Cliff Lee is slated to return from the disabled list one week from today against the Giants in Philadelphia, but Corey Seidman of CSNPhilly.com brings word that his final tuneup in the minors didn’t go smoothly.
Pitching for High-A Clearwater on Monday night, Lee was knocked around for eight runs — three earned — on eight hits and a walk over 4 2/3 innings. He also hit a batter. Following an error by shortstop prospect J.P Crawford, Lee gave up five runs in the first inning, including a two-run home run. No word yet on his velocity, but that’s an ugly outing no matter what. Lee now has a 5.06 ERA and 8/2 K/BB ratio in 10 2/3 innings over three rehab starts.
Lee hasn’t pitched in the majors since May 18 due to a flexor strain in his left elbow, but the timing of his return will allow him to make a couple of starts to prove his health and effectiveness in advance of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Lee, 35, is owed around $12 million for the rest of this season and $25 million for next season while his contract includes a $27.5 million vesting option or $12.5 million buyout for 2016.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Pirates will sign reliever Felipe Rivero to a four-year contract extension that includes two club options. The total value of the deal is believed to be $22 million and each club option is worth $10 million.
Rivero, 26, did not come to an agreement with the Pirates to avoid arbitration in his first year of eligibility ahead of last Friday’s deadline. He requested a $2.9 million salary for the 2018 season while the Pirates countered at $2.4 million. This extension will cover all four years of Rivero’s arbitration eligibility and the two club options can cover his first two years of free agency as well.
Rivero was one of baseball’s best relievers last season, finishing with 21 saves, a 1.67 ERA, and an 88/20 K/BB ratio in 75 1/3 innings. The Pirates acquired him from the Nationals along with minor leaguer Taylor Hearn ahead of the 2016 non-waiver trade deadline in the Mark Melancon deal.
Presumably, Rivero’s extension was in the works before he knew anything about the Andrew McCutchen trade. He made a couple of tweets following this afternoon’s news. In one, he used only the “facepalm” emoji. The other was a .gif of The Office character Jim Halpert yelling, “What is going on?”