Rogers: Rays could get a quick return from trade with Cubs

Catcher Chirinos, acquired in Garza deal, could press for playing time

February 13, 2011|By Phil Rogers, Tribune Newspapers

The Rays are excited about catcher Robinson Chirinos, acquired from the Cubs in the Matt Garza trade. He could push Kelly Shoppach, an October scapegoat for Rays fans, in a platoon with John Jaso, a left-handed hitter who emerged as the potential regular last season. … Daniel Bard is pushing the Red Sox to take a look at him as a starting pitcher after the acquisition of Bobby Jenks seemingly eliminated his role as heir apparent to Jonathan Papelbon. … Felix Pie appears to be a loser in the Orioles' signing of Vladimir Guerrero. Luke Scott, who was primarily a designated hitter in 2010, likely will be a regular in left field, which was split between Pie and Nolan Reimold. … Orioles general manager Andy MacPhail maintained his 25-year streak of not going to arbitration when he reached agreement with Jeremy Guthrie on the eve of a scheduled hearing. … The Blue Jays' Jose Bautista, the majors' home run leader last year, says he will test free agency if he hasn't agreed to an extension before a scheduled arbitration hearing Monday. This may be a bluff, but he could be a valuable free agent if he establishes himself at third base this season. He played 126 games there with the Pirates in 2007 but was primarily an outfielder for the Jays last season. … The Twins could look to move Francisco Liriano if Kyle Gibson emerges as a front-line starter. Liriano, like the White Sox's John Danks, is set for free agency after 2012 and could value himself beyond what he has been offered for a possible extension. … Though the World Series champion Giants re-signed Aubrey Huff, first-base prospect Brandon Belt will be watched closely in spring training. It's going to be an interesting camp in Scottsdale, Ariz., as veterans Mark DeRosa, Aaron Rowand and Barry Zito will be trying to maintain or increase their roles.

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