Hot Stove roundup: Loney, Rays finalize deal
Orioles bring in fleet-footed Berry; Reds mull Sizemore's comeback bid
With snow blanketing much of the country as the calendar turns over to 2014, baseball fans are growing more and more excited for Spring Training.
The Hot Stove quieted down over the holidays, but you can expect things to heat up again as teams make final pushes for the remaining free agents and cross the final items off their to-do lists before reporting to either Arizona or Florida. Here's a recap of Friday's Hot Stove action:
• The biggest news of the day came out of St. Petersburg, where the Rays officially inked first baseman James Loney to a three-year deal. It's the largest deal awarded to a free agent by the Rays under current ownership, and Loney was a priority for the team coming into the winter, executive vice president Andrew Friedman said.
• The other deal of the day came out of Baltimore, where the Orioles signed speedster Quintin Berry to a Minor League deal. The outfielder has been valuable in stints with the Tigers and Red Sox, with whom he's demonstrated a prowess in stealing bases.
Berry, 29, has played all three outfield spots and is a close friend of Orioles center fielder Adam Jones. But, perhaps most importantly, he is 29-for-29 in career stolen-base attempts.
• The Reds, down an impact outfielder since losing Shin-Soo Choo to free agency, reportedly have explored adding Grady Sizemore, MLB.com's Mark Sheldon reported. Sizemore, 31, hasn't played in the big leagues since 2011 but showed plenty of potential while healthy during eight seasons with the Indians.
• Shortstop Stephen Drew remains a free agent, which comes as a bit of a surprise now that he's proven healthy and capable of helping a club, Marc Nordmandin writes for Sports on Earth. There's been more chatter about the teams Drew will not be joining, Normandin writes, than about where he might sign.
• CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reported the details of Houston's one-year deal with reliever Jesse Crain on Friday, noting that the right-hander will receive $3.25 million in guaranteed money.
• There figure to be plenty of teams in the running for Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, and Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports the D-backs will be one of them. He writes that the money the team had earmarked to potentially spend on Choo is now available for other uses -- namely a top-tier starting pitcher.