Apparently last season, he had 44 saves, a WHIP under 1, and made the All-Star team. Not even joking!
(That’s 348 saves going into his age 33 season…)
The Brewers have reached agreement on a two-year, $13MM deal with reliever Francisco Rodriguez. The team also holds a club option for the 2017 season over the Boras Corporation client.
The total guarantee is expected to include just $3MM this year and $6MM next season. That would appear to suggest that the contract includes a significant option buyout that would effectively function to backload its structure (and, potentially, make it more likely that the option will be a reasonable pick-up when the time comes)...
Rodriguez, 33, has spent most of the past four seasons in Milwaukee. All said, he owns a 3.11 ERA over his 193 2/3 frames with the Brewers. He has maintained double-digit strikeout-per-nine rates over the last two years in addition to an excellent K%-BB%. Though FIP has been down on Rodriguez’s work in recent campaigns, other ERA estimators like xFIP and SIERA view him as a 3.00 or better performer.
BEST FREE-AGENT SIGNINGS
Russell Martin (Blue Jays)—11
James Shields (Padres)—11
Jon Lester (Cubs)—8
Adam LaRoche (White Sox)—7
Pablo Sandoval (Red Sox)—6
Andrew Miller (Yankees)—5
The votes in this sector of the survey zigzagged in all directions, with 33 different players collecting at least one vote—including two Cubans (Yoan Moncada and Hector Olivera) who haven’t even signed yet. Oh, and one fellow who isn’t a player at all—Joe Maddon—got two votes. So what pushed Martin and Shields to the top of this list? Well, there weren’t a lot of fans of Martin’s five-year, $82-million contract, per se. But “he impacts winning,” one voter said. Shields’ votes were reflections of both his contract (because the Padres were able to keep it to four years) and the way he fits both his new ballpark and the aggressive winter of his new club. They “had to sign him,” an AL exec said, “to finish off the project.”
WORST FREE-AGENT SIGNINGS
Max Scherzer (Nationals)—15
Brett Anderson (Dodgers)—10
Hanley Ramirez (Red Sox)—9
Michael Cuddyer (Mets)—8
Nick Markakis (Braves)—6
Billy Butler (A’s)—5
Brandon McCarthy (Dodgers)—5
When we asked one NL executive for his selections in the best free-agent competition, his instant quip was: “That’s an oxymoron.” No wonder the votes piled up for all sorts of candidates on this side of the poll. We counted 14 free agents who got at least three votes for worst signing and another nine who got two votes. But the most fun fact of all is 17 different players got votes in both the worst-signing and best-signing categories. The reason for that isn’t actually confusing. We’d sum it up this way: Love the player, hate the contract. There’s no better example of that than Scherzer. “It’s ridiculous that they’ll be paying him forever,” one voter said. “But he’s a great pitcher.”
It will be interesting to see how he’s used by the Mariners. The question at this point is, did he cost himself some money this year by refusing to play the outfield last season?
The Brewers talked of using the right-handed-hitting Weeks in the outfield last season. He balked at that idea, but could presumably be used as a corner outfielder or utility infielder by Seattle. The Mariners have Dustin Ackley returning in left field and acquired veterans Seth Smith and Justin Ruggiano this winter to likely platoon in right field.
e Padres have agreed to sign free agent right-hander James Shields to a four-year contract that includes a club option for a fifth season, according to major-league sources. The deal is currently pending a physical, and is likely to be announced early in the week.
Shields, 33, is the last major free agent starter to sign with a club in a winter that has already seen Jon Lester join the Cubs and Max Scherzer sign with the Nationals on multi-year deals. His deal is expected to be in the $72-76 million range, according to sources.
“We obviously all know that Coors Field is a tough place to pitch,” Kendrick said Wednesday after signing a one-year, $5.5 million contract. “But I’m happy to be here and I’m not scared to pitch at Coors Field at all.”
“It’s pretty easy. It’s one (reason). Winning,” he said. “This team is capable of winning, and winning a lot, when you look at the near-term and long-term. This is an organization you want to be a part of.”
According to the Washington Post, the Nationals are the favorite to land Scherzer and are “very close” to a deal.
A source told ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark that the Nationals won’t have the financial flexibility to sign Scherzer unless they have a trade in place to move starter Jordan Zimmermann and possibly shortstop Ian Desmond. As of Saturday, Stark reports, the Nationals did not have trades in place for either Zimmermann or Desmond.
It’s the best way to replicate Travis Ishikawa’s defense, without the inelegance of constantly falling down.
The Giants and outfielder Nori Aoki have agreed to a one-year contract with an option for the 2016 season, according to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitterlinks). Aoki, a client of CAA Sports, receives a $4.7MM guarantee plus performance bonuses, via Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitterlinks). He’ll earn $4MM in 2015, and his 2016 option contains a $700K buyout, according to Heyman, who adds that the contract can max out at $12.5MM over two years… Shea tweets that Aoki’s option is valued at $5.5MM, adding that he can earn up to $1.5MM worth of incentives in each year of the deal…
Aoki gives the Giants additional outfield depth and should slot into their starting left field spot, shifting Gregor Blanco into a fourth outfield role, although the two do have relatively similar skill sets… In his lone season with Kansas City, Aoki batted .285/.349/.360 with 17 steals but just one home run.
As for Shields, Stewart said he has spoken multiple times with his agent, Page Odle, to “work on groundwork.” Shields’ market has been murky, although there was a report last week of him receiving a five-year, $110 million offer. On Monday night, FOX Sports reported that offer came from a team with which Shields did not want to sign.
Stewart said he believes Shields likes what the Diamondbacks are doing as an organization.
“I think James is a throwback guy by the way he goes about his business and the innings he pitches,” Stewart said. “I think the fact that Tony (La Russa) is here and that we have more baseball people – he probably sees us as a true baseball team vs. some of the other teams out here that are geared more toward analytics and those type of things.
The talk of Shields and $100 million does not mean that he indeed will land such a deal. Third baseman Chase Headley reportedly received a four-year, $65 million offer from an unidentified club early in free agency but wound up re-signing with the Yankees for four years, $52 million.
Some executives, in fact, say they would be surprised if Shields topped $100 million, considering he is 33 and perhaps due for regression coming off eight straight 200-inning seasons.
The Tampa Bay Rays have agreed to a one-year deal with infielder Asdrubal Cabrera, a source told ESPN’s Buster Olney, confirming multiple reports….
The shortstop played second base for the Washington Nationals at the end of last season after he was acquired in a trade deadline deal from the Cleveland Indians.
A two-time All-Star, Cabrera batted .229 with five home runs and 21 RBIs for the Nationals in 49 games after the trade. In total, between both teams, he finished last season batting .241 with 14 homers and 61 RBIs.
Free agent catcher Nick Hundley and the Rockies have agreed to a two-year contract worth around $6 million, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun.
Connolly reports that the Orioles made Hundley a two-year offer to remain in Baltimore after acquiring him from the Padres in May, but he opted for more money and the promise of more playing time in Colorado.
Hundley hit .243 with six homers and a .631 OPS in 83 games overall and has a .680 OPS for his career.
You have to love the brass on Boras. How much more money is he willing to cost Stephen Drew, though?
A few teams involved with Drew say his asking price of $9 million-$10 million for 2015 is not in their price range. Drew’s agent, Scott Boras, has emphasized the career .764 OPS the lefty swinger took into last season as representative of his client and not the .536 he posted in a disjointed 2014 campaign.
But executives from a few of the interested clubs have expressed concern that 2014 was so bad there has to be worry, with Drew turning 32 in March, that he has entered a steep decline phase. As one said: “Fine, you want to say June and July [last year] were spring training for him, well, how about August or September? There was never a time in which he looked like a major league hitter. The ball didn’t come off his bat well, there was zero consistency. Nothing.”
Will Boras really be able to convince a team to go $200 million on Scherzer?
9. Yankees: Hal Steinbrenner has been weighing Scherzer for weeks, but in recent days indications are Steinbrenner still isn’t ready to dive in, and they’ve said as much. Many rotation question questions carry over from last season, and it appears that for now at least, talented youngster Nate Eovaldi is the answer to McCarthy’s departure. Their starting group could be very good, but there’s a lot of uncertainty, from Mashiro Tanaka’s elbow to CC Sabathia’s knee to Ivan Nova’s elbow to Michael Pineda’s ability to continue to perform. The issue is this: With a 50 percent tax for them, a $28 million salary for Scherzer would cost them $42 million, steep even by Yankees standards.