During an online chat earlier this afternoon Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com reported that the Cubs have signed Todd Wellemeyer to a minor-league contract. According to Levine, the deal is worth $800,000 plus incentives if Wellemeyer makes the team out of spring training.
Wellemeyer was a reliever for the first four seasons of his career, but then put together a nice 40-start run as a middle-of-the-rotation starter for the Cardinals in 2007 and 2008. St. Louis let him go after he struggled as a full-time member of the rotation in 2009 and he couldn’t get back on track with the Giants last season.
He’ll probably compete for a bullpen gig in Chicago, but Wellemeyer’s raw stuff has declined to the point that a comeback seems unlikely. As a reliever his average fastball clocked in at 93-94 miles per hour and initially as a starter he averaged 92.2 mph, but his velocity dipped to 91.5 mph in 2009 and 90.2 mph in 2010.
Update #2 (6:21 PM EST): Make that $37.5 million, per Heyman.
Update (6:02 PM EST): The deal is for “around” $37 million with deferrals that lower the present-day value, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that free agent 1B/OF Mark Trumbo is close to a deal with the Orioles. He first reported that the two sides were back in touch earlier on Thursday afternoon. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the deal is expected to be for three years and under $40 million.
Trumbo’s market hasn’t developed as he expected. The slugger turned down the Orioles’ $17.2 million qualifying offer back in November. Then the Orioles reportedly made a four-year contract offer to him in December but pulled it off the table. Most recently, a report indicated that Trumbo lowered his expectations to a three-year deal in the $40-50 million range.
Trumbo, 31, led the majors with 47 homers for the Orioles this past season. He also hit a solid .256/.316/.433 with 108 RBI in 667 plate appearances. With Trumbo back in the fold and some slight offensive upgrades made, the Orioles figure to have a formidable offense in 2017.
The Astros avoided arbitration with pitcher Mike Fiers, agreeing on a $3.45 million salary for the 2017 season, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle. The right-hander was in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility.
Fiers, 31, made 30 starts and one relief appearance for the Astros in 2016. He finished the year with a 4.48 ERA and a 134/42 K/BB ratio in 168 2/3 innings.
Fiers had a much better showing in 2015 as well as in limited action in 2014, so the Astros are hoping he rediscovers that effectiveness going forward. He’ll slot into the back of the starting rotation.