The Angels have hired Bud Black as a special assistant to GM Billy Eppler.
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times first broke the news of Black's hiring last week. It's official now. Black, who was fired by the Padres midway through the 2015 season, served as pitching coach for the Angels from 2000-2006. Following his exit from the Padres, his name was linked to several high-profile managerial openings, including those of the Dodgers and Nationals. He'll be stepping out of the dugout with the Angels in his new capacity.
White Sox GM Rick Hahn indicated that Erik Johnson's a front-runner to be part of the White Sox rotation in 2016.
Said Hahn, "So if Opening Day were today, then I think Johnson is penciled in to that spot in the rotation right now. In all probability, once we get closer to spring, there will be some competition for him to earn that spot." The spot in question is the one vacated by free agent starter Jeff Samardzija. Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Carlos Rodon and John Danks are already slotted into the rotation. Johnson, 25, made six starts for the White Sox in 2015 and held a 3.34 ERA, 1.40 WHIP and 30/17 K/BB ratio across 35 innings.
Braves signed RHP Bud Norris to a one-year, $2.5 million contract.
Norris was designated for assignment by the Orioles in early August and finished out the 2015 campaign in a Padres uniform. Between the two clubs, the 30-year-old right-hander held a bloated 6.72 ERA and 1.57 WHIP across 83 innings. He appeared in 38 games overall, with 11 starts in that mix. Norris has had serviceable seasons in the past, but there's no real fantasy upside here.
Brandon Gomes has elected free agency.
Gomes, who was designated for assignment last week, chose free agency after refusing an outright assignment to Triple-A Durham. The 31-year-old is coming off a 4.27 ERA and 44/15 K/BB ratio over 59 innings this past season and will hope to find a bullpen job elsewhere.
Dee Gordon said on MLB Network's "Hot Stove" show Wednesday morning that his agent has been in discussions with the Marlins about a contract extension.
"My agent is doing the talking," said Gordon. "They're just keeping me in the loop. I think it's going pretty well right now. We'll see how that goes. I'm just playing the waiting game. We're going to do the right thing." Joe Frisaro of MLB.com hears that talks only recently started and are in the preliminary stages. Gordon is arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter and is under team control through 2018.
CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports that the Orioles have reached out to the representatives for free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo.
Gallardo declined a $15.8 million qualifying offer from the Rangers, so signing him would require giving up a first-round pick. While the Orioles like him, they might not be willing to go there. Gallardo is coming off a solid season where he posted a 3.42 ERA and 121/68 K/BB ratio over 184 1/3 innings. The Diamondbacks and Tigers are among the other teams who have reportedly expressed interest.
FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports that the Cubs, Cardinals, Dodgers, Giants and Red Sox have the most interest in free agent left-hander David Price.
For what it's worth, the Blue Jays aren't expected to be a major factor. ESPN's Buster Olney reported earlier Wednesday that there's a "high expectation" among executives involved in the bidding for Price that the Red Sox will have the highest offer. However, Rosenthal notes that Price "values comfort even more than most players" and Boston might not be his ideal fit. That could obviously change if Boston blows him out of the water with an offer, but with the number of teams involved in the bidding, it would be a shock if he doesn't land a contract north of $200 million.
Rays sent RHP Brandon Gomes outright to Triple-A Durham.
Gomes cleared waivers after being designated for assignment last week. He has three days to decide whether to accept the minor league assignment or refuse and test free agency. The 31-year-old posted a 4.27 ERA and 44/15 K/BB ratio over 59 innings this past season.