10:22am: Jones will earn $7.75MM over the life of his contract, tweets Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. He will be paid $2.75MM in 2014 and $5MM in 2015.
8:39am: The Marlins have finalized their rumored two-year, $7.5MM deal with Garrett Jones, and an announcement is expected to be made today, reports MLB.com's Joe Frisaro. Jones is represented by Relativity Baseball (formerly SFX Baseball).
The 32-year-old Jones owns a career .254/.316/.458 slash line across six big league seasons. The first baseman/outfielder had a down year in 2013, however, hitting .233/.289/.419 in 440 plate appearances. Jones is best suited to be a platoon first baseman, as his career .193/.234/.334 line versus lefties shows a glaring weakness against same-handed pitching. His numbers against right-handed pitching -- .271/.337/.489 -- are a marked improvement.
The decision to bring in Jones on a two-year deal would seem to indicate the end of Logan Morrison's time with the Marlins. Miami is reportedly intent on shopping him at this week's Winter Meetings, apparently hoping that they can fill their third base hole by moving LoMo to a new team. Morrison has clashed with the Marlins before and currently has a grievance pending as a result of a demotion to the minors during the 2011 season that Morrison feels was not due to his on-field performance.
SUNDAY: Granderson will earn $13MM in 2014, $16MM in 2015 and 2016, and $15MM in 2017, tweets Heyman.
SATURDAY: Granderson's deal doesn't include a no-trade clause, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).
FRIDAY: The Mets have reached an agreement with Curtis Granderson on a four-year deal, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (on Twitter). Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that it's a four-year, $60MM deal (Twitter link). Granderson is represented by agent Matt Brown of Pro Prospects, Inc.
Granderson, 33 in March, would likely have been in for a bigger payday had it not been for a fluke season that saw him miss 100 games on the DL as a result of getting hit by a pair of pitches. When he was on the field, The Grandy Man batted .229/.317/.407 with seven homers and eight steals in 245 plate appearances.
However, the Mets are likely paying for the production that Granderson displayed in the 2011-12 seasons, during which he batted .247/.342/.522 with an MLB-best 84 home runs. Many detractors will try to claim that Granderson is a product of Yankee Stadium, but as I explained in my free agent profile, that's simply not the case; Granderson belted 47 homers at Yankee Stadium in 2011-12 but still went deep 37 times on the road. He benefited to an extent from Yankee Stadium, but as shown by his .244/.339/.493 line on the road, Granderson is more than capable of hitting in other stadiums. Those concerned about his platoon splits can look to his .249/.351/.521 batting line and 127 wRC+ against left-handers from 2011-12. I projected a three-year, $45MM contract in that profile, meaning that Brown and Granderson topped my expectation by getting a fourth year at the same annual value.
Granderson figures to play an outfield corner in Queens, with Juan Lagares manning center field and Chris B. Young (who signed a one-year, $7.25MM contract with the Mets) handling the other corner spot. In Young and Granderson, the Mets have added some much-needed power to their lineup while also adding solid outfield defense. Granderson's glove graded out strongly in 2013, and the move to a corner should help him continue to post strong defensive numbers,
The Mets emerged as the top suitors for Granderson in previous days but were previously reported to be unwilling to up their offer from three years to four. By signing Granderson, the Mets are agreeing to forfeit their second-round pick in next year's draft (their first-rounder is protected). Special assistant J.P. Ricciardi told me at last month's GM Meetings that the Mets would be willing to make that move for the "right" player, but that signing two free agents tied to draft pick compensation was unlikely.
Granderson was also linked to the Red Sox as a possible replacement for Jacoby Ellsbury and said to have drawn interest from teams like the Mariners and Orioles. The Yankees, of course, had interest in retaining Granderson as well. Instead, they will receive a compensatory pick between the first and second round of the 2014 draft -- the second such pick they've acquired today, given the news that Robinson Cano is headed to Seattle on a ten-year deal.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
SUNDAY: Feldman has passed his physical with the Astros, so the deal is complete, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets.
FRIDAY: Though several of their starters turned in a strong finish to the 2013 campaign, the Astros' rotation still ranked 28th in ERA and 27th in innings pitched. Looking to add an experienced arm to help solidify an unstable group of starters, Houston announced a three-year deal for right-hander Scott Feldman that is reportedly worth $30MM. It's been a busy few days for Feldman's agent, Matt Brown, as he also represents Curtis Granderson, who just agreed to a four-year, $60MM deal with the Mets.
Feldman rebounded from a series of injuries with the Rangers to post a solid season between the Cubs and Orioles in 2013. The 30-year-old posted a 3.86 ERA with 6.5 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and 49.6 percent ground-ball rate in 181 2/3 innings.
Feldman's contract represents both a significant raise for the pitcher -- he earned $6MM in 2013 -- and a significant change in philosophy for the Astros. Houston trimmed payroll in 2013 to the point where Erik Bedard's $1.15MM salary made him the only Astro with a salary north of $1MM. By signing Feldman and acquiring Dexter Fowler and his $7.35MM salary earlier this week, the Astros are making good on their promise to fans that they will spend money this offseason.
Feldman will join a promising young rotation that includes Jarred Cosart, Brett Oberholtzer and Brad Peacock (who improved significantly in the season's final two months). Houston also has promising prospects on the way in the form of Mike Foltynewicz and 2013 No. 1 overall pick Mark Appel. Beyond those already impressive names, the Astros will once again pick No. 1 overall in 2014, meaning that another highly touted arm could be added to the mix. North Carolina State left-hander Carlos Rodon currently projects as the consensus No.1 overall pick. Feldman was traded midseason and therefore wasn't eligible to receive a qualifying offer, meaning the Astros will not surrender a draft pick to land his services.
Feldman's contract is somewhat comparable to that of other mid-tier starters such as Jason Vargas and Phil Hughes. Though he was unable to secure the fourth year that Vargas commanded, Feldman also netted a higher annual value despite a more inconsistent track record. He and Brown were able to top my prediction of two years and a vesting option.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports was the first to report the agreement and terms of the deal (Twitter link).
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
SATURDAY, 11:26am: The deal includes a no-trade clause, CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman tweets.
FRIDAY, 8:52pm: It didn't take long for the Yankees to move on from losing Robinson Cano. The Yankees have agreed with Carlos Beltran on a three-year deal, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports (Twitter link). The contract is worth $45MM and Beltran will receive an even $15MM each season, according to Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports (Twitter links). Beltran is represented by Dan Lozano of the MVP Sports Group.
Beltran had a three-year, $48MM offer in hand earlier this week, and the Diamondbacks could also have been the mystery team, as Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that the Snakes made Beltran a three-year offer for more than $45MM. Though the Yankees were a bit reluctant to give Beltran that third year, he was known to be a top target for the Bombers this offseason. Beltran was himself keen on coming to the Bronx and is now finally wearing the pinstripes after showing similar interest in his two previous trips to free agency.
Beltran hit .296/.339/.491 with 24 homers in 600 PA with St. Louis last season, and though he turns 37 in April, Beltran has thus far kept swinging a big bat deep into the late stages of his career. He'll no doubt see some DH at-bats in New York but he'll spend most of his time in right field while the more defensively-challenged Alfonso Soriano will be the Yankees' primary DH, USA Today's Bob Nightengale reports.
The D'Backs were just one of several teams were linked to Beltran this offseason, with the Royals also pushing hard to reunite with the veteran slugger. This strong market pushed Beltran's price tag to a third year, topping the two-year, $30MM deal that MLBTR's Steve Adams predicted in Beltran's Free Agent Profile. One team that wasn't in the mix was Beltran's most recent club, the Cardinals, who look to go forward with younger options like star prospect Oscar Taveras in the outfield next season.
Since Beltran rejected the Cards' one-year qualifying offer, St. Louis will receive a compensation pick between the first and second rounds of the 2014 amateur draft. The Yankees already lost their first round pick for signing Brian McCann, and in signing Beltran and Jacoby Ellsbury, New York has also given up its own two compensation picks for Cano and Curtis Granderson.
The Yankees have thus far spent a whopping $311MM for the services of five players (Beltran, Ellsbury, McCann and the re-signed Hiroki Kuroda and Derek Jeter) this offseason. More spending could be on the way for the Bombers if they need a third baseman to replace a suspended Alex Rodriguez, if they want to upgrade beyond Kelly Johnson as Cano's replacement at second base, and once they make their long-rumored bid on Masahiro Tanaka once his posting situation is resolved.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images
SATURDAY, 4:17pm: The Yankees confirmed the signing via press release. The seven-year contract takes the outfielder through 2020 with a club option for 2021.
WEDNESDAY: Ellsbury is guaranteed $148MM over the first seven years of the contract, and there is a $21MM option for an eighth year that comes with a $5MM buyout, according to Yahoo's Tim Brown (on Twitter). Meanwhile, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com (on Twitter) hears that an option year has not yet been agreed upon.
TUESDAY, 11:45pm: Ellsbury's deal includes a no-trade clause, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
8:00pm: The deal includes an eighth-year option that could boost the total value to $169MM, according to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com (on Twitter).
MLBTR's Tim Dierkes predicted that Ellsbury would get a seven-year, $150MM deal in his free agent profile earlier this offseason.
7:31pm: The Yankees have agreed to sign Jacoby Ellsbury, according to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (via Twitter). Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com first reported that the two sides were closing in on a seven-year pact. It is believed the deal will top Carl Crawford's $142MM, seven-year deal with one estimate pegging the deal at about $150MM, according to Heyman.
The Yankees have been in simultaneous talks with Shin-Soo Choo, Carlos Beltran, and many other top free agents, including their own Robinson Cano. Things have stalled somewhat with Cano, however, as the Yanks don't want to go far beyond $170MM over seven years and Cano's team looking for about $260MM. Heyman spoke with sources who didn't rule out the Yankees continuing their purusit of Choo or Beltran, but it would seem unlikely at this point. One source told Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter) that a deal with Ellsbury or another top outfielder won't preclude the Yanks from re-signing their star second baseman.
ESPN's Jayson Stark reported on Monday that talks were moving faster than expected for the Scott Boras client. Boras is notorious for waiting out the market to find the right deal as he did with Prince Fielder (signed in late January) and Michael Bourn (February).
Ellsbury offers more pop than the typical center fielder, with a career slugging percentage of .439 and isolated power of .141. While his power is more of the doubles and triples variety, which is aided by his speed, he did hit 32 home runs in his stellar 2011 campaign. In that year, Ellsbury led all of baseball with 9.1 wins above replacement, finished second in the AL MVP voting, won a Silver Slugger and a Gold Glove, and made the All-Star team. However, the left-handed batter wasn't much of a threat against southpaws this year, posting a .246/.323/.318 line in 237 plate appearances.
The 30-year-old has also consistently posted above average UZR and DRS numbers in center field. While he has come back to earth somewhat since '11, he checked in with 5.8 wins above replacement in 2013, which is second only to Robinson Cano among free agents.
Of course, much of Ellsbury's game is predicated on speed. Now, the Yankees have to hope that Ellsbury can stay fleet-footed for some time and will be able to adjust when his motor eventually wears down.
The Yankees have been vocal about their desire to get under the $189MM luxury tax threshold this winter, but it remains to be seen where they'll stand after the Ellsbury deal and Brian McCann's five-year, $85MM pact. Now more than ever, one has to imagine that the Yankees are rooting for MLB's side in the Alex Rodriguez saga.
The market for Ellsbury has been somewhat cloudy, but the Mariners and Giants were both believed to have interest.
Yankees people envision Ellsbury in center with Brett Gardner moving to left, Heyman writes. The 30-year-old was ranked No. 2 on Tim Dierkes' Top 50 Free Agent Power Rankings. With Ellsbury and McCann in the fold, the Yankees have now forfeited their first and second round picks.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Astros have brought reliever Chad Qualls back to Houston with a two-year deal with a club option for 2016, the team announced in a press release. The vet gets $6MM over the first two years with a potential $3.5MM for the option season, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
Qualls, 35, was drafted by the Astros in the second round in 2000 and was a quality set-up man for the team from 2005-07. After the '07 season he was traded to the Diamondbacks in the Jose Valverde trade, and the righty went on to pitch for the Rays, Padres, Phillies, Yankees, Pirates, and Marlins.
Qualls pitched to a 2.61 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 66 outings last season for the Marlins. The well-traveled veteran hasn't spent two consecutive seasons in the same city since 2008/09, but the multi-year pact might keep him in one place for a little while longer.
The Astros have shown a willingness to take a step forward early on in the offseason, striking a three-year, $30MM deal with Scott Feldman and trading for Rockies outfielder Dexter Fowler earlier this week.
For his career, Qualls owns a 3.79 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 across ten big league seasons. Qualls is represented by Jim Murray of Excel Sports Management, according to the MLBTR Agency Database.
Today's minor moves..
- Former MLB slugger Wily Mo Pena has signed in Japan with the Orix Buffaloes of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, according to Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet. The 31-year-old drew interest from Japan and in the states before agreeing to the $1.5MM pact. Pena spent parts of eight seasons playing for the Reds, Nationals, Red Sox, Diamondbacks, and Seattle Mariners before signing a two-year, $5MM contract with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks following the 2011 season.
- The Reds Triple-A affiliate announced that they have re-signed catcher Corky Miller. Miller saw 17 games of action for Cincinnati last season but spent the bulk of the year in Louisville where he slashed .200/.295/.333 in 157 PAs.
SATURDAY: The Yankees have issued a press release announcing Kuroda's re-signing.
FRIDAY: The Yankees and Hiroki Kuroda finalized a one-year, $16MM contract last night that will allow the right-hander to earn up to $500K worth of incentives, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (on Twitter). Kuroda, a client of Octagon's Steve Hilliard, will earn $250K for reaching the 190-inning and 210-inning milestones, according to Sherman.
Kuroda will turn 39 years old in February and was reported to be weighing a return to Japan or a return to a Southern California team in order to be closer to his family, who currently reside in that area due to Kuroda's days with the Dodgers. Kuroda turned down a qualifying offer from the Yankees in November, getting tagged with the potential cost of a draft pick had he signed with a different MLB team. Instead, Kuroda will return to New York for a third season. Over the past two years, Kuroda has posted a 3.31 ERA with 6.8 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in 421 innings in Yankee pinstripes. Kuroda earned $15MM in 2013, so a $16MM salary represents a slight raise, as predicted in MLBTR's September free agent profile.
The Kuroda signing restores some much-needed depth to the Yankees' rotation, which had only C.C. Sabathia and Ivan Nova penciled in. With Robinson Cano agreeing to a contract with the Mariners today, the Yankees are now flush with payroll flexibility to bid on the best remaining starters. Masahiro Tanaka will likely be the top target if posted, while traditional free agents Ervin Santana, Matt Garza, and Ubaldo Jimenez remain on the board. The Yankees have already committed $254MM to free agent position players this offseason, most notably $153MM to Jacoby Ellsbury and $85MM to Brian McCann.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
SATURDAY: The Dodgers officially announced Wilson's signing via press release.
THURSDAY, 9:19pm: Wilson has passed his physical, so the deal is now official, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times tweets.
1:39pm: The Dodgers have reached an agreement with reliever Brian Wilson, tweets Yahoo's Tim Brown. It's a one-year, $10MM deal with a second year player option. Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports (on Twitter) that the option's value is $9MM, meaning that Wilson is guaranteed at least $19MM on this two-year pact. Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio tweets that Wilson has another $700K of incentives built into each year of the deal.
Though Wilson will be receiving closer money from the Dodgers, he's fine with setting up Kenley Jansen if that's how it works out, notes Brown. Paying Wilson closer money can be offset by the fact that Jansen will be paid more like a setup man, as he projects to earn $4.8MM in arbitration this offseason, per MLBTR's Matt Swartz.
Wilson signed a $1MM, Major League contract with the Dodgers on July 30th last year after a long recovery from April 2012 Tommy John surgery. He returned in late August in dominant fashion, yielding just one run with a 21-to-6 K/BB ratio in 19 2/3 innings between the regular season and the playoffs. His strong showing put him in line for a significant payday on the free agent market, and there was widespread interest in the bearded flamethrower. The Tigers, Mariners and Rockies were among the other teams interested in Wilson.
Wilson's player option is a nice safeguard for he and his agents at the MVP Sports Group. Should he thrive in Los Angeles as he did over his brief tenure there in 2013, he will hit the open market in the 2014-15 offseason as perhaps the top closer on the free agent market, positioning himself for a significant payday entering his age-33 season. Should he fall to injury or suffer a down season, he can simply elect to take a $9MM payday and look to cash in heading into his age-34 season, which we've seen numerous relievers do. Wilson's $10MM guarantee is slightly more than the one-year, $8.5MM guarantee that MLBTR's Steve Adams pegged him for in his free agent profile of Wilson back in late October.
Steve Adams contributed to this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
SATURDAY: The deal is official, with the club issuing a press release announcing Mujica's signing. As the Red Sox note, the team's 40-man roster is now at full capacity. Mujica's contract includes up to $1MM in incentives based upon games finished, tweets Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
THURSDAY: The Red Sox have agreed to terms on a two-year, $9.5MM contract with right-hander Edward Mujica, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. Mujica, who is represented by Octagon, will take a physical today, according to Passan.
Mujica, 29, possesses some of the best command of any pitcher in the Majors. He issued just five walks in 64 2/3 innings this season to go along with 46 strikeouts and a 2.78 ERA. Mujica entered the season buried on St. Louis' bullpen depth chart but ascended to the role of closer. Jason Motte underwent Tommy John surgery, Mitchell Boggs flopped and the Cardinals elected to deploy rookie Trevor Rosenthal in a setup role. The end result was Mujica notching 37 saves for the Redbirds, though he wilted down the stretch and was a complete non-factor in the playoffs.
Mujica's late-season swoon likely cost him several million dollars, as did a free agent market stuffed with closer types of relievers. Mujica, Joe Nathan, Grant Balfour, Fernando Rodney, Joaquin Benoit, Chris Perez, Kevin Gregg and Jose Veras all saved 20-plus games in 2013. The market also features plenty of former closers in the form of John Axford, Brian Wilson and Andrew Bailey (Axford and Bailey were non-tendered), further presenting teams with late-inning alternatives that helped to suppress Mujica's price tag.
Mujica will join a Red Sox bullpen that figures to be once again anchored by Koji Uehara. Junichi Tazawa, Craig Breslow and a presumably healthy Andrew Miller should join Mujica in bridging the gap to Uehara as the BoSox look to capture a second consecutive World Series title.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.