We heard earlier today that Orioles manager Buck Showalter made some interesting comments to USA Today about the repercussions of a possible suspension of Alex Rodriguez, specifically that the Yankees would be able to get under the $189 million luxury tax threshold next season and potentially spend freely in free agency once again. He used his own catcher, Matt Wieters, as an example of someone who the Yankees could have their eye on. However, if Showalter had it his way, the comments would have never seen the light of day.
According to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun, Showalter said this afternoon that he thought his comments were off-the-record.
“I said it and someone decided to print it,” Showalter said. “It’s unfortunate, but what are you going to do? … It all boils out from the idea that we’d like Matt to be with us. We like him.”
Sure enough, Wieters was asked about the USA Today article prior to tonight’s game, so Showalter probably wasn’t upset about his general theory getting out as much as he was regretful about name-dropping one of his own players and causing a momentary distraction in the clubhouse. But the sentiment is certainly understandable. A suspension of Rodriguez — who is set to make $25 million next season — would be a gift to the Yankees.
Infielder Brett Lawrie successfully avoided arbitration and signed a one-year contract with the White Sox on Friday, per a team announcement. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman added that the deal was for $3.5 million, significantly lower than the $4.125 million Lawrie was paid by the White Sox in 2016.
The White Sox acquired Lawrie last December in a swap for minor league arms Zack Erwin and J.B. Wendelken. After splitting time at second and third base for the Athletics in 2015, Lawrie slotted in at second base and DH for the White Sox and batted .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs in 384 PA. While it’s strange to see a healthy, fairly productive player receive a salary reduction in arbitration, Lawrie missed nearly half of the season with a strain in his left hamstring, though he’s projected to return at full health by the start of the 2017 season.
Left-hander Brian Duensing signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Cubs on Friday, per a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.
The free agent spent the bulk of his 2016 season with the Orioles after receiving a call-up from Triple-A Norfolk in early June. He underwent elbow surgery several weeks later when a freak bullpen injury revealed cartilage chips and inflammation in his pitching elbow, but recovered to finish the season with a 4.05 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings for the club. The Orioles utilized him for a final out during the AL Wild Card game, during which Duensing recorded a five-pitch strikeout in the ninth inning of their 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays.
The 33-year-old is currently expected to bulk up the Cubs’ left-handed relief corps, with fellow left-hander Mike Montgomery slated for the rotation in 2017.