Yesterday afternoon ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark reported that “the Marlins offered Russell Branyan a one-year deal with a low base salary and lots of incentives.”
However, today Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports that “two sources said the Marlins have NOT made an offer” to Branyan. In addition to putting “not” all in caps Spencer also quotes “one person close to the player” as saying that Stark’s report is “not true.”
Of course, the rest of Spencer’s report sure makes it seem like the Marlins have done everything BUT (see, I can do the all-caps thing too!) make an official offer to Branyan:
The Marlins are “kicking the tires” on a number of left-handed hitters for a bench role, and Russell Branyan is one of them. … [T]he Marlins have merely contacted Branyan’s agent, as they have done with more than a few players, to gauge the situation. It’s possible they might have even tossed around salary figures. But no deal was ever offered.
So they’re interested in Branyan, have talked to his agent, and have probably even discussed the terms of a deal. Why then is Spencer making such a big deal about the difference between that and an actual offer? Perhaps because yesterday he wrote an anti-Branyan screed focusing on strikeouts that ended with: “If the Marlins wind up with this guy, I’ll be surprised.”
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.