I was skeptical about the Red Sox making a serious offer to Mariano Rivera, but Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston reports that it was legit: a two-year deal at $15 million per. If Mo had accepted it, the Sox would have non-tendered Jonathan Papelbon.
I had made a comment this morning asking why the Sox would sign Rivera, who would have the effect of blocking Daniel Bard from the closer’s role for which he seems destined. Reader Ari Collins made a good point: it’s not really a block seeing as how the eighth inning guy typically gets more innings and pitches in higher-leverage situation. Having Rivera close (or Papelbon) and Bard pitch in the seventh and/or eighth actually maximizes Bard’s value while keeping his salary-inflating save total down to boot.
In any event, I guess the real question is this: did the Red Sox actually think they’d get Rivera with that offer, or did they know/suspect that he’d sign with the Yankees anyway? Maybe it doesn’t matter. If you make an offer you have to be prepared that the other side will accept it. Still, part of me still thinks that there was a bit more theater to the Sox’ offer to Rivera than you see in most free agent pursuits.
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.
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.