As soon as the A’s signed Yoenis Cespedes for $36 million and started talking about him as an option in center field Coco Crisp made it clear that he wouldn’t be giving up the position without a fight, saying: “Unless he’s a demigod come down from the heavens, no one is going to outshine me in center field.”
I guess that means Cespedes is officially a demigod, because the A’s announced that he’ll be the starting center fielder for their season-opening games in Japan and Crisp will shift to left field.
Crisp has plenty of corner outfield experience, so that won’t be an issue, but he’s generally rated very well defensively in center field and re-signed with the A’s in part because he believed they’d continue to start him there. Well, that and the $18 million.
Many of the initial scouting reports on Cespedes suggested he’d be better in right field, but the A’s will use Josh Reddick there while trusting what little they’ve seen of Cespedes’s range in person.
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.