Per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle, the Astros avoided arbitration with right-handed reliever Will Harris on a two-year, $5 million deal. The contract figure breaks down to a $2.2 million salary for the 2017 season and $2.8 million in 2018. It also includes a club option for 2019, though Kaplan points out that Harris was already under club control through 2019 and will be eligible for a final round of arbitration if the Astros decline his option.
Prior to settling, the two sides were $350,000 apart in arbitration figures. Harris filed at $2.3 million, which was met with $1.95 million from the Astros. The multi-year deal spares both sides an arbitration hearing later this month.
Harris, 32, rounded out his second year with Houston in 2016. He earned his first career All-Star nomination and pitched through 64 innings with a 2.25 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 9.7 SO/9, putting up a total 1.8 fWAR for the club.
Royals outfielder Jorge Soler has been diagnosed with a strained oblique, making it likely that he begins the regular season on the disabled list, Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star reports.
The Royals acquired Soler from the Cubs in December in exchange for reliever Wade Davis. Over parts of three seasons with the Cubs, Soler hit .258/.328/.434 with 27 home runs and 98 RBI in 765 plate appearances.
When he’s healthy, Soler is expected to find himself in the Royals’ lineup as a right fielder and occasionally as a designated hitter.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Cardinals and catcher Yadier Molina are making “major progress” on a contract extension. Molina told the team he won’t discuss an extension during the season, hence the rapid progress.
Molina is entering the last guaranteed year of a five-year, $75 million contract signed in March 2012. He and the Cardinals hold a mutual option worth $15 million with a $2 million buyout for the 2018 season. The new extension would presumably cover at least the 2018-19 seasons and likely ’20 as well.
Molina is 34 years old but is still among the most productive catchers in baseball. Last season, he hit .307/.360/.427 with 38 doubles, 58 RBI, and 56 runs scored in 581 plate appearances. Though he has lost a step or two with age, Molina is still well-regarded for his defense. The Cardinals also value his ability to handle the pitching staff.