Jose Veras RP DET 13 Hrs
ESPN's Jayson Stark reports that the Astros are interested in bringing back Jose Veras.
Veras, of course, was the club's closer last season before being dealt to the Tigers at the trade deadline. If they get him back, it might again be as a half-season rental before he's shipped somewhere else. Stark notes that Veras is just one of the many names on the Astros' list as they look for "a reliever who can potentially close."
Matt Kemp CF LAD 13 Hrs
Rob Bradford of WEEI.com was told by Red Sox sources that there is "nothing to" reports of the club having interest in Matt Kemp.
The sources described the contact the Red Sox have had with the Dodgers regarding Kemp as "barely" touching base. The Dodgers are known to be shopping the injury-prone outfielder and are willing to eat some of the $128 million remaining on his contract, but it doesn't sound like he'll be heading to Boston.
Samuel Deduno SP MIN 13 Hrs
Sam Deduno (shoulder) is playing catch at the club's facility in Fort Myers, Fla.
"His rehab from shoulder procedure is on track for him to open spring camp on time," reports Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Deduno was shut down for the season in August and underwent arthroscopic shoulder surgery in September. He will compete for a back-end slot in Minnesota's rotation this coming spring.
Mark Trumbo 1B/RF.. LAA 13 Hrs
FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports that the chances of the Angels trading Mark Trumbo are "increasing."
Rosenthal says that the Diamondbacks are "pushing," but there are "other teams in, all with improving offers." The Angels aren't super thrilled about dealing Trumbo, but they understand with a barren farm system that he might be their best trade chip as they look to upgrade their rotation.
Starlin Castro SS CHC 13 Hrs
Starlin Castro spent three weeks this offseason in the Dominican Republic working with a Cubs' strength coach in an effort to improve his speed an agility.
"There's no reason he can't be a little faster and can't have more range," general manager Jed Hoyer said. Castro is coming off a disappointing 2013 campaign that saw him bat just .245/.284/.347 with 10 homers and nine steals. If he's committed, the 23-year-old is a good bounce-back candidate.
Dylan Bundy SP BAL 13 Hrs
Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com reports that Dylan Bundy (Tommy John surgery) will begin throwing off flat ground next month.
Bundy was invited to the club's mini-camp in Sarasota, Fla. in Janaury. The 21-year-old right-hander is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery that he underwent in late-June. Bundy is expected to start light baseball activities around the new year. Ghiroli previously speculated that Bundy could be an option to rejoin the Orioles rotation in the second half of the 2014 season.
Andy Dirks LF/RF DET 14 Hrs
Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski revealed Monday that Andy Dirks played through a lingering knee injury all season that he suffered in spring training.
"We think he would have had a more contribution from an offensive perspective (if he had been healthy)," Dombrowski said. "He finally acknowledged it bothered him. It has been nothing major. A doctor looked at him. He's done rehab." Dirks batted just .256/.323/.363 with nine homers during his disappointing 2013 season. He'll enter spring training healthy but hasn't been guaranteed anything from a playing time perspective.
Oscar Taveras CF STL 14 Hrs
Oscar Taveras (ankle) was not cleared to run yet after visiting with Cardinals team doctors over the weekend.
It doesn't appear that Taveras was expected to be cleared yet, as it was just a checkup on his surgically-repaired right ankle. The Cardinals are expecting the top prospect to be ready to go for spring training. Taveras will likely open 2014 at Triple-A or in a backup role with the big club.
Lucas Harrell P HOU 14 Hrs
FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports that Lucas Harrell is drawing trade interest.
The Astros would have been better off dealing Harrell last offseason, as he's coming off a disappointing 5.86 ERA and 89/88 K/BB ratio over 153 2/3 innings in 2013. Still, someone will be willing to take a chance on a rebound. The 28-year-old won't be arbitration-eligible until next winter.