Brett is in sunny Arizona, and here we are stuck in cold, dreary Chicago where the forecast calls for snow. But I’ll be out there soon enough and then I hope the whole state of Ohio gets covered in a blizzard.
I’m not bitter, I swear. Here’s some news from around the league …
- After agreeing to sign Yovani Gallardo to a 3 year $35 million deal on Saturday, the Baltimore Orioles were all but expected to turn their attention to Dexter Fowler. Of course, yesterday, that very thing happened, and Fowler reportedly agreed to a three-year, $33 million contract (per Jon Heyman).
- However, now, the deal with Gallardo may be hitting a snag. Having already agreed to terms (the reports you so frequently see on Twitter), teams often require strict physical exams of incoming free agents (or trade candidates), before the final contract is official. Historically, the Orioles have been even bigger sticklers than others. Apparently, during these very exams, the Orioles found something they did not like with Gallardo’s shoulder, and the status of the deal is up in the air:
Sources: Gallardo matter with #Orioles unlikely to be resolved quickly. Team expected to push for restructuring of 3-year, $35M agreement.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 24, 2016
- The Orioles could back out of the deal, but it is said that they hope to restructure it – which is where the intrigue comes into play. Eduardo Encina (Baltimore Sun) seems to believe that the Orioles are being especially cautious in their review of Gallardo’s medicals because of the cost (not just the price, but the loss of a draft pick, too) of Gallardo’s contract. The implication there, of course, is that the Orioles are trying to spin an otherwise clean bill of health into leverage to soften the deal. Gallardo has no history of shoulder problems.
- That wouldn’t be the first deal that has fallen apart after the terms were agreed upon in principle. Just the other night, for example, we thought we were getting an interesting Spring Training three-way trade that would have sent Jay Bruce to the Blue Jays, Michael Saunders to the Angels and prospects to the Reds, but that was not to be. Now, Bruce has arrived at camp and is unsure about his future with the Reds. A rebuilding Reds team could look to rid themselves of Bruce’s contract, and this trade still might even still go down, but for now, there is no deal. Bruce will earn $12.5M in 2016 and has a club option worth $13M ($1M buyout) for 2017.
- Yesterday, commissioner Rob Manfred announced that MLB will be placing Jose Reyes on paid leave, pending the completion of his domestic violence case in Hawaii. Moreover, upon the resolution of that case, Manfred will then decide whether to impose further discipline. Reyes’ case is scheduled to go on trial April 4 – Rockies opening day.
- Similarly, Manfred is expected to announce a decision on one of the two other outstanding domestic violence cases in MLB later this this week. If you recall, both Aroldis Chapman of the Yankees and Yasiel Puig of the Dodgers are being investigated by MLB for alleged domestic violence incidents.
- On Monday, Andrew McCutchen, 29, reiterated the desire to finish his career in Pittsburgh as a Pirate. As it stands now, the one-time MVP and perennial MVP candidate is under control for three more season, scheduled to make $13 million in 2016, $14 million in 2017, with a club option for $14.5 million in 2018. GM Neal Huntington would obviously love to see McCutchen stay, but he is particularly careful with his words: “So the bottom line comes back to: Will there be an appropriate point in time where we look again to see if we can find that common financial ground … given what we project our payroll and revenues to be? There’s a lot that goes into the equation, a lot more than simply saying we’d love him to stay …. “
- I can actually appreciate Huntington’s position here. McCutchen is under control for three more seasons – his ages 29, 30 and 31 – so a long-term deal might not make the most sense. In a lot of ways, the challenges here are similar to the challenges the Cubs have with Jake Arrieta. Sure, both sides would love to make a deal, but there might not be anything the Cubs could sanely offer that would make sense for Arrieta to sign.
- Remember when the Diamondbacks shocked everyone and signed Zack Greinke to a six year $206.5 million dollar deal? Well, as it turns out, they were able to sign Greinke to such an enormous deal in part because there is an enormous amount of deferred money – $62.5 million to be exact – in his contract. The Diamondbacks have apparently had a particularly troubling history with deferred money – at one point reaching $250 million in back payments – but have since stopped the practice. On Tuesday, though, CEO Derrick Hall said that deferred salary isn’t a strategy they’re looking to reopen, and that this was an isolated case where they did what they had to do to get the deal done.
- It looks like Cliff Lee may finally be hanging up the cleats:
Sounds like Cliff Lee’s career is over. His agent, Darek Braunecker, told me, “We don’t anticipate him playing at this point.”
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 23, 2016
- Lee’s MLB career began in 2002 and he’s been fantastic throughout. Having pitched through the back end of the steroid era, Lee ends his career – if it is, indeed, ended – with a 3.52 ERA and 47.4 WAR. At FanGraphs, Jeff Sullivan has an excellent write-up about the kind of pitcher Lee was and why it was everything you could’ve wanted.
- Remember when Kris Bryant crushed a grand slam home run off of Indians outfielder David Murphy? Owen Watson remembers that and many other position players taking on the pitcher role from 2015, in this excellent and hilarious read at FanGraphs. The position player pitchers’ stats may even hold some surprises you wouldn’t expect. Definitely worth your time.