Rumor roundup: Cuban star seeks MLB deal

Second baseman Fernandez could be headed to big leagues

Rumor roundup: Cuban star seeks MLB deal

Wednesday was a busy day in Major League Baseball as the non-tender deadline passed at 11:59 p.m. ET. Players who were not offered a contract are now available to sign with any club, further bolstering an already-rich free-agent pool.

With a fresh crop of players hitting the open market, here's a look at some of the top Hot Stove stories circulating around the big leagues:

• Hot Stove Tracker

Report: Top Cuban player seeking MLB contract
One of Cuba's top players may be making his way to the big leagues. Second baseman Jose Miguel Fernandez has reportedly left the country and will seek a contract with a Major League team, according to Baseball America. Fernandez, 27, rated as Baseball America's No. 3 player in Cuba in April. He has seven years of professional experience in the Cuban Serie Nacional and played for Cuba in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. He'll be exempt from the international-bonus pools, but will need to establish residence in another country and be declared a free agent before he can sign with a club.

The Baseball America report speculates, however, that it's unlikely he'll be ready to sign before the start of the 2016 season.

Beckham inks one-year deal with Atlanta
Gordon Beckham appears to be on the verge of joining the Braves. Beckham has reportedly agreed to a one-year deal, according to MLB.com's Mark Bowman. The contract is valued at $1.25 million and includes $500,000 in incentives. The Braves have yet to confirm the deal.

Beckham, an Atlanta native, will likely slot into the Braves' roster as a reserve infielder. He was the eighth overall selection by the White Sox in the 2008 Draft. With the exception of a few months with the Angels at the end of 2014, he's spent his entire seven-year Major League career with Chicago, batting .242/.304/.372 in that span.

The 29-year-old infielder endured a dip in his production over the last two seasons. He's hit just .221 with a .272 on-base percentage since the beginning of 2014.

"I think it's a good fit," said Braves special assistant Greg Walker, who coached Beckham in Chicago. "He's still very positive about his offensive potential, and his defense is a given. He can play a variety of positions and you don't worry about him at all with the glove. His makeup is off the charts."

A's linked to Madson
The Athletics are rumored to be in the mix to add free-agent reliever Ryan Madson. A source told MLB.com's Jane Lee that Oakland is a "legitimate suitor" for the right-hander, while another said the club's interest is significant.

Madson enjoyed a resurgence in 2015 after missing each of the previous three seasons due to injury. The 35-year-old veteran compiled a 2.13 ERA and limited opponents to just a .205 average through 63 1/3 innings with the Kansas City Royals.

Oakland is seeking to improve a bullpen that finished with the worst ERA (4.56) in the American League and took 31 losses last season. The club already acquired right-hander Liam Hendriks in a trade with Toronto last month and picked up lefty Marc Rzepczynski in a deal with the Padres on Wednesday.

Cubs pursuing center fielder
The Chicago Cubs are reportedly in the hunt for a center fielder, according to FOXSports.com.

The report indicates bringing back Dexter Fowler remains a possibility for the club, though he's currently testing the open market. Jason Heyward is listed as another option, while others could emerge as trade targets such as Houston's Jake Marisnick.

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.