Last week we heard a report that the Marlins had an offer on the table to Dan Uggla. All we knew at the time was that the first year offered only a $200,000 raise for the arbitration-eligible Uggla. Ken Rosenthal reports, however, that it was a better overall deal than that suggested: four years, $48 million. He also reports that Uggla has rejected the offer.
Seems like a lot of money for a guy like Uggla to turn down. Yes, he’s been a beast offensively, but he’s also got another year until free agency, at which point he’ll be 31, the big spenders out there aren’t exactly in the market for second base help, second basemen tend not to do well on the free agent market,* and he is defense is a liability. Rosenthal suggests that Uggla could broaden his free agency horizons by a move to third, but that was suggested by multiple teams who were looking to trade for him last year, and his agent shot that out of the water, saying that Uggla has “performed remarkably over these four years at second base and there should be no reason to consider a position change at this time.” If he is in such denial about his client’s defensive value, perhaps he’s in denial about his market value too.
One other possibility: Uggla is trying to get out of Miami right now and is rejecting this offer in order to try to get the Marlins to non-tender him before he goes to arbitration this year. That would cut against previous comments Uggla has said about wanting to stay in Florida and, of course, there’s still the open question as to whether there is a contract bigger than $48 million waiting for him out on the market someplace.
*Bret Boone was the last free agent second baseman to land a contract worth more than $25 million. Luis Castillo got $25 million from the Mets two years ago, and the team regretted the signing before the ink was even dry. A handful of second basemen got large deals from their own teams — Dustin Pedroia, Chase Utley and Brian Roberts — but that second basemen just don’t do that well in free agency.
The Associated Press is reporting that the Cubs and starter Jake Arrieta have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a $10.7 million salary for the 2016 season. That marks the highest salary on a one-year deal for a pitcher with four years of service, the AP notes. Arrieta and the Cubs were set to go before an independent arbitrator but now can simply focus on the season ahead.
Arrieta, 29, is in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. He had filed for $13 million while the Cubs countered at $7.5 million. The $5.5 million gap was the largest among players who did not come to terms with their respective teams by the January deadline. The $10.7 million salary is $450,000 above the midpoint between the two submitted figures.
Arrieta won the National League Cy Young Award for his performance this past season, narrowly edging out Zack Greinke, then with the Dodgers. Arrieta led the majors with 22 wins, four complete games, and three shutouts. With that, he compiled a 1.77 ERA and a 236/48 K/BB ratio across 229 innings.
Once a top prospect in the Orioles’ minor league system, Arrieta struggled in the majors but found immediate success with the Cubs in 2013 after the O’s traded him along with Pedro Strop in exchange for Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman.
Per Baseball America’s Matt Eddy, the Giants have signed infielder Conor Gillaspie to a minor league deal. Gillaspie was selected by the Giants in the supplemental round of the 2008 draft, then was traded to the White Sox in February 2013.
Gillaspie, 28, hit a meager .228/.269/.359 with four home runs and 24 RBI in 253 plate appearances between the White Sox and Angels during the 2015 season. Almost all of his playing time has come at third base but he can also play first base if needed.
The Giants, thin on depth, will allow Gillaspie to audition in spring training for a spot on the 25-man roster.
Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that free agent reliever Joe Nathan, recovering from Tommy John surgery, plans to pitch in 2016 according to his agent Dave Pepe. According to Pepe, Nathan’s workouts are “going well” and the right-hander is “definitely planning on playing this year.”
Nathan, 41, got the final out on Opening Day (April 6) against the Twins before going on the disabled list with a flexor strain in his right elbow, causing him to miss the next 161 games. He will likely be able to contribute out of the bullpen in late May or early June if he has no setbacks. On a minor league deal or incentive-laden major league deal, Nathan could make for a low-risk gamble.
Over a 15-season career that dates back to 1999 (he did not pitch in the majors in 2001 or 2010), Nathan has 377 saves with a 2.89 ERA and a 967/340 K/BB ratio over 917 innings.
On Thursday, we learned that the Diamondbacks were still considering free agent reliever Tyler Clippard. You can add the Rays to the list as well, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
The Rays traded lefty reliever Jake McGee to the Rockies in exchange for outfielder Corey Dickerson in late January, so Clippard would be able to slot right in behind closer Brad Boxberger. Clippard, 30, compiled a 2.92 ERA with 64 strikeouts and 31 walks over 71 innings in a season split between the Athletics and Mets. The strikeout rate was at its lowest since the right-hander become a full-time reliever in 2009, and his walk rate was at its highest since 2010, which may be a factor in his still being a free agent in February.