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MLB Free Agent Roundup

With spring training just around the corner, MLB teams continue to gear up for the 2013 season. Several free agent signings took place over the past week, as teams look to bulk up their rosters, and to get you caught up, here’s a roundup of some of the notable moves:

Cubs Nab Carlos Villanueva  

Looking to improve one of the worst pitching staffs from a year ago, the Chicago Cubs went out and signed free agent Carlos Villanueva to a two-year contract worth $10 million.

The two parties had agreed in principal to a deal that will pay Villanueva $5 million annually back in December, but finally got together to sign on the dotted line Saturday. The team sent down right-handed pitcher Lendy Castillo to clear a roster spot for Villanueva.

The 29-year old Villanueva has played seven seasons in the Majors, spending the last two with the Toronto Blue Jays. Last season he posted a 7-7 record with a 4.16 ERA in a mix of 16 starts and 22 relief appearances. He has a career record 0f 33-35.

Villanueva will certainly give the Cubs, who are 100/1 to win the World Series, plenty of options as a starter or reliever.

Phillies Pick Up Chad Durbin and Yuniesky Betancourt

The Phillies went out and signed two new players to their roster on Monday, one of whom is a familiar face, while the other will be given a minor league assignment to start the season.

After spending last season with the Atlanta Braves, Chad Durbin will return to Philadelphia after agreeing to a $1.1 million deal. Durbin pitched for the Phillies from 2008-2010, posting an overall record of 11-7 with a 3.62 ERA.  Although the right-hander is now 35, he’s still showing he’s got the stuff after going 4-1 with a 3.14 ERA for the Braves last season.

Philadelphia also picked up journeyman infielder Yuniesky Betancourt, who agreed to a minor league contract, but did get an invitation to spring training. Betancourt has spent time in Seattle, Milwaukee, but as of last year, Kansas City, where he hit .228 with 36 RBIs in 57 games a year ago. If called up later in the year, Betancourt will give the Phillies a decent bat off the bench and some versatility as a player who has started games at third base, shortstop and second base.

With these welcome additions, the Phillies hope to improve their futures odds, which are currently at 18/1 for the World Series.

Rockies Sign Jhoulys Chacin 

The Colorado Rockies and pitcher Jhoulys Chacin agreed to a two-year $6.5 million last week after negotiating for arbitration last season when Chacin went down for three months with a shoulder injury. He went 3-5 with a 4.43 ERA last season in 14 starts, but hopes to play a full season in Colorado this year.

At 100/1 for the World Series coming into the season, the Rockies will need all the help and production they can get out of Chacin.

Sources: ESPN, Bovada


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