city of San Jose against Major League Baseball, which accused the sport of illegally blocking a proposed move of the Oakland Athletics to the area. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously Thursday that the claims were barred by baseball’s antitrust exemption, established by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1922 and upheld in 1953 and 1972. San Jose sued MLB in June 2013 for conspiring to block the relocation.

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Post info: By TheSmallBallWay on January 16th, 2015
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For the moment, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo plans to head into next season with newly acquired Yunel Escobar at second base and possible free-agent-to-be Ian Desmond at shortstop. ”Our approach with Ian Desmond has not changed one bit since the end of last season. Ian Desmond is our shortstop. ”With that said, (for) Ian Desmond – or any other player on the roster – if a deal comes up that we can’t refuse, we’ll always look to improve ourselves for 2015 and beyond,” he said.

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Post info: By TheSmallBallWay on January 15th, 2015
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SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — After his second knee operation in a less than year, Manny Machado thinks he’ll be ready to play when the Baltimore Orioles start spring training next month.

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Post info: By TheSmallBallWay on January 15th, 2015
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The Nationals have acquired infielder Yunel Escobar from the Athletics for All-Star reliever Tyler Clippard. The A’s picked up Escobar from Tampa Bay, along with Ben Zobrist, in a trade Saturday that sent catcher John Jaso and two minor leaguers to the Rays. Escobar hit .258 with seven homers and 39 RBIs for Tampa Bay last season. The Nationals have been looking for a starting second baseman, and Escobar started 20 games there in 2007.

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Post info: By TheSmallBallWay on January 14th, 2015
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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Right-hander Jesse Chavez and the Oakland Athletics have agreed to a $2.15 million, one-year contract that avoided salary arbitration.

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Post info: By TheSmallBallWay on January 13th, 2015
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