Sometimes I get nostalgic for the winter of 2009-10. It was a simpler time. Bert Blyleven wasn’t a Hall of Famer, people thought that the Mariners won the Milton Bradley-Carlos Silva trade and every other post on HardballTalk was about Johnny Damon. Let’s relive that for a moment, shall we?
The Blue Jays avoided salary arbitration with outfielder Rajai Davis on Tuesday, signing him to a two-year, $5.75 million contract. However, the team continues to explore other leadoff options, including free agents Scott Podsednik and Johnny Damon, major league sources say.
Damon is a lefty, which would help the Jays. Rosenthal notes that he’s not a base-stealing threat any longer, but that may not be too big a deal for Toronto given that their offense is built on hitting approximately eleventy-billion home runs. Damon can still get on base at a passable clip, so he may fit nicely.
There’s no sense that anything is imminent here and Rosenthal mentions that the Angels may still be interested in both Damon and Podsednik too, and this morning he tweeted about maybe the Yankees taking a look at him. Still, it’s fun talking about Damon again. I hope a frenzy is created. I have about two dozen posts about him in the can that I’m sure I could repurpose if I had to.
Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.
Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.
Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.
Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.
Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.
Tommy Stokke of RanRag Sports reports that the Braves and Rangers agreed to a trade. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the Braves will receive pitcher Luke Jackson from the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Tyrell Jenkins and Brady Feigl.
Jackson, 25, is under team control through 2022. He has logged only 18 innings in the majors, yielding 14 runs on 22 hits and eight walks with three strikeouts. While Jackson has struggled with control, the Braves likely see upside because his fastball sits in the mid- to high-90’s.
Jenkins, 24, is also under team control through 2022. The right-hander made eight starts and six relief appearances in his first major league season in 2016, putting up a 5.88 ERA with a 26/33 K/BB ratio over 52 innings.
Feigl, 25, was an undrafted free agent and was signed by the Braves in 2013. The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and briefly rehabbed in rookie ball this past season.