8:55 p.m.: According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the Reds are “quite interested in 2B Omar Infante, but they obviously need to find a taker for Brandon Phillips, first.”
Infante is one of the top players available on the free-agent market. The 31-year-old second baseman batted .318 with 10 home runs and 51 RBIs in 118 games for the Tigers during the 2013 campaign.
4:54 p.m.: The Grant Balfour market is starting to bubble.
Balfour has been linked to the Orioles over the last few days, and Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that the O’s have made a two-year offer to the fiery righty.
Baltimore has competition, though. Connolly reports that two other teams have made two-year offers to Balfour, with one team reportedly including a third-year vesting option.
4:49 p.m.: The Yankees appear to be in a holding pattern with Omar Infante.
The Yankees offered Infante a three-year deal worth around $24 million, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The problem is that Infante reportedly is looking for a four-year deal worth around $40 million.
4:31 p.m.: There’s some competition brewing over Joaquin Benoit’s services.
The Indians and Padres are both in on Benoit at two years and more than $14 million, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan. San Diego’s offer reportedly might include a third year.
3:22 p.m.: The Orioles are still talking to Grant Balfour, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman. There could be an issue in terms of years, though, as Baltimore reportedly prefers a two-year deal for the reliever.
3:14 p.m.: The Twins already signed Phil Hughes and Ricky Nolasco, but they’re still searching for another starter.
Minnesota’s search includes Matt Garza, Bronson Arroyo, Mike Pelfrey and Paul Maholm, according to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick.
3:07 p.m.: Shin-Soo Choo’s future is still up in the air, but one veteran general manager told USA Today’s Bob Nightengale that he thinks the free-agent outfielder will end up signing with the Astros.
3:04 p.m.: The Rox are eyeing southpaws.
2:58 p.m.: The Padres are making a strong push for reliever Joaquin Benoit, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
2:49 p.m.: The Tigers’ bullpen ended up killing them in the ALCS. Detroit has already added Joe Nathan, and it’ll now add Joba Chamberlain in the hopes that the 28-year-0ld will morph back into a solid late-inning option.
11:34 a.m.: The pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona is headed to Philadelphia.
11:31 a.m.: The Marlins have traded outfielder Justin Ruggiano to the Cubs for outfielder Brian Bogusevic.
11:29 a.m.: Matt Garza’s name has been tossed around more and more as the winter meetings have unfolded. According to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman, there’s a growing feeling amongst major league executives that Garza will sign soon.
Sherman lists the Diamondbacks and Angels as the favorites to land Garza, although Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register says that the Angels aren’t expecting to sign anyone before the meetings end.
11:25 a.m.: Joaquin Benoit is said to be looking for $7-10 million annually, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.
Benoit, who is a free agent, closed games for the Tigers in 2013, but Detroit signed Joe Nathan earlier this offseason to take over that role in 2014.
11:21 a.m.: The Mariners have made waves by adding pieces this offseason, but it appears that they’re also willing to trade away a couple of players.
Justin Smoak and Jesus Montero are available in trades, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.
11:13 a.m.: The Giants are banking on Mike Morse putting it together in 2014.
Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area reports that the Giants have agreed to sign Morse. It’s reportedly a one-year deal, and Morse will earn a base salary of $6 million in 2014, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman.
11:05 a.m.: The most interesting news from the Rule 5 draft — at least from a headlines standpoint — is that Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was drafted in the AAA phase by the Rangers.
Wilson is having an MVP caliber season in the NFL, so he probably won’t jump into baseball any time soon. The option is there, though, as the Rangers can stash him on their roster now that they’ve made the selection.
Wilson was a two-sport athlete before shifting his focus to football. He was drafted in 2007 by the Orioles before attending college, and then again in the fourth round in 2010 by the Rockies.
Wilson, who played second base during his career on the diamond, actually played two seasons in the Rockies’ minor league system before becoming an NFL star.
11:01 a.m.: The annual Rule 5 draft took place Thursday morning. With the first pick, the Astros selected Patrick Schuster from the Diamondbacks.
MLB Trade Rumors provides an excellent breakdown of the Rule 5 draft if you’re unfamiliar with how it works. The gist of it is that players are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft if they aren’t on the 40-man roster four or five years after signing — depending on the age at which they signed. Teams can then select eligible players, but selecting teams must keep those players on their major league roster all season or offer him back to his original team for $25,000.
Here are the results of the major league portion of this year’s Rule 5 draft.
1. Astros select left-hander Patrick Schuster from the Diamondbacks.
2. Marlins did not make a selection.
3. White Sox select catcher Adrian Nieto from the Nationals.
4. Phillies select right-hander Kevin Munson from the Diamondbacks.
5. Twins did not make a selection.
6. Mariners did not make a selection
7. Phillies did not make a selection.
8. Rockies select right-hander Tommy Kahnle from the Yankees.
9. Blue Jays select left-hander Brian Moran from the Mariners
10. Mets select right-hander Seth Rosin from the Phillies.
11. Brewers select left-hander Wei-Chung Wang from the Pirates.
12. Padres did not make a selection.
13. Giants did not make a selection.
14. Angels did not make a selection.
15. Diamondbacks select right-hander Marcos Mateo from the Cubs.
16. Orioles select third baseman Michael Almanzar from the Red Sox.
17. Yankees did not make a selection.
18. Royals did not make a selection.
19. Nationals did not make a selection.
20. Reds did not make a selection.
21. Rangers did not make a selection.
22. Rays did not make a selection.
23. Indians did not make a selection.
24. Dodgers did not make a selection.
25. Tigers did not make a selection.
26. Pirates did not make a selection.
27. Athletics did not make a selection.
28. Braves did not make a selection.
29. Red Sox did not make a selection.
30. Cardinals did not make a selection.
10:25 a.m.: This whole Stephen Drew situation is tough to gauge.
Initially, it looked like Drew would probably sign elsewhere. He’s a good shortstop who is coming off a strong season, so it was reasonable to think that he’d land a lucrative multi-year deal. However, the market for Drew hasn’t really developed yet, which might be because whichever team (besides the Red Sox) signs him needs to relinquish a draft pick due to the qualifying offer that Boston made the shortstop at the beginning of free agency.
The Red Sox certainly have interest in bringing Drew back, as Ben Cherington has said multiple times that he’s not closing the door on a potential return. But according to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford, the Red Sox have not made Drew a formal offer this offseason, other than the one-year, $141. million qualifying offer. Their strategy continues to be, according to Bradford, to wait to see how the market shakes out before looping back with an offer to the shortstop.
10:15 a.m. ET: We’re nearing the end.
The 2013 MLB winter meetings will wrap up Thursday. Barring any last-minute blockbusters, they’ll be remembered more for what didn’t happen, as it’s been a relatively uneventful few days in Orlando.
That being said, there’s still a whole day to make things happen, and there are still a number of potential impact players available on the open market. Shin-Soo Choo, Stephen Drew, Nelson Cruz and Matt Garza, to name a few, are without homes, so perhaps we’ll see things heat up in the coming hours.
The biggest news of Day 3 centered on Bartolo Colon reportedly inking a two-year, $20 million deal with the Mets. The Mariners, meanwhile, continued their busy offseason by reportedly signing Corey Hart and trading for Logan Morrison.
Now, let’s tackle Day 4, shall we?