Yoan Moncada could be free to sign an MLB deal soon

The 19-year-old Cuban SS, Yoan Moncada, is close to being declared a free agent, at which point he’ll be able to sign with an MLB team, according to reporter Jeff Passan (Yahoo Sports, Jan. 27).

The Red Sox, Yankees, Dodgers and Cubs appear to be the favorites to sign him (Yahoo Sports, Jan. 27), while the Rays, Phillies and Cardinals have also shown early interest (Sanchez, Jan. 27).

Moncada is expected to get at a $30 million offer, which, depending on the team’s status, could double due to MLB’s International draft rules >> Read more at MetsBlog.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees

Derek Jeter is Tom Brady’s favorite athlete

Just days before the Super Bowl, Patriots QB Tom Brady handed Boston sports fans gut-wrenching news: Derek Jeter is his favorite athlete (MLB, Jan. 27).

Brady, who has never been shy about his love for Jeter, mentioned it again, along with a few others, when asked about his favorite athletes. No surprise, Jeter topped the list

“Derek Jeter, LeBron (James), Kobe (Bryant). A lot of great football players that I really look up to,” Brady said at the Patriots Super Bowl media day on Tuesday. “Peyton (Manning) has been a great player since my rookie year, Aaron (Rodgers) and what he has been able to accomplish. Those guys compete every day and want to win. They work their tails off to help their team. Those guys I really look up to.” To read more of this story, click here

MLB: Seattle Mariners at New York Yankees

Ichiro to sign with Marlins

Ichiro Suzuki and the Miami Marlins have agreed to a one-year, $2 million deal (AP, Jan. 27).

Suzuki, 41, played the last 2 1/2 seasons with the Yankees after 12 seasons with Seattle. Last season, he hit .284 with 15 stolen bases. He has 2,844 hits in his major league career.

Suzuki passed a physical to help finalize the deal. He will sign the contract in Japan on Wednesday, accompanied by several Marlins team officials.

He is expected to be Miami’s fourth outfielder.

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Yankees to try and block certain A-Rod bonuses

The Yankees may attempt to block certain performance bonuses for Alex Rodriguez (ESPN, Jan. 26).

A-Rod is eligible for up to $30 million based on hitting “milestone home runs” with the team, including $6 million for passing Willie Mays for fourth on the all-time home run list. Rodriguez would also earn $6 million apiece if he tied Babe Ruth (714 homers), Hank Aaron (755), Barry Bonds (762) and besting Bonds’ record.

The bonuses are based on a marketing contract Rodriguez signed in 2007, which the Yankees are trying to nullify due to his PED suspension.

Yanks rebuffed A-Rod’s apology offer

The Yankees rejected an offer of a a face-to-face apology from Alex Rodriguez, telling him they’ll talk when spring training opens Feb. 25 in Tampa (Daily News, Jan. 24).

Rodriguez had threatened to sue the Yankees, among others, in his initial contentious bid to fight a one-year suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs. Rodriguez initiated a meeting with new MLB commissioner Rob Manfred last week ahead of the 2015 season and apparently wanted to do the same with the Yankees.

But the team told Rodriguez a meeting would not occur until the team officially opens camp next month, when many issues — including Rodriguez’s playing role and the team’s attempts to scale back performance clauses in his salary — will be determined.

A-Rod secretly met with Rob Manfred

Alex Rodriguez met with incoming commissioner Rob Manfred earlier this past week (Davidoff, Jan. 24).

A-Rod was the one that initiated this meeting with Manfred. In an attempt to create good will, there were no lawyers or player union representatives present. The goal was to ensure both sides were on the same page with his 2014 suspension coming to an end.

The last time A-Rod made a visit to the commissioners office was to receive his 211-game suspension stemming from the Biogensis investigation. Though the suspension would ultimately be reduced to just the 2014 season. A-Rod is now clear to make his return to the Yankees in 2015.

Braves claim Perez from Yanks

The Braves have claimed outfielder Eury Perez off waivers from the Yankees.

New York picked him up in late September from the Nationals.

In 67 games with Triple-A Syracuse, Single-A Potomac and the GCL Nationals, the right-handed batter combined to hit .310 (75-for-242) with 36 runs, 14 doubles, two home runs and 15 RBI. Perez has appeared in 22 career Major League games with the Nationals (2012-13), batting .154 (2-for-13) with four runs and four stolen bases.