Tony Gwynn to begin treatment for parotid cancer

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Some unfortunate news to report.

Former Padres great Tony Gwynn told Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune that he will soon begin radiation and chemotherapy treatments for parotid cancer, a cancer of the salivary glands.

“I had surgery for a parotid tumor in 1997 and again three years ago
and both those times there was no cancer,” said Gwynn. “But this time
they found a malignancy. They took out three lymph nodes and did all the
tests and the results showed cancer in the parotid.

“The doctors have told me they feel they caught the cancer early and there was not much of it there.”

Gwynn, 50, said he had been trying to keep his cancer “secret” and was “pulling it off” because of his severe back problem. He took a leave of absence from his duties as a Padres television analyst back in August due to three bulging disks in his back.

The Hall of Famer speculates that the cancer may have been caused by his use of chewing tobacco, although a neck and throat specialist at the UCSD Moores Cancer Center told Center that there have been no studies showing a link between parotid cancer and chewing tobacco.

Determined to treat the cancer “aggressively,” Gwynn now faces seven to eight weeks of five-day-a-week radiation treatments and once-a-week chemotherapy treatments. He still plans to return as the baseball coach at San Diego State.

We’re rooting for you, Tony.

Diamondbacks sign Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million deal

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 21:  Fernando Rodney #56 of the Miami Marlins pitches during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 21, 2016 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
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Confirming a report from Tuesday, the Diamondbacks officially signed right-hander Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million contract on Friday. The 39-year-old stands to receive up to $4 million in incentives, per Jack MacGruder of FanRag Sports, with $250,000 kicking in when the veteran reaches 40, 50 and 60 appearances and $500,000 if he reaches 70.

Rodney came three games shy of the 70-appearance mark in 2016 during back-to-back stints with the Padres and Marlins. He put up a cumulative 3.44 ERA on the year, which effectively disguised the extreme split during his performances in San Diego and Miami. The Diamondbacks aren’t anywhere close to contending in 2017, but Rodney should stabilize the back end of their bullpen while providing Arizona GM Mike Hazen with a potential trade chip during next year’s deadline.

Hazen issued a statement following the signing:

With Fernando, we’re getting an established Major League closer and a veteran presence in the bullpen. It is helpful to have someone with his experience on the back end to slow the game down and get the final three outs.

Cardinals, Dexter Fowler agree to a five-year, $82 million deal

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Dexter Fowler #24 of the Chicago Cubs reacts during the seventh inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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The Cardinals have officially signed outfielder Dexter Fowler to a five-year, $82.5 million contract. Fowler will also get a full no-trade clause.

The Cardinals gave Fowler a bigger deal than many speculated he’d get, as some reports predicted he’d get something in the $52-72 million range. His skills, however — he’s a fantastic leadoff hitter who plays a premium defensive position — definitely earned him some major dough. Fowler hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 homers, 48 RBI and 13 steals over 125 games in 2016 for the World Series champion Cubs.

For the Cardinals, this will allow Matt Carpenter to move down to the middle of the batting order and will shift Randal Grichuk to left field. It also takes a prime piece from the Cardinals’ biggest rival. For their part, earlier this offseason the Cubs signed former Cardinal center fielder Jon Jay. So that’s fun.