* Mets vice president of player development Tony Bernazard learned the hard way this afternoon that adding to your long list of “incidents” by challenging a clubhouse full of minor leaguers to a fight while shirtless will get you fired. So, you know, let that be a lesson to everyone else. Keep your shirt on.
* Alex Rodriguez took his two daughters and girlfriend Kate Hudson to
the Yankees’ annual family picnic over the weekend, and then made out with one of them in front of the assembled media.
* Spencer Fordin of MLB.com reports
that 21-year-old Chris Tillman will make his MLB debut Wednesday
against Zack Greinke and the Royals. Tillman has made some big strides
with his control since coming to Baltimore in the Erik Bedard trade
with Seattle, and is now among the elite pitching prospects in
* Boston has no plans to skip
John Smoltz in the rotation despite his 1-4 record and 7.04 ERA, which
is smart because both his raw stuff and 28/5 K/BB ratio in 30.2 innings
suggest that he’ll turn things around soon enough.
* Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland recently turned down Minnesota’s offer for Orlando Cabrera, and in doing so they probably did the Twins a favor.
Update #2 (6:21 PM EST): Make that $37.5 million, per Heyman.
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.
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.
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.