MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

Bridich taking measured approach to offseason

Rox willing to listen on Tulo, CarGo, but not intent on shakeup

Bridich taking measured approach to offseason

There's temptation for Rockies first-year general manager Jeff Bridich.

He sees the two-time defending NL West champion Dodgers revamping their lineup, improving their defense up the middle and bringing in veteran depth for the rotation.

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Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pirates win bidding for shortstop Kang

Club has 30-day window to negotiate contract with slugging infielder

Pirates win bidding for shortstop Kang

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Pirates submitted the high bid of $5 million for Korean shortstop Jung-ho Kang, formally accepted Monday by the Nexen Heroes to start the negotiating clock for the hard-hitting infielder.

The Bucs have 30 days to strike a deal with the 27-year-old Kang. Failing to do so would return Kang to Nexen and refund the posting fee to the Pirates.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Can Kang provide plenty of bang for Bucs?

Korean infielder has talent, power to help Pittsburgh make another playoff push

Can Kang provide plenty of bang for Bucs?

When you've signed strong-armed neophytes from India and taught them how to pitch, and when you've invested almost six years in trying to get the first true African to the Major Leagues, no one can be too surprised when you take a shot on a 27-year-old shortstop in his prime, no matter what language he speaks.

Can they?

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Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

AL West movement defined by minor moves

Top-heavy division undergoing subtle changes

AL West movement defined by minor moves

There's been a whole lot of noise out West this winter on the Hot Stove scene, but much of the major action has emanated from the National League, where the Padres and Dodgers have dominated the headlines.

Outside of an interesting roster overhaul by Billy Beane of the A's, American League West general managers have been quieter to date, perhaps not surprising given the division's strong showing in 2014 when the Angels posted the best regular-season record of any club in the Major Leagues at 98-64 and three teams finished with 87 or more wins, a claim no other division could make.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Check out the best MLB vines of 2014

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Check out the best MLB vines of 2014

2014 is drawing to a close, so it's time to remember all the things that made the year fantastic. What's on your list? Friends? Family? The fact that Spring Training really isn't that far away? Well, the MLB year was so packed with amazing things that we can't fit them all in one post. For now, let's just take a look at the best Vines from the 2014 season. 

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JJ reportedly returning to Padres on 1-year contract

Righty underwent second TJ surgery in April

JJ reportedly returning to Padres on 1-year contract

The Padres might be taking another chance on oft-injured right-hander Josh Johnson.

San Diego and Johnson agreed to a one-year, $1 million contract Monday, according to Yahoo, and bonuses can take the deal to $7.25 million. The club has not confirmed the report, and agent Matt Sosnick said to ESPN.com that Johnson had not agreed to a deal nor taken a physical.

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Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins extend Hughes through 2019

Deal is most lucrative for pitcher in franchise history

Twins extend Hughes through 2019

MINNEAPOLIS -- Shortly after his first season with the Twins came to a close in late September, Phil Hughes called his agent, Nez Balelo, to ask him to explore the possibility of an extension.

Hughes enjoyed his first season in Minnesota, and the ball started rolling on an extension in mid-November, when his agent met with Twins representatives at the annual General Managers Meetings.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Twins recognize quality with Hughes' extension

In addition to Santana deal, club is looking to contend in loaded AL Central

Twins recognize quality with Hughes' extension

The Minnesota Twins didn't tear up Phil Hughes' contract and give him a new one because of that amazing gesture at the end of the season. By then, they already knew what they had in Phil Hughes.

Hughes is the type of pitcher capable of anchoring an entire staff. He's also only 28 years old, and the Twins believe he'll perform at a high level for several more years. That's what he did last season, when he made 32 starts and logged 209 2/3 innings.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Historic year etched Kershaw among legends

Historic year etched Kershaw among legends

On a June night at Dodger Stadium, the dominance Clayton Kershaw brought to every start in his historic 2014 season reached a crescendo with the big left-hander recording his first no-hitter in a remarkable performance against the Rockies. He had 15 strikeouts and no walks, the most Ks without a free pass ever seen in a no-no. It's just one of the unprecedented feats in Kershaw's transcendent regular season, a campaign that stands out as one of Major League Baseball's biggest stories of 2014.

Winning both the National League Cy Young and Most Valuable Player Awards wasn't unprecedented, but it was yet another way Kershaw seemed to channel a Dodgers left-hander who wound up in the Hall of Fame: Sandy Koufax. Like Koufax in 1963, Kershaw was such a presence on the mound that he broke through for the Cy Young-MVP double, just the 11th player in MLB history to do so and the biggest reason Kershaw's 27 starts were such a significant part of the 2014 baseball landscape.

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John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. You can follow him on Twitter @JohnSchlegelMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Scutaro has back surgery, out 4-6 months

Veteran infielder's future with Giants in question

Scutaro has back surgery, out 4-6 months

SAN FRANCISCO -- Marco Scutaro's future with the Giants appeared questionable, at least, after general manager Brian Sabean announced Monday that the second baseman recently underwent back surgery in Miami.

Scutaro's surgeon, Dr. Michael Wang, is expected to release Scutaro, 39, from the hospital on Tuesday. Scutaro will require at least four to six months of recovery time. At that juncture, Sabean said the club's medical staff will determine whether Scutaro can play again.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Josh Donaldson's offseason activity: MNF

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Josh Donaldson's offseason activity: MNF

It's the middle of the offseason, and Josh Donaldson is neither in his new city (Toronto) or his old one (Oakland). Instead, he's in Cincinnati, taking in the Monday Night Football matchup between the Bengals and Broncos. And if you're wondering who Donaldson is rooting for, well:

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Nats, reliever Bell agree on Minor League deal

Nats, reliever Bell agree on Minor League deal

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals added bullpen depth on Monday by signing reliever Heath Bell to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training. Bell broke the news in Derek Jeter's magazine, The Players' Tribune. If Bell makes the team, his base salary will be $1 million, according to a source.

"Today I'm in D.C. because I'm still chasing that dream. At around noon today, I signed with the Nationals," Bell said in the article. "I can't wait to play for the Nationals. By writing this, I guess everyone will know that I like to throw a first-pitch fastball for a strike. Some secret now. But see if you can hit it."

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Want Babe Ruth's cap? Got $300,000?

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Want Babe Ruth's cap? Got $300,000?

Is your head feeling a little cold? Embarrassed by your early on-set male pattern baldness? Have hundreds of thousands of dollars just sitting around waiting to be spent? 

Well, if you had $303,277, you could have purchased Babe Ruth's cap from the 1934 Tour of Japan that was sold recently at an auction. That's an absolute bargain for a piece of baseball history you can plate atop your pate. 

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Rockies' Perkins breaks out power in ABL play

Rockies' Perkins breaks out power in ABL play

The second half of the 2014/2015 Australian Baseball League season saw the first-place Adelaide Bite extend their lead in the standings by sweeping the Sydney Blue Sox. Canberra caught Brisbane in the standings by taking three of four from the Bandits and the Perth Heat finished a busy week in Melbourne by taking three of five from the Aces.

Cavalry offense overpowers Bandits

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Craig Durham is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ross eager for chance to compete for spot with Nats

Ross eager for chance to compete for spot with Nats

WASHINGTON -- Last week, right-hander Joe Ross was hanging out with his roommate, Nationals outfielder Jeff Kobernus, when he received word that he had been traded. He thought the Padres had sent him to the Rays before learning that he was part of the three-team, 11-player deal that brought him and shortstop Trea Turner to Washington. Ross joins an organization that has a plethora of pitching in the Major Leagues and the farm system, and he can't wait for his chance to compete.

"I wasn't sure if I was going to the Nationals or somewhere else. I had to wait it out," Ross said via telephone. "But I'm excited. It's obviously good news. It's obviously a good organization. It's kind of like a fresh start."

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Inbox: Which recently-traded prospect was the biggest steal?

Jonathan Mayo responds to fans' questions about baseball's top future stars

Inbox: Which recently-traded prospect was the biggest steal?

The offseason trading frenzy has been exciting, if a bit dizzying. There might be more yet to come, but for the time being, I figured it made sense to make this week's Inbox all trade-related. Goodness knows, we have enough to talk about.

In five years, which one or two of the recently-traded prospects will we be saying "Wow, what a steal?"
- Terry A., Minneapolis, Minn.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayoB3 on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Steinbrenner's foundation to aid family of slain officer

Late Yankees owner began Silver Shield to assist with education costs

Steinbrenner's foundation to aid family of slain officer

NEW YORK -- George Steinbrenner, the late Yankees principal owner, started the Silver Shield Foundation in the early 1980s to help the children of police and firefighters killed in the line of duty.

That foundation will pay for the education of the children of Rafael Ramos, the NYPD officer who was killed along with his partner, Wenjian Liu, while sitting in their patrol car in Brooklyn on Saturday.

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Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hot Stove takes no holiday: What's next?

Expect the wheeling, dealing to keep on coming into New Year

Hot Stove takes no holiday: What's next?

This year's Winter Meetings in San Diego were so eventful and so intriguing, it seems, that they couldn't fit everything into one week, what with many of the deals made bayside in Southern California coming to fruition the following week.

The drum beat of moves has just kept coming with the holidays approaching, and it's not about to stop.

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John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. You can follow him on Twitter @JohnSchlegelMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fantasy values get cooking with busy Hot Stove

Lowrie, Morrow among risers; J. Upton, Rios hold steady

Fantasy values get cooking with busy Hot Stove

The Hot Stove season simply would not slow down last week. General managers apparently did not need a break after the Winter Meetings, as major deals continued to be consummated virtually every day. Here are the most notable changes in fantasy values from another head-spinning week of transactions.

Value Up

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Fred Zinkie is a fantasy baseball writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Adames, Franco stand out with leagues in Latin America ending

Rockies, Phillies prospects finish winter with big batting numbers, carry momentum into '15

Adames, Franco stand out with leagues in Latin America ending

The approach of Christmas and the end of the year also signals the end of the winter ball regular season in Latin America. The season ended Sunday in the Dominican Republic and leagues throughout the rest of Latin America will also reach their conclusion in the next two weeks.

As the season reached the home stretch, prospects remain in the heart of the action. Below is a look at how some of the top prospects playing in winter leagues have fared.

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Teddy Cahill is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Morse's return to Miami a happy homecoming

Born and bred in South Florida, slugger eager to suit up for hometown Marlins

Morse's return to Miami a happy homecoming

MIAMI -- No matter which uniform he wore or what part of the country he played in, Michael Morse never lost touch with his roots.

Whether he was with the Mariners early in his career, or with the Nationals for four seasons, or splitting time in Seattle and Baltimore in 2013, Morse always knew he would be back in South Florida in the offseason. Winning the World Series with the Giants this October didn't change his loyalties.

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Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Players rejuvenated by offseason maneuvers

Addition of veterans lights fire under youngsters competing for jobs

Players rejuvenated by offseason maneuvers

CHICAGO -- Six impact moves made by general manager Rick Hahn during this current offseason did more than positively influence an ecstatic White Sox fan base.

Those Hot Stove maneuvers provided additional currency in the form of an energy infusion to players already on the 40-man roster, further contributing to the belief that this 2015 version of the White Sox can be a playoff contender.

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Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers may look in-house for bullpen answer

Getting more out of Krol could shore up relief

Tigers may look in-house for bullpen answer

DETROIT -- The close of the holiday season usually changes the outlook on the free-agent pitching market. Yet with the calendar about to turn, the Tigers' best answer to their biggest remaining need in 2015 might well be their answer to lefty relief in 2014.

In other words, even if the Tigers add an arm or two, their best chance to shore up their bullpen might be to find a way to get more out of Ian Krol.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Romo signs 2-year contract to stay with Giants

A member of three recent championship squads, former closer returning on $15 million deal

Romo signs 2-year contract to stay with Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- For Sergio Romo, security didn't come in the form of a contract. He preferred the less tangible yet equally real security of having a true baseball home and familiar teammates. That's largely why Romo, 31, spurned apparently better offers in free agency to stay with the Giants on a two-year, $15 million deal.

Including the Minors, Romo has spent 10 years in the Giants' organization since they selected him in the 28th round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft. Speaking in a conference call Monday, he confirmed that he received multiple three-year offers from other teams and hinted that at least a couple of them said they would let him compete for the closer's role. Romo lost that prized spot last year to Santiago Casilla.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Reds still eyeing options for left field

Top target Aoki still available; Padres could trade from outfield glut

Reds still eyeing options for left field

CINCINNATI -- One way or another come April 6, when the 2015 season opens vs. the Pirates, the Reds will have someone standing in left field when the first pitch is delivered at Great American Ball Park.

Who that player shall be, and whether or not he will be a lineup difference maker, remains a very fluid situation.

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Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Mike Bauman

First and foremost, Selig a true baseball fan

Commissioner's enduring legacy a product of his boundless love for the game

First and foremost, Selig a true baseball fan

When the legacy of Bud Selig as Commissioner of baseball is the topic, there is no shortage of issues, innovations, changes and improvements up for discussion.

But one aspect underlies all of this and has informed each and every decision Selig has made in 22-plus years as Commissioner:

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Mike Bauman is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tulo focusing on rehab, not trade rumors

Shortstop aims to be ready for Opening Day after hip surgery

Tulo focusing on rehab, not trade rumors

DENVER -- Keeping up with Hot Stove activity is secondary to getting healthy for Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki -- even though he is the subject of prominent rumors.

"I'm keeping up but I'm not worrying about it," Tulowitzki said from his Las Vegas home Sunday night. "I'm just doing my rehab and want to get back on the field. That's my main focus."

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Cashman pushes Yankees forward with youth movement

Cashman pushes Yankees forward with youth movement

The Yankees are prepared to open the 2015 season with a 24-year-old shortstop and a 23-year-old second baseman. Three of their projected five starting pitchers could be 26 or younger. Out in the bullpen, Shawn Kelley might be the only reliever who has celebrated a 30th birthday.

Yes, friends, the Yankees are getting younger. Never saw that coming, did you? This shift toward more youth is one of the interesting storylines of general manager Brian Cashman's offseason.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Stewart's journey to GM has been years in the making

In the realm of baseball, there's not much the former pitcher hasn't done

Stewart's journey to GM has been years in the making

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Early during a long-ago Spring Training, a young pitcher named Dave Stewart scaled the Vero Beach mound on shaky legs to pitch batting practice against the marquee Dodgers.

Stewart had been preceded by his reputation for not knowing where his hard pitches were going. In his first two seasons in the Minors, he'd walked 123 in 109 innings. He quickly lived up to it.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Cain resurgence could be difference-maker in '15

Righty's return to All-Star form would be major boost for Giants' rotation

Cain resurgence could be difference-maker in '15

It's been a surprising, slow-to-develop Hot Stove season for the Giants. But all could be forgotten in a hurry next spring if Matt Cain returns strong to join Madison Bumgarner in one of baseball's best 1-2 combinations

The Giants didn't bring back the one free agent everyone thought they would, Pablo Sandoval, and kept a couple that seemed likely to head elsewhere in Jake Peavy and big-ticket setup man Sergio Romo. They lost third-base coach Tim Flannery to retirement. And they saw their top free-agent target, Jon Lester, say "no thanks" to go in search of the Holy Grail with the Cubs.

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Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.