Welcome to The Stew’s Hot Stove Digest, our daily rundown of MLB news, rumors and gossip for Hot Stove season. Here you’ll find a quick recap of all the day’s action and other fun stuff from around the internet that we think is worth your time.
BIGGEST NEWS OF THE DAY: With roughly three weeks left to spring training, we’re starting to see some free agents move quickly to find opportunities. On Friday, Joba Chamberlain became the latest veteran to find a new home, reportedly agreeing to a minor league deal with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Chamberlain, 31, posted a 2.25 ERA over 20 innings for the Indians in 2016. Those are pretty solid numbers, but Cleveland’s bullpen logjam left him without a spot in July. Chamberlain was outright released on July 10 after refusing a minor league assignment, and ended up sitting home the rest of the season. He’s back now though, ironically on the minor league deal, and he’ll no doubt be in strong contention to fill a spot in Milwaukee’s bullpen.
The Brewers also signed Neftali Feliz to a major league deal this week. If healthy, Feliz should take over as Milwaukee’s closer. But the rebuilding club still has several spots available for veterans like Chamberlain, who are hoping to reestablish value. [@JonHeyman]
TAKE YOUR TIME: The Texas Rangers aren’t anticipating having Tyson Ross in their starting rotation until May or June at the earliest. Ross, who’s coming off October surgery to alleviate thoracic outlet syndrome, completed a one-year, $6M contract with Texas this week.
The Rangers were obviously very aware of Ross’ situation, which is why he was available to begin with. The San Diego Padres non-tendered Ross because they didn’t want to get caught up paying him a big salary for limited starts. The Rangers are less concerned about getting a full season, but are hoping to have him at full capacity down the stretch as they seek a deep postseason run.
“I don’t know what the date is going to be, but I’m totally confident that not only will I be ready but I’ll be back at 100 percent and be able to help this ballclub win some games down the stretch,” Ross said.
“My recovery is going well thus far. I’ve been throwing. I’m working out four days in a week in addition with exercises at home and coming into the facility down here. I’m getting back in shape, I’m feeling good and I’m optimistic.”
Ross, who emerged as one of the game’s best right-handers in 2014 and 2015, would definitely solidify the Rangers rotation behind Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels. If healthy, it’s not a stretch to suggest he could be the best signing of the winter. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]
WAIT AND SEE: Speaking of the Rangers, they’re reportedly taking a wait-and-see approach when it comes to adding a right-handed first base option. The Rangers have interest in Mike Napoli, and could also pursue Chris Carter, but the hope is one or the other will be available on a one-year deal similar to that of Tyson Ross. [ESPN Insider]
GOT A LEFTY: The Rangers did add a left-handed bat Friday, signing veteran James Loney to a minor league deal. Loney would earn $1M if he reaches the big leagues. [@JonHeyman]
NEED A BAT: The Miami Marlins have been busy this winter adding pitching. Most recently, they traded three prospects to acquire right-hander Dan Straily from the Reds. Prior to that, they signed starters Edinson Volquez and Jeff Locke, along with relievers Brad Ziegler and Junichi Tazawa. Now though, the focus is turning to the offense, where they’re hoping to sign a right-handed complement to first baseman Justin Bour. Possibilities reportedly include Chris Carter and Mark Reynolds. [@jcrasnick]
NEW LOOK: The Toronto Blue Jays unveiled new all red alternate jerseys that will be worn during Sunday home games.
MINOR DEAL: The A’s signed outfielder Alejandro De Aza to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. De Aza hit just .205/.297/.321 in limited playing time for the Mets last season, but strung together productive years with the White Sox, Orioles and Giants prior to that. [@ChrisCotillo]
MORE DEPTH: The Cubs added another experienced arm to their bullpen, signing former Brewers reliever Jim Henderson to a minor league deal. [@ChrisCotillo]
SPEED IT UP: Commissioner Rob Manfred is still looking for ways to speed up and ultimately shorten major league games. [Big League Stew]
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:
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