Last Monday saw the deadline for exchanging arbitration figures come and go, which means a couple of things. First, we have a lengthy list of players who avoided arbitration with new contracts. And second, we have a whole new set of players to speculate about, now that the arbitration figures are out there.
Check out MLB Trade Rumors’ Arbitration Tracker to see who reached a settlement and who didn’t. I’ll also talk about some of the bigger still-not-settled names in the “rumors” section below.
- Righty pitcher Vicente Padilla signed a minor-league contract with the Red Sox that would pay $1.5 million if he breaks camp with the big club. Padilla’s health issues limited him to nine games last season, but he plans to compete for a spot in the rotation.
- Seth Smith, Avoider of Arbitration at the end of last week’s post, is now on his way to Oakland. The A’s sacrificed even more rotation depth, in the form of Guillermo Moscoso and Josh Outman, for Smith’s bat, youth, and defense. He rounds out a revamped outfield.
- The Reds added outfield depth in Ryan Ludwick, who agreed to a 1yr/$2.5 million contract with a mutual option for 2013. The corner outfielder bounced around a bit the past two seasons, and hasn’t lived up to the promise of a very good 2008. He figures to compete primarily with Chris Heisey for time in left field.
- The Diamondbacks, after non-tendering him, are bringing back starter Joe Saunders on a 1yr/$6 million contract. Saunders posted a 3.69 ERA last season, but his FIP was a lofty 4.78, so it makes sense that Arizona would try to avoid the $8 or 9 million he might have made in arbitration.
- Japanese outfielder Norichika Aoki took a pay cut to sign with the Brewers, accepting a 2yr/$2.25 million contract. The deal does include an option for 2014 and some apparently hefty incentives, but Aoki is just happy for the chance to play in the bigs. The 30-year-old lefty has hit over .300 in six of his seven seasons with the Yakult Swallows.
- Pablo Sandoval, the Kung Fu Panda, signed a 3-year, $17.15 million extension with the Giants. The 25-year-old third baseman burst out of the gates in 2011 after a disappointing 2010, thanks, apparently, to some hardcore conditioning. The deal won’t postpone his expected free agency in 2014.
- Yu Darvish! Insert your own pun here, but I warn you, it’s probably already been made. The Rangers paid a $51.7 million posting fee for Darvish, and ultimately agreed to a 6-year, $60 million deal with the phenom. They also introduced him with a prime-time news conference.
- Patron saint of durable lefties Jamie Moyer, 49, who didn’t pitch in 2010 after undergoing Tommy John surgery, has signed a minor-league deal with a Spring Training invite. The lucky club is the Rockies, who may appreciate an added veteran presence with some very young starters in the mix (4.24 career ERA notwithstanding).
- Rockies closer Rafael Betancourt was granted an extension: he will make $4 million in 2012 as planned, and the club has guaranteed his $4.25 million option for 2013 and granted him an additional option for the following year. In 62.1 innings last season, Betancourt posted a 2.53 FIP with 10.54 K/9.
- First baseman Carlos Pena will return to the Rays after a year in Chicago, signing a 1-year, $7.25 million deal. The lefty doesn’t hit for much average, but will add power and patience (.352 career OBP) to the Rays’ lineup.
- After a 2011 season shortened by a back injury, catcher Chris Snyder has signed with his hometown Astros. The one-year deal includes an option for 2013. Thirty-year-old Snyder joins two other backstops on Houston’s roster: veteran Humberto Quintero and youngster Jason Castro.
- Oakland added another bat in former Reds/Nats outfielder Jonny Gomes. Gomes will split duties between DH and possible outfield time. Although he struggled offensively last year, Gomes should benefit from a platoon situation, with a career .281/.375/.501 line against lefties.
- In the wake of the Fausto Carmona situation, the Indians sought pitching depth in Kevin Slowey, whom they acquired from the Rockies for a minor leaguer and cash. The righty posted a 6.67 ERA/4.47 FIP last season, but managed a minuscule 0.76 BB/9.
- Outfielder Michael Morse has agreed to a 2-year, $10.5 million extension with the Nationals, avoiding arbitration. Morse slugged .303/.360/.550 last season, and can also fill in at first base.
- The Red Sox are pulling out all the shortstops (har har). Boston sent Marco Scutaro to Colorado in exchange for Clayton Mortensen, who will compete for a rotation spot. The move frees up about $6 million in salary for Boston, who are likely to pursue more starting pitching. Taking over at short is a Mike Aviles/Nick Punto platoon.
How about some speculation?
- FielderWatch 2012: Still nothing.
- The Cubs and Matt Garza have exchanged arbitration figures; Garza suggested $12.5 million, and the club offered just under eight. Garza has stated that he’s very open to an extension, but there’s also no denying his value as a trade piece.
- Speaking of pitchers looking at arbitration, it seems the Giants and Tim Lincecum are closing in on a deal. Lincecum submitted a figure of $21.5 million, while the Giants offered $17m. The pitcher has consistently shown a preference for short contracts, and is due to reach free agency in 2013.
- Oakland, after adding several bats, is still apparently pretty interested in Manny Ramirez. So, there’s that.
- Johnny Damon is still on the market, and the Tigers are apparently showing interest. The Yankees and Mariners have been suggested as good fits, but there’s no reason to believe they’re currently pursuing Damon.
As always, to keep up with transactions in real time, follow MLB Trade Rumors at their website or on Twitter. Don’t forget to check out MLB’s Hot Stove blog and their free agent tracker. See you back here next week, when we’ll be on the verge of the arbitration meetings.