Winter Meetings Talk: Samardzija to Chicago?

News and notes from the first full day of the 2014 MLB Winter Meetings.

White Sox Nearing Deal for Samardzija

Two organizations going in opposite directions are close to making a Winter Meetings blockbuster deal, according to CBSSportsline’s Jon Heyman. The Chicago White Sox appear on the verge of acquiring starter Jeff Samardzija from the Oakland A’s. The A’s are rumored to be interested in White Sox middle infielder Marcus Semien, who is an East Bay native and a Cal alum. The A’s are expected to receive a package of players for Samardzija after receiving just one player for Brandon Moss earlier in the day. A deal could be announced as soon as Tuesday morning.

Report: White Sox Sign Robertson

Late Monday, USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported that the Chicago White Sox agreed to terms with closer David Robertson on a four-year deal worth more than $40 million. If the White Sox make this deal official and acquire Jeff Samardzija, they will have made four significant acquisitions already this off-season. Earlier in the off-season, the White Sox signed Adam LaRoche to DH and signed LHP set-up man Zach Duke. Robertson saved 39 games for the New York Yankees in his first season as their closer. He struck-out more than 13 batters per nine innings. He has a career 2.81 ERA and a 3.16 K/BB rate.

Lester Signing Soon?

Several reports throughout the day on Monday indicated that starting pitcher Jon Lester is narrowing in on a decision on which team he will sign with long-term. Lester is known to have offers out from the Chicago Cubs, the San Francisco Giants and the Boston Red Sox. There were rumblings on Monday that the Yankees would make a late play for Lester, as well, according to Jerry Crasnick. Eric Stephens of TrueBlueLA also reports the Dodgers could have interest in Lester. He is believed to be seeking a deal that would be worth at least $150 million. Many teams are waiting for Lester to sign so that the rest of the starting pitching market – both free agency and trade – can come into focus.

Cubs, D-Backs Talking Trade

The Arizona Diamondbacks are reportedly looking to move catcher Miguel Montero, and the Chicago Cubs could be the landing spot for Montero. Yahoo! Sports’ Big League Stew reports that the D-Backs had a deal worked out with the Dodgers involving Montero, but it was nixed by ownership. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic says that the Cubs are the new leaders in the Montero “sweepstakes” and would likely send two minor league pitchers to the D-Backs in exchange for Montero. Montero is in the middle of a six-year, $65 million contract. He had 13 homers and a 699 OPS last season for Arizona.

The Diamondbacks formally announced the Yasmany Tomas signing on Monday, as well. Tomas will have a chance to win the Arizona third base job this spring. The D-Backs are also reportedly listening to offers for slugger Mark Trumbo.

Early on Monday, the Cubs agreed to terms on a two-year deal with a third-year option with starter Jason Hammel, who spent the first half of the 2014 season with Chicago.

Minor Moves

Several minor transactions were announced on Monday. The Toronto Blue Jays claimed Chris Colabello off of waivers from the Minnesota Twins. Colabello, the hero for the Italian team in the WBC in 2013, has a career 649 OPS in 114 major league games. The right-handed hitter could platoon with left-handed hitting Justin Smoak at first base for Toronto next year.

The Los Angeles Angels claimed outfielder/first baseman Marc Krauss off of waivers from the Houston Astros on Monday. Krauss hit only .197 with six homers in 67 games for the Astros last year, but he has always hit for power in the minor leagues and could give the Angels a solid right-handed power bat off of the bench next season.

The Pittsburgh Pirates claimed RHP Josh Lindblom off of waivers from the Oakland A’s on Monday. Lindblom spent most of the 2014 season in Triple-A, making just one start for the A’s. He also missed the final six weeks of the season with an injury ankle. Lindblom has a mix of experience as a starter and a reliever in his career and has actually found some success as a reliever in the big leagues. He has a career 3.82 ERA in 136.2 big league innings, mostly with the Dodgers.

The Boston Red Sox announced that second baseman Jemile Weeks was outrighted off of the 40-man roster and was assigned to Triple-A Pawtucket. The former first-round pick split his 2014 season between the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox’s organizations. The Red Sox now have an open spot on their 40-man roster.

The Cleveland Indians designated RHP Bryan Price for assignment to clear a 40-man roster spot for Brandon Moss. Price made his MLB debut with Cleveland this year, appearing in three games. He has a 3.53 ERA and an 8.9 K/9 in seven minor league seasons.

The Baltimore Orioles outrighted infielder Steve Lombardozzi and LHP Pat McCoy off of their 40-man roster on Monday. Lombardozzi appeared in 20 games for the Orioles this season. He is a career .266 hitter in 277 major league games. Pat McCoy spent last season in the Detroit Tigers’ organization and was claimed by the Orioles earlier this off-season. McCoy appeared in 14 games for Detroit last season, allowing six runs in 14 innings. Originally a Washington Nationals’ product, McCoy signed as a minor league free agent with the Tigers before the 2013 season.

The Chicago White Sox added catcher Rob Brantly on a waiver claim from Miami on Monday. Brantly had an 832 OPS in 31 games for Miami in 2013, but he had a 528 OPS in 67 games for the Marlins in 2014. He was part of the deal that sent Anibal Sanchez from the Marlins to the Tigers. Brantly is a career .269 hitter in the minor leagues.

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