Right-hander Jordan Walden, who was acquired from the Braves in the Jason Heyward swap, has avoided arbitration with the Cardinals by agreeing to a two-year, $6.6 million contract.
Walden’s deal also includes a team option for 2017, which would cover his first year of free agency.
Walden has somewhat quietly been a top-notch setup man for most of his five-year career, throwing 212 innings with a 3.10 ERA and 10.8 strikeouts per nine frames. That includes a 2.88 ERA and 62/27 K/BB ratio in 50 innings for the Braves this past season, so expect Walden to be a big part of the Cardinals’ bullpen.
Washington has signed third baseman Ian Stewart to a minor-league contract.
Stewart posted some solid, Coors Field-inflated numbers with the Rockies early in his career, but he’s had trouble staying healthy and producing in recent years.
He spent most of this past season at Triple-A and also got into 24 games for the Angels, hitting just .176. Despite seemingly being around forever Stewart is still just 30 years old, but he’s even struggled at Triple-A recently and seems like a long shot to win a bench job with the Nationals.
Rather than take a minor-league deal from an MLB team veteran infielder Jack Hannahan has signed a one-year, $1 million contract with a team in South Korea, according to Darren Wolfson of KSTP-TV in Minnesota.
Hannahan is coming off a two-year, $4 million deal with the Reds, who declined his $4 million option for 2015 following back-to-back injury wrecked seasons.
Several teams, including his hometown Twins, expressed interest in Hannahan for a potential bench role, but that likely would have been for about half the money the 35-year-old is getting in South Korea and wouldn’t have been guaranteed.
Marco Scutaro missed all but 13 games this year due to back problems and now the Giants infielder has undergone surgery to fuse vertebrae in his lower back.
General manager Brian Sabean indicated that Scutaro’s recovery timetable is 4-6 months and Alex Pavlovic of the San Jose Mercury News writes that “it’s too soon to know if Scutaro will ever take the field again.”
Scutaro has had a helluva career considering he didn’t even debut in the majors until age 26 and didn’t become a regular until age 28. One of the best contact hitters around, he’s got a career .277 batting average with a .729 OPS in 1,391 games.
He’s under contract for $6 million in 2015 as part of a three-year, $20 million deal signed after winning NLCS MVP honors for the Giants in 2012.
Last offseason the Padres signed Josh Johnson to a one-year deal hoping the once-dominant right-hander would get healthy and bounce back, but instead he missed the entire season.
San Diego declined its $4 million option on Johnson, making him a free agent, but now Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that the Padres have re-signed him to a one-year deal worth $1 million in guaranteed money and $8.25 million in incentives.
Johnson has a 3.40 ERA with 915 strikeouts in 998 career innings and is still just 30 years old, so for a minimal commitment he definitely makes sense for the Padres. If they can get one healthy season combined between Johnson and Brandon Morrow they should be pretty happy.