Cubs release Rex Brothers before $1.4 million deal becomes guaranteed

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Rex Brothers was released today by the Cubs, who signed the left-hander to a $1.42 million contract in December after acquiring him from the Rockies.

However, because the contract was an agreement to avoid arbitration it’s only partially guaranteed. By releasing Brothers now the Cubs owe him only 30 days of termination pay, which is around $300,000. In other words, they made the decision so early in spring training precisely because it saved them the most money in a situation unique to this specific type of contract.

Not so long ago Brothers looked like one of the best young relievers in the league, saving 19 games with  1.74 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 67 innings for the Rockies in 2013 as a 25-year-old. However, the former first-round draft pick struggled in 2014 and then spent most of last season in the minors before failing to impress the Cubs this spring.

At age 28 he should have plenty of interested suitors on a minor-league contract, but will have to get his career back on track before returning to the majors.

Mike Napoli tore his ACL

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Mike Napoli suffered a torn right ACL and meniscus while playing for Triple-A Columbus the other night. The injury will require season-ending surgery.

Given that Napoli will turn 37 this year, given that he will need 10-14 months of rehab and given that, as it was, he was unable to find a major league gig, it’s almost certain that this injury will end Napoli’s career.

Napoli was off to a 1-for-24 start at Columbus after signing a minor league contract with the Indians this spring. He hit .193/.285/.428 for the Rangers in 2017. If this is it for Napoli, he’ll end his career with a line of .246/.346/.475 with 267 homers and 744 driven in. He appeared in the World Series with the 2011 Rangers, the 2013 Red Sox and the 2016 Indians, winning a ring with Boston.