Content provided by Rotoworld Player News - Thursday, February 8th, 2018

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Blue Jays sign veteran RP John Axford 02-08-2018
John Axford P OAK
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Blue Jays have agreed to terms on a deal with John Axford.

Ken Rosenthal on Twitter
It's unclear whether it's a major or minor league contract. Axford flamed out with the A's last season, posting a 6.43 ERA across 22 appearances before being released in August. The Canadian will turn 35 shortly after Opening Day and will get a chance to play in his native country for the first time.
BOS and ARI offers to Martinez 'very similar' 02-08-2018
J.D. Martinez DH BOS
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Red Sox' and Diamondbacks' offers to J.D. Martinez "are believed to be at very similar levels."

FanRagSports.com
Heyman adds that "both have signaled a willingness to go to five years at more than $100 million." It's been reported that the Red Sox' offer is in the $115-125 million range, and it sounds like the Diamondbacks' offer is in the same ballpark. Obviously, Martinez hasn't deemed either offer good enough and Heyman hears the 30-year-old is willing to wait it out for more money. Heyman also adds that Martinez enjoyed his time in Arizona and would prefer to play the outfield rather than serve as a designated hitter, which is what he'd be in Boston. However, the Red Sox can likely offer Martinez the most money. Things are currently at a standstill.
ATL has 'serious interest' in Eduardo Nunez 02-08-2018
Eduardo Nunez 2B BOS
MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez reports that the Braves have expressed "serious interest" in Eduardo Nunez.

Jesse Sanchez on Twitter
Nunez could take over as the Braves' starting third baseman, shifting Johan Camargo to a utility role. Atlanta thinks that third base prospect Austin Riley could be ready to take over at the hot corner as soon as 2019, but Nunez has the flexibility to move to another position or become a super utility player if need be. The Rays, Yankees and Red Sox are also in on the 30-year-old.
Britton (Achilles) shooting for return in May 02-08-2018
Zach Britton P BAL
Zach Britton (Achilles) said Thursday that he thinks a return in May is realistic if his rehab goes exactly as planned.

Roch Kubatko on Twitter
Britton, who will have his third checkup on his surgically-repaired Achilles on Friday, said a couple weeks ago that he was ahead of schedule in his recovery. It's common that players are optimistic about their recovery timetables, so Britton's statements have to be taken with a grain of salt. Orioles manager Buck Showalter said a month ago that he expected Britton to miss the first half of the season.
Marlins interested in outfielder Jon Jay 02-08-2018
Jon Jay CF CHC
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that Jon Jay "appears to be a consideration for the Marlins."

FanRagSports.com
The fit makes sense, as the Marlins are desperate for outfield help after trading their entire starting outfield this offseason and Jay should come cheap. Jay is also from Miami, went to The U, and the Marlins might offer him more playing time than he'd get anywhere else, so the interest would probably be mutual. Coming off a .296/.374/.375 line with two homers over 433 plate appearances last season with the Cubs, Jay will turn 33 next month.
No extension talks between Indians, Lindor 02-08-2018
Francisco Lindor SS CLE
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that there have been no contract extension talks going on lately between Francisco Lindor and the Indians.

FanRagSports.com
General manager Mike Chernoff's young son spilled the beans last spring that the two sides were discussing a long-term deal, but it appears those talks haven't carried over into this offseason. The contract they discussed last year was reportedly in the seven-year, $100 million range, but Lindor turned it down. The 24-year-old will be arbitration-eligible for the first time next winter and is under team control through 2021.
Collin Cowgill inks minors deal with Phillies 02-08-2018
Collin Cowgill RF CLE
Phillies signed OF Collin Cowgill to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Bob Nightengale on Twitter
USA Today's Bob Nightengale says Cowgill will earn $800,000 if he's on the big league roster. The 31-year-old is a career .234/.297/.329 hitter over parts of six seasons in the majors and spent all of 2017 in the minors.
Kolten Wong expects more stolen bases 02-08-2018
Kolten Wong 2B STL
Kolten Wong said Thursday that he expects to steal "at least" 20 bases this season.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Wong stole 20 bases in his rookie season back in 2014 and 15 in 2015 but has managed just 15 steals combined over the last two seasons. However, he said swiping only eight bags in 2017 "was not me" and he expects new baserunning coach Willie McGee to help "open" up the running game. Wong had a nice .285/.376/.412 batting line last season, but he hit just four homers and he's slated to bat eighth for the Cardinals again in 2018. Getting reignited on the basepaths would obviously help Wong's fantasy outlook, and he has the speed and efficiency (career 79 percent success rate).
Grimm loses arbitration case against Cubs 02-08-2018
Justin Grimm P CHC
Justin Grimm lost his arbitration case against the Cubs and will receive a $2.2 million salary for the 2018 season.

Bob Nightengale on Twitter
Grimm requested $2.475 million when artration figures were exchanged last month. The 29-year-old reliever posted a disappointing 5.53 ERA across 55 1/3 innings in 2017 while earning $1.825 million. He may be a non-tender candidate next winter if his numbers don't improve. He's also not entirely assured of an Opening Day bullpen spot.
Lance Lynn drawing interest from 7-8 teams 02-08-2018
Lance Lynn P STL
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, free agent starter Lance Lynn is drawing interest from "seven or eight teams."

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
The list includes the Brewers and Orioles, but both of those clubs are believed to be exploring the trade market for rotation upgrades at this time. Goold also mentions the Cubs, Twins, and Mets as possible suitors while noting that the Cardinals are "not in the mix." Lynn, 30, returned from Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery last season to register a 3.43 ERA in 186 1/3 innings for St. Louis. He boasts a career 3.38 ERA in nearly 1,000 innings at the major league level.
Wheeler wins arbitration case against Mets 02-08-2018
Zack Wheeler P NYM
Zack Wheeler won his arbitration case against the Mets and will earn a $1.9 million salary in 2018.

Jerry Crasnick on Twitter
The Mets' front office filed at $1.5 million when arbitration figures were exchanged last month. Wheeler missed all of 2015 and 2016 due to arm troubles, but he returned to make 17 starts in 2017. The 27-year-old right-hander could have some sneaky fantasy upside this season, though he certainly has some proving to do. This was Wheeler's second time through the arbitration process. He has one more year of arbitration eligibility in 2019.
Gregory Polanco feels looser, leaner 02-08-2018
Gregory Polanco RF PIT
Gregory Polanco told Stephen Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he feels looser and leaner than ever before.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Polanco went on the disabled list three different times last season with left hamstring injuries and so he has tried to reshape his body this winter with intense daily workouts in the Dominican Republic. He has dropped a considerable amount of body fat and greatly improved his lower-body conditioning. The pictures in the story linked below are something to behold. The 26-year-old outfielder is looking like a strong bounceback candidate for the 2018 fantasy season. Polanco wound up batting just .251/.305/.391 with 11 home runs, 35 RBI, eight stolen bases, and 39 runs scored in 108 games last year.
White Sox sign Jake Elmore to minors deal 02-08-2018
Jake Elmore 1B MLW
White Sox signed INF/OF Jake Elmore to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Scott Merkin on Twitter
Elmore played the entire 2017 season in the minor leagues, slashing just .236/.324/.281 in 416 plate appearances between the Triple-A affiliates of the Blue Jays and Marlins. The 30-year-old utilityman is doubtful to make a significant impact at the major league level with Chicago.
Blue Jays sign Jake Petricka to minors deal 02-08-2018
Jake Petricka P CWS
Blue Jays signed RHP Jake Petricka to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Chris Cotillo on Twitter
Petricka can earn a $1.3 million salary if he makes the Blue Jays' major league roster and another potential $500,000 in performance-based incentives. The 29-year-old right-hander was non-tendered by the White Sox in early December after posting a brutal 7.01 ERA over 25 2/3 innings out of their bullpen in 2017. Petricka was a very effective reliever between the 2013-2015 seasons, but elbow troubles have somewhat derailed his career.
McHugh, Odorizzi drawing trade interest 02-08-2018
Collin McHugh P HOU
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that Collin McHugh is drawing trade interest from a number of teams.

The Athletic
Jake Odorizzi of the Rays is also popular on the trade market and is being sought by some of the same clubs that have reached out to the Astros about potentially acquiring McHugh. Those clubs include the Twins, Orioles, and possibly the Yankees. This trade market for mid-tier starting pitchers might not truly get going until top free agent starters like Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta have found contracts. McHugh, 30, missed the first half of the 2017 season with a right elbow impingement but posted a solid 3.55 ERA and 62 strikeouts over 63 1/3 innings (12 starts) when he finally came off the disabled list.
Yankees ink Shane Robinson to minors deal 02-08-2018
Shane Robinson LF LAA
Yankees signed OF Shane Robinson to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Bob Nightengale on Twitter
The deal comes with a salary of $950,000 if Robinson makes the Yankees' major league roster, though that will be an uphill battle given the talent all across the organization's outfield depth chart. Robinson, 33, is a career .226/.294/.297 hitter in parts of eight seasons at the big league level.