Last week the Angels were said to be talking to both shortstop Erick Aybar and second baseman Howie Kendrick about long-term contract extensions.
Kendrick agreed to a four-year, $33.5 million deal, but the negotiations with Aybar apparently haven’t been as smooth and today he avoided arbitration with a one-year, $5.075 million contract.
Aybar is eligible for free agency after this season, but general manager Jerry Dipoto told Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times that the Angels will continue to pursue a long-term extension before that can happen.
Kendrick’s contract bought out his final year of arbitration and first three seasons of free agency, so a similar deal for Aybar would be for approximately $28 million over three years, along with his current one-year, $5.075 million contract. Unfortunately for the Angels, with free agency right around the corner and a solid payday assured for 2012 a 28-year-old shortstop may not want to pass up the open market for a three-year pact.
Confirming a report from Tuesday, the Diamondbacks officially signed right-hander Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million contract on Friday. The 39-year-old stands to receive up to $4 million in incentives, per Jack MacGruder of FanRag Sports, with $250,000 kicking in when the veteran reaches 40, 50 and 60 appearances and $500,000 if he reaches 70.
Rodney came three games shy of the 70-appearance mark in 2016 during back-to-back stints with the Padres and Marlins. He put up a cumulative 3.44 ERA on the year, which effectively disguised the extreme split during his performances in San Diego and Miami. The Diamondbacks aren’t anywhere close to contending in 2017, but Rodney should stabilize the back end of their bullpen while providing Arizona GM Mike Hazen with a potential trade chip during next year’s deadline.
Hazen issued a statement following the signing:
With Fernando, we’re getting an established Major League closer and a veteran presence in the bullpen. It is helpful to have someone with his experience on the back end to slow the game down and get the final three outs.
The Cardinals have officially signed outfielder Dexter Fowler to a five-year, $82.5 million contract. Fowler will also get a full no-trade clause.
The Cardinals gave Fowler a bigger deal than many speculated he’d get, as some reports predicted he’d get something in the $52-72 million range. His skills, however — he’s a fantastic leadoff hitter who plays a premium defensive position — definitely earned him some major dough. Fowler hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 homers, 48 RBI and 13 steals over 125 games in 2016 for the World Series champion Cubs.
For the Cardinals, this will allow Matt Carpenter to move down to the middle of the batting order and will shift Randal Grichuk to left field. It also takes a prime piece from the Cardinals’ biggest rival. For their part, earlier this offseason the Cubs signed former Cardinal center fielder Jon Jay. So that’s fun.