Mariners avoid arbitration with Justin Smoak

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As Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca reports, the Mariners have avoided arbitration with first baseman Justin Smoak as the two sides agreed to a one-year deal worth $2.6375 with a vesting option for 2015 worth $3.65 million. The option vests if Smoak accrues 525 plate appearances in 2015. If the option doesn’t vest, the Mariners can buy him out for $150,000. Nicholson-Smith adds that Smoak can earn additional money with incentives.

Smoak was eligible for arbitration for the first time in his career and can become a free agent after the 2016 season. The 27-year-old bounced back from a tough 2012 season with a solid effort in 2013, hitting 20 home runs and posting a .746 OPS in 521 trips to the plate. He hasn’t lived up to the expectations set when he was Baseball America’s #13 prospect entering the 2010 season, but the Mariners remain hopeful he can continue to make progress.

Braves sign David Hernandez

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Bill Whitehead of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that the Braves have signed reliever David Hernandez to a minor league contract on Sunday. He’ll report to spring training as a non-roster invitee.

Hernandez, who turns 32 years old in May, signed a minor league contract with the Giants in February. He requested and was granted his release on Friday when he learned he wasn’t making the team’s 25-man roster to open the season.

Hernandez pitched for the Phillies last year. He compiled a 3.84 ERA with an 80/32 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.

Dave Roberts: It “doesn’t make sense” for Scott Kazmir to start year in Dodgers’ rotation

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Scott Kazmir won’t begin the regular season in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Manager Dave Roberts said after Kazmir’s Cactus League outing on Sunday that it “doesn’t make sense” for the ailing Kazmir to break camp in the rotation, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. The lefty will instead rehab some more and join the rotation at a later time.

Kazmir has been battling a hip issue which has caused his mechanics to suffer. He was clocked in the low 80’s 10 days ago and wasn’t much better on Sunday afternoon.

Last season with the Dodgers, Kazmir posted a 4.56 ERA with a 134/52 K/BB ratio in 136 1/3 innings, his worst numbers since returning to the majors in 2013.