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Deal for Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon expected soon

Rays manager Joe Maddon doesn’t have a contract extension, but one is expected soon. Meantime, he’s headed on vacation.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times

Rays manager Joe Maddon doesn’t have a contract extension, but one is expected soon. Meantime, he’s headed on vacation.

The only official business the Rays concluded Friday was making room for new addition Luke Scott on the 40-man roster by designating catcher Nevin Ashley for assignment.

Of more significance, they continued talks on a multiyear contract extension for manager Joe Maddon, whose deal expires after this season.

But with Maddon leaving today on a European vacation, it's possible negotiations won't be concluded until his late-January return. There is no deadline, and both sides have said publicly they expect a new deal.

Also, in what was a formality, the five eligible Rays filed for arbitration by Friday's deadline: centerfielder B.J. Upton and pitchers Burke Badenhop, J.P. Howell, Jeff Niemann and David Price.

Ashley, 27, has yet to play in the majors, splitting last season between Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham. He hit a combined .263 with eight homers and 48 RBIs.

Ashley made a good impression on Maddon in the previous two spring trainings, and he joined the Rays for the 2010 playoffs (though not active) when Dioner Navarro left after being excluded from the postseason roster.

The Rays have four catchers on the roster: Jose Molina, Jose Lobaton, Robinson Chirinos and Stephen Vogt. They are likely to add another experienced catcher.

Ashley could remain in the organization if he clears waivers.

FANFEST SET: The Rays' annual FanFest is Feb. 18 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. Highlights include a Thanksmas meal with Maddon, a "yard sale" of memorabilia, players reading to kids, and autographs, from players and coaches (for a donation), and from broadcasters and ex-major leaguers (for free). Admission and parking are free. Details: tampabay.com/blogs/rays.

Around the majors

SEATTLE — The Mariners and Yankees pulled off a good old power play.

Power pitcher for power hitter.

Seattle agreed to trade right-hander Michael Pineda to New York for catcher Jesus Montero, a swap involving two young stars under age 23, the Associated Press reported.

As part of the trade, the Yankees also sent pitcher Hector Noesi, 24, to Seattle for righty Jose Campos, 19.

In other Yankees news, right-hander Hiroki Kuroda agreed to terms on a $10 million, one-year deal, the Associated Press reported. Kuroda was 13-16 with a 3.07 ERA for the Dodgers in 2011 and 41-46, 3.45 in four years in Los Angeles after a long career in Japan.

ARBITRATION: Giants ace Tim Lincecum headed 142 players filing, and he is set to ask for a record salary when figures are exchanged next week. The two-time National League Cy Young Award winner made $13.1 million last season.

CUBS: Reliever Kerry Wood, 34, agreed to a $3 million contract for 2012 with a $3 million club option for 2013. The righty went 3-5 with a 3.35 ERA in 55 games last year in his second stint with the club. He missed the end of the season because of a tear in his left knee that needed arthroscopic surgery. Also, shortstop Starlin Castro said he has cooperated with authorities investigating an allegation that he sexually assaulted a woman in the fall. Castro, 21, has not been charged. Chicago police have declined to comment.

Braves: The team avoided arbitration with outfielder Martin Prado, agreeing to a $4.75 million contract for 2012, and brought back utility infielder Jack Wilson, 34, with a scaled-down deal. Prado, who made $3.1 million last season, is a versatile player who could be the long-term replacement at third base when Chipper Jones retires. Wilson agreed to a $1 million, one-year contract.

Phillies: Right-hander Kyle Kendrick avoided salary arbitration, agreeing to a one-year contract worth $3.585 million.

Rangers: Free agent slugger Prince Fielder was in Texas to talk with the two-time American League champs.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

Deal for Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon expected soon 01/13/12 [Last modified: Friday, January 13, 2012 11:07pm]
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