Sean Casey will bring his special blend of bat, glove and clubhouse chemistry to Boston this season.

The popular first baseman signed a one-year deal to serve as both a backup to Kevin Youkilis at first and a left-handed pinch-hitter.

A three-time All-Star with the Cincinnati Reds, Casey played for Detroit last year and hit .296 with four home runs and 54 RBIs in 59 starts. After a slow start in which he hit .192 in April, he hit .408 in September.

Casey's demeanor also played a big role in the contract. The club is confident that the player nicknamed "The Mayor" will be a positive force in the clubhouse.

"He's off the charts in the clubhouse," a Red Sox official told the Boston Globe.

Aaron Boone endorsed his former teammate.

"He's just really good at life," Boone said. "He has this way of making everyone around him feel important. He's awesome, man."

Greene signs two-year deal: The San Diego Padres and Khalil Greene agreed to a two-year contract Saturday, covering the remaining years of his arbitration eligibility, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

The Padres offered more years to the contract, which would have taken Greene into his free agency years, but the shortstop didn't want to discuss a long-term contract at this time. He can become a free agent at the end of the 2009 season.

Greene was voted the team's MVP last year after hitting 27 home runs and driving in 97 runs. His RBI total and 44 doubles ranked second in the NL among shortstops, while his home runs ranked third. He also hit .254 while playing in 153 games, scoring 89 runs, collecting 155 hits and having a .984 fielding percentage, ranking tops among NL shortstops who played in 108 or more games.

Blake signs with Indians: Casey Blake and the Cleveland Indians have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a new contract, one more step in keeping the corps of the 2007 Indians in tact and happy.

"It's nice to avoid arbitration," Blake told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "It's a headache for everyone. This way, I feel everyone wins."

"This is a case where arbitration wasn't necessary," said Blake's agent, Jim McDowell. "The relationship between the team and player is so good. We talked about some things. We argued about some things, and it finally made sense."

Cedeno helps team to winter league title: Ronny Cedeno, playing with the Aragua Tigers in the Venezuelan Winter League championship, helped his team win their second straight championship -- and their fourth in five years.

With 11 RBIs in the playoffs, Cedeno showed off the skills the Cubs already knew were there.

"He's got a wealth of athletic ability," Cubs manager Lou Piniella told MLB.com. "He's got a good arm, he's strong, he can run. It's about time he put it together and fulfilled his promise. I like Cedeno, I really do. I want to see him get serious about baseball."

Feliz happy to join contending Phillies: Newly acquired third baseman Pedro Feliz is very excited about his new opportunity with the Philadelphia Phillies, noting that with so much talent in place that there isn't much not to like.

"It's a winning team with a lot of great hitters," Feliz told MLB.com. "They're going to be defending a [National League East] championship, and it's going to be exciting. We have a lot of talent and it's going to a fun competition."

Feliz batted .253 last season with the Giants, driving in 72 runs while hitting 20 home runs. Those numbers were too good to pass up for the Phillies.

"He was still out there, we could fit him on the payroll and it seemed like the right thing to do for us, so we moved forward," said assistant general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.

Will Fukudome be a top rookie candidate?: Former Chunichi Dragons star Kosuke Fukudome is taking his menacing bat to the Chicago Cubs this season.

The 30-year-old third baseman had a .305 career batting average in the Japanese Central League and Cubs general manager Jim Hendry believes Fukodome's skills will translate well in the NL Central race this season.

"We think we have the whole package," Hendry told MLB.com. "All the things we felt or we hear about on a regular basis that we might have lacked -- on-base percentage, more speed, better defense in the outfield -- he fits the bill for all of us. We're not worried about the transition."

-- Red Line Editorial