Rafael Betancourt will be a full-time closer for the first time this season at age 36 and today the veteran right-hander agreed to a contract extension with the Rockies.
Betancourt’s old contract pays $4 million this season and included a $4.25 million mutual option or $250,000 buyout for 2013, but Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes reports that the new deal converts that option into a $4.25 million guarantee and adds a $4.25 million option for 2014.
Or, put another way: Colorado exercised his 2013 option in advance and tacked on a new option for 2014, which is quite a commitment to make to a 36-year-old who hasn’t even thrived in the closer role full time yet. With that said, Betancourt has consistently been among the best setup men in baseball for the past decade and certainly showed no signs of slowing down last season, throwing 62 innings with a 2.89 ERA and 73/8 K/BB ratio while moving past Huston Street in the bullpen hierarchy.
Jon Morosi of MLB Network and FOX Sports reports that the Mariners have acquired starter Chris Heston from the Giants. The Giants will receive a player to be named later, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.
Heston, 28, logged only five innings in the majors this past season as he battled an oblique injury and otherwise spent most of his time with Triple-A Sacramento. Heston was solid out of the Giants’ rotation in 2015, posting a 3.95 ERA with a 141/64 K/BB ratio in 177 2/3 innings over 31 starts.
Heston will be under team control through 2021. He’ll provide depth for the Mariners’ rotation in the meantime.
Joe Nathan‘s agent, David Pepe, says his client wants to pitch in 2017, per ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. “He’s like the Energizer Bunny,” Pepe said.
Nathan, 42, came back from Tommy John surgery in July, pitching two scoreless innings for the Cubs with four strikeouts and two walks. The Cubs released him and the Giants picked him up, and Nathan went on to pitch 4 1/3 scoreless innings down the stretch with five strikeouts and two walks.
According to FanGraphs, Nathan’s velocity wasn’t where it used to be, which is to be expected of a pitcher in his 40’s coming back from major elbow surgery. Still, with teams always on the hunt for bullpen depth, it would be shocking if Nathan didn’t get any bites before spring training starts.