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.

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.

JJ reportedly returning on 1-year contract

Righty underwent second TJ surgery in April

JJ reportedly returning 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.

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.

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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Nats, reliever Bell agree on Minor League deal

Nats, reliever Bell agree on Minor League deal

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals added bullpen depth 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.

"Today I'm in DC 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.

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.

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.

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.

Giants re-sign reliever Romo to 2-year deal

Giants re-sign reliever Romo to 2-year deal

The Giants officially re-signed right-hander Sergio Romo to a two-year contract on Monday. The deal is worth $15 million, according to reports.

The 31-year-old Romo has spent his entire career with the Giants, who selected him in the 28th round of the 2005 Draft.

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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.

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

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.

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.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Duquette

Cole diggers: 5 frontrunners in Hamels derby

Cole diggers: 5 frontrunners in Hamels derby

The trade that sent Jimmy Rollins to the Dodgers is a clear indication that the Phillies are finally rebuilding, and there's a lot of speculation that they could soon trade perennial Cy Young candidate Cole Hamels as well.

Here's my take on the five teams that have the prospects, the money and the need for Hamels, as well as what it would take to swing a trade and the odds of it happening.

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Jim Duquette is an analyst for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Prado gives Marlins options with their batting order

Prado gives Marlins options with their batting order

MIAMI -- Adding Martin Prado to the equation gives manager Mike Redmond some interesting decisions to make regarding the Marlins' batting order. It may also impact when slugger Giancarlo Stanton comes to the plate.

It's been pretty much a given Stanton would bat third, with conventional thinking being you want your best hitter guaranteed an at-bat in the first inning and as many at-bats as possible. But Prado has excelled in the No. 2 spot, which raises the question if Stanton will slide down a spot to cleanup?

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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.

Sources: Angels sign Cuban infield prospect Baldoquin

Club won't announce signing until it's official, which could happen next week

Cuban infielder Roberto Baldoquin has signed with the Angels after passing his physical, sources told MLB.com on Saturday.

Baldoquin, who turns 21 in May, will receive an $8 million signing bonus once the deal becomes official.

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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.

Racehorse named Yogi Berra beats horse named Chelios

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Racehorse named Yogi Berra beats horse named Chelios

Last week, Larry Fitzgerald tweeted a photo of himself playing high school basketball against Joe Mauer, leading us to speculate about other inter-sport athletic competitions. However, we somehow ignored the most important question - who would win in a race, Yogi Berra or Hockey Hall of Famer Chris Chelios? (We were all wondering about that, right?)

Luckily, we don't have to imagine the results.

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Padres build stacked offensive lineup with bevy of moves

Kemp, Upton, Myers bring power to roster

Padres build stacked offensive lineup with bevy of moves

SAN DIEGO -- During his introductory press conference Friday at Petco Park, new Padres outfielder Matt Kemp pulled on a home white jersey and hurriedly attempted to button it before posing for photos with general manager A.J. Preller and manager Bud Black.

There was only one problem; Kemp didn't have the buttons aligned and had to start over, but not before he poked a little fun at himself, which drew laughter from the gathering of media, family and front office types.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.