And then there were three. With free-agent right-hander Bronson Arroyo agreeing Friday to a two-year deal with the D-backs that includes a club option, the remaining big-name starters on the market are A.J. Burnett, Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez.
Like Arroyo, whichever club signs Burnett will not lose a first-round pick in this year's First-Year Player Draft. Santana and Jimenez, on the other hand, don't fall into that category. So where will Burnett land?
The Pirates could have the inside track, writes MLB.com's Tom Singer, but the Orioles and Nationals are also in the running. Burnett and his camp have kept their thought process secret thus far, but with Spring Training on the horizon, something is likely to happen soon.
The Phillies appear to be out of the Burnett sweepstakes and will instead turn their attention to former closer Ryan Madson, who has not pitched since 2011 because of Tommy John surgery and complications following the procedure.
In other Hot Stove news:
• Nelson Cruz remains on the market, and MLB.com's Mike Bauman examined the potential risks and rewards for clubs looking to sign the outfielder. Cruz would significantly boost any lineup; however, the slugger has a history of injury, will turn 34 in July and served a 50-game PED suspension last year.
• Meanwhile, the A's locked up outfielder Coco Crisp through at least 2016 with a two-year contract extension that includes a vesting option for 2017. Last year, Crisp became just the 10th player in Oakland history with at least 20 doubles and 20 home runs in a single season.
• The Nationals agreed to terms with veteran reliever Luis Ayala on a Minor League contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training. Ayala, 36, is one of the few remaining players to have appeared with the Expos.
• The Pirates inked catcher Omir Santos to a Minor League deal that includes an invitation to big league camp.
• First baseman Matt LaPorta and the Orioles agreed to a Minor League contract. LaPorta has not appeared in a Major League game since 2012, when he played 22 games with the Indians.
Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.