Update: Omar Minaya’s offseason catching cavalcade has finally come to an end. The Mets have come to terms with Rod Barajas to a one-year, $1 million contract. He can take home an additional $1 million in “easily-attainable” incentives.
3:11 PM: Heyman says Texas has increased their offer to more than $1.5 million, but Barajas is still leaning towards accepting the Mets’ current offer of $1 million guaranteed.
8:41 AM: According to Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports, the Mets have offered free agent catcher Rod Barajas a guaranteed major league contract. Ken Rosenthal first hinted at this possibility late last night.
The game likely changed on the Mets’ side for two reasons:
1) As Rosenthal reported on Friday, the Rangers were offering Barajas $1.5 million if he makes the team out of spring training while the Mets were only offering $1 million, so this would at least guarantee him a roster spot and at least part of his salary for this season, while Barajas would only be a contingency plan in Texas.
2) Jose Molina agreed to a guaranteed contract with the Blue Jays on Friday, which includes a club option for 2011. He’ll either make $1 million or $2 million with the contract. The Mets lost some leverage there.
Barajas would have been a near-lock to make the Mets anyway, almost certainly as the starter, but this would at least take the suspense out of the situation. I have a hard time seeing him turn the deal down.
*By the way, Andrew made an excellent point in our comment section, wondering out loud if the Jays “overpaid” Molina so that the Mets, or someone else, would have to sign Barajas to a major league contract, insuring the Blue Jays will receive draft pick compensation. The Jays did only have one catcher (John Buck) on their 40-man roster before yesterday, so they certainly needed another backstop, but it’s an interesting thought, anyway.
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.