By Michael Wong
Lake Buena Vista, Fla.--Free agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, perhaps the biggest remaining available name on the market, could be signed as soon as Monday night. The Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers are running "neck and neck" for his services according to a source connected to Choo. He should easily get a $100-plus deal that will come in below that of Jacoby Ellsbury.
-The Boston Red Sox publicly moved away from talk they want to acquire Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp. In fact other than Seattle, teams are moving away from Kemp due to the fact he is still not doing anything as he recovers from yet more surgery. The $128 million left on his contract is also a very big issue.
-One guy who is up for discussion and finding a lot of interest Monday is Los Angeles Angels slugger Mark Trumbo. It has been widely speculated that Trumbo will find a new home before the 2014 season via a trade and the Arizona Diamondbacks are looked at as the front-runners. However there is nothing to the Tyler Skaggs for Trumbo rumors.
-The Houston Astros are going to bring back Jose Veras to serve as their closer I have been told. There is mutual interest here as Veras did a very nice job finishing games for the Astros last season before a trade to the Detroit Tigers. That leaves the Cleveland Indians as the main team left looking for a closer and Grant Balfour is looking like he will be it. The Chicago Cubs meanwhile are looking at signing low on Jon Axford or trading for Drew Storen.
-Believe it or not the New York Mets could bring back Johan Santana on a one-year deal. The Mets go only three good years out of the seven they have Santana in his just expired monster contract that finished with him undergoing labrum surgery in his shoulder. The Baltimore Orioles are also interested.
-The Washington Nationals are trying to dump infielder Danny Espinoza on anyone who will listen. Which is not many.
-There is renewed interest in Carlos Marmol after he pitched very well during his stint with the Los Angeles Dodgers last season. The Boston Red Sox and Milwaukee Brewers have checked in on this.