MLB news for Yankees fans: Marlon Byrd, Joe Mauer, Ryan Hanigan, Martin Perez

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport

MLB news through Yankee-tinted glasses

Here is some news from around MLB for Yankee fans:

Los Angeles Angels

The Angels have signed Chris Volstad to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. They have also signed Wade LeBlanc to a minor league deal with a spring invite as well. The Yankees aren't going to miss either pitchers on the open market, so the Angels can go right ahead.

Oakland Athletics

The A's have signed infielder Nick Punto to $2.75 million one-year deal with a vesting option for 2015. The Yankees could have used him in 2014, but he wasn't really going to be a first (or second) priority so early in the offseason. It's best to avoid getting into a bidding war for someone like him because in the end, they probably won't really miss him.

Atlanta Braves

The Atlanta Braves have announced that they will be moving out of Turner Field and Atlanta by 2017, just 20 years into their stadium's life. They cited ticket purchasing trends and millions of dollars in upgrades they don't want to pay for their reason for moving to Cobb County outside Atlanta. That's essentially like the Yankees moving from the Bronx out to Yonkers.

Chicago Cubs

Now that they can't hire Joe Girardi, the Cubs have hired Rick Renteria to be their manager and have given him a three-year deal with two option years. Renteria had several years of minor league coaching experience and had also been with the Padres since 2008.

Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies have signed Marlon Byrd to a two-year, $16 million deal and an $8 million vesting option that becomes a team option if he doesn't hit certain plateaus in plate appearances. While Byrd might have been an interesting option for the Yankees, the Phillies likely overpaid for a 36-year-old outfielder who just had a career year one year after being suspended for PED use. The problem now is that it raises the bar for whatever contracts Curtis Granderson and Carlos Beltran ultimately sign. If Byrd got two years, the 37-year-old Beltran could easily get three or more.

They have also signed Shawn Camp to a minor league deal. At nearly 38 years old, Camp was once a useful reliever, but he's likely winding down his career at this point.

Texas Rangers

The Rangers have signed Martin Perez to a four-year, $12.5 million extension with three club options that could potentially keep him under control through 2020. This is the type of deal the Yankees need to start exploring with their talent. While David Phelps and Ivan Nova aren't exactly in the same boat as Perez, extensions with young players should become part of their front office strategies. If Manny Banuelos and Michael Pineda prove to be successful in the next year or two, they should start thinking about locking them up to affordable contracts.

The Rangers have hired Bengie Molina to be their first base coach and catching instructor. He had been the Cardinals assistant hitting coach in 2013.

Cincinnati Reds

The Reds have signed free agent catcher Brayan Pena to a two year deal. He had one of his better years in 2013, backing up Alex Avila on the Tigers. They have also added Max Ramirez as minor league depth. Signing them could signal that the Reds are ready to hand Devin Mesoraco the starting job, which would make Ryan Hanigan tradable. While not a big offensive threat, Hanigan, 33, does have a career .359 OBP and a career 40% success rate against base stealer.

Kansas City Royals

The Royals have signed right-handed reliever Clayton Mortensen to a minor league deal. They had aquired him in August from the Red Sox in exchange for Quintin Berry. Because of his control problems, Mortensen is essentially a Quadruple-A player. The Yankees aren't missing out.

They have also released Luis Mendoza to allow him to pursue a career in Japan. Mendoz followed up a surprisingly good useful 2012 campaign with another disappointing year in 2013.

Detroit Tigers

The Tigers have signed Henry Blanco to a minor league deal. Blanco is a career backup catcher with little offensive ability who is now 42 year old. The Yankees don't need him.

Minnesota Twins

The Twins have signed free agent shortstop Jason Bartlett to a minor league deal. He hasn't played since 2012, but that's one option the Yankees don't have anymore.

In bigger news, the Twins have announced that Joe Mauer will officially transition from catcher to first baseman. After dealing with a concussion in 2013, the 30-year-old will replace Justin Morneau at first base with $115 million over five years still owed to him. That's $23 million a year until 2018. Before Brian McCann becomes a permanent fixture behind the plate, let's remember just how bad his contract could end up for the Yankees. Be thankful that Jorge Posada was able to stick behind the plate for so long (yes, really), because it doesn't happen often.


Kip Wells has retired from baseball and is now seeking a front office/scouting job. Still only 36, Wells has pitched in the big leagues for 12 years for nine different teams. Mark DeRosa has also announced his retirement after 16 years with eight different teams and will accept a job with MLB Network. The soon-to-be 39-year-old reportedly turned down coaching offers and a $750,000 option the Blue Jays already exercised to take the job.

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