AL East Recap: The Weekend Update

A few odds and ends, including a starting pitcher the Jays have been linked to, read below:

-A pitcher I am sure the Jays would love to add if the price of prospects was a tad more reasonable is discussing a contract extension with the Chicago Cubs.

Mike Axisa writes the Cubs spent most of the winter gauging trade interest in Matt Garza, but now it appears they’re willing to discuss a long-term commitment. GM Jed Hoyer spoke to reporters (including Gordon Wittenmyer of The Chicago Sun Times) upon arriving at the team’s Spring Training facility today, and said the two sides could being extension talks soon.

“We focused really hard on getting the one-year number done a few weeks ago,” said Hoyer, referring to the one-year, $9.5MM contract the two sides agreed to a few weeks ago, avoiding arbitration. “We didn’t have any kind of long-term discussions before that, but certainly there was some dialogue about possibly having some long-term discussions at some point maybe this spring … I think we probably will sit down and talk.”

Garza, 28, can’t become a free agent until after the 2013 season. He made at least 30 starts and threw at least 180 innings for the fourth straight year in 2011, pitching to a 3.32 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 during his first season on Chicago’s north side. Garza has said he’s open to an extension with the Cubs earlier this offseason.

There has not been many reports lately stating the Jays and Cubs have started talks again and it appears the Jays will begin the season with the pitchers currently in camp, possibly opening up a spot for a surprise candidate depending on how spring training goes.

-MLB Trade rumours reports the Yankees have been negotiating extensively with representatives for Raul Ibanez, tweets Ken Davidoff of Newsday.  An agreement seems very likely once the A.J. Burnett trade is finalized.

This morning, we learned that the Yankees still prefer Ibanez to Johnny Damon because he’s better against right-handers and in the field.  The club is reportedly intent on adding two bats to the fold.

-The Red Sox know that they won’t be getting Brett Jackson or Josh Vitters from the Cubs in the compensation agreement for Theo Epstein leaving the club but still hope to come away with a quality prospect, writes Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com.

-Manny Ramirez worked out for the Athletics and the club could sign the slugger within the next week, writes Jane Lee of MLB.com.

-Mike Axisa also discusses former Blue Jays hurler Shaun Marcum, as he reports last offseason, the Brewers traded Brett Lawrie to the Blue Jays for Shaun Marcum, who helped the club to the NLCS. Now they’re faced with his impending free agency. Marcum is scheduled to hit the open market after this season, and he told Todd Rosiak of The Journal Sentinel that the two sides have yet to talk about an extension.

“There hasn’t been (talks),” said Marcum. “When we were doing the arbitration thing, we were told they just wanted to do a one-year deal. I’m assuming that’s what that means — we’re just doing one year and they’re going to let me walk.”

-Johnny Damon will not be signing with the New York Yankees.  “We both are looking at other options now,” said Damon, adding that it’s “unfortunate”.

-The latest on the Jorge Soler situation from MLB trade rumours:

Two GMs told Cafardo that Jorge Soler will go for more than the five years and $15MM-$20MM most thought he would settle for.  Some of the clubs who elected to stay away on Yoenis Cespedes because of the hefty price and question marks about his game have decided that Soler is a better value.  The Red Sox are one of about eight teams in on Soler.

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