Although a number of the big name free agents remain on the market – Eric Hosmer, JD Martinez, Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb, Lance Lynn, Greg Holland, Mike Moustakas, Logan Morrison, Neil Walker, and Jonathan Lucroy among them – a handful of guys have signed in the past 24 hours, here at the end of the first week of Spring Training.
The deals are almost across the board unique and creative, or simply low-cost, if you prefer …
- Utility man Eduardo Nunez has re-upped with the Red Sox (pending a physical) on a one-year deal with a player option for the second year. The versatile 30-year-old has quietly been worth nearly 5.0 WAR across the past two seasons, and is yet another guy whose market seems to have been surprisingly dry. He won’t help the Red Sox cover (in the eyes of their fans, or at the plate) for not having signed JD Martinez yet, but he’s certainly a very useful piece to have back in the fold.
- Lefty Tony Watson has reportedly signed a two-year deal with a player option for a third year with the Giants, with a total guarantee of $7 million, and structured to avoid luxury tax implications:
The player option for Tony Watson counts as guaranteed money for the third year. The guaranteed portion of the entire contract be in the neighborhood of $7 million. That is what allows them to still stay under the CBT. Escalators earned this year would not count for '18.
— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) February 17, 2018
- Watson, 32, is a couple years removed from his stellar years with the Pirates, but he’s been a perfectly solid reliever the last two years. This is a very modest contract for the first Scott Boras client to sign.
- UPDATE: Jerry Crasnick says it’s quite a bit more in potential value:
Tony Watson’s deal with the #SFGiants comes with a guarantee of $9 million, source says. It includes escalators and performance bonuses that could ultimately increase the value to $14M over 2 years or $21M over 3 years.
— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) February 17, 2018
- And speaking of modest contracts for reasonably effective bullpen lefties, Jorge De La Rosa (Diamondbacks) and Fernando Abad (Phillies) signed minor league deals that will pay them around $2 to $3 million if they make the big league roster.
- Anibal Sanchez is the first fallback option for the Twins after they missed out on so many other starting pitching options. The soon-to-be 34-year-old righty was quite bad in 2015, and then horribly bad in 2016 and 2017. Still, he’ll get $2.5 million in the big leagues this year (he can be cut sooner, like an arbitration-level contract, for termination pay).
- Jason Motte gets a minor league deal with his old club – no, not the Cubs, but the Cardinals. Motte, 35, has never been the same following Tommy John surgery back in 2013. He left the Cardinals the year after that, joined the Cubs, then the Rockies, and then the Braves.
- And Edinson Volquez gets a minor league deal with one of his old teams, the Rangers – but it’s a two-year minor league deal (a serious rarity), so that he can rehab from Tommy John surgery this year, and then maybe make the team next year.
- Rajai Davis is also re-upping with a former team, the Indians, on a minor league deal. Perhaps he will be there in the World Series again to give Cubs fans a coronary, and then also to make a flat-footed throw from deep center field that quietly changed everything.