Fake trade: Fielder to Boston for Ellsbury

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Red Sox acquire first baseman Prince Fielder from the Brewers for outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury and RHP Michael Bowden.
Why it works for Boston: Since David Ortiz may be more of a No. 6 hitter going forward, the Red Sox could use a left-handed power presence in the third or fourth spot in the order. Unlike anyone available in free agency this winter, Fielder provides that in spades. He finished third in the majors in OPS, second in homers, tied for first in RBI and fourth in walks this season. Boston can also easily handle his $10.5 million salary, and the team may prefer the short-term commitment to him rather than going to five years to re-sign Jason Bay or six or seven to bring in Matt Holliday.
Why it works for Milwaukee: The Brewers would want a young ace as the primary return for Fielder, but Ellsbury, the major league leader in steals this season, would fit nicely. As is, the Brewers would have to spend about $20 million to bring back Fielder and free agent Mike Cameron next year. They could plug Mat Gamel and Ellsbury into those holes, and since both are making the minimum, use the savings to bring in a pair of quality veteran starters this winter. Plus, they’d get a legitimate rotation option in Bowden, who had a 3.13 ERA in 24 starts as a 22-year-old in Triple-A this year. He projects as more of a No. 4 starter in the AL, but he may be a legit No. 3 in the NL.
Why it won’t happen: Milwaukee would probably hold out for Clay Buchholz in a Fielder deal, and the Red Sox won’t want to trade their young starter after the way he came on in the second half of the year. The Brewers have the ability to hold on to Fielder at his relatively modest salary for one more year and would still be able to get plenty for him in trade next winter, when he’ll have one year to go before free agency. In the meantime, they can shop J.J. Hardy and see if he’ll being a decent starter.

Cubs sign Brett Anderson to a $3.5 million deal

Brett Anderson
AP Photo/J Pat Carter
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Cubs have signed pitcher Brett Anderson to a contract, pending a physical. Anderson, apparently, impressed the Cubs during a bullpen session held in Arizona recently. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the deal is for $3.5 million, but incentives can bring the total value up to $10 million.

Anderson, 28, has only made a total of 53 starts and 12 relief appearances over the past five seasons due to a litany of injuries. This past season, he made just three starts and one relief appearance, yielding 15 runs on 25 hits and four walks with five strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings. The lefty dealt with back, wrist, and blister issues throughout the year.

When he’s healthy, Anderson is a solid arm to have at the back of a starting rotation or in the bullpen. The defending world champion Cubs aren’t risking much in bringing him on board.

Yordano Ventura’s remaining contract hinges on the results of his toxicology report

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.

What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.

The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.

Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.