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Baseball preps for busy offseason

– Baseball’s annual gathering of general managers began Monday when $14.1 million qualifying offers were turned down by all 13 free agents who received them from their former teams, a group that included Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Napoli and Stephen Drew of the World Series champion Boston Red Sox.

Three Yankees also said no thanks: Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson and Hiroki Kuroda.

The others turning down the offers were Atlanta’s Brian McCann, Cincinnati’s Shin-Soo Choo, Cleveland’s Ubaldo Jimenez, Kansas City’s Ervin Santana, St. Louis’ Carlos Beltran, Seattle’s Kendrys Morales and Texas’ Nelson Cruz.

If any of these players sign with a new team, his former club would receive an extra amateur draft pick at the end of the first round next June. All 22 players given qualifying offers have said no during two offseasons under the new system.

“When we made the qualifying offers, we did not expect anyone to accept. We would have been happy if any of them did,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said.

Cashman was an early arrival at the sessions, with some GMs due to check in on Monday night. In addition to early talks with agents and trade feelers, GMs will hold rules discussions, such as whether there should be any limitations on bowling over catchers.

Owners then arrive for their fall meeting on Thursday morning, where expanded instant replay is on the agenda.

A baseball official familiar with the deliberations, speaking to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said management probably would approve the additional video review by umpires in phases.

For expanded replay to start next season, agreements with the World Umpires Association and Major League Baseball Players Association would have to be reached.

These meetings usually are the spark for trades and signings later in the offseason. The pace figures to increase during the winter meetings, to be held in nearby Lake Buena Vista from Dec. 9-12.

With many clubs seeking top starting pitching, Tampa Bay is expected at some point to trade 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner David Price, who is eligible for free agency after next season. Detroit’s Max Scherzer, favored to win a Cy Young on Wednesday, also can be a free agent in 12 months and the Tigers may try to gauge what he would bring in return.

Texas would consider offers for middle infielders Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus to clear a starting spot for Jurickson Profar.

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