Cubs likely to let Derrek Lee hit the open market

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Derrek Lee is entering the final season of a five-year, $65 million contract and has made it clear that he’d like to remain with the Cubs, but Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports that “there will be no negotiations this spring and probably not any during the season.”
Here’s what Lee had to say about the situation:

Am I worried about it? No. My only concern is winning baseball games. Contracts, they’ll take care of themselves. My numbers are going to dictate what kind of contract I get next year. So I figure if I just worry about playing baseball and helping my team win, all that other stuff takes care of itself.

Immediately after signing his current five-year contract Lee missed two-thirds of the 2006 season with an injury, but he’s played 446 of a possible 486 games since then while hitting .304/.384/.515 with 77 homers, 120 doubles, and 283 RBIs to go along with good defense at first base.
In fact, aside from that 2006 season Lee’s all-around value has consistently made him a top-10 first baseman for the past decade, including an MVP-caliber 2005 campaign that saw him lead the league in batting average, slugging percentage, and OPS. In other words he’s been really good.
However, he’ll also turn 35 years old this season and that fact alone makes it very risky for the Cubs to hand him a multi-year contract, particularly with an entire season left on his current deal.

Jake Diekman will miss at least half of the 2017 season

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 9: Jake Diekman #41 of the Texas Rangers works against the Toronto Blue Jays in the sixth inning during game three of the American League Division Series at Rogers Centre on October 9, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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Rangers reliever Jake Diekman will have surgery on January 25 to help alleviate ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease. As a result, the lefty will miss at least half of the 2017 regular season, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Diekman was diagnosed with the illness when he was 11 years old. He has brought awareness to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America with a “Gut It Out” campaign.

Diekman, who turns 30 years old on Saturday, finished the 2016 campaign with a 3.40 ERA and a 59/26 K/BB ratio in 53 innings. He came to the Rangers from the Phillies in the Cole Hamels trade on July 31, 2015.

The Rangers and Diekman avoided arbitration last Friday, agreeing to a $2.55 million salary for the 2017 season.

The Blue Jays and Bautista have reached a one year deal

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 19:  Jose Bautista #19 of the Toronto Blue Jays looks on during batting practice prior to game five of the American League Championship Series against the Cleveland Indians at Rogers Centre on October 19, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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It’s been on the verge of happening for a few days now, but now it’s official: the Toronto Blue Jays and Jose Bautista have reached a one-year deal with a mutual option. The deal is pending physical. An announcement making the deal official is expected later in week.

The exact financial figures have not been disclosed, but Jon Heyman reports that it will be in excess of the $17.2 million Bautista turned down when he turned down the Jays’ qualifying offer.

Bautista had a tough 2016, hitting .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and 69 RBI, and some clubs likely considered a long-term deal for the 36-year-old too risky, this leading to the relative lack of reported interest in Bautista by other clubs. But back-to-back ALCS appearances by the Jays and the success and popularity Bautista has experienced in Toronto make his re-signing there a pretty sensible move for all involved.