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Scott Kazmir, Oakland Athletics agree to two-year deal

Free-agent pitcher Scott Kazmir has agreed to terms on a $22-million, two year contract with the Oakland Athletics, a person with knowledge of the negotiations said.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
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Free-agent left-hander Scott Kazmir agreed to terms on a $22-million, two-year contract with the Oakland Athletics on Monday, a person with knowledge of the negotiations said.

The deal is pending a physical. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team hadn’t finalized the deal or formally announced interest in Kazmir.

The 29-year-old Kazmir was 10-9 with a 4.04 earned-run average in 29 starts and 158 innings last season for the Cleveland Indians. It marked his return to the big leagues for the first time since making one poor outing for the Angels in 2011, which followed a 9-15 performance in 2010 for them.

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Also, the A’s acquired American League saves leader Jim Johnson from the Baltimore Orioles late Monday as a replacement for All-Star closer Grant Balfour.

The A’s received Johnson for infielder Jemile Weeks and a player to be named.

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Major League Baseball has proposed limiting the amount its teams could bid for Japanese players, a cap that would prevent the Dodgers or Angels from making a massive bid for pitcher Masahiro Tanaka.

The proposed cap was disclosed by a person familiar with the matter but not authorized to discuss it publicly.

Under the proposal, if multiple teams bid the capped amount, the player would get to choose the team with which he would negotiate. In theory, that could represent a step toward helping teams with less revenue bid on fairer footing with large-market teams such as the Dodgers and Angels.

There would be no cap on the contract between the Japanese player and an MLB team.

MLB and Japanese baseball officials have exchanged various proposals on how to improve the so-called posting system, which is the manner by which Japanese teams can make their players available to MLB teams before those players hit free agency.

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It is unclear when — or if — this proposal might be adopted.

According to media reports in Japan, the owner of Tanaka’s club — the Rakuten Golden Eagles — has said he would like to know soon whether Tanaka can be posted. Tanaka could negotiate a new contract with Rakuten in the meantime, perhaps with an escape clause for an MLB opportunity.

—Bill Shaikin

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The Detroit Tigers traded right-hander Doug Fister to the Washington Nationals for three players, opening a spot in their rotation and perhaps saving some money to keep Max Scherzer beyond next season.

Detroit received infielder Steve Lombardozzi, minor league lefty Robbie Ray and reliever Ian Krol for Fister, a 14-game winner for the AL Central champions.

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Catcher Jose Molina is staying with the Tampa Bay Rays, finalizing a $4.5-million, two-year contract.

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Molina, 38, has spent the last two seasons with the Rays. He started a career-high 87 games and batted .233 with two home runs and 18 runs batted in in 99 games. The veteran of 14 major league seasons, who had become a free agent, is a .238 career hitter with 39 home runs and 213 RBIs.

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Pittsburgh Pirates minor league prospect Evan Chambers died in his sleep over the weekend. He was 24.

Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington had no additional details, but he said in a statement the team was “shocked” and “saddened” by Chambers’ passing.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

No suspensions for Ohio State over brawl

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The Big Ten Conference has decided not to suspend any players or coaches for their actions in a fight in Saturday’s game between No. 2 Ohio State and archrival Michigan.

The conference office issued a public reprimand to Buckeyes starting right guard Marcus Hall and the Ohio State coaching staff.

Hall was ejected from the game for coming onto the field to participate in the skirmish. As he was leaving the sideline, he angrily threw his helmet to the ground, kicked the team bench and then held up both hands in an obscene gesture to Michigan fans.

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Wake Forest Coach Jim Grobe is resigning after 13 seasons at the school.

“I just really feel right now, it’s probably good for the program to have some new energy, some new direction,” Grobe said during a news conference.

The 61-year-old Grobe has a career record of 110-115-1 in a combined 19 years at Wake Forest and Ohio.

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He was 77-82 with the Demon Deacons.

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Illinois Coach Tim Beckman will be back in 2014 despite a second consecutive losing season.

Athletic Director Mike Thomas confirmed the decision through a spokesman.

The Fighting Illini finished 4-8 (1-7 Big Ten) in Beckman’s second season at Illinois, and lost their finale, 37-34, on Saturday to Northwestern.

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