Braves sign Cuban outfielder, veteran catcher Buck

The Atlanta Braves hope they have the player who will settle the uncertainty in left field. Yesterday the team announced the signing of Cuban outfielder Dian Toscano to a 4-year, $6 million contract. Toscano is a 25-year old left handed hitter. According to an Associated Press story on the signing, Toscano will get a $1.2 million signing bonus three days after he reports to the Braves major league spring training camp. His yearly salary would be on an escalating basis, from $800.000 in 2015 to a high of $1.5 million in 2018. The Braves have an option for 2019. With the signing of Toscano, the Braves designated outfielder Jose Constanza for assignment. Earlier in the week, the Braves signed veteran catcher John Buck to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training.

Nationals-Scherzer reportedly agree on 7-year deal

The Washington Nationals and Detroit pitcher Max Scherzer have reportedly agreed on a 7-year contract that will add the 2013 American League Cy Young Award winner to an already impressive starting rotation. Financial details were not disclosed in the initial stories last night, but Fox Sports says it's in the neighborhood of $180 million. Last March, Scherzer turned down the Tigers' offer of a six-year, $144 million contract extension. An ESPN report earlier that the Nationals wouldn't have the financial flexibility to sign Scherzer no doubt means the team has a trade in place to move starter Jordan Zimmermann as well as shortstop Ian Desmond. The 30-year old Scherzer has a career record of 91-50 after an 18-5, 3.14 ERA in 2014.

Brave trade Gattis to Houston for prospects

The Atlanta Braves keep trading away key players. In a trade first reported yesterday by USA Today and aired last night on ESPN, Atlanta will send catcher/outfielder Evan Gattis to Houston for three minor league prospects. Earlier, Jason Heyward was traded to St. Louis and Justin Upton to San Diego. The trade of Gattis sends one of Atlanta's fan favorites packing. With the trade of Justin Upton, Gattis had reportedly been penciled in as the starting left fielder. Now, however, the Braves will take another look at that vacant position. Disappointing B.J. Upton apparently returns as the centerfielder, and Nick Markakis will play right field. The Braves earlier signed backup catcher A.J. Pierzynski as backup to Christian Bethancourt at catcher.

Braves sign pitcher Josh Outman

The Atlanta Braves haven't made any blockbuster acquisitions during the off-season, but the team continues to sign players as spring training gets closer. On Thursday, the Braves agreed to terms with left-handed pitcher Josh Outman and finalized deals with right-hander Jason Grilli and catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Earlier, the team reached agreement on contracts with pitcher Jim Johnson, outfielder Nick Markakis and third baseman Alberto Callaspo. Markakis is the biggest name among the signees. He is expected to play right field after the Braves traded Jason Heyward to the Cardinals during the off-season. The team also lost several pitchers. Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy, both out last year with Tommy John surgery, were not offered contracts. Neither were Aaron Harang and Ervin Santana. Medlen, Harang and Santana have signed with other teams, while Beachy is still trying to land a job. He has miss most of the last two seasons. Pierzynski, a veteran catcher whose last team was St. Louis, is expected to be Christian Bethancourt's primary backup this season, with Evan Gattis likely moving to left field, replacing the departed Justin Upton.

Uggla hopes to revive career with Nationals

The Washington Nationals have completed a minor league deal with Dan Uggla. The story began to surface on Saturday. Both Uggla and former closer Heath Bell have signed minor league contracts with Washington, with an invitation to spring training. That means both players will be given the opportunity to make the big league team during spring training. Uggla did not play during the last half of the 2014 season, opting to exercise his right as a veteran when the Giants wanted to send him to the minor leagues. He played in just four games with the Giants, going hitless after being released by the Braves after the All-Star break. The 34-year old second baseman is still owed $13 million by the Braves in 2015. The Nationals were busy over the weekend with these minor league contracts. They also signed third baseman Ian Stewart, first baseman Clint Robinson and right handed pitchers Scott McGregor and Mitch Lively. The Nationals lost first baseman Adam LaRoche to free agency.

With J Upton traded to Padres, Gattis is likely to play outfield in 2015

Justin Upton has one year left on his Atlanta Braves contract, but he won't be in Atlanta to collect it. The Braves have traded their most productive power hitter from 2013 to the San Diego Padres in exchange for four minor league players. The Braves, apparently in a rebuilding mode as they prepare to move to Cobb County in 2017, earlier traded outfielder Jason Heyward to the Cardinals from pitcher Shelby Miller. The Braves did not offer contracts to pitchers Ervin Santana, Aaron Harang, Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy. Santana has signed with Minnesota, Medlen with Kansas City. Unless he is dealt before next season, Evan Gattis is likely to hold down one of the outfield postions. Newly acquitted Nick Markakis will likely be the right fielder, and Atlanta still has BJ Upton, who had one of the worst seasons of all major leaguers last year. Christian Bethancourt is apparently being handed the starting catcher's spot. Last year's backup, Gerald Laird, is a free agent and has not been resigned.

Kansas City signs former Brave Medlen

The Atlanta Braves-Kansas City Royals connection pops up again. Yesterday, the Royals agreed to a 2-year contract with former Braves pitcher Kris Medlen, who missed all of 2013 while recovering from Tommy John surgery. According to ESPN and the MLB network, the contract is worth $8.5 million. According to those reports, Medlen will be paid $2 million in 2015, and $5.5 million in 2016. The deal includes a 2017 option with a $1 million buyout. Medlen, who hurt his elbow during spring training last year, also missed the 2011 season while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.

Posadas suing former financial advisors

Former New York Yankee catcher Jorge Posada and his wife have filed a lawsuit in Miami against their former financial advisors who, the Posada's claim cost them over $11 million. The case could be settled before it reaches the courts, however. An ESPN report last night says the two sides are closing in on a settlement. The two defendants in the suit are identified as Juan Carlos Collar and Anthony Fernanez. They are represented by Coral Gables attorney Gus Lamelas, who publicly announced that the sides have agreed in principle. Barry Lax, who represents the Posadas, took issue with Lamelas for going public with what Lax called a private matter.

Gavin Floyd inks one year deal with Cleveland

The Cleveland Indians have signed pitcher Gavin Floyd to a one-year, $4 million contract. Floyd hopes to make a comeback from his latest elbow surgery. Floyd played briefly with Atlanta last season. The 31-year old broke a bone in his elbow while throwing a curve ball in a June game. After surgery, Floyd wasn't allowed to throw again until well past the end of the season. The injury occurred in Floyd's ninth start as a Brave. He was coming off Tommy John surgery when the Braves signed him. Floyd has also played with the Phillies and White Sox and has a career record of 72 wins and 72 losses with a career ERA of 4.40 in 196 starts.

Ervin Santana signs four year deal with Twins

Ervin Santana, whom the Atlanta Braves did not try to re-sign after his one year in Atlanta, agreed to terms yesterday with the Minnesota Twins on a 4-year, $55 million deal. The right-hander, who went 14-10 for the Braves last season, will become a Twin once he passes the required physical. Santana could earn an additional $14 million in 2019 if he throws more than 200 innings, something he has done in five of his ten big league seasons. The Braves, who struggled down the stretch and blew their playoff chances, also lost Aaron Harang, Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy, none of whom were offered a 2015 contract.

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