The Marlins and outfielder Giancarlo Stanton avoided arbitration on Friday, agreeing to a one-year, $6.5 million deal for the 2014 season. As MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reports, however, the two sides haven’t discussed a contract extension:
For months, Miami had stated it was open to discussing a multi-year deal with the 24-year-old right fielder. Such conversations never took place between the club and Stanton’s agent, Joel Wolfe of the Wasserman Media Group. The reason is both sides felt the timing wasn’t right.
Instead of at least sketching out the framework of what a major deal would look like, negotiations centered specifically on working something out for the upcoming season. By hammering out the agreement on Friday, the two parties came away pleased with how the process played out.
Stanton, who is tied with Robinson Cano at 117 for the ninth-most home runs since the start of 2010, has been the subject of trade rumors for quite some time. They will continue to pop up as long as a contract extension remains off the table. Stanton is eligible for arbitration going into the 2015 and 2016 seasons as well, and he projects to make a lot of money. The Marlins cut payroll from nearly $102 million to open up 2012 to just over $50 million on Opening Day last season. Unless they make a big free agent signing in the next month, they will likely see their Opening Day payroll in the $40 million range.
In the past, the Marlins have traded their star players as they approach free agency. It portends to be the case with Stanton as well.
Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.
Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.
Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.
Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports that third baseman Jose Ramirez is finalizing a four-year extension with the Indians. The deal is said to be worth north of $30 million, and may crest $50 million if all options are exercised. While the extension won’t take effect until the 2018 season, it guarantees Ramirez a $26 million sum with two options worth $11 and $13 million and will give the Indians control of the infielder through the 2023 season.
Ramirez, 24, is entering his fifth season in the Indians’ organization. He posted career-high numbers during his first full season in the majors, slashing .312/.363/.461 with 11 home runs, 22 stolen bases and 4.8 fWAR in 2016. He’s projected to have a strong follow-up season at the plate and will likely see some time at second base as Jason Kipnis works his way back from a shoulder injury.
Although 2016 only showcased the beginning of Ramirez’s success with the club, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman says it’s a standard move for Cleveland to “sign their stars early,” and indicates that Ramirez was rumored to want the deal. Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors adds that the extension will keep Ramirez under club control through three arbitration-eligible years and one year of potential free agency.