You know it’s the week of Christmas when Jason Marquis leads the day’s news and Dusty Ryan comes in second. But believe it or not, there were some transactions that registered even lower on the Richter (Richar?) scale than those:
The Marlins sign infielder Danny Richar: One of six guys from the Dominican Republic named “Danny”; Richar was once traded for Ken Griffey, Jr., which is the kind of thing a sharp young man could turn into a career of speeches at Rotary Club luncheons if he plays his cards right; A game-worn Richar jersey can be had for $125, but there’s no guarantee you’ll get it by Christmas;
The Indians signed reliever Saul Rivera: The 32 year-old reliever was something of a horse for the Nats for the past few years, pitching in 76 games in 2008 and 85 the year before, but he was sent down to AAA last season before being released in December. I can only assume Manny Acta told Mark Shapiro to go get him, preferring bullpen canon fodder he knows to bullpen canon fodder he doesn’t know;
The Pirates signed Javier Lopez: Finally, after seven seasons I had broken myself of thinking of the former Braves catcher Javy Lopez when his name is mentioned. Then the Pirates go and sign him and my first thought its “Ya know what? I could picture Pittsburgh signing the old catcher instead of the reliever. Did he get three years? If so, you know it was the catcher.”
We’ll break into programming with an emergency redball update if anything as big as these three things goes down for the remainder of the day.
Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.
Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.
Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.
Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.
Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.
Tommy Stokke of RanRag Sports reports that the Braves and Rangers agreed to a trade. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the Braves will receive pitcher Luke Jackson from the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Tyrell Jenkins and Brady Feigl.
Jackson, 25, is under team control through 2022. He has logged only 18 innings in the majors, yielding 14 runs on 22 hits and eight walks with three strikeouts. While Jackson has struggled with control, the Braves likely see upside because his fastball sits in the mid- to high-90’s.
Jenkins, 24, is also under team control through 2022. The right-hander made eight starts and six relief appearances in his first major league season in 2016, putting up a 5.88 ERA with a 26/33 K/BB ratio over 52 innings.
Feigl, 25, was an undrafted free agent and was signed by the Braves in 2013. The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and briefly rehabbed in rookie ball this past season.