There are all sorts of ramifications to today’s Mat Latos deal, but one of the more under-the-radar aspects is that the Reds now have some extra cash to use in the free agent market. While they remain interested in re-signing closer Francisco Cordero, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that they have also spoken with free agent outfielders Jason Kubel and Cody Ross.
Kubel, 29, has a .271/.335/.459 batting line over parts of seven seasons in the majors. He was limited to just 99 games this season due a sprained left foot. The Twins are interested in bringing him back, even after signing Josh Willingham this week, though Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com reported today that it’s unlikely to happen unless his asking price comes down.
Ross is seeking a three-year deal this winter, but that’s a pretty unrealistic scenario following a season in which he batted just .240/.325/.405 with a .730 OPS. Still, he’s a right-handed bat and offers more flexibility defensively than Kubel. For what it’s worth, Reds general manager Walt Jocketty called Ross “an interesting name” earlier this month.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Pirates will sign reliever Felipe Rivero to a four-year contract extension that includes two club options. The total value of the deal is believed to be $22 million and each club option is worth $10 million.
Rivero, 26, did not come to an agreement with the Pirates to avoid arbitration in his first year of eligibility ahead of last Friday’s deadline. He requested a $2.9 million salary for the 2018 season while the Pirates countered at $2.4 million. This extension will cover all four years of Rivero’s arbitration eligibility and the two club options can cover his first two years of free agency as well.
Rivero was one of baseball’s best relievers last season, finishing with 21 saves, a 1.67 ERA, and an 88/20 K/BB ratio in 75 1/3 innings. The Pirates acquired him from the Nationals along with minor leaguer Taylor Hearn ahead of the 2016 non-waiver trade deadline in the Mark Melancon deal.
Presumably, Rivero’s extension was in the works before he knew anything about the Andrew McCutchen trade. He made a couple of tweets following this afternoon’s news. In one, he used only the “facepalm” emoji. The other was a .gif of The Office character Jim Halpert yelling, “What is going on?”