Prince Fielder and the Brewers avoided arbitration today with a $15.5 million deal in what will be his last arbitration contract. The deal makes Fielder the highest-paid Brewer of all time, passing Zack Greinke, who has held the title for a couple of weeks.
Attention Reds fans who keep asking me why the team would agree to buy out Joey Votto’s arbitration years for $38 million while not getting any free agent years from him: this deal is the reason. If Votto had gone to arbitration for all three years, he’d easily exceed $38 million given the precedent set by Ryan Howard and Fielder’s arbitration deals. It gave the Reds cost-certainty and saved them several million dollars. That’s not nothing.
As for Fielder: the Brewers have loaded for bear this winter, Fielder has apparently lost some weight and he’s poised for free agency after the 2011 season. Anyone betting against a huge year by the guy had better be getting great odds.
It was first reported that the Blue Jays and Jose Bautista were close to a deal last night. Now Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is near completion. It will likely a two-year contract in the $35-40 million range.
Bautista had a tough 2016, hitting .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and 69 RBI, and some clubs likely considered a long-term deal for the 36-year-old too risky, this leading to the relative lack of reported interest in Bautista by other clubs. But back-to-back ALCS appearances by the Jays and the success and popularity Bautista has experienced in Toronto make his re-signing there a pretty sensible move for all involved.
The Jays, who already lost Edwin Encarnacion to free agency, get their slugger back on a short term deal. Unlike anyone else, they don’t have to give up the draft pick attached to him via the qualifying offer. Bautista, in turn, will make, on average, more than he would’ve made on the qualifying offer if he would’ve accepted it and a raise over the $14 million he made in 2016.
The Padres have signed Trevor Cahill to a one-year, $1.75 million contract.
As recently as the middle of the 2015 season it looked like Cahill’s career would meet a premature end, but after being released by the Braves and signing with the Cubs in August of that season he has been a remarkably effective reliever. He has posted a 2.61 ERA in 61 games in Chicago and has posted a strikeout rate far above his career norms.
He’s not someone you necessarily want taking the hill when the leverage is high, but in San Diego the leverage won’t be all that high all that often.