Unable to find a guaranteed job following season-ending shoulder surgery seven months ago John Maine has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Rockies, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.
At least a half-dozen teams were said to be interested in Maine, but clearly none were willing to give him much upfront money or a spot on the 40-man roster. And based on his decision to join the team with the most hitter-friendly home ballpark in baseball and a seemingly full starting rotation it seems unlikely that any other teams offered him much of role either.
Crasnick reports that Maine can opt out of the contract if he’s not on the Opening Day roster, so it’s only a “minor-league deal” in the sense that it doesn’t require Colorado placing him on the roster while they evaluate him in camp. If he does make the team, Maine could earn up to $3 million.
Maine was a solid mid-rotation starter for the Mets from 2006-2009, but always had durability issues and threw a total of just 121 innings with a 4.98 ERA in the past two seasons before going under the knife in July. Colorado has Ubaldo Jimenez, Jorge De La Rosa, Aaron Cook, Jhoulys Chacin, and Jason Hammel lined up as starters, so if Maine does make the team it’ll likely be as a middle reliever (or on the disabled list).
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.