Author: Aaron Gleeman

Kyle Kendrick

Braves sign Kyle Kendrick

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Kyle Kendrick, who started on Opening Day for the Rockies last season and then went on to have a horrible year, has agreed to a minor-league deal with the Braves.

Kendrick served up a league-high 33 home runs in just 142 innings on the way to an ugly 6.32 ERA and has a lifetime 4.63 ERA in nine seasons as a big leaguer.

Of course, with the Braves in rebuilding mode his inability to prevent runs is secondary to his ability to soak up some innings. He’s started 25 or more games in five of the past six seasons and will compete for a rotation spot during spring training.

Dodgers sign Scott Kazmir to three-year, $48 million contract

Scott Kazmir
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It won’t satiate fans upset over failing to re-sign Zack Greinke and backing out of a deal with Hisashi Iwakuma, but the Dodgers have added Scott Kazmir to the rotation.

Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports that the left-hander has agreed to a three-year deal, which is the same length Iwakuma’s contract was slated to be before issues with his physical exam nixed the move. Iwakuma was set to make $45 million, while Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com says Kazmir’s pact is for $48 million and includes an opt-out after 2016.

Kazmir began last season with the A’s and ended it with the Astros, logging a total of 183 innings with a 3.10 ERA and 155/59 K/BB ratio. At age 32 he no longer has the same raw stuff or bat-missing ability he possessed as a young ace for the Rays, but Kazmir posted a 3.54 ERA with 481 strikeouts in 531 innings from 2013-2015 while calling the American League home.

Kazmir is a very capable of mid-rotation starter with some upside and it’s possible the Dodgers will open the season with an all-southpaw rotation of Kazmir along with Clayton Kershaw, Brett Anderson, Alex Wood, and Hyun-Jin Ryu.

Brewers sign Eric Young Jr.

Eric Young Jr.
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Journeyman infielder/outfielder Eric Young Jr. has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Brewers.

Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that the deal includes an invitation to spring training and would pay $1 million if Young cracks the Opening Day roster. Which is very possible given Milwaukee’s current rebuilding phase.

Young split last season between the majors and Triple-A for the Mets and Braves, hitting poorly at both levels. At age 31 he brings a ton of speed and defensive versatility to the table, but he’s not a plus defender at any key positions and has a lifetime .642 OPS.

Report: White Sox, Orioles “emerging as leaders” for Yoenis Cespedes

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Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reports that the White Sox and Orioles are “emerging as leaders” in the Yoenis Cespedes derby, with the Angels, Giants, and Rangers also involved.

According to Sanchez the market for Cespedes is “taking shape,” although it’s unclear if that means the free agent outfielder is expected to sign soon.

Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reported Monday that the White Sox were pursuing big name outfielders, mentioning Cespedes and Alex Gordon specifically, so clearly there’s so fire behind the smoke even though Chicago currently has a starting outfield of Adam Eaton, Melky Cabrera, and Avisail Garcia.

Cespedes seems likely to get offers exceeding $100 million and won’t require parting with a draft pick to sign.

John Jaso joins the Pirates on a two-year contract

Orioles Rays Spring Baseball
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Pittsburgh has found its left-handed-hitting replacement for Pedro Alvarez at first base, signing John Jaso to a two-year, $8 million contract.

Jaso, who began his career as a catcher and transitioned out from behind the plate following a concussion, figures to platoon at first base with the right-handed-hitting Michael Morse. He won’t come anywhere near the same power numbers as Alvarez, but Jaso has very strong on-base skills and almost can’t help but be an upgrade defensively.

Jaso hit .286 with five homers and an .839 OPS in 70 games for the Rays in 2015 and he’s a career .263 hitter with a .767 OPS through age 31. Those career marks include a .274 batting average and .797 OPS versus righties–compared to a .178 batting average and .542 OPS versus lefties–so it’s easy to see why the Pirates think he’s a good fit for a platoon role paired with Morse.