Washington Nationals v Baltimore Orioles

Dontrelle Willis is filing a grievance against the Orioles

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Dontrelle Willis was placed on the restricted list by the Baltimore Orioles list after, according to them anyway, he went AWOL as the result of his unhappiness at being forced to work from the pen instead of starting.

Willis, through his agent Matt Sosnick, says that is hooey — they say he left the team with consent — and they are filing a grievance. Jerry Crasnick of ESPN Reports:

Pitcher Dontrelle Willis is filing a grievance against the Baltimore Orioles, alleging that the club placed him on the restricted list and is preventing him from signing with another organization even though he left the Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate with the consent of a team official.

Willis received permission from Tripp Norton, Baltimore’s director of baseball administration, before leaving the Norfolk Tides last Wednesday, said agent Matt Sosnick.

Sosnick says that Norton said “we don’t want a player doing something he doesn’t want to do” and said he was thus free to leave.  There are a bunch of additional quotes from Sosnick and Willis which strongly suggests that, at least in the minds of Sosnick and Willis, Willis had full permission to leave. If it was an open question, I’m not sure they’d be so forthcoming and adamant about it.

Oh, and there is a sick, sick burn of Dan Duquette in the last paragraph, when Sosnick responds to speculation that Willis might have offers to play in Japan or Korea:

“I have not been contacted by any Asian team about Dontrelle,” Sosnick said. “But I know that Dan has closer ties to Korea than I do, so maybe he knows something that I don’t know.”

Dan Duquette’s Orioles, of course, have been banned from any activity in Korea due to scouting misdeeds there.  At least that’s what I hope Sosnick was referencing.

Red Sox could go to arbitration hearing with Fernando Abad

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 16:  Fernando Abad #58 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the New York Yankees during the ninth inning at Fenway Park on September 16, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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The Red Sox are expecting to go to an arbitration hearing with left-handed reliever Fernando Abad, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski said there was a “decent chance” a hearing would be necessary after countering Abad’s $2.7 million request with $2 million.

Abad, 31, pitched just 12 2/3 innings for Boston after the club acquired him from Minnesota at the trade deadline last season. The lefty earned a cumulative 3.66 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.9 SO/9 for the two teams in 2016. He received $1.25 million in 2016 and will remain under club control (through arbitration) in 2017. A $2.7 million salary would be a hefty increase for the veteran reliever, who has seen a significant decline since he put up a 1.57 ERA for the Athletics in 2014 and who has not amassed more than 0.6 fWAR in any single season to date.

While the Red Sox aren’t close to settling with Abad, Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports that they may be closing in on a settlement with left-handed starter Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz filed at $5.7 million, while the Sox felt more comfortable at $3.6 million. The two are expected to meet somewhere in the middle to avoid an arbitration hearing later this winter.

Report: Braves sign Kurt Suzuki

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 20: Kurt Suzuki #8 of the Minnesota Twins hits against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on August 20, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.

Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.

The team has yet to confirm the deal.