When the Cubs designated Bryan LaHair for assignment earlier this week it was reportedly because they were working on a deal to send the first baseman to Japan and now we have the details of that agreement.
According to ESPN Chicago he’ll get a two-year, $4.5 million contract to join the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks and the Cubs will get $950,000 in cash to part with LaHair.
LaHair slumped horribly after making the All-Star team as a 29-year-old rookie, but he’s still a .260 hitter with 21 homers and a .764 OPS in 195 total big-league games and has consistently crushed Triple-A pitching for years.
I’ll be very surprised if he doesn’t put up huge numbers in Japan and, who knows, maybe in a couple years another MLB team will feel like taking a flier on him as a cheap bench bat or platoon starter.
Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY reports that the Mariners have received “strong” trade interest for starter Taijuan Walker. The right-hander is currently on the mend from tendinitis in his right foot. He’ll throw a bullpen on Friday at Wrigley Field with scouts in attendance.
Walker, 23, has a 3.66 ERA with an 80/18 K/BB ratio in 86 innings this season. It’s his first bit of sustained success at the major league level. What’s arguably just as intriguing is the fact that Walker will be under team control through 2020.
The Mariners have been hovering around .500 for the last month and entered Thursday six games behind the first-place Rangers in the AL West and 4.5 games out of the second AL Wild Card slot, behind three other teams as well as the two Wild Card leaders. It’s enough uncertainty which could push the Mariners to sell.
On Monday, we learned that the Mets offered to swap catchers with the Brewers, Travis d'Arnaud for Jonathan Lucroy. The Brewers, as expected, turned that down. The two still continue to discuss a trade involving Lucroy, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.
The Mets certainly could use some help at catcher. The club has gotten an aggregate .608 OPS from their backstops, the fourth-lowest mark in baseball, ahead of only the Pirates, Rays, and Indians. However, the Mets seem to be behind other teams — including a “mystery” team — in the bidding, according to Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball.
Lucroy, who took Thursday off, is batting .300/.361/.486 with 13 home runs and 50 RBI in 371 plate appearances for the Brewers this season. He can become a free agent after the season if his controlling club opts against picking up his $5.25 million option for the 2017 season.