Justin Duchscherer signs with the A's

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Somewhere there’s a guy who came up with the idea to fasten all of the little parts of kids’ toys to the box with clamshell packaging, elastic bands and twisty wires.  While I’m sure the idea was to make the product look cool on the store shelf, the benefits of his innovation are far outweighed by the number of raw, cut fingertips and impatient, screaming kids on Christmas morning.  If I ever meet him, he’s getting punched in the back of the neck. Wait — that’s too crude.  If I ever meet him I’m going to force him to open and assemble the Barbie Party Cruise Playset at gunpoint.

Anyway, while we were drinking eggnog and abusing the copy machine at the CTB Christmas Party on Thursday night, Justin Duchscherer signed with the A’s.  The deal has a $2 million base with start and innings incentives that could bring it up to $5.5 million.

Good deal for the A’s. Duchscherer likely sees it as a prove-yourself deal and, if successful, will find himself back out on the market again next year.

Rougned Odor received two horses as part of his contract extension with Rangers

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Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor reached an agreement with the Rangers on a six-year, $49.5 million contract extension. It was announced on Saturday and finalized on Thursday. The contract is pretty typical — a signing bonus, escalating salaries each year — except for one thing: Odor received two elite horses as well, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports.

Here are those horses, per Jared Sandler of 1053 The Fan:

Players do sometimes get perks as part of their contracts. Usually it’s mundane stuff like extra game tickets for family and friends, use of a suite, limo rides, or plane tickets. Sometimes they can get rather specific. For example, in 2005, Troy Glaus got $250,000 per year in “personal business expenses” from the Diamondbacks, which was for his wife’s equestrian training. Hall of Famer George Brett got a 10 percent stake in an apartment complex in Memphis when he signed an extension with the Royals in the mid-1980’s. But as far as my research was able to go, no one received any horses, so that’s new.

Of course, the Rangers certainly think Odor is worth the perks. Last season, Odor hit .271/.296/.502 with 33 home runs, 88 RBI, 89 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases in 632 plate appearances. And at just 23 years old, he has plenty of room to improve.

Mariners sign Mark Lowe

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The Mariners have signed reliever Mark Lowe, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports. The Tigers released him on Sunday.

Lowe, 33, is entering the last of a two-year, $11 million deal signed with the Tigers in December 2015. The right-hander struggled to a 7.11 ERA with a 49/21 K/BB ratio in 49 1/3 innings last season. His performance this spring didn’t do much to inspire confidence.

Lowe began his major league career with the Mariners, breaking out in 2009 with a 3.26 ERA across 80 innings. He has been inconsistent throughout most of his 11-year big league career, however.