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Buzz: Lastest news from around the horn

OFFSEASON | SPRING TRAINING

April 3 News and Notes

Lind is a bargain DH for the Jays -- 9:45 p.m.

Adam Lind's new deal with the Blue Jays is another example of the crashing market for designated hitters as teams place renewed emphasis on defense.

Lind, 26, ranked seventh in the American League with a .932 OPS last season -- just below Alex Rodriguez and ahead of Kendry Morales and Jason Bay.

At first glance, his four-year, $18 million contract looks extremely club-friendly, particularly since Lind granted the Jays club options on each of his first three free-agent years.

Yet, when considering the harsh treatment of DH types in recent free-agent markets, the deal makes more sense.

In one year-deals last offseason, Hideki Matsui signed for $6.5 million, Vladimir Guerrero for $5 million, Aubrey Huff for $3 million, Russell Branyan for $2 million.

Hank Blalock hit 25 home runs in 462 at-bats for the Rangers last season, yet settled for a minor-league deal with the Rays and did not even make the team.

Lind batted .305 with 35 homers and 114 RBIs last season. He is unlikely to increase those numbers dramatically, and the Jays will use him as their primary DH.

So, rather than go year-to-year in arbitration on non-guaranteed deals, he agreed to a contract that ensures him lifetime security.

Lind will earn $15 million in his three arbitration years -- more than the $11.5 million that the Mariners recently awarded over the same period to center fielder Franklin Gutierrez, who is an elite defender and a year ahead of Lind in service.

The club options on Lind's free-agent years are valued at $7 million, $7.5 million and $8 million. If the Jays exercise each option, Lind will not hit the open market until he is 33.

The risk for Lind is that salaries will return to the point where top DHs command better money. The risk for the Jays is that Lind will get injured or decline.

Viewed strictly from the perspective of Lind's 2009 performance, the contract looks like a bargain.

For a DH, it might not be that bad.

-- Ken Rosenthal

Rockies not ready to activate Beimel -- 5:10 p.m.

Left-handed reliever Joe Beimel took his time deciding where to sign for the 2010 season. And even though he felt he was ready to pitch in the big leagues when the Colorado Rockies open the season at Milwuakee on Monday, the Rockies didn't.

As a result, Esmil Rogers was recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Saturday and will fill the long relief role in the Rockies bullpen. That job opened Friday when left-hander Greg Smith was moved into the rotation to replace Jeff Francis, who will go on the disabled list with soreness in his left arm pit.

Beimel did not sign with the Rockies until March 23. He had been working out on his own and said he was ready to pitch. While he did pitch a scoreless inning Monday, Thursday and Saturday, the Rockies decided he needed more time before being activated.

With the recall of Rogers, the Rockies returned right-hander Tim Redding to the minor-league camp, and granted right-hander Justin Speier his release so he can seek another big-league job.

-- Tracy Ringolsby

Yankees have limited outfield options -- 11:15 a.m.

On the eve of the season opener, some in the industry already are wondering how long the Yankees would tolerate sub-par production from outfielders Randy Winn and Marcus Thames.

The Yankees' starting left fielder, Brett Gardner, is not yet established as a major-league hitter. An injury to center fielder Curtis Granderson or right fielder Nick Swisher would leave the Yankees further exposed.

Neither Winn, a switch-hitter, nor Thames, a right-handed hitter, had a good spring. Winn, 35, had a batting/on-base/slugging line of .224/.255/.265. Thames, 33, was even worse, hitting .135/.182/.269. Both had about 50 at-bats.

The Yankees figure to be more patient with Winn, who is changing leagues. Thames, who owns a career .845 OPS against left-handed pitching, might need to get off to a quicker start.

Either way, the Yankees' investment in the two amounts to a mere $2 million combined. If one or both struggle, and Gardner also starts slowly, the team could be in the market for outfield help quickly.

-- Ken Rosenthal

Smith is back in Rockies rotation -- 8:02 a.m.

Left-hander Greg Smith, who was being considered as a bullpen stopgap until the Colorado Rockies were confident that lefty Joe Beimel was in shape to pitch in the big leagues, is headed for the No. 2 slot in the Rockies rotation.

Jeff Francis' comeback from last year's left shoulder surgery hit rough waters on Friday, according to reports out of Albuquerque, N.M., where the Rockies are playing their final games of the spring against Seattle. After working five impressive shutout innings against the Chicago Cubs on Thursday, Francis was unable to play catch on Friday because of a soreness under his arm pit.

Smith is experienced. He was a member of the Oakland rotation two years ago, and worked 190 1/3 innings. This spring, he had a 1.50 ERA with the Rockies, pitching 18 innings. He was considered the "sixth starter'' with the idea he would be pitching in the rotation at Triple-A Colorado Springs to stay ready if a big-league need arises.

In recent days, however, he was being considered to fill a bullpen opening created by closer Huston Street being placed on the disabled list.

After failing to sign as a free agent during the winter, he finally came to terms to return to the Rockies on March 23. He said he had been throwing 55 pitches every other day during workouts at South Torrance (Calif.) High School, but the Rockies were leery. That's when discussions developed about keeping Smith.

In his brief efforts the past week, however, Beimel began to convince club officials he really was ready. He worked two innings, throwing only 20 pitches, 16 of which were strikes, and had a hard slider that the Rockies did not see after he was acquired from Washington in August last year.

-- Tracy Ringolsby

April 1 News and Notes

Brewers can't make successful match with Dye -- 1:55 p.m.

The Brewers made a run at free-agent outfielder Jermaine Dye within the past week, but the talks failed to produce an agreement, major-league sources say.

If the Brewers had signed Dye, they would have traded another of their outfielders, most likely right fielder Corey Hart, to clear both money and playing time.

The Brewers and Nationals are believed to have discussed Hart. The Nats, who have been looking for a right fielder since releasing Elijah Dukes, also have been linked to Dye.

Dye, 36, said earlier this offseason that he turned down a one-year, $3 million offer from the Cubs, who instead signed another free-agent outfielder, Xavier Nady, for $3.3 million.

The reason for the impasse between Dye and the Brewers is not known. But the Brewers are not happy with Hart, 28, who will earn $4.8 million this season.

Manager Ken Macha told reporters Tuesday that Jim Edmonds, a left-handed hitter, could be his Opening Day right fielder against Rockies right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez.

Hart, a right-handed hitter, is batting only .127 this spring with a .158 on-base percentage and .291 slugging percentage.

His production has declined since his breakthrough 2007 season when he batted .295 with 24 homers and 81 RBIs.

Dye, meanwhile, remains a free agent after batting .250 with 27 home runs and 81 RBIs for the White Sox last season.

His numbers tailed off markedly after the All-Star Game, and executives cite his diminished skills in the outfield as another reason that he remains unsigned.

-- Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi

Phils looking for more pitching help -- 1:08 p.m.

The Phillies are looking for pitching after losing right-hander Joe Blanton to a mild left oblique strain, but fully aware that they might not find help.

"You've seen some of these rotations," one club source says. "Ugh."

Blanton, the Phillies' No. 3 starter, will be out 3 to 6 weeks. His replacement will be right-hander Kyle Kendrick, who was beaten out by lefty Jamie Moyer for the fifth starter's job.

The Phillies were scouring the lists of out-of-options players for potential bullpen solutions even before losing Blanton. Kendrick had been set to open the season as a reliever. His move to the rotation opens another bullpen job.

Closer Brad Lidge, recovering from offseason surgeries on his right knee and right elbow, recently received a cortisone shot and will be out until at least mid-April.

Left-handed setup man J.C. Romero, who also is recovering from elbow surgery, will join Lidge on the disabled list to start the season.

-- Ken Rosenthal

Webb's return to D-backs still uncertain -- 11:58 p.m.

When will Brandon Webb pitch again?

The answer remains unclear.

Barring a setback, the return of the Diamondbacks' right-hander in May is "highly likely," according to a major-league source.

However, Webb has yet to make a significant step in his recovery from shoulder surgery last August, and the Diamondbacks seem to be bracing for an extended absence.

"I have no idea how to establish a timeline," Diamondbacks general manager Josh Byrnes said Thursday morning. "We have to prepare to play with that unknown.

-- Ken Rosenthal

Barring a setback, the return of the Diamondbacks' right-hander in May is "highly likely," according to a major-league source.

However, Webb has yet to make a significant step in his recovery from shoulder surgery last August, and the Diamondbacks seem to be bracing for an extended absence.

"I have no idea how to establish a timeline," Diamondbacks general manager Josh Byrnes said Thursday morning. "We have to prepare to play with that unknown."

-- Ken Rosenthal