Hernandez: Randolph lost the Latins last year

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Keith Hernandez says that Willie Randolph lost the Latin players in his clubhouse last year:

I don’t know. I am not in that clubhouse. You know there’s a code of
silence in the clubhouse, and things are kept in house. But I do know
that a lot of the Latin players — and the key Latin players — did not
like Willie. And that’s why they probably felt the move had to be made.
Because they weren’t performing. And all of a sudden Jerry Manuel comes
in and it’s like someone turned a light switch on. And all of a sudden
Delgado is out of his slump and Reyes is playing like heck. So you
know, it’s one of those things.

I take this to mean that the players were less enthusiastic to play for
Randolph and that general lack of enthusiasm translated into poor play
as opposed to anyone intentionally dogging it. Either way, clubhouse
dynamics are something those of us on the outside really don’t and
can’t easily understand, so it’s interesting to hear Hernandez’s
opinion on this. I’ll only add that Randolph’s apparent loss of the
Latin vote, as it were, had additional consequences among the
non-Latins on the team. You’ll recall Billy Wagner going off last year
about how Delgado and some other players weren’t hanging around after
games to meet the press? If Hernandez is right, they were probably
doing that to hang Randolph out to dry, and in turn that hung guys like
Wagner out to dry. That whole dynamic is on the manager in my view.

The funny thing is, there is evidence now that Jerry Manuel is losing his
players too, with Johan Santana ignoring his signs Tuesday night and
David Wright recently seen imploring Manuel to get out on the field and
argue a call that went against the Mets (Manuel didn’t). So maybe it’s
just a New York thing.

In other news there would be worse things for Bobby Valentine to be doing than updating his resume right now.

Report: Mark Trumbo signs three-year, $37.5 million contract with Orioles

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 04:  Mark Trumbo #45 of the Baltimore Orioles runs the bases after hitting a two-run home run in the fourth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during the American League Wild Card game at Rogers Centre on October 4, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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Update #2 (6:21 PM EST): Make that $37.5 million, per Heyman.

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Update (6:02 PM EST): The deal is for “around” $37 million with deferrals that lower the present-day value, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that free agent 1B/OF Mark Trumbo is close to a deal with the Orioles. He first reported that the two sides were back in touch earlier on Thursday afternoon. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the deal is expected to be for three years and under $40 million.

Trumbo’s market hasn’t developed as he expected. The slugger turned down the Orioles’ $17.2 million qualifying offer back in November. Then the Orioles reportedly made a four-year contract offer to him in December but pulled it off the table. Most recently, a report indicated that Trumbo lowered his expectations to a three-year deal in the $40-50 million range.

Trumbo, 31, led the majors with 47 homers for the Orioles this past season. He also hit a solid .256/.316/.433 with 108 RBI in 667 plate appearances. With Trumbo back in the fold and some slight offensive upgrades made, the Orioles figure to have a formidable offense in 2017.

Astros avoid arbitration with Mike Fiers

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 17: Starting pitcher Mike Fiers #54 of the Houston Astros walks to the dugout after pitching an inning during a game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 17, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. The Astros won the game 2-1. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
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The Astros avoided arbitration with pitcher Mike Fiers, agreeing on a $3.45 million salary for the 2017 season, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle. The right-hander was in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility.

Fiers, 31, made 30 starts and one relief appearance for the Astros in 2016. He finished the year with a 4.48 ERA and a 134/42 K/BB ratio in 168 2/3 innings.

Fiers had a much better showing in 2015 as well as in limited action in 2014, so the Astros are hoping he rediscovers that effectiveness going forward. He’ll slot into the back of the starting rotation.