Cardinals and Kyle McClellan avoid arbitration with one-year deal

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Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak just announced at the team’s annual Winter Warm-Up Event that the team avoided arbitration with right-hander Kyle McClellan by agreeing on a one-year contract. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tweeted earlier this morning that a deal was close.

McClellan, 26, was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. He earned $425,000 last season while posting a 2.27 ERA and 60/23 K/BB ratio over 75 1/3 innings. His strikeout rate and walk rate were both career bests, while he has a ground ball rate north of 50 percent over the past two seasons.

McClellan was the Cardinals’ only arbitration-eligible player this winter and that’s probably a good thing since the team has plenty of work to do in order to secure Albert Pujols for the long haul.

2017 Preview: The American League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League East

Boston may have the most talent and, in Mookie Betts, the best player. The Yankees have the best farm system. Baltimore has all the dingers and the best closer. Toronto may have the best collection of heels, at least in the view of fans of the other AL East teams.  The Rays have the best . . . hmm. I’ll get back to you on that.

Anyway, here are our previews for the American League East:

Boston Red Sox
Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays

Steven Matz likely to start season on DL; Zack Wheeler to adhere to innings limit

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Mets manager Terry Collins said on Wednesday, “It’s unlikely that [Steven Matz] will start the season with us.” The final spot in the Mets’ starting rotation will go to either Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo, Newsday’s Marc Carig reports.

On Wheeler’s innings limit, assistant GM John Ricco said, “There’s going to be some number but we don’t exactly know what that is.” Wheeler missed the last two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Neither Wheeler nor Lugo have had terrific springs as each carries a 5.11 and 5.56 Grapefruit League ERA, respectively. However, Carig notes that Wheeler has impressed simply by appearing healthy and brandishing a fastball that once again sits in the mid- to high-90’s. Lugo, meanwhile, proved crucial to the Mets last year, posting a 2.67 ERA across eight starts and nine relief appearances.