Description: Starter Edinson Volquez has agreed to a two-year, $20 million contract with the Kansas City Royals according to CBS Sports reporter Jon Heyman.
Insight: Volquez had a great bounce back year with a 3.04 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and nearly twice as many strikeouts as walks over 192 2/3 innings in 2014 with the Pirates. Volquez, however, was one of the worst pitchers in the league in 2013, and Pittsburgh has become a pitcher's heaven, where down-and-out pitchers revitalize their careers. Francisco Liriano and A.J. Burnett were the first to do that with the Pirates and now Volquez. Now let's see if Volquez can be better than Burnett was after he left Pittsburgh.
Description: Outfielder/first baseman Michael Morse has signed a deal to play with Miami, according to mlb.com.
Insight: Morse is expected to play first base, though he can also handle the outfield if needed. He could bat cleanup and be protection for Giancarlo Stanton which would offer him plenty of opportunities to drive in runs. On the other hand, Marlins Park is a hard place to go deep.
Description: Outfielder Melky Cabrera has agreed to a three-year deal with the Chicago White Sox, pending a physical.
Insight: Cabrera batted .301/.351/.458 with 16 home runs and 73 RBI in 139 games this season. The White Sox are putting together an excellent offseason, having already added starter Jeff Samardzija, closer David Robertson and Adam LaRoche.
Description: Detroit has traded shortstop Eugenio Suarez to Cincinnati.
Insight: Suarez will have to beat out incumbent Zack Cozart, but we feel that's likely to happen and Cozart's numbers have tumbled since his rookie season. Suarez batted .242 with a .652 OPS in 244 big league at-bats.
Description: Cincinnati's All-Star pitcher Alfredo Simon has been traded to Detroit.
Insight: Simon struggled down the stretch, but finished 15-10 with a 3.44 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. Id the "first-half guy" shows up (12-3, 2.70 ERA) its a good deal, but if the post-break guy is in a Tigers uniform he won't be fantasy worthy.
Description: Tigers right-hander Rick Porcello has been traded to the Boston Red Sox in amulti-player deal involving Yoenis Cespedes.
Insight: After losing the Jon Lester sweepstakes, the Red Sox made a big move to bring Porcello in. he was solid last season going 15-13 with a 3.43 ERA and 1.23 WHIP. He's a career 2-1 in Fenway, but with an ugly 6.41 ERA and 1.475 WHIP, so be careful in expecting too much from him.
Description: Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick has been traded to the Dodgers.
Insight: Well at least he probably doesn't have to sell his house. The Dodgers are loading up on talent and Kendrick should replace Dee Gordon (traded to Miami) and hold the job until he becomes a free agent at the end of 2015. By then, Alex Guerrero should be ready.
Description: The Los Angeles Dodgers have traded for left-hander Andrew Heaney.
Insight: He is the main piece the Dodgers will be getting in return for Dee Gordon and Dan Haren. Heaney was the top prospect in Miami's organization, and he will have a chance to open up the season in Los Angeles' rotation. Kike Hernandez, Chris Hatcher, and Austin Barnes are also headed to the Dodgers.
Description: The Los Angeles Dodgers have traded second baseman Dee Gordon to the Miami Marlins, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.
Insight: The Dodgers will reportedly get top prospect Andrew Heaney in return, and it is possible Dan Haren could be headed to Miami in the deal as well. We will let you know once we learn of all the specifics.
Description: Angels coach Mike Scioscia said Wednesday he doesn't expect starter Garrett Richards to be ready for Opening Day according to the Orange County Register.
Insight: Richards had surgery in August to repair a torn patellar tendon in his left knee. Rehab is going well and Richards has already began throwing, but Scioscia is apparently keeping his expectations realistic, saying Richards will make his 2015 debut in May.
Description: The Chicago Cubs made perhaps the biggest free-agent signing of the offseason agreeing to a six-year, $155 million deal with Jon Lester according to FOX Sports Ken Rosenthal.
Insight: According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the Red Sox offered six-years, $135 million, so Lester went with the bigger contract. Perhaps Boston was hoping for a hometown discount because its unlikely the organization couldn't have offered him $155 million. Lester will be at the top of the Cubs rotation that includes Jake Arrieta and Jason Hammel.
Description: Francisco Liriano and the Pirates have agreed to a three-year, $39 million contract according to Robert Murray of MLB Daily Rumors and Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
Insight: It's nice to finally see the Pirates open up the wallets a bit to keep an important player to their cause. Liriano has posted a 3.20 ERA with 338 strikeouts in 323 1/3 innings over two seasons in Pittsburgh. Last season, he was just 7-10 but had a 3.38 ERA in 162 1/3 innings.
Description: Right-hander Jeff Samardzija has been traded to the Chicago White Sox in a multi-player deal.
Insight: Samardzija was 7-13 with a very nice 2.99 ERA and 1.065 WHIP. He returns to the Windy City, but to the other side after playing six and a half seasons with the Cubs. U.S. Cellular Field is a very hitter-friendly park.
Description: The Diamondbacks have traded shortstop Didi Gregorius to the New York Yankees.
Insight: Gregorius hit .226 last season with six homers, 27 RBI, 35 runs and six steals in 270 at bats. Replacing Yankees all-time great Derek Jeter, Gregorius may have more pressure on him than anyone in baseball.
Description: Former Orioles left fielder Nelson Cruz has signed a four-year deal with Seattle
Insight: Cruz will leave hitter-friendly Baltimore for Seattle and will be hard-pressed to match last season's 40 homer output. He'll likely bat clean up and protect Robinson Cano in the Mariners lineup.
Description: Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun says his right thumb is back to 100 percent since surgery according to MLB.com.
Insight: Braun had surgery to fix his inflamed nerve at the base of his thumb. He has already begun swinging and has not suffered a setback. Braun will remain a top pick in 2015 after hitting .266/.324/.453 with 19 home runs and 81 RBI this season.
Description: The Boston Red Sox and free agent Hanley Ramirez have agreed to terms on a four-year deal.
Insight: What a day for Boston, as they also have reportedly locked up Pablo Sandoval to play third base. Ramirez actually may play left field for the Red Sox, if the team hangs on to youngster Xander Bogaerts. Nevertheless the deal will be four years worth $88 million. Boston will now focus on their starting pitching.
Description: First baseman Adam LaRoche agreed to a two-year, $25 million contract with the Chicago White Sox.
Insight: With Jose Abreu the everyday first baseman, it appears as though the White Sox intend to start LaRoche at designated hitter. The 35-year-old hit .259/.362/.455 with 26 home runs and 92 RBI in 140 games during 2014. U.S. Cellular Field is a more friendly hitters park, so it is quite possible LaRoche hits even more home runs next season.
Description: Catcher Russell Martin signed a five-year, $82 million deal with the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday.
Insight: The deal became official on Tuesday. He will receive $7 million next season, $15 million next year and $20 million the final three years. Martin is 31-years old and hit .290 with 11 home runs, 20 double and 67 RBI last season in Pittsburgh. Although it doesn't matter for fantasy, he is also one of the best defensive catchers in the league.
Description: Yankees closer David Robertson is looking to be paid in the same range as Jonathan Papelbon, who set the record for biggest contract for a closer before the 2012 season.
Insight: So basically Robertson wants to be the richest closer in baseball. The Wall Street Journal reported Robertson's agent and Yankees general manager Brian Cashman met on Tuesday. Robertson turned down a one-year, $15.3 million qualifying offer. ESPN reports Robertson wants something in the range of four years, $50 million. He has posted a 2.20 ERA over the past four years, but that is still a lot of money for a closer.
Description: Houston's young right fielder, George Springer, is completely recovered from the left quad injury that put a stop to am impressive early-season run, according to Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow.
Insight: The 24-year-old outfielder hit 20 home runs, knocked in 51 RBI, stole five bases and posted a .804 OPS in 78 games, but didn't play a game after July 19. He's got all the tools to be a fantasy star and should go high in next year's fantasy drafts.
Description: Mets have apparently agreed to a two-year deal with former Colorado outfielder Michael Cuddyer.
Insight: Cuddyer only had 190 at-bats this past season due to injury, but he won a batting title in 2013 (.331) and hit 20 home runs with 84 RBI. Of course, that was in Coors Field and not Citi Field, but he's nothing if not a professional hitter.
Description: Cardinals center fielder Peter Bourjos underwent hip surgery to address impingement, according to mlb.com reporter Jenifer Langosch.
Insight: Bourjos is just a part-time player in St. Louis. He had one useful season with the Angels in 2011, but hasn't proven he can handle a full-time gig and fantasy owners likely won't have much use for him next season even when healthy.
Description: Pablo Sandoval's agent, Gustavo Vasquez, told the San Francisco Chronicle the third baseman is looking for a six-year contract.
Insight: At 28-year-old, we agree that Sandoval has earned a long-term deal even as much as six years, but it is going to be tough for a team to give a player who has battled conditioning issues through his career a six-year deal.
Description: Relief pitcher J.J. Putz has officially retired from baseball according to USA Today.
Insight: The Diamondbacks released Putz in June, but he did not officially retire until this week. He will begin a new career, joining the Arizona front office. Putz finished with a 3.08 ERA and one All-Star appearance.
Description: Giants manager Bruce Bochey told Comcast SportsNet Bay Area he expects Tim Lincecum to return to the starting rotation next season.
Insight: Lincecum lost his spot in the rotation in August, and barely pitch in the postseason. Bochy, however, said he believes the team will need him as a starter. The 30-year-old made 26 starts and posted a 4.67 ERA in 2014.
Description: Outfielder Alfonso Soriano has announced his retirement from baseball, according to Hector Gomez of Listin Diario in the Dominican Republic.
Insight: He was released by the Yankees in July, and at 38-years-old, finishes a nice career, batting .270/.319/.500 with 412 homers and 1,159 RBI during 16 seasons. Soriano also made seven All-Star teams.
Description: The Royals have declined the 2015 option on 1B/DH Billy Butler.
Insight: Butler would like to return to Kansas City, but will be seeking a multi-year deal as a free agent. The Royals preferred to pay the $1 million buyout, as opposed to picking up a $12.5 option. Butler hit .266 in 2014, with nine homers and 66 RBI.
Description: According to Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish , Blue Jays 1B/DH Adam Lind has been reportedly traded to the Brewers for pitcher Marco Estrada. UPDATE: The Blue Jays have announced the deal sending Adam Lind to the Brewers for RHP Marco Estrada, making it official.
Insight: The deal is still pending physicals, but this will be a solid addition for Milwaukee. Over the past two seasons, Lind slashed .301/.366/.490 with 29 home runs and 107 RBI, through 239 games. He is a below-average defender, so will most likely be rested against most left-handed starters.
Description: The Phillies and right-hander A.J. Burnett both declined their $15 million mutual options for 2015.
Insight: Burnett still has a player option for $12.75 million for next season, and will have a few more days to make that decision. If he does not retire, he probably would not fetch more than that on the open market.
Description: According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Chicago Cubs will hire Joe Maddon as their next manager.
Insight: After opting out of his contract with the Rays, it took less than a week for Maddon to find a new gig. The deal is reportedly for five years and is worth $25 million. Current manager Rick Renteria's status is now up in the air, after being named the Cubs' manager last November.
Description: Giants outfielder Juan Perez is starting in left field in Game 7 of the World Series on Wednesday.
Insight: Manager Bruce Bochy is going with his best lineup with Perez in left rather than Travis Ishikawa. Perez will bat ninth and shortstop Brandon Crawford moves up to bat eighth. The rest of the Giants lineup remains the same.
Description: Giants catcher Buster Posey continues to struggle in the 2014 World Series.
Insight: Posey hit with the bases loaded and one out in the third inning. San Francisco had just allowed Kansas City to score seven runs in the second, so any kind of run would have meant a slight swing in momentum. Instead, Posey grounded into a double play to end the inning. Posey is batting just .190 since the start of the NLCS and doesn't have an extra base hit the entire postseason.
Description: Giants right-hander Yusmeiro Petit allowed his first earned run of the World Series on Tuesday.
Insight: Petit relieved starter Jake Peavy with the bases loaded and one out in the second. It was not an ideal situation for Bruce Bochy to put in Petit. He is a spot starter/long relief guy, so he does much better coming in at the beginning of an inning rather than with runners on base. Petit allowed three hits to the first three batters he faced as five more runs scored, two of which were charged to him.
Description: Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar was 2-for-5 with a run and RBI in Game 6 against the Giants.
Insight: Escobar beat out an infield single in the second inning to load the bases. He hit a ground ball to Brandon Belt at first base, but Belt looked the runner back to third base too long and Escobar beat Belt to first. After another hit, Giants starter Jake Peavy was chased from the game. Escobar's other hit was an RBI-double in the fifth.
Description: Giants starter Jake Peavy lasted just 1 1/3 innings in Game 6 versus the Royals.
Insight: Peavy could not get out of the second inning as he allowed five runs on six hits. His downfall came when Alcides Escobar reached on an infield single because first baseman Brandon Belt looked back the runner at third base too long as Escobar beat him to the bag. In the next at-bat, Peavy jumped out 0-2 on Norichika Aoki but failed to put him away. Aoki's single scored another run and was the last batter Peavy faced.
Description: Royals starter Yordano Ventura pitched seven shutout innings in Game 6 of the World Series to help Kansas City force Game 7.
Insight: Ventura seemed extra focus pitching in memory of his late-friend, Oscar Tavares. Ventura wasn't completely sharp as he did walk five batters, but he allowed just three hits. A seven-run second inning certainly helped as well.Game 7 is Wednesday.
Description: Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas will bat eighth in Game 6 of the World Series on Tuesday.
Insight: It is a slight change as Moustakas batted ninth in most all previous playoff lineups that included the designated hitter. Billy Butler and Nori Aoki will return to their usual spots in the lineup and Omar Infante will bat ninth.
Description: Royals outfielder Norichika Aoki and Billy Butler will return to the starting lineup for Game 6 of the World Series on Tuesday.
Insight: Aoki and Butler did not start in Games 3, 4, and 5 which were in San Francisco. Manager Ned Yost wanted a faster outfielder with the biggest area to cover in AT&T Park and played Jarrod Dyson instead of Aoki. Butler sat without the designated hitter in the National League ballpark.
Description: Giants starter Madison Bumgarner will look to help give San Francisco a 3-2 series lead, heading back to Kansas City.
Insight: This is the guy the Giants want on the mound in this pivotal Game 5, as Bumgarner went seven strong innings in Game 1, allowing only one run on three hits, and struck out five. After winning the NLCS MVP Award, Bumgarner will look to earn those honors in the World Series as well.
Description: Royals starter James Shields will look to rebound from a poor Game 1 outing.
Insight: He lasted only three innings in Game 1, and will need to pitch like an ace if Kansas City wants to return home with a lead in the series. Shields will be opposed by Giants go-to guy Madison Bumgarner, so he will need to bring his A-game.
Description: Royals outfielder Norichika Aoki should continue to be out of the lineup, Sunday night against the Giants.
Insight: He has the most experience against San Francisco starter Madison Bumgarner, but is 0-for-13 lifetime against him. Jarrod Dyson will most likely be back in the lineup, after going 1-for-3 with a walk in Game 4.
Description: Giants outfielder Gregor Blanco has solid career-numbers in limited action, against Game 5 starter James Shields.
Insight: Blanco is 4-for-7 lifetime off of Shields with a triple and three RBI. He should continue to hit in the leadoff spot, and will have the opportunity to start things off for San Francisco in a pivotal World Series Game 5.
Description: Giants right-hander Yusmeiro Petit was a key to the Giants victory Saturday night with three scoreless innings out of the bullpen.
Insight: The Giants bullpen came through with a total of 6 1/3 innings of scoreless ball and the San Francisco offense came to life late. Wasn't it the Royals bullpen that was to be "untouchable" in this series?
Description: Royals center fielder Jarrod Dyson is starting in center field and batting eighth, again, in Game 4 of the World Series on Saturday.
Insight: Ned Yost is sticking with the same lineup that won Game 3 in San Francisco on Friday. We would too. The added defense paid huge dividends, and Alex Gordon came through with a huge hit in the No. 2 spot.
Description: Giants manager Bruce Bochy confirmed after the game Friday that Ryan Vogelsong will start Game 4 of the World Series on Saturday.
Insight: Bochy left the door open to start Madison Bumgarner on short rest in Game 4, but he decided after the loss Friday to stick with Vogelsong. Bumgarner will start Game 5. Both are pretty much must-wins for San Francisco in order to avoid falling behind 3-2 with Games 6 and 7 in Kansas City.
Description: Royals second baseman Omar Infante is 7-for-11 in his career against Giants Game 4 starter Ryan Vogelsong.
Insight: Norichika Aoki and Josh Willingham are the only other Royals with at-bats against Vogelsong and neither were in the starting lineup for Game 3. Infante also has two stolen bases with Vogelsong on the mound.
Description: Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval is 3-for-9 in his career against Royals starter Jason Vargas.
Insight: It is a small sample size, but Sandoval has been the most successful Giants hitter versus Vargas. Sandoval was 0-for-4 in Game 3 and snapped his streak of 25 straight games of reaching base in the postseason.
Description: Royals 21-year-old Brandon Finnegan struck out both hitters he faced in the seventh to keep the Giants off the scoreboard.
Insight: Kansas City was clinging to a one-run lead when Ned Yost elected to pull Kelvin Herrera for the lefty Finnegan against two left-handed hitters for the Giants. Finnegan rewarded his manager with two strikeouts. The Royals won, 3-2.
Description: Giants catcher Buster Posey was 0-for-4 with an RBI in Game 3 of the World Series.
Insight: Posey did have an RBI-groundout in the sixth. The Giants were down two at the time with two runners in scoring position and one out, so the catcher was likely hoping for more. San Francisco lost, 3-2, and now trail in the series.
Description: Giants outfielder Michael Morse had a pinch-hit double in the sixth to keep San Francisco in Game 3 of the World Series Friday.
Insight: Morse doubled to left off Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie to score Brandon Crawford from first. The hit chased Guthrie from the game. Morse then scored on a grounder from Buster Posey, three at-bats later. Kansas City, however, held on to win, 3-2.
Description: Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs in Game 3 of the World Series Friday.
Insight: Escobar led off the game with a double on the first pitch. He scored on Eric Hosmer's grounder. Then in the sixth, he had a one-out single and scored on Alex Gordon's double. Escobar was the only player with either team with two hits in Game 3. Kansas City won, 3-2, and leads the series, 2-1.
Description: Giants starter Tim Hudson pitched 5 2/3 innings against the Royals in his long awaited World Series debut.
Insight: Hudson allowed three runs on four hits. After he permitted a double and single in the first two innings, he did not allow another hit to the sixth. Unfortunately, it was not enough, and San Francisco trails Kansas City in the World Series, 2-1.
Description: Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie pitched five-plus innings and allowed two runs on four hits in the Game 3 victory over the Giants in the World Series Friday night.
Insight: Guthrie only threw 77 pitches, but Ned Yost went to his bullpen when his starter allowed the first two hitters to reach base in the sixth. Two runs scored in the inning, but Kelvin Herrera did not permit the tying run to score, and Kansas City won, 3-2.
Description: Royals center fielder Jarrod Dyson is starting in center field and batting eighth in Game 3 of the World Series on Friday.
Insight: In the big AT&T Park, Royals manager Ned Yost went with his best defensive lineup. Lorenzo Cain moves to right field, and Nori Aoki is on the bench. Alex Gordon will bat second, and Mike Moustakas will hit fifth.
Description: Free agent Victor Martinez is looking for a four-year contract this winter according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
Insight: Martinez is 36, but he hit .335/.409/.565 with 32 home runs and 103 RBI in 2014. The Tigers would love to keep him, but they also have other free agent concerns in Max Scherzer and Torri Hunter.
Description: Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright had his ligament "trimmed" in his right elbow according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. UPDATE: St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports Wainwright had his cartilage "trimmed", not the ligament in his right elbow.
Insight: General manager John Mozeliak said Wainwright should be able to throw in six weeks, so the procedure would not affect his availability for next season. He likely wasn't going to throw much this offseason anyway, and the Cardinals were already planning to limit Wainwright's work next preseason.