Author: Aaron Gleeman

Mark Trumbo, Orioles avoid arbitration for $9.15 million

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Baltimore knew Mark Trumbo would command a big salary when they acquired him from Seattle and now the Orioles have signed the first baseman/outfielder to a one-year, $9.15 million deal to avoid arbitration.

Trumbo didn’t cost much to acquire because he was a quasi-salary dump, as the Mariners didn’t feel like paying him $9 million for 2016. In their search for power the Orioles felt he was worth that salary following a season in which Trumbo hit .262 with 22 homers and a .759 OPS in 142 games.

Entering his final season prior to free agency, the 30-year-old Trumbo is penciled in at first base but could end up shifting elsewhere depending on whether the Orioles re-sign Chris Davis.

Dodgers will convert Jordan Schafer from outfielder to pitcher

Jordan Schafer
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Yesterday the Dodgers signed journeyman outfielder Jordan Schafer to a minor-league contract and now Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that they did so with plans to convert him to a pitcher.

Schafer was the Twins’ starting center fielder on Opening Day last year and has played parts of six seasons in the majors as a speedy outfielder, but he’s hit just .228 with a .615 OPS in 463 games.

He was considered a good pitching prospect coming out of a high school, so at age 29 he’ll take the mound again and see how it goes. He can always resume being a backup-caliber outfielder if things go poorly.

Tigers sign outfielder John Mayberry Jr.

John Mayberry Jr. Getty
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Journeyman outfielder John Mayberry Jr. has signed with the Tigers on a minor-league deal, according to Jason Beck of MLB.com. He’ll get an invitation to spring training.

Mayberry’s days of being a top prospect are long gone, but he’s generally been useful as a part-time corner outfielder capable of knocking around left-handed pitching.

Last season he wasn’t much good against anyone, batting .164 in 59 games for the Mets, but for his career Mayberry has hit .260 with an .833 OPS versus lefties.

Carlos Villanueva signs with the Padres

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Free agent right-hander Carlos Villanueva has agreed to a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Padres, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

Villanueva has bounced back and forth from the rotation to the bullpen throughout his 10-year career, but he was strictly a reliever for the Cardinals last season and thrived with a 2.95 ERA and 55/21 K/BB ratio in 61 innings.

As a fly-ball pitcher Petco Park is a particularly good fit for Villanueva, who has a 4.18 ERA in 925 total innings as a big leaguer for the Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs, and Blue Jays. He figures to begin the season in a middle or long relief role, but could get another chance to start if the Padres trade away anyone from the current rotation.

Tom Wilhelmsen avoids arbitration with Rangers

Tom Wilhelmsen
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Right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen, whom the Rangers acquired from the Mariners in November, has avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $3.1 million contract.

Wilhelmsen made $1.4 million last season while logging 62 innings with a 3.19 ERA and 60/29 K/BB ratio, saving 13 games. He spent the first five seasons of his career in Seattle, posting a combined 2.97 ERA in 312 innings while moving in and out of the closer role several times.

Wilhelmsen is under team control through 2017 and figures to fill a setup role for the Rangers.