Brewers agree to $2.35 million deal with Nyjer Morgan to avoid arbitration

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Nyjer Morgan and the Brewers have avoided arbitration with a one-year deal worth $2.35 million, according to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com.

Morgan began last season in a backup role for the Brewers after coming over in spring training trade from the Nationals, but Carlos Gomez’s injury opened up the door for him to become the starting center fielder and Morgan hit .304 with a .778 OPS in 119 games.

He was arbitration eligible for the first time after earning $450,000 in 2011, so Morgan gets a five-fold raise and will be under team control for two more seasons. Milwaukee previously avoided arbitration with Gomez by signing him for $1.95 million, but Morgan is expected to be the Opening Day starter.

Report: Mariners sign Juan Nicasio to a two-year deal

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Mariners have signed pitcher Juan Nicasio to a two-year contract, pending a physical.

Nicasio, 31, spent last season with the Pirates, Phillies, and Cardinals, putting up an aggregate 2.61 ERA with a 72/20 K/BB ratio in 72 1/3 innings. He appeared in 76 games, leading the National League.

Nicasio will help bolster the Mariners’ bullpen behind closer Edwin Diaz. It’s not known exactly what role he’ll have but it seems reasonable to assume he’ll handle mostly the seventh inning while Nick Vincent will set up for Diaz. Nicasio does have plenty of starting experience so he could also spot start in a pinch.