In an effort to resurrect his career Micah Owings is returning to the team that drafted him, signing a minor-league contract with the Diamondbacks that includes an invitation to spring training.
Owings was Arizona’s third-round pick in 2005 and spent the first two seasons of his career with the Diamondbacks before being traded to the Reds in late 2008 as part of the Adam Dunn deal.
Owings once looked like a solid young pitcher who brought additional value to the table with his bat, but at this point his hitting might be ahead of his pitching. He has a 16-23 record and 5.59 ERA in 258 innings since a relatively promising rookie season in 2007, but has hit .274 with five homers and a .468 slugging percentage in 134 plate appearances during that same time.
This might be his last chance to make it as a pitcher who can also hit, but if the Diamondbacks get creative Owings could have more value as a pinch-hitter or part-time first baseman/outfielder who can also pitch, much like how the Brewers used Brooks Kieschnick in 2003 and 2004.
The Red Sox are expecting to go to an arbitration hearing with left-handed reliever Fernando Abad, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski said there was a “decent chance” a hearing would be necessary after countering Abad’s $2.7 million request with $2 million.
Abad, 31, pitched just 12 2/3 innings for Boston after the club acquired him from Minnesota at the trade deadline last season. The lefty earned a cumulative 3.66 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.9 SO/9 for the two teams in 2016. He received $1.25 million in 2016 and will remain under club control (through arbitration) in 2017. A $2.7 million salary would be a hefty increase for the veteran reliever, who has seen a significant decline since he put up a 1.57 ERA for the Athletics in 2014 and who has not amassed more than 0.6 fWAR in any single season to date.
While the Red Sox aren’t close to settling with Abad, Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports that they may be closing in on a settlement with left-handed starter Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz filed at $5.7 million, while the Sox felt more comfortable at $3.6 million. The two are expected to meet somewhere in the middle to avoid an arbitration hearing later this winter.
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.