The Jays’ big position battle this spring was Eric Thames versus Travis Snider for left field. Thames was handed the job, but eventually both ended up back in the minors. Now both are out of the organization entirely, having been traded within a half hour of each other tonight.
Thames was sent to Seattle for reliever Steve Delabar, the teams announced after playing tonight. Delabar, at least, won’t have far to travel; he merely needs to switch clubhouses at Safeco. Thames, presumably, will be called by the Mariners in short order. The 25-year-old was hitting .335/.412/.536 with six homers in 194 at-bats for Triple-A Las Vegas.
It’s unlikely that the left-handed-hitting Thames will prove to be a building block for the Mariners. He has decent enough power, but his on-base skills are lacking and he’s a bit of a liability defensively in the outfield. If the Mariners had their pick of Thames and Snider, it’s a good bet they would have chosen Snider instead. Thames could stick as a platoon player, though. He’ll almost certainly be an upgrade from Carlos Peguero there.
Delabar, 29, had a 4.17 ERA in 36 2/3 innings out of the pen for Seattle this season. He lacks an outpitch to go along with his 92-95 mph fastball and probably won’t survive as more than a middle reliever as a result. With more athletic outfielders available in Anthony Gose and Rajai Davis, it seems the Jays simply felt it was time to move on from both Snider and Thames. Of the two, Snider is the more likely to make them regret it.
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.