I know you missed all your transaction news last week, what with my Hall of Fame musings taking their place. But we’re back this week with enough action to make up for it, including a few big pitching moves.
- The Orioles signed lefty starter Wei-Yin Chen of Taiwan to a 3yr/$11.3 million contract. Chen was a cheap option for Baltimore, having been released by the NPB’s Chunichi Dragons and thus not subject to a posting fee. He owns a 2.48 ERA over 4 years with the Chunichi Dragons.
- Former Pirate starter Paul Maholm has signed with the Cubs, adding further depth to a rotation plagued with injuries in 2011. The one-year contract guarantees Maholm $4.75 million, with incentives and an option for 2013. The lefty posted a 3.66 ERA and a 3.78 FIP in an injury-shortened 2011 season.
- Righty pitcher Justin Germano returns from Korea to sign with the Red Sox. Germano, who has bounced around in his Major League tenure, is the owner of a 5.02 career ERA, and adds depth to the Sox bullpen.
- Cincinnati added another strong piece to their bullpen in Ryan Madson, ousted Phillies closer. The deal is for one year and $8.5 million, surely a downgrade from what a top-tier closer like Madson would have sought. The righty posted a 2.37 ERA/2.25 FIP over 60.2 innings in 2011.
- First baseman Kendrys Morales, he of the home-plate-ankle-breaking, re-signed with the Angels for just under $3 million (and avoided arbitration in the process). Morales is still rehabbing, but the Angels hope he will DH and bat cleanup behind Albert Pujols.
- Tampa Bay reached a deal with designated hitter Luke Scott for one year and $5 million, with incentives and an option for 2013. Scott posted a .220/.301/.402 line in a 2011 campaign cut short by shoulder surgery. But a return to anything like 2010 form, when he batted .284/.368/.535, would make the deal an absolute steal for the Rays.
- Ex-journeyman Ryan Vogelsong will return to the Giants, who have agreed to sign him to a 2yr/$8.3 million contract with an option for 2014. The right-handed starter unexpectedly shone last season, posting a 2.71 ERA. A 3.67 FIP and a high strand rate suggest that those results are unsustainable, but even with some regression, the deal looks like a good one.
- The Brewers avoided arbitration with left-hander Manny Parra, signing him to 1yr/$1.2 million. Parra had a shaky 2010, posting a 5.02 ERA, and missed 2011 after back issues and elbow surgery.
- The Phillies dodged arbitration with Kyle Kendrick, sealing a one-year deal for just over $3.5 million. Kendrick acted as a swing man last season, providing depth in the face of injuries and posting a 3.22 ERA/4.55 FIP (which warrants investigation, but I will tentatively go with “low strikeouts”).
- After rumors that he was headed elsewhere, Kerry Wood returned to the Cubs for a one year, $3 million deal with an option for 2013. Wood posted a 3.35 ERA/3.59 FIP over 51 innings in 2011, and you have never heard a crowd go as crazy as fans did at the Cubs Convention when Wood’s contract was announced.
- Chris Resop will skip arbitration and return to the Pirates for one year and $850k. The righty put up a 4.39 ERA over 69.2 innings in 2011, but a 3.67 FIP and certain peripherals suggest he’s due for some regression.
- The Yankees and Mariners executed a “blockbuster” trade, swapping young DH/C Jesus Montero and righty Hector Noesi for Michael Pineda and young righty Jose Campos. The move works out for both teams, bolstering Seattle’s offense (and raising questions about their rumored interest in Prince Fielder) and rebuilding New York’s rotation.
- Further shoring up New York’s rotation is Hiroki Kuroda, who signed a 1yr/$10 million contract with the Yankees. Formerly of the Dodgers, Kuroda owns a 3.45 career ERA/3.55 FIP and pitched over 200 innings in 2011.
- The Red Sox avoid arbitration with the newly-acquired Ryan Sweeney, signing him to a one-year, $1.75 million contract.
- Oakland has agreed to sign starter Bartolo Colon to a 1yr/$2 million contract, a stopgap measure for a team in transition. Colon posted a 4.00 ERA/3.83 FIP for the Yankees last season; a respectable strikeout rate and a fly-ball-friendlier stadium should help those numbers.
- Speaking of A’s pitching, Gio Gonzalez is headed to DC, signing an extension with the Nationals to the tune of 5yrs/$42 million. The contract includes two option years. The Nats sent back four prospects in return for Gonzalez, who posted a 3.12 ERA/3.64 FIP in 2011, with 8.78 K/9, but also a serious walk problem at 4.05 BB/9. Gonzalez joins young studs Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg at the top of the Nats’ rotation.
- Colby Rasmus and the Jays avoided arbitration with a 1yr/$2.7 million deal. Rasmus had just 140 wrist-sprain-plagued plate appearances with his new club, managing a line of .173/.201/.316, but his career numbers are a much more respectable .251/.322/.432.
- The Red Sox avoided arbitration with Jarrod Saltalamacchia, signing the catcher to a 1yr/$2.5 million non-guaranteed contract.
- Outfielder Seth Smith and the Rockies have agreed to a 1yr/$2.4 million deal to avoid arbitration. The 29-year-old Smith has played his entire career with the Rockies, posting a healthy .275/.348/.485 line.
You want rumors? We got rumors.
- Prince Fielder. Seriously, Scott Boras, what is up. In the wake of acquiring first-base prospect Anthony Rizzo, Cubs manager Dale Sveum categorically put to rest any rumors of interest in Fielder. Other teams are filling their offensive gaps as well, gradually thinning Fielder’s market. We’ve heard repeatedly that it’s unwise to doubt Boras, but I admit to the stirrings of skepticism. Big Prince may need to settle.
- Health questions and general market landscape seem to have driven down Roy Oswalt‘s stock; he is rumored to be asking only 1yr/$8 million, an outright steal for a pitcher of his caliber. The Rangers have been linked to him, but with Darvish negotiations in the background, the motives behind such talk are questionable. It also appears that the Red Sox have been in touch.
- Yoenis Cespedes is still on everyone’s minds, even more so since he has made his Dominican debut. Unfortunately, he’s looked a little rusty over four games, managing only a .125 OBP and striking out five times (three in his first game). The six teams expressing the most interest in the soon-to-be free agent are the Marlins, Cubs, White Sox, Orioles, Tigers and Indians.
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. We’ll check in again next week and see if Prince Fielder has a job yet.