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We are into the second full week of spring training games and Opening Day is a mere three weeks and one day away. Also, the World Baseball Classic has begun, so there's plenty of baseball being played right now. Here are the latest rumors as you await the start of the 2023 MLB season.

Astros talking extension with Tucker, Valdez

Kyle Tucker
HOU • RF • #30
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Framber Valdez
HOU • SP • #59
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The Astros are discussing long-term contract extensions with outfielder Kyle Tucker and left-hander Framber Valdez, GM Dana Brown told the New York Post. Brown indicated no deals are imminent and they may not be reached before Opening Day. Tucker and Valdez are both three years away from free agency, so there isn't tremendous urgency to get a deal done this spring.

"These are going to be more difficult to get done at this juncture. It feels like they're coming to a close. We'll know within the next 48 hours," Brown told the New York Post. "We're communicating. It looks like we're further away with Tucker, but we'll see."

The Astros hired Brown away from the Braves in the offseason, and Atlanta has had tremendous success locking up their top young players to affordable long-term contracts. Brown is clearly trying to emulate that approach in Houston, beginning with an almost immediate five-year, $64 million extension for righty Cristian JavierTucker was among our top extension candidates in January.

Rays talking extension with Mead

Curtis Mead
TB • 3B • #25
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The Rays are discussing a long-term extension with top position player prospect Curtis Mead, reports ESPN. Mead has not yet made his MLB debut, but could do so as early as this year. Five players have signed long-term deals before reaching the big leagues:

While Tampa has yet to sign player to long-term extension prior to their MLB debut, they did lock up Evan Longoria and Matt Moore less than a month after they reached the big leagues.

Mead, 22, hit .298/.390/.532 between Double-A and Triple-A last year. Our R.J. Anderson ranked him Tampa's No. 1 prospect and said he has "above-average offensive projection" but "lacks the arm to be good at third base and the range to excel at second." Despite the uncertainty about his defensive home, the Rays are at least open to signing Mead long-term.

Yankees sign Ciuffo

Nick Ciuffo
2022 stats in Triple-A
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The Yankees have signed journeyman catcher Nick Ciuffo to a minor league contract, per the team's transactions page. New York was said to be in the market for a depth catcher with MLB experience after losing Josh Breaux (elbow), Ben Rortvedt (aneurysm), and Austin Wells (rib) to injuries this spring. That's their two Triple-A catchers (Breaux and Rortvedt) and starting Double-A catcher (Wells) down before the season even starts. Ciuffo, 28, appeared in 21 big league games with the Rays and Orioles from 2018-21. He served as the backup catcher with the White Sox's Triple-A affiliate in 2022.