Major League clubs prepping for spring cleaning
Roster shaping to come soon as teams whittle down to 25 for Opening Day
Although late March might not bring the same excitement as July's non-waiver Trade Deadline or December's Winter Meetings, it's still a time for a flurry of movement throughout Major League Baseball.
As Spring Training winds down and teams make decisions about which 25 players they'll bring North, here are some moves to potentially look for in the transactions column for each team:
Baltimore seems intent on keeping its starting pitching depth, though right-hander Tommy Hunter is out of options and could be dealt, as could some of the club's numerous outfielders.
Lyle Overbay and/or Mike Carp likely will be cut from the Opening Day roster, so a useful reserve first baseman/left-handed bat could be available within days. Overbay's out clause is Tuesday.
New York is searching for corner infielders, either at first or third since Kevin Youkilis can play either. Left field also is a concern, though they've added Brennan Boesch and Ben Francisco to that mix. Improving at backup catcher could be another, though lesser, concern.
The loser of the fifth-starter battle between Roberto Hernandez and Jeff Niemann could be available, especially with the pitching depth in Tampa Bay's system (Jake Odorizzi and Chris Archer). Backup catchers Chris Gimenez or Jose Lobaton, who is out of options, also might be be available.
Brett Cecil and Jeremy Jeffress are competing for the final bullpen spot, as are Ricky Romero and J.A. Happ for the No. 5 starter. But Toronto likely will hold onto to the "losers" in each of those battles.
Chicago has Rule 5 pickup Angel Sanchez and youngster Brett Morel for infield depth, but might be in the market for a veteran backup utility infielder. Morel also could be available in a trade. Depending on the health of lefty John Danks, the White Sox also could be interested in a fifth starter -- though say they will stay in-house should such a need arise.
Cleveland has two players, pitcher David Huff and outfielder Ezequiel Carrera, who are out of options and could be possible trade bait. Reliever Matt Capps, a non-roster invitee, also would like to find a big-league gig before agreeing to a Minor League assignment.
The search for a right-handed hitting outfielder continues for the Tigers as they look to back up Matt Tuiasosopo before the start of the 2013 season. Tuiasosopo is the only extra outfielder in camp who bats right-handed and the Tigers still have a week left in camp to scan the trade market and waiver wire for options from other teams.
Righty Luke Hochevar has been moved to bullpen and might attract interest from clubs looking for a starter. Outfielder David Lough, who is hitting .500 this spring, also could catch the eye of other clubs.
Relievers Tim Wood and Josh Roenicke are out of options, though both likely will make the team. Fellow reliever Anthony Swarzak also is out of options, but will start the year on the disabled list.
The Astros' infield concerns could be addressed soon as they close in on a deal with free-agent infielder Ronny Cedeno. The shortstop spot is still a question for the club as Tyler Greene and Marwin Gonzalez have vied for the spot.
With closer Ryan Madson still unavailable, the Angels might be searching for another arm for the 'pen. Starting pitcher Brad Mills is out of options.
Relievers Chris Resop, Pat Neshek, Travis Blackley and Jerry Blevins are out of options which will likely keep all four in Oakland. Adam Rosales is also out of options and the A's may not have enough room for the infielder on their roster. First baseman Daric Barton may also be cut; he has a non-guaranteed contract, and is a long shot for making the roster.
Veteran right-hander Jon Garland, coming off shoulder surgery, was officially released on Saturday after exercising his opt-out clause. One of two outfielders, Jason Bay or Casper Wells, also might become available. Wells is out of options.
Center fielder Julio Borbon is out of options and Texas also is looking for relief help.
The Braves will most likely not be in the market for a new catcher with Brian McCann recovering from right shoulder surgery. Gerald Laird will ease his way into the spot after recovering from a slight left calf strain.
Marlins aren't likely to make any major moves before Opening Day. They'll most likely wait to see which players are trimmed from rosters in the coming weeks.
Infielder Brandon Hicks is the only player in camp out of options. The Mets also could use outfielders.
Yuniesky Betancourt has had a great spring and his opt-out date is on Sunday. Word is numerous teams looking for infielders have talked to the Phillies about him. Philadelphia also is looking for a fifth outfielder and backup catcher.
The Nationals signed right-hander Chris Young to a Minor League deal, though it's unlikely he'll make the Opening Day rotation. Washington would like to keep him for depth, though his opt-out date is on Sunday.
The Cubs are looking for a typical utility type who can play second, short and third; preferably a left-handed bat.
With fireballer Aroldis Chapman returning to the 'pen, the Reds have numerous arms, some of which are out of options, who could be available. Names like Jose Arredondo, Alfredo Simon and possibly Manny Parra might be ones to watch out for.
Brewers execs say they are keeping a "close eye" on the waiver wire regarding their bench. If infielders Jeff Bianchi and Taylor Green remain sidelined by hip injuries they could make a move to strengthen their bench come Opening Day. The Brewers could also have a reliever available in Mark Rogers should he lose the four-man race with Donovan Hand, Alfredo Figaro, and Brandon Kintzler for a bullpen spot.
Outfielder Jose Tabata, only 24, is out of options in a crowded outfield. Relievers Chris Leroux and Mark Melancon also are both out of options as they battle for the lone remaining bullpen spot.
The Cards will likely stand pat going into Opening Day.
D-backs With Adam Eaton on the DL, the D-backs are testing out their outfield options. They'll likely start Opening Day with an outfield combination of Cody Ross, Jason Kubel, A.J. Pollock or Gerardo Parra.
Hoping to improve their starting pitching, the Rockies have talked to representatives of veteran right-hander Jon Garland, who requested and received his release from the Mariners on Saturday. The Rockies are also flush at the catcher spot with veterans Ramon Hernandez and Yorvit Torrealba in the mix. The team only has room for one, and Hernandez is due $3.2 million while Torrealba is a non-roster invitee.
Los Angeles has a trio of starting pitchers -- lefties Ted Lilly and Chris Capuano and righty Aaron Harang -- many teams would love, but the Dodgers seem inclined to stash them. Outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr., also might be available.
San Diego could be looking to add a starting pitcher, but only if it's an upgrade over what the Padres already have, as they would rather not part with their bullpen arms. Although outfielder Carlos Quentin likely will join third baseman Chase Headley on the DL to open the season, the Padres are content with their internal candidates at each spot.
San Francisco needs a typical utility type who can play second, short and third. Offense is important but, of course, not as much as defense, and the Giants are willing to trade.
Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. Gary Cotton is a social media coordinator for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.