Shelley Duncan, Austin Kearns sign with the Indians

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Shelley Duncan would have probably been a nice addition to any number of teams last year, but he had the misfortune of being one of the few — the Yankees — that had absolutely no use for him. So he ended up sitting in Scranton last season, where he hit 30 homers.

Now he’s going to a team — the Indians — who could definitely use an inexpensive outfielder with some pop.  The terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but it’s likely a minor league deal.

Duncan hasn’t shown much in the majors — .219/.290/.411 in 163 plate appearances — but In nine minor league seasons, he’s a career .258/.345/.479 hitter with 170 home runs and 599 RBIs in 905 games. Last year his AAA OBP was .370.  Smart pickup by Cleveland.

The Tribe also signed former Red and Nat Austin Kearns as, shockingly, the Nats didn’t want to exercise his $10 million option. Back in the day I took all kinds of heat for being the only blogger on the planet to defend the Reds for trading him to the Nats.  Now who’s laughing?

Well, not me, because Gary Majewski sucked too, but I think it’s fair to say that the Reds got more out of Billy Bray and will get more out of Daryl Thompson than the Nats ever got out of Kearns and Lopez.

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.