Well, it’s official.
The Marlins have made a couple of questionable moves so far in this young offseason and continued that trend Wednesday with the finalization of an odd three-year, $18 million contract for free agent catcher John Buck.
Buck slugged 20 home runs for the Blue Jays in 2010 and represents a legitimate offensive upgrade over the carousel of catchers that the Marlins employed this past year, but the 30-year-old backstop is a .243/.301/.421 career hitter and is likely to regress back to that poor career line.
His .335 BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play) suggests that luck had a whole lot to do with the numbers that he posted this past season and Miami’s Sun Life Stadium is not nearly as hitting friendly as Toronto’s Rogers Centre. On top of that, Buck hasn’t played more than 120 games in a season in his entire career.
There’s a chance that everything will work out just fine, but at the moment it appears that Marlins’ new starting catcher was overpaid both in salary and years.
Update #2 (6:21 PM EST): Make that $37.5 million, per Heyman.
Update (6:02 PM EST): The deal is for “around” $37 million with deferrals that lower the present-day value, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that free agent 1B/OF Mark Trumbo is close to a deal with the Orioles. He first reported that the two sides were back in touch earlier on Thursday afternoon. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the deal is expected to be for three years and under $40 million.
Trumbo’s market hasn’t developed as he expected. The slugger turned down the Orioles’ $17.2 million qualifying offer back in November. Then the Orioles reportedly made a four-year contract offer to him in December but pulled it off the table. Most recently, a report indicated that Trumbo lowered his expectations to a three-year deal in the $40-50 million range.
Trumbo, 31, led the majors with 47 homers for the Orioles this past season. He also hit a solid .256/.316/.433 with 108 RBI in 667 plate appearances. With Trumbo back in the fold and some slight offensive upgrades made, the Orioles figure to have a formidable offense in 2017.
The Astros avoided arbitration with pitcher Mike Fiers, agreeing on a $3.45 million salary for the 2017 season, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle. The right-hander was in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility.
Fiers, 31, made 30 starts and one relief appearance for the Astros in 2016. He finished the year with a 4.48 ERA and a 134/42 K/BB ratio in 168 2/3 innings.
Fiers had a much better showing in 2015 as well as in limited action in 2014, so the Astros are hoping he rediscovers that effectiveness going forward. He’ll slot into the back of the starting rotation.