Jon Niese’s long-term contract with the Mets is now official, with Andy McCullough of the Newark Star Ledger reporting that the five-year deal is worth $25.5 million in guaranteed money and covers all three arbitration eligible seasons plus his first year of free agency.
It also includes a sixth-year team option for $10 million and a seventh-year team option for $10.5 million, meaning Niese could potentially earn as much as $46 million over seven seasons.
Not even close to, say, Matt Cain money, but not bad for a guy with a 4.39 ERA in 371 career innings spent in a pitcher-friendly ballpark. Adam Rubin of ESPN New York notes that the contract is very similar to Derek Holland’s recent five-year, $28.5 million deal with the Rangers, which also included a pair of option years.
Niese’s secondary numbers suggest he’s capable of taking a step forward, in which case the Mets will have been smart to lock him up now, but he’s also never thrown even 175 innings in a season. If nothing else, between the $25.5 million from the Mets and the $10,000 from former teammate Carlos Beltran to pay for his nose job Niese has moved safely ahead of Eric Nies in the Nies/Niese rankings.
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.