Ken Rosenthal reports that Francisco Rodriguez and the Milwaukee Brewers have made a deal: K-Rod is waving his $17.5 million option in exchange for additional compensation now. He’ll become a free agent when the season is over.
This makes sense for everyone. For the Brewers, they can now use Rodriguez in any capacity they wish, be it closing, setup or mopup, without having to worry about the games-finished clause. For Rodriguez, he gets a chance to enter the free agent market with much better stats — more games; more innings; more saves, most likely — and thus be a far more attractive commodity than he would have been if he had been used sparingly in an effort to avoid the option from triggering.
And of course this is great for Scott Boras who, his posturing notwithstanding, clearly wanted to get his new client on the free agent market ASAP. After all, if K-Rod got his $17.5 million, that commission would go to the old agent, Paul Kinzer. A cut of any new deal is all for Boras.
And speaking of Boras, he went on XM Radio today, talking about just how awful a disservice Kinzer did to K-Rod in allegedly not submitting his no-trade list to the Mets before they could ship him to Milwaukee. I touched on this yesterday, noting that it’s not at all clear that Kinzer really failed in this duty, and even if it is, it was a moot and harmless event.
This new deal — which was clearly already brewing as Boras made his media rounds to slam his rival agent — makes it pretty clear that K-Rod wasn’t harmed at all. He was eager to go to Milwaukee and once he got there, he struck a deal that is both player and agent-friendly.
So what I’m saying: take Boras’ hand-wringing over that no-trade list with a grain of salt. Maybe the whole shaker. It’s grandstanding and backbiting. Nothing more.
Last summer we posted about Rafael Palmeiro coming out of retirement to play for the independent league Sugar Land Skeeters. The reason: to play a game with his boy Patrick. In that game the elder Palmeiro went 2-for-4 with an RBI, a walk, and a run scored. His son, who is now 26, went 2-for-4 with a grand slam.
Did that serve as an audition for Patrick? Possibly, as Jon Meloi of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles just signed him to a minor league deal.
As Meloi notes, it’s certainly just an organizational depth move, as Patrick is no prospect. And it’s actually likely something of a coincidence that it’s the Orioles who signed him, as Palmeiro doesn’t have any real contacts with the Orioles baseball operations people, all of whom are different folks now than back in his day.
This may not be the last of the Palmeiros, by the way. Peter Gammons tweeted this morning that Patrick’s younger brother, Preston, is a first baseman at North Carolina State who could be drafted this june. Gammons says he has a swing “remarkably similar to dad.”
Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports that the Diamondbacks and outfielder A.J. Pollock have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year extension. The deal is worth $10.25 million, per ESPN’s Buster Olney.
Pollock was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. The 28-year-old requested $3.9 million and was offered $3.65 million by the Diamondbacks when figures were exchanged on January 15. It wasn’t much of a gap, but the two sides were ultimately able to find common ground on a multi-year deal. Pollock will still be under team control for one more year after this new deal expires.
Pollock is coming off a breakout 2015 where he batted .315/.367/.498 with 20 home runs, 76 RBI, and 39 stolen bases over 157 games. He ranked sixth among position players with 7.4 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), according to Baseball Reference.
The Blue Jays and 2015 American League Most Valuable Player Josh Donaldson have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $29 million contract, reports Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca.
Donaldson was arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter. He filed for $11.8 million and was offered $11.35 million by the Blue Jays when figures were exchanged last month. It wasn’t a big gap, but since the Blue Jays are a “file and trial” team, they bring these cases to an arbitration hearing unless a multi-year deal can be worked out. As opposed to last winter, they were able to avoid a hearing this time around. Donaldson was originally a Super Two player, so he’ll still have one year of arbitration-eligibility once this two-year deal is completed.
The 30-year-old Donaldson is coming off a monster first season in Toronto where he batted .297/.371/.568 with 41 homers while leading the American League with 123 RBI.
Brandon Belt filed for $7.5 million and was offered $5.3 million by the Giants when arbitration figures were exchanged last month. That’s a pretty sizable gap. While there’s still a chance that an agreement will be worked out at the last minute, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that an arbitration hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.
The Giants haven’t gone to an arbitration hearing since 2004, when they lost to catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Schulman hears from one person involved that because of the gap between Belt and the Giants, there’s a real chance this will break that string and require a hearing.
Belt batted .280/.356/.478 with 18 home runs and 68 RBI over 137 games in 2015, but he dealt with concussion symptoms for the second straight season. An arbitration hearing could bring some unpleasant conversation to the surface.