Chone Figgins, Dodgers close on minor league deal


ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Dodgers and utilityman Chone Figgins are close to signing a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training. [Update: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that an agreement has been reached.] Figgins didn’t play in 2013 after three difficult years with the Mariners. He had inked a four-year, $36 million deal following the 2009 season.

In just over 1,200 plate appearances between 2010-12, Figgins posted a .585 OPS and -0.9 Wins Above Replacement, per Baseball Reference. The Mariners designated Figgins for assignment when the 2012 season ended, with one year remaining on his deal.

On a minor league deal, the Dodgers get to see if Figgins has anything left to offer at virtually no risk. Figgins is versatile, having spent over 1,000 defensive innings in his career at three positions: third base, second base, and center field. He can also play in either outfield corner or at shortstop in a pinch, with some limited experience there during his 11-year career.

Red Sox sign Christian Vazquez to three-year, $13.55 million extension

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The Red Sox signed catcher Christian Vazquez to a three-year, $13.55 million extension, per a team announcement on Saturday. The agreement will keep Vazquez under contract through the 2021 season and covers two years of arbitration eligibility and the catcher’s first year of free agency. It comes with a $7 million club option (and $250,000 buyout) for 2022 that could get bumped up to $8 million if he reaches 502 plate appearances in both 2020 and 2021. Vazquez has also volunteered to make an annual donation to the Red Sox Foundation as part of his new arrangement with the club.

The 27-year-old backstop is entering his fourth year with the Red Sox in 2018. He’s been a steady defender behind the dish over the last three years and was ranked fifth-best in defense among all American League catchers at the end of the 2017 season. He also enjoyed a breakout performance at the plate, slashing a career-best .290/.330/.404 with five home runs and a .735 OPS in 345 plate appearances.

Come Opening Day, Vazquez is expected to be the Red Sox’ primary option behind the plate, with veteran Sandy Leon and Blake Swihart poised to start in backup roles. Swihart is out of options, but has been groomed for a utility role this spring and could take a few reps in the left field and the infield corners if need be, as it doesn’t appear the club is prepared to trade him just yet.