Saturday signings: Masset, Medders

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There’s plenty of activity this weekend, as players and teams settle on
new contracts to avoid arbitration. Here’s a couple deals that were
announced on Saturday:

The Reds signed reliever Nick Masset to a two-year, $2.58 million contract.

Masset entered 2009 as a potential rotation candidate, but ended
up being one of the most trusted arms in Dusty Baker’s bullpen,
amassing a 2.37 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in 76 innings. The 27-year-old
right-hander averaged 8.3 K/9 last season, his highest rate on the
major league level, while inducing groundballs at a rate of 54.1 percent. According to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com,
he will make $1.035 million in 2010 and $1.545 million in
2011, taking care of his first two years of arbitration. He has a
chance to earn even more with incentives.

The Giants and right-hander Brandon Medders avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $820,000 contract.

Medders managed a 3.01 ERA in 61 appearances with the Giants last
season after earning a spot as a non-roster invitee during Spring
Training. Though he has an impressive 3.36 ERA over 196 big league
appearances, he’s always struggled with his command, averaging 4.0 BB/9 during his career. He succeeded with an 80.4 percent strand rate and 4.3 BB/9 last season, suggesting that a regression is likely in store for 2010.

Dodgers, Cubs could be interested in Justin Verlander

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Jon Morosi of MLB Network said yesterday that the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs have been engaged in trade talks involving starting pitcher Justin Verlander and catcher Alex Avila. Morosi also noted that the Los Angeles Dodgers have shown interest in Verlander as well. Whether this is idyl chitchatting of serious dispute is unclear, of course. Everything is unclear in the leadup to the deadline.

The veteran right-hander is carrying a 4.50 with a 120/57 K/BB ratio over 124 innings. Verlander impressed last year, finishing second in AL Cy Young Award balloting, but he has fallen back to Earth in 2017. His velocity remains high, however, and it’s not hard to imagine him going on a solid run in a way that could help a contender. He is owed $56 million over the next two seasons, however, and has a $22 million option that could vest for 2020, so negotiations for him could be tough. If the Tigers want talent back, they’ll have to eat salary.

Verlander got an ovation from a Detroit crowd last night which seemed to sense that, yes, it’s possible he pitched his last game for the Tigers. Given that he has 10/5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade, that decision is ultimately up to him. It’s not hard to imagine him accepting a trade to a contender, however.

We wait see.

A 30-year-old rookie won his major league debut

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The Dodgers beat the Twins last night thanks to a Cody Bellinger three-run homer. But Bellinger was not the only Dodgers rookie who had a notable game. A far more unconventional one is worth mentioning as well.

That rookie is reliever Edward Paredes, who made his big league debut last night. What makes him unconventional: he’s 30. Turns 31 in September, actually. Paredes pitched professionally for 12 years before making it to The Show. Most of that time was in the affiliated minors in the Mariners, Indians, Angels and Dodgers organizations. He spent time in the independent Atlantic League in 2013-15 as well.

Paredes did not do anything heroic last night. It was more of a right place/right time kind of appearance, retiring the side in order with a fly out, line out and a ground out and remaining the pitcher of record while Bellinger hit that three-run homer. That’s enough for a W, though. A W that Paredes waited a lot longer for than most pitchers who notch one in the bigs.