Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reported last week that the Diamondbacks and second baseman Kelly Johnson had scheduled an arbitration hearing for Tuesday, February 15. According to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com, that was one day off.
The two sides have officially set up a hearing for Wednesday, February 16.
Johnson requested a $6.5 million salary and was offered $4.7 million when arbitration figures were exchanged last month. There hasn’t been much movement toward a middle ground, but that could change as the hearing date looms. Front office folks don’t like when cases go to arbitration hearings because the clubs are then forced to point out the shortcomings in one of their own players in order to try to win the decision. It can turn ugly, or at least unpleasant.
Johnson, 29 later this month, posted a strong .284/.370/.496 batting line last season for Arizona with a career-high 26 home runs and 71 RBI over 671 plate appearances. He earned $2.35 million.
John Wisely of the Detroit Free Press reports that current free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez is being sued by his former landlord for damage to the rented property as well as missing artwork. The landlord is asking for $80,000 after having kept Rodriguez’s $15,000 security deposit.
The lawsuit says that Rodriguez damaged a bedroom TV, a crystal floor lamp, glass shelves in the bar, glass tiles in the master bath, and a Moroccan mirror in the powder room. Additionally, the suit claims that the bedding is stained and paint has chipped, as well as other damages. And the piece of art that is allegedly missing, which depicts a tiger, is valued at more than $10,000.
Rodriguez has not yet been served with the suit, but the landlord has been speaking to his managers.
The Nationals released Rodriguez, 35, two weeks ago after having signed him to a minor league contract in late June. He started the season with the Tigers, but struggled to a 7.82 ERA over 25 1/3 innings before being released.
MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that the Rays have acquired first baseman Lucas Duda from the Mets. The Mets will receive pitching prospect Drew Smith in return, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
Duda, 31, is batting .246/.347/.532 with 17 home runs and 37 RBI in 291 plate appearances for the Mets this season. He’ll provide a potent bat in the Rays’ lineup as they attempt to overcome their current 2.5-game deficit in the AL East.
Smith, 23, is the Rays’ No. 30 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He ascended from High-A to Triple-A already this season, posting an aggregate 1.60 ERA with a 40/9 K/BB ratio over 45 innings across four stops with High-A Lakeland (Tigers), High-A Charlotte (Rays), Double-A Montgomery, and Triple-A Durham.