MLB In Full Bloom 12/16/2013

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58 – Number of days until pitchers and catchers report

105– Number of days until Opening Day

With the Winter Meetings in the rear view mirror, this week in the hot stove could be taking shape for the relief pitching. There is a long list of relievers and it may take shape this week as John Axford signed late Sunday night with Cleveland. Several other names are rumored to be close to signing, but is going to be an interesting scramble to see how it works out. I don't think teams value closers like they once did and this idea of $10 million a year for a closer. Most teams feel they can find an option within their organization or they can invent a closer on their own. This is a big week in the hot stove because with Christmas next week very little will take place.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • John Axford and the Cleveland Indians agreed on a one-year deal pending a physical. The Indians get the experienced closer that they desired while keeping Cody Allen and Bryan Shaw in their customary setup roles. As a trio, they should form one of the more formidable late-inning attacks in the American League.
  • Juan Uribe and the Los Angeles Dodgers agreed on a two-year deal. The most expensive baby sitter is back with the Dodgers and Yasiel Puig will be happy and should not act up. Having said that, Uribe did play well last year and third base is a tough position to fill at the major league level.
  • Mark Ellis and the St. Louis Cardinals agreed to a one-year deal. This appears to be a perfect fit for both sides. Kolten Wong is going to be the starting second baseman, but this will challenge Wong and at the very least he provides a right handed complement at second base. If Wong struggles or gets injured next year, Ellis provides that security blanket. The Cardinals continue to have a really good offseason and should be a strong contender in 2014.
  • James Loney and the Tampa Bay Rays agreed to a three-year deal. Loney drew serious free agent interest from the Milwaukee Brewers and Pittsburgh Pirates, but he decided to go back to Tampa Bay where he revitalized his career in 2013. Loney hit .299 with 13 home runs and 75 RBI last year.
  • Omar Infante and the Kansas City Royals agreed to a four-year deal last week. The Royals lost a bidding war to the New York Yankees for Carlos Beltran, but they won this free agent bout with the Bombers. Infante batted .318 with 10 home runs and 51 RBI this past season for the Tigers. He'll be a big upgrade at second base for Kansas City.
  • Mike Pelfrey and the Minnesota Twins agreed  to a two-year deal for $11 million. Pelfrey posted a 5.19 ERA in 152 2/3 innings with the Twins this past season, but they must have seen something to want to give Pelfrey this contract. Pelfrey rejoins a rotation that has improved from 2013 with the additions of Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes.