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Marlins sign Ricky Nolasco to extension

12.20.10 at 6:37 pm ET
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You can scratch another potential Yankee pitching target off the list as the Marlins have reportedly agreed to terms with Ricky Nolasco on a three-year contract extension worth $26.5 million. The deal locks up the core of the Marlins young staff with Josh Johnson signed for the next three seasons, as well.

There had been speculation that the Marlins might make Nolasco available if they couldn’t come to agreement on an extension.

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Report: Yankees looking at Freddy Garcia

12.20.10 at 2:48 pm ET
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Now that the Yankees have lost out on Cliff Lee and failed to land Zack Greinke, the New York Daily News reports that they have begun to look at one-time Seattle ace Freddy Garcia. The News also reports that the Yankees knew they weren’t going to get Greinke.

Now they are waiting on Andy Petitte to decide if he wants to return and they have requested the medical reports on Garcia, who had a bounce-back season with the White Sox after three injury-plagued years.

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Rick Ankiel headed to Nationals

12.20.10 at 1:21 pm ET
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Outfielder Rick Ankiel agreed to a one-year, $1.5 million contract (plus performance bonuses) with the Nationals. Ankiel, a former pitcher, played for the Royals and Braves in 2010, batting .232 with six home runs and 24 RBIs.

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Royals sending Zack Greinke to the Brewers

12.19.10 at 9:47 am ET
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According to multiple reports, the Kansas City Royals are trading 2009 American League Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke, along with shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt and $2 million, to the Milwaukee Brewers for shortstop Alcides Escobar, center fielder Lorenzo Cain, and pitchers Jeremy Jeffress and Jake Odorizzi. OnMilwaukee.com first reported the deal.

The 27-year-old Greinke had recently requested a trade from the Royals. He is signed through the next two seasons, making $13.5 million in both 2011 and ’12.

The centerpiece of the package coming back to the Royals is Escobar, a 24-year-old Baseball America deemed Milwaukee’s top prospect. While the shortstop hit just .235 in his first full major-league season, he is considered a future leadoff hitter and defensive standout. The 24-year-old Cain had a standout season in two minor-league levels, with speed serving as the primary focus of his game, stealing 33 bases in 37 attempts last year.

The two minor-league pitchers headed to the Royals are both former first-round draft picks.

While there was some question whether or not the Yankees had interest in Greinke considering how New York’s pressure-packed environment might be handled by a pitcher who has battled a social anxiety disorder, the deal officially keeps one of the majors top pitching talents away from the Yanks. After missing out on Cliff Lee, New York is still thought to be searching for top-of-the-rotation pitching help.

Greinke has said that he has overcome any issues related to his disorder, and could play in any sort of market, but did admit to WEEI.com that New York might be an exception.

‘€œ[The environment] had a lot to do with [signing the extension], for sure,’€ said Greinke. ‘€œNow, maybe New York would bother me, but I don’€™t think anywhere else would bother me anymore. Even though I’€™m in Kansas City, I’€™ve gotten used to it a lot more. New York, I still might have trouble in New York. I probably would. But I think almost everyone does.’€

At one point, there was a report out of Kansas City that the Red Sox were one of the teams to have expressed interest in Greinke.

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Bobby Jenks’ physical with Red Sox rescheduled

12.18.10 at 8:41 pm ET
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According to a source with knowledge of the situation, the physical required for right-handed reliever Bobby Jenks to finalize his two-year, $12 million deal with the Red Sox was scheduled from Saturday to Monday for logistical reasons. Jenks, who had a 4.44 ERA but 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings in 2010, would give the Sox a late-innings complement to Daniel Bard as a setup man for closer Jonathan Papelbon.

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Former Red Sox Rookie of the Year Walt Dropo passes away

12.18.10 at 7:44 pm ET
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Former Red Sox star Walt Dropo passed away on Friday night at the age of 87.

Dropo was a multi-sport star for the University of Connecticut, and after serving in World War II and graduating from UConn, he turned down opportunities to play professional basketball and football to sign with the Red Sox. He exploded onto the scene for the Red Sox in 1950, winning American League Rookie of the Year honors by hitting .322 with 34 homers and a league-leading 144 RBI. While he appeared ready to star for years in Boston, he suffered a wrist fracture in the 1951 season, and — despite a major league playing career characterized by solid play over his 13 seasons — he never matched the phenomenal numbers of his rookie season.

In 1952, Dropo was part of a nine-player deal that sent him from the Red Sox to Detroit. He went on to play for the Tigers, White Sox, Reds and Orioles before finishing his career in 1961.

For more on Dropo’s life and career from the Hartford Courant, click here.

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Red Sox make Wheeler deal official

12.18.10 at 1:24 pm ET
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The Red Sox issued the following press release to announce the signing of right-handed reliever Dan Wheeler and confirming that outfielder Jordan Parraz was claimed off waivers by the Yankees:

The Boston Red Sox today signed right-handed pitcher Dan Wheeler to a one-year contract through the 2011 season with a club option for 2012. No further terms were disclosed.

The announcement was made by Executive Vice President/General Manager Theo Epstein.

Wheeler, 33, went 2-4 with three saves, nine holds and a 3.35 ERA (18 ER/48.1 IP) in 64 relief appearances with Tampa Bay in 2010. He struck out 46 batters and walked 16 while compiling a .207 opponent average (36-for-174). Only 18.2 percent of his inherited runners (6 of 33) came around to score, the second-best mark in the American League last season. Wheeler has posted a 3.24 ERA (62 ER/172.1 IP) over the last three seasons with Tampa Bay and during that span ranks among AL relief leaders in appearances (3rd, 203), holds (5th, 51), opponent on-base percentage (5th, .251), opponent batting average (8th, .195), walks per nine innings (T-8th, 2.45) and inherited runners scored percentage (11th, 24.0).

A native of Warwick, RI, Wheeler was named the 2008 New England Player of the Year by the Boston Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America after ranking second in the AL with 26 holds that season. He is one of just three Major Leaguers with at least 60 appearances in each of the last six campaigns since 2005 and has appeared in 21 postseason games in his career, all out of the bullpen, going 1-0 with one save, a 3.38 ERA (10 ER/26.2 IP) and 28 strikeouts. Selected by Tampa Bay in the 34th round of the 1996 First-Year Player Draft, Wheeler is 23-41 with 43 saves, 116 holds, a 3.84 ERA (247 ER/579.0 IP), 514 strikeouts and 179 walks in 530 career Major League appearances (nine starts) with the Rays (1999-2001, 2007-2010), Mets (2003-2004) and Astros (2004-2007).

Additionally, outfielder Jordan Parraz, who was claimed off waivers by the Red Sox on November 24, was claimed by the New York Yankees yesterday. The 26-year-old spent all of the 2010 season with Kansas City’€™s Triple-A affiliate in Omaha, where he hit .266 (115-for-432) with 11 home runs and 61 RBI in 123 games.

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