Report: Yoan Moncada has a clear path to signing before the 2015 season begins.

Nineteen year-old infield prospect Yoan Moncada, whom the Dodgers have been hotly pursuing since he legally left Cuba, could be cleared to sign with a major-league team soon.

According to a report on Yahoo! Sports, Moncada is clear to receive a license to sign with any major-league team because of a recent foreign policy change by the United States government. Writes Jeff Passan:

Any person who meets the requirements for a general unblocking license no longer will be issued a specific unblocking license, a Treasury Department official told Yahoo Sports, putting the onus on MLB to verify Moncada’s residency [in Guatemala] and allow teams to begin negotiating contracts with him. Moncada had been waiting for a specific license from OFAC since late September, sources said, the only hold-up in an expected bidding war for his services.

MLB was drafting a letter to OFAC on Tuesday asking for a meeting in the near future to clarify the new regulations and potentially change league policy, which requires a specific unblocking license. Should a meeting take place soon, one league official estimated Moncada could be free to negotiate with teams within two weeks.

Moncada has already reportedly worked out privately with the Dodgers, among a number of teams.

Zaidi: Dodgers ‘will definitely be a player’ in the Yoan Moncada mercado.

Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi told MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM that the Dodgers will “definitely be a player” for free agent Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada, confirming earlier reports. You can hear that full interview here.

Moncada, 19, has drawn throngs of scouts to his workouts. He could command up to a $50 million signing bonus. Since he is less than 23 years old, Moncada’s bonus would count against a team’s international spending allocation. By extension, the team that signs Moncada faces a heavy tax from MLB, a situation that favors the big-market clubs with money to spend. The Red Sox and Yankees were initially reported as the heavy favorites to sign Moncada.

Since Moncada’s major-league debut is likely years away, it’s too soon to know whether or not to believe the hype. He hasn’t even been cleared to sign with an MLB team by the federal government, which always comes with an unpredictable timetable. That said, there’s been a lot of hype about his baseball talent. How he left Cuba legally, with the government’s blessing, is another story without fully-fleshed details. We’ll pass along more as the story develops.

One more reason to click on the link to the interview: At the end, Zaidi comments on GM Dave Stewart’s assertion that the Arizona Diamondbacks are a “true baseball team” because their decisions are not driven by analytics.

Update: Dodgers, A.J. Ellis avoid arbitration at $4.25 million.

Catcher A.J. Ellis batted .191 in 93 games for the Dodgers last season. (Associated Press photo)

Catcher A.J. Ellis batted .191 in 93 games for the Dodgers last season. (Associated Press photo)

The Dodgers and catcher A.J. Ellis have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year contract worth a reported $4.25 million.

Ellis, 33, made $3.55 million in 2014, when he batted .191/.323/.254 in 93 games. The new contract would make Ellis the 12th-highest paid catcher in baseball, not bad for a player who has yet to hit free agency.

MLBTradeRumors.com projected Ellis to earn $3.8 million in arbitration.

The Dodgers acquired switch-hitting catcher Yasmani Grandal from the San Diego Padres in December with the intention of dividing playing time between Grandal and Ellis in 2015.

Five other Dodgers remain eligible for arbitration: pitchers Kenley Jansen and Juan Nicasio, infielder Justin Turner and outfielder Chris Heisey. The Dodgers avoided arbitration with infielder Darwin Barney in December by agreeing to a $2.5 million contract.

Report: Baltimore Orioles still haven’t ruled out acquiring Andre Ethier from Dodgers.

Andre Ethier

Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier still has three years and $53.5 million remaining on his contract, plus a $17.5 million vesting option for 2018. (John McCoy/Staff photographer)


File this one in the lukewarm rumor file.

We’ve reported in the past the multiple teams showed interest in Andre Ethier. Evidently the Baltimore Orioles are one of those teams, and they still have not ruled out acquiring him from the Dodgers, according to a report Sunday on masnsports.com.

From Roch Kubatko:

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Dodgers, unable to make trade, release Brian Wilson.

Brian Wilson

Dodgers pitcher Brian Wilson blew four of five save opportunities in 2014. The Dodgesr will pay him $9.5 million next season to pitch for another team. (Getty Images)


The Dodgers released right-handed pitcher Brian Wilson, who was designated for assignment Tuesday. That means the Dodgers will be responsible for paying the vast majority of Wilson’s $9.5 million salary for next season — probably all but the major-league minimum ($507,500), which will be paid by whatever team claims him.

At that price, Wilson isn’t likely to remain a free agent for long. Only 11 active major league pitchers have saved more games than Wilson (172).

After signing a one-year contract with the Dodgers for 2014, Wilson went 2-4 with a 4.66 earned run average in 61 games. He blew five saves in six opportunities and couldn’t hold the eighth-inning job that was his when the season began. Of greater concern, his velocity decreased as the 2014 season went along. It was Wilson’s first full season since undergoing a second Tommy John surgery in 2012.

Wilson exercised a player option in his contract for 2015 at $9.5 million. The Dodgers could not find a team willing to take Wilson in a trade. He was designated for assignment Tuesday in order to clear a roster spot for Brandon McCarthy.

Dodgers acquire catcher Shawn Zarraga to complete Drew Butera trade.

The Dodgers made two minor trades Thursday morning, none involving Matt Kemp.

They sent Matt Long to the Angels to complete the trade for catcher Drew Butera. Then they traded Long and pitcher Jarrett Martin for minor-league catcher Shawn Zarraga. None of the players involved are on the 40-man roster.

Zarraga, who turns 26 in January, was born in Aruba. He reached Triple-A in 2014, his seventh pro season, and batted .213/.304/.255 in 17 games. Zarraga has spent his entire career in the Milwaukee organization and batted .283/.376/.371.

Defensively, Zarraga was charged with two passed balls in 67 games last season and threw out 16 of 47 attempted base-stealers.

Zarraga was a 44th-round draft pick by the Brewers in the 2007 draft.

Report: Matt Kemp has arthritis in both hips.

Matt Kemp

Matt Kemp has been placed on the disabled list seven times in his career, but never for a hip injury. (Associated Press photo)

Matt Kemp was reportedly scheduled to take his physical with the San Diego Padres on Tuesday. Two days later — seven days since the framework of the trade was agreed to by both teams — Kemp is still a Dodger.

So what’s the holdup?

For a 30-year-old player who has had serious shoulder and ankle issues the last two years, this diagnosis poses another serious blow. The arthritis might not be Kemp’s most serious problem at the moment. Continue reading

Dodgers sign Brett Anderson to one-year contract.

Brett Anderson

The Dodgers have agreed to terms with left-handed pitcher Brett Anderson on a contract for 2015. (Getty Images)

The Dodgers have agreed to terms with free agent left-hander Brett Anderson on a one-year contract. The deal is worth $10 million plus $4 million in incentives, according to multiple reports Monday.

The contract is unofficial because it is pending a physical. The Dodgers have not confirmed the signing.
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Your daily Matt Kemp roundup.

Matt Kemp

Matt Kemp could officially become a San Diego Padre tomorrow. (John McCoy/Staff Photographer)

Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com reported today that Matt Kemp will take his physical with the Padres tomorrow, which is one of the first hurdles to finalizing the chain of events that will formally transform the Dodgers’ roster this week.

Once Kemp’s physical is complete, the Padres can send prospect Zach Eflin to the Dodgers, who can then send Eflin to Philadelphia to complete the Jimmy Rollins trade — barring any other hold-ups. Because the Phillies are sending cash to the Dodgers for Rollins (and the Dodgers are sending cash to the Padres for Kemp), the commissioner’s office needs to approve both trades.

It could be that the cash is the only thing keeping the Dodgers’ four-year, $48 million contract with pitcher Brandon McCarthy from becoming official. Judging by his new Twitter avatar, McCarthy sees no need to wait to change teams.

One more link to pass along: Dan Szymborski of ESPN.com offers an analytical breakdown of the Kemp trade, which might be needed if you’re a fan ready to jump off the ledge (and a wholly unnecessary read if you’ve already jumped off).