Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal reports that free agent reliever Dan Wheeler will decline the Red Sox’s arbitration offer by tonight’s deadline.
However, according to MacPherson the two sides will “maintain dialogue” while he’s on the open market.
Wheeler accepting arbitration would have locked the Red Sox into a one-year deal worth around $3.5 million, but apparently the 34-year-old right-hander thinks he can top that after throwing 49 innings with a 4.38 ERA and 39/8 K/BB ratio.
Wheeler struggles too much against left-handed hitters and gives up too many homers to be an ideal late-inning option, but prior to 2011 he posted a sub-3.50 ERA five times in six seasons.
UPDATE: Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe speculates that the two sides had a handshake agreement in place for Wheeler to decline arbitration–and basically give the Red Sox a free draft pick–which makes sense considering the trouble he may have topping $3.5 million or so elsewhere.
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.