Zack Greinke

The Yankees are unlikely to get Hamels; are cool on Zack Greinke, Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster

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The Yankees’ recent strong stretch combined with the continued stumbling of the Orioles, Sox and Rays has given them a bit of a cushion. That said, they’d still probably want to add a starter if they can. Bur from the sounds of it, they aren’t terribly eager to go big game hunting at the deadlines.

After noting that the Yankees will stay “in the loop” on Cole Hamels, but likely won’t be big players for him because he’ll cost too much, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post handicaps the other top starters on the block:

The Yankees are not interested in Milwaukee’s Zack Greinke, just as they didn’t engage Kansas City in Greinke talks during the 2010-11 offseason. They don’t view his personality as a good fit in New York. The other big-name starting pitcher in his walk year, the Cubs’ Ryan Dempster, doesn’t meet the Lee/Hamels threshold of being a decided upgrade over what the Yankees already have.

The “we’re worried about Greinke’s makeup” thing is kind of frustrating. I think we have enough random data points suggesting that Greinke wouldn’t necessarily crumble under the pressure of New York as opposed to just be kind of out-of-synch with it because he doesn’t play the media game like everyone else does. But we’ll never know, I don’t think, because it just doesn’t seem like someone is willing to take the chance. And Greinke himself may steer himself back to a place like Kansas City or down to Atlanta or something once he hits free agency. Just one of those what coulda been things.

As for Garza and Dempster: I’m a bit dubious of the assertion that at least Dempster wouldn’t be an improvement for the Yankees. Of course, there probably isn’t a team who has fewer legitimate leaks and rumors regarding their actual intentions when it comes to free agents and trades and stuff than the Yankees, so they could very well be doing something and we wouldn’t know much about it until it went down.

Diamondbacks sign Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million deal

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 21:  Fernando Rodney #56 of the Miami Marlins pitches during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 21, 2016 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
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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.

Cardinals, Dexter Fowler agree to a five-year, $82 million deal

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Dexter Fowler #24 of the Chicago Cubs reacts during the seventh inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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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.