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We'll keep track of today's smaller deals to avoid arbitration in this post. Click here for background on the upcoming arbitration schedule and how MLBTR is covering it. You can also check in on our Arbitration Tracker and look at MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz's arbitration projections.
Today's noon CT deadline to exchange arb figures has passed, but negotiations to avoid an arbitration hearing can continue into February. The Braves are the only strict "file and trial" team that did not agree to terms with all of its arb-eligible players, meaning they could be headed for several hearings. The Nats and Indians have also shown a willingness to go to a trial and still have some players unsigned. On to today's contract agreements…
- After exchanging numbers, the Mets and pitcher Dillon Gee have agreed to settle at the midpoint of $3.625MM, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Swartz projected Gee to earn $3.4MM.
- The Cubs have avoided arbitration with reliever Pedro Strop, president Theo Epstein told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). He will earn $1.325MM next year, according to a tweet from Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. It is not immediately apparent whether the deal was reached before the sides exchanged terms.
- The Angels have reached agreement on a $3.8MM deal with reliever Ernesto Frieri, reports Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com (on Twitter).
- Mike Minor has agreed to terms on a $3.85MM deal with the Braves to avoid arbitration, reports Mark Bowman of MLB.com (Twitter links). The deal came before figures were exchanged, Bowman notes.
- Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports that the D-Backs and lefty Joe Thatcher have avoided arb with a one-year, $2.375MM deal (Twitter link).
- Nicholson-Smith tweets that the Angels and Fernando Salas reached an agreement to avoid arbitration. Salas is the first Halos player to avoid arb. Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times tweets that Salas will earn $870K, which beats out his $700K projection.
- MLB.com's Jason Beck reports (via Twitter) that the Tigers and righty Al Alburquerque have reached agreement on a deal to avoid arb. The hard-throwing righty will earn $837.5K in 2014, tweets Beck.
- Sherman tweets that the Yankees and Ivan Nova avoided arbitration with a one-year, $3.3MM deal.
- The Pirates and Vin Mazzaro inked a one-year, $950K deal in lieu of an arbitration hearing, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune.
- The Royals announced that they've avoided arbitration with infielder Emilio Bonifacio. Heyman tweets that Bonifacio will earn $3.5MM in 2014.
- Sherman reports that the Rays avoided arbitration with Jeremy Hellickson and Sean Rodriguez (Twitter link). Hellickson landed a $3.625MM payday with a $25K bonus if he hits 195 innings pitched. Rodriguez will get $1.475MM with a $25K bump for hitting 300 plate appearances.
- Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets that Brian Matusz avoided arb with the Orioles. Sherman adds that he'll earn $2.4MM in 2014.
- MLB.com's Brian McTaggart tweets that Jason Castro and the Astros have avoided arbitration. McTaggart adds in a second tweet that Jesus Guzman avoided arb as well. Heyman reports that Castro will be paid $2.45MM, while Sherman tweets that Guzman will make $1.3MM.
- The Indians tweeted that they've avoided arb with lefty Marc Rzepczynski, and MLB.com's Jordan Bastian tweets that he'll earn $1.375MM in 2014. Bastian adds that Scrabble will earn an additional $25K for appearing in 55 games and another $25K for 60 games.
- The Giants avoided arbitration with Yusmeiro Petit, according to MLBTR's Steve Adams (on Twitter). He'll earn $845K, according to Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith (via Twitter).
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Tigers pitcher Al Alburquerque has changed agencies from ACES to Beverly Hills Sports Council, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman tweets. Major League Baseball investigates ACES' possible ties to the Biogenesis scandal. Alburquerque has pitched 71 innings in his big-league career, posting a 1.90 ERA with 16.3 K/9 and 8.2 BB/9. He has 14 1/3 innings pitched for the Tigers this year. Here are more notes from around the Majors.
- MLB's latest PED scandal could impact pennant races and the trading deadline, says ESPN.com's Jim Bowden (Insider-only). Teams don't know the identities of all the players in the Biogenesis scandal and who might be suspended as a result, Bowden writes, and that could make it difficult for GMs as they head down the stretch. Melky Cabrera's abrupt departure from the Giants last August — after the trading deadline — is the sort of scenario that might be faced by some GMs, who will have a hard time preparing for suspensions they might not be sure are coming. The Giants, of course, won the World Series even without Cabrera, but they didn't have one of their most productive hitters in the final six weeks of the regular season. This year, the Rangers, for example, will have to consider their backup plan in case Nelson Cruz, who has been named in the scandal, is suspended.
- The list of sellers at this year's trade deadline could be large, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. Rosenthal's list of potential sellers includes three teams that entered the season with lofty aspirations (the Dodgers, Angels and Blue Jays), along with the Astros, Marlins, Phillies, Padres, Brewers, Cubs, White Sox, Twins, Royals, Mariners and Mets. That's a very long list, which suggests that it might be a buyer's market at the deadline. Rosenthal says, however, that some of those teams (the Angels, Blue Jays, Phillies and Royals, in particular) might not actually sell, even though some of their records right now might dictate that they would.
- Tsuyoshi Wada of the Orioles could agree to remain in the minor leagues once his rehab stint is over, reports MASN Sports' Roch Kubatko. Wada has not pitched well for Triple-A Norfolk, posting a 5.87 ERA in 23 innings, and after having elbow surgery, he has yet to make his big-league debut despite being in the second year of a two-year, $8.15MM deal. That deal hasn't worked out well, but Kubatko quotes a scout who says it made sense at the time. "[Wada] was worth the gamble. When he came in, (Miguel) Gonzalez wasn't there, (Wei-Yin) Chen wasn't established, (Jason) Hammel wasn't there yet. So he was worth the gamble. And it wasn't a lot of money."
- Jeff Francis will likely start on Saturday for the Rockies, but his future with the organization is in question, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes. "I think I can help this team, and I think I can do a lot of things," says Francis. "But I know that the reality of baseball is that if you don’t do them enough, then your time runs out." Francis had posted a 6.00 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 before landing on the disabled list with a strained groin. Tyler Chatwood, who Francis will replace on Saturday, will still have his rotation spot when he returns from a sore triceps, and Roy Oswalt, currently at Double-A Tulsa, is slated to join the big-league team shortly.