Here’s a look at the biggest stories from the past week here at MLBTR:
Dodgers agree to re-sign two premier free agents: Los Angeles was in danger of losing two of its top players – closer Kenley Jansen and third baseman Justin Turner – to free agency, but the team came to terms with the pair this week. Jansen, who drew serious interest from the Marlins and Nationals before re-upping with the Dodgers, agreed to a five-year, $80MM contract with an opt-out after the third season. His accord is the second-richest pact ever awarded to a reliever, trailing only recent Yankees signing Aroldis Chapman. Turner, meanwhile, will earn $64MM over four years. No one would have expected that outcome after the Mets non-tendered Turner in 2013, but he has broken out as a Dodger with a .296/.364/.492 line and 12.8 fWAR in 1,383 plate appearances since 2014.
Phillies extend Odubel Herrera: Speaking of unexpected breakouts, Herrera has gone from a 2014 Rule 5 pick to a key contributor for the Phillies, who inked the center fielder to a five-year extension Thursday. Herrera will earn a guaranteed $30.5MM on a deal that also includes club options totaling $24MM for the 2022 and ’23 seasons. Without an extension, the soon-to-be 25-year-old would have hit free agency after the 2020 campaign. In his two years as a Phillie, Herrera has slashed .291/.353/.419 with 41 steals, 23 home runs and 7.8 fWAR in 1,193 PAs.
Several free agent relievers find new homes: Jansen wasn’t the only late-game option who agreed to a new contract earlier this week. After the Marlins finished as a runner-up for Jansen’s services, they landed former Red Sox relievers Brad Ziegler (two years, $16MM) and Junichi Tazawa (two years, $12MM) to further bolster a bullpen that also features A.J. Ramos, Kyle Barraclough and David Phelps. The Marlins did lose their top left-handed reliever, though, as Mike Dunn reached a three-year, $19MM agreement with the Rockies. And, like former teammates Ziegler and Tazawa, Koji Uehara departed Boston. He’ll play 2017, his age-42 season, on a $6MM deal with the reigning World Series champion Cubs.
White Sox replace Chris Sale with another left-handed starter: Unfortunately for Chicago, Derek Holland is no Sale. The longtime Ranger has experienced success in the past, however, and the White Sox’s hope is that Holland will bounce back under well-regarded pitching coach Don Cooper on a one-year, $6MM contract. A revival from Holland, 30, could make him an interesting trade chip around the summer deadline for the Sox, who are unlikely to push for a playoff spot next year after trading Sale and outfielder Adam Eaton for prospect hauls.
Angels get their second baseman: There was a report last Saturday that Danny Espinosa was unhappy with the idea of serving in a bench role with the Nationals. Shortly after, the Nats traded the middle infielder to the second baseman-needy Angels for two minor league right-handers. The defensively gifted Espinosa should form an excellent double-play tandem with Halos shortstop Andrelton Simmons, arguably the majors’ best fielder.