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Cardinals, Jaime Garcia closing in on contract extension?

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Michael Golde, an employee of KTRS 550 AM in St. Louis, tweeted Thursday afternoon that the Cardinals and left-handed starter Jaime Garcia had reached agreement on a four-year, $27.5 million contract extension with club options for 2016 and 2017.

The Cardinals have not confirmed the rumor, but they’re not completely shooting it down either.

Cards GM John Mozeliak told Matthew Leach of MLB.com before Thursday night’s game against the Diamondbacks that “any contract discussions that we have with any player will be done privately, and when we have an announcement, we’ll have an announcement.” Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch was informed by a team official that a physical has been scheduled. And that Garcia is not hurt.

In other words, it’s probably happening. And an official announcement could be coming soon.

Garcia earned Rookie of the Year votes last season after posting a 2.70 ERA and 132 strikeouts in 163 1/3 innings. He’s done well in his sophomore campaign, too, with a 3.23 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 95/30 K/BB ratio through 111 1/3 frames. But his home-away splits hint at comfortability — and perhaps confidence — issues.

In 155 2/3 career innings at Busch Stadium, the 24-year-old has a 1.73 ERA and has limited opposing hitters to a .553 OPS. In 135 career innings away from Busch, he has a 4.60 ERA and a .756 opponents’ OPS.

Garcia is still a pre-arbitration player, earning $437,000 this season. The new deal, if similar to the terms that Golde is reporting, would cover all three of his arbitration years while also spilling over into free agency.

Red Sox could go to arbitration hearing with Fernando Abad

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 16:  Fernando Abad #58 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the New York Yankees during the ninth inning at Fenway Park on September 16, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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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.

Report: Braves sign Kurt Suzuki

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 20: Kurt Suzuki #8 of the Minnesota Twins hits against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on August 20, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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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.