FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox have agreed to a one-year deal with super-utility man Eduardo Nunez, pending a physical, a source told MLB.com on Thursday.
The completion of the physical is no small thing, considering Nunez finished last season with a PCL sprain of his right knee.
The Red Sox, sticking with team policy for uncompleted free-agent negotiations, have not confirmed the deal. FanRag Sports reported that the contract would include a club option for 2019.
Nunez would give the Red Sox an early-season replacement at second base for Dustin Pedroia, who is expected to miss the first few weeks of the regular season following left knee surgery.
Nunez was a strong fit on the field and in the clubhouse for the Red Sox down the stretch last season after they acquired the right-handed hitter in a trade with the Giants.
The acquisition of Nunez would be the second of this offseason for the Red Sox. The club re-signed first baseman Mitch Moreland in December. Boston still has interest in signing free-agent slugger J.D. Martinez and made him a five-year offer worth at least $100 million earlier in the winter.
If Nunez rejoins the Red Sox, he would bring value -- even after Pedroia returns -- as someone who can also play shortstop and third base, and even corner outfield if necessary.
The Yankees and the Rays were among the clubs who have negotiated with Nunez, according to a report by MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal earlier this month.
In 38 games for Boston last season, Nunez thrived, slashing .321/.353/.539 with eight homers and 27 RBIs.
The only thing that derailed Nunez with the Red Sox was the knee injury that he initially suffered on Sept. 9. He re-injured it in comeback attempts on Sept. 25 at Fenway Park and again in Game 1 of the American League Division Series against the Astros.
The 30-year-old did not need surgery, and his knee healed over the winter.
Nunez would also offer the Red Sox speed. He stole 24 bases last season and a career-high 40 in 2016.
In 669 career games, Nunez is a .282 hitter with 46 homers, 245 RBIs and 129 stolen bases.
Ian Browne/ MLB.com 
 
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Adding a starting pitcher may not have been a priority for the Mets, but they still decided they needed to add to their collection of arms.
The team has agreed to terms with lefty Jason Vargas on a two-year deal with an option, according to sources. Vargas, 35, went 18-11 with a 4.16 ERA last year with the Royals, and will be in the mix for a spot in the rotation, though he has experience as a reliever. 
 
 
Mets sign Jason Vargas to two-year deal
 
Vargas appeared in two games with the Mets in 2007 before being traded to the Marlins. He also worked with Mets pitching coach Dave Eiland for the past four seasons, and continues the Mets' strong working relationship with CAA/Roc Nation. Vargas joins a Mets team that hosts other CAA clients such as Yoenis Cespedes, Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom and Todd Frazier, whom the Mets signed earlier this month.
Matt Ehalt/NorthJersey.com
 
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Blue Jays added the final piece to their starting rotation Thursday evening by signing veteran left-hander Jaime Garcia to a one-year deal worth $8 million, with a club option for 2019.
Terms of the option year were not disclosed, but according to a source, the second season is valued at $10 million and can be bought out for $2 million. The deal also includes $2 million per season in incentives, based on innings pitched.
 
Blue Jays sign Jaime Garcia to 1-year, $8M deal
 
The signing of Garcia means right-hander Joe Biagini will either be moved to the bullpen or open the year as a starter in the Minor Leagues. Biagini will be disappointed by the latest development, but the deal hardly comes as a surprise because general manager Ross Atkins had been open about his search for another starter.
"Jaime obviously has had a very successful Major League career," Atkins said shortly after the deal was announced. "We're excited about everything we've learned about him. ... He's a consummate professional. He's extremely committed to his craft. He has stabilized rotations before, and will certainly be a part of ours."
Garcia is coming off a season in which he went 5-10 with a 4.41 ERA over 157 innings with the Braves, Twins and Yankees. He started the year in Atlanta, but he was traded twice in less than a week prior to the non-waiver Trade Deadline. After making one start with Minnesota, Garcia was traded to New York, where he posted a 4.82 ERA over eight starts.
Garcia, 31, will likely open the season as Toronto's No. 5 starter behind Marcus StromanJ.A. HappAaron Sanchez and Marco Estrada. He owns a 3.69 career ERA and is best known for his work with the Cardinals. Garcia went 62-45 with a 3.57 ERA and 7.3 strikeouts per nine innings over eight seasons in St. Louis.
Atkins said the Blue Jays touched base with Garcia early in the offseason, and the talks recently began to pick up some steam. The key for Toronto was getting the added flexibility of a club option, as opposed to just a one-year deal or being locked into a long-term deal. By comparison, Andrew Cashner signed a two-year deal worth $16 million with the Orioles on Thursday.
Garcia's velocity has remained fairly consistent over the years. He typically throws 90-91 mph, with a changeup, slider and curveball also in his repertoire. Atkins spoke glowingly about Garcia's cut fastball and his unique ability to create separation between that pitch and his slider.
"Jaime has such a good feel for those three or four pitches," Atkins said. "Whether it's a left-handed hitter, right-handed hitter, subtle difference between two right-handed hitters, the shape of his fastball -- which sometimes has cut action -- the shape of his slider, the shape of his curve, the feel for his changeup, he has the ability to adapt and adjust those pitches for different types of hitters in a unique way."
Toronto will continue to search for more depth, but the signing of Garcia likely marks the final major addition the team makes before the start of the season. The rotation is set, as is the lineup, but another minor tweak or two in the bullpen is still possible.
According to Cot's Baseball Contracts, Toronto's payroll currently sits at approximately $160 million, which is $6 million less than the estimated total of the 40-man roster from the 2017 season. Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro said earlier this offseason that his payroll was expected to remain about the same as last year. That would leave at least $5 million left to spend, but it doesn't take into account some of the incentives that have been added to Garcia's deal and Minor League contracts for players such as John Axford and Craig Breslow.
"We do have remaining resources," Atkins said without getting into specifics. "I think we're mostly focused on pitching. We'll not limit ourselves, but mostly focused on pitching at this point."
Gregor Chisholm MLB.com
 
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Sporting an offseason beard and a shiny new Orioles cap, right-hander Andrew Cashner was officially announced as part of Baltimore's rotation on Thursday evening.
"I'm excited," Cashner said after inking a two-year, $16 million deal with Baltimore that includes a $10 million vesting option for 2020. "It's definitely a new journey for me. There are some familiar faces. [Manager] Buck [Showalter, who has a home in Texas], it's pretty cool to be back with somebody from Texas. Just bring a little home up here and try to get us back to the postseason."
Despite the long wait to join a club -- in what has been a slow free-agent market -- Cashner said it wasn't a difficult time. Orioles vice president of baseball operations Brady Anderson had remained in steady contact with Cashner since November, and the righty cited that as "a great building block" in ultimately getting a deal done.
 Cashner, who went 11-11 with 3.40 ERA last year, joins a rotation that includes right-handers Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman with a lot of question marks behind them. To make room on the roster, the Orioles placed closer Zach Britton (right Achilles surgery) on the 60-day disabled list.
The Cashner deal marks the Orioles' first major acquisition since the end of last season. The contract also fits the O's parameters of not going above three years for a free-agent starter and gives them some financial flexibility for potentially more acquisitions.
"I don't know a lot," Cashner said of his new club. "I do know that they need some starting pitching, and here it is. [I'll] show up every day, and whomever I can help out, I'll help out. My job is to come here and pitch and win."
The 31-year-old Cashner made 28 starts for the Rangers in 2017, throwing 166 2/3 innings. He struck out 86 batters and walked 64, posting an impressive ground-ball percentage of 48.6, which ranked No. 6 in the AL and should play favorably in a hitter-friendly ballpark such as Camden Yards, where many fly-ball pitchers have struggled.
On Thursday Cashner praised Camden Yards, calling it one of his favorite parks, and talked about how excited he was to call it home for the foreseeable future.
"Obviously, we've said many times how much further it goes than just five starting pitchers," said Showalter.
"[Cashner is] a guy who's pitched well in the American League. That's something that I think played in his favor. And doing a lot of the homework on the other part of it, I think we just think it's a good all-around fit for us, and especially it's something that is a big need for us and something that's been in the works for quite a while."
Cashner has pitched in eight big league seasons, going 42-64 with a 3.80 ERA in 230 career games (137 starts). He spent the first seven years of his career in the National League with the Cubs, Padres and Marlins. Cashner has pitched at Camden Yards twice in his career, registering a 2.57 ERA in 14 innings. Cashner was drafted three times before he signed in 2008 with the Cubs, who drafted him 18th overall.
After passing Thursday's physical, the righty is excited to get going.
"I think as a starting pitcher, it's important not just to get in and get ready, but meet your teammates, get to know the coaching staff, get to know the clubbies, get to know everybody. And more make it a family atmosphere," Cashner said.
Brittany Ghiroli MLB.com
 
Esteban Loaiza pitched for 14 years in the major leagues. He’s now facing way more time than that in the California Penal League.
Multiple news outlets are reporting that Loaiza was arrested in San Diego County on Friday for transporting roughly 44 pounds of heroin and cocaine. His arrest report is reproduced below, courtesy of Jeff Passan of Yahoo.
Loaiza is due to be arraigned on Wednesday. Bail has been set at $200,000. At least one news outlet — Univision — questions whether the former big leaguer can make that bail.
 
 
 Esteban Loaiza arrested with at least 44 lbs of Heroin, Cocaine
 
Loaiza, Univision notes, was one married to the late singer Jenni Rivera, but she filed for divorce from him in the months before her death in a plane crash, in part due to allegations of financial impropriety on his part. Whatever the case, Loaiza is in deep trouble.
Loaiza pitched for eight different teams in his career, spending four years with the Pirates and three years each with the White Sox, Rangers and Blue Jays. He spent two years in L.A. and Oakland — where he got a DUI in 20o6 — and a year each with the Yankees and Nationals. His best season came in 2003 when he went 21-9 with a 2.90 ERA for the White Sox, finishing second in the Cy Young balloting. For his career he was 126-114 with a 4.65 ERA in 377 games, starting 333 of them.
Craig Calcaterra/NBC Sports
 
Darvish and the Cubs agreed to a six-year deal on Saturday that's worth a guaranteed $126 million, a source told MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi. The value of the deal, which is still pending the completion of a physical, could reach up to about $150 million with incentives, according to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal, who was first to report the agreement. The Cubs have not confirmed the reports.
Darvish's $126 million contract would be the largest free-agent deal so far this offseason. Sources told Rosenthal that in order for the deal to reach $150 million, Darvish would have to win multiple Cy Young Awards.
The 31-year-old right-hander was the marquee starting pitcher on the free-agent market and reportedly had multiple $100 million-plus offers on the table. The Brewers and Twins had been among the other top contenders to sign Darvish.
Darvish gives the Cubs a frontline starter to replace Jake Arrieta, who also became a free agent this offseason, as they seek a third straight National League Central title and fourth straight postseason appearance in 2018.
Darvish has some of the most electric stuff in baseball. He was an All-Star for the fourth time in 2017, with a 3.86 ERA and 209 strikeouts in 31 starts for the Rangers and Dodgers. After his trade to Los Angeles, he helped the Dodgers reach the World Series, although he struggled in two starts in the Fall Classic against Houston.
By David Adler MLB.com
 
TAMPA, Fla. -- The heart of the Yankees' lineup features a pair of towering sluggers who would look right at home on the gridiron in Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, and now the Bombers have added a championship-caliber quarterback to their clubhouse.
The Yankees announced on Wednesday that they acquired Russell Wilson, best known as the Super Bowl-winning quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks, from the Texas Rangers in exchange for future considerations.
"(We're) about to win the next World Series and Super Bowl," Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia said on Twitter.
Wilson, who participated in workouts as a second baseman at the Rangers' Spring Training camps in both 2014 and '15, is expected to appear at the Yankees' camp in March.
"We've admired Russell's career from afar for quite some time," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "This is a unique opportunity for us to learn from an extraordinary athlete who has reached the pinnacle of his profession.
"After talking to a number of our players, there is a genuine excitement in having Russell join us for a short time in camp. We are all looking forward to gaining insight into how he leads teammates toward a common goal, prepares on a daily basis for the rigors of his sport, and navigates the successes and failures of a season."
Wilson, 29, is a four-time Pro Bowler who helped lead Seattle to its lone Super Bowl title in 2014. Wilson does not plan to become a dual-sport athlete full-time, but he has remained engaged with baseball while becoming a star on the gridiron.
The Richmond, Va., native had expressed a desire to don the pinstripes, spurring Yankees general manger Brian Cashman to reach out to Rangers general manager Jon Daniels.
"The reason this is so special to me is that I used to always tell my dad I always wanted to be a Yankee," said Wilson, whose father passed away in 2010. "I said to him, 'Someday, Dad, I will be a Yankee.' And so now that dream has come true -- a little bit. My main, No. 1 focus is winning Super Bowls and winning football games. But the reality is that baseball has always been a major part of my life, and I couldn't be happier to be keeping that alive with the Yankees."
"I want to personally thank the Texas Rangers for giving me the chance to experience professional baseball again," Wilson said. "I remember how excited I was when Texas selected me in the Rule 5 Draft in December 2013. During my two springs in Arizona with the Rangers, I was reminded just how much I love the game of baseball."
Wilson manned second base for two seasons in the Rockies' Minor League system after Colorado made him a fourth-round Draft selection out of North Carolina State in 2010. He hit a combined .229 over 93 games in Class A ball from 2010-11. The Rangers selected Wilson in the Rule 5 Draft in December 2013, and the talented athlete made Cactus League cameos during the following two springs.
While he is in Tampa, Wilson will participate in pregame workouts with the club and watch games from the Yankees' dugout. He will be assigned to the Double-A Trenton roster.
The Yankees have had strong connections to football players going back to the days of George Halas manning right field for them prior to Babe Ruth. More recently, former Cowboys quarterback Drew Henson and Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders both played for the Yankees at the Major League level, while two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback John Elway played for them in the Minors. Additionally, the Yankees drafted Heisman trophy winners Bo Jackson and Charlie Ward, though neither of them signed with New York.
Bryan Hoch MLB.com
 
NEW YORK -- Entering this winter, the Mets laid out three priorities to improve their team. One was to fortify their bullpen, which they did in signing Anthony Swarzak in December. Another was to strengthen their outfield, which they did in reacquiring Jay Bruce the following month.
The last was to solidify their infield, which the Mets accomplished on Monday -- mere days from the official start of Spring Training. According to multiple sources, the team inked third baseman Todd Frazier to a two-year contract worth $17 million. The Mets have not confirmed the deal, which is pending a physical.
Frazier, 31, hit .213 with 27 home runs in 147 games last year for the White Sox and Yankees, and has gone deep 131 times with a .786 OPS over the past four seasons. Frazier's presence will shift Asdrubal Cabrera to second base, all but finalizing an Opening Day infield of those two, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and shortstop Amed Rosario.
In addition, Wilmer Flores and Jose Reyes are locks to open the season as veteran presences on the Mets' bench. Dominic Smith is likely to wind up at Triple-A Las Vegas while another infield option, T.J. Rivera, is scheduled to continue rehabbing from Tommy John surgery into the season.
With that as a backdrop, Frazier offers the Mets the type of stability they have lacked at third base since David Wright began experiencing career-altering back issues in 2015. Since '13, Frazier has averaged 154 games per season, establishing himself as a strong defender in addition to a slugger. The downside to Frazier's game is his .242 batting average over that stretch, with one strikeout every 4.6 plate appearances.
But even if Frazier gives the Mets nothing more than power at the plate, his defense and durability are two things team officials craved. For much of this offseason, the Mets operated under the assumption that Cabrera would play third, freeing them to browse second basemen such as Jason KipnisJosh HarrisonNeil Walker and Eduardo Nunez.
All the while they kept an eye on Frazier, knowing they could shift Cabrera to second if they found a deal worth pursuing. Believing Frazier presented better potential value, the Mets never seriously considered Mike Moustakas, the top free-agent third baseman on the market.
A native of Toms River, N.J., Frazier experienced a homecoming of sorts when the White Sox traded him to the Yankees last July, often speaking fondly of the opportunity to play in front of his local fans. He wanted to stay; throughout this offseason, Hot Stove rumors placed Frazier in the crosshairs of both the Yankees and Mets, though it was the latter team that ultimately struck when his price dropped. In a slow free-agent market, Frazier will take a pay cut after making $12 million through arbitration last season.
The move provides more evidence for Sandy Alderson's assertions that the Mets have been among baseball's most active teams this winter. In signing Frazier, Bruce, Reyes, Gonzalez and Swarzak, the Mets have committed $72.5 million to free agents, increasing their projected Opening Day payroll above $140 million. And they may not be done. A source said the club plans to continue monitoring the pitching market, where Lance LynnAlex CobbJason Vargas and others remain available.
Although the Mets do not appear as committed to signing a starter as they were to acquiring an infielder, doing so would address one of the only remaining depth issues on their roster.
"We've actually been as active as anybody," Alderson said recently. "We've probably added as many players as anybody. We've probably committed as many dollars as most teams. And yet we've sort of taken a wait-and-see look as well."
Anthony DiComo/ MLB.com
 
HOUSTON -- The Astros avoided arbitration with reigning World Series Most Valuable Player George Springer, agreeing to a two-year deal with the All-Star center fielder on Monday. A source confirmed for MLB.com the deal is worth $24 million.
General manager Jeff Luhnow announced the deal, though the terms were not disclosed.
Springer, who earned $3.9 million last year in his first year of arbitration, had asked the Astros for $10.5 million in 2018 in arbitration, and the team countered with $8.5 million. Springer, who will have four years of arbitration eligibility because of his Super Two status, will have one more year of arbitration eligibility in '20 before becoming a free agent.
Springer, 28, made his first All-Star team in 2017 and finished the season with a .283 batting average, 34 home runs and 85 RBIs. All 34 of his homers came from the leadoff spot in the batting order, setting a franchise record, and his nine homers to lead off the first inning were the most in the Majors.
After going 0-for-4 with four strikeouts in Game 1 of the World Series against the Dodgers, Springer rallied to hit .379 in the Series with five homers and seven RBIs. He hit the go-ahead two-run homer that helped the Astros to a comeback win in Game 2 and hit a two-run homer in Game 7 that put the Astros up, 5-0, in the second inning.
The Astros have one remaining arbitration-eligible player. Starting pitcher Collin McHugh is asking for $5 million, and the Astros filed for $4.55 million. McHugh missed the first 3 1/2 months of last year with an arm injury before pitching well in the second half, going 5-2 with a 3.55 ERA in 12 starts.
Brian McTaggart MLB.com