Author: Aaron Gleeman

Roberto Hernandez

Astros add rotation depth by signing Roberto Hernandez

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The pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona, veteran right-hander Roberto Hernandez, has agreed to a minor-league deal with the Astros that includes an invitation to spring training.

Last offseason, coming off a year in which he threw 151 innings with a 4.89 ERA, he signed a one-year, $4.5 million deal with the Phillies.

Hernandez threw 165 innings with a 4.10 ERA for the Phillies and (after being traded) the Dodgers, yet has to settle for a minor-league contract this time around.

He’s never again lived up to the promise he showed for the Indians in 2007, but Hernandez has generally been a solid fourth or fifth starter.

Giants, Casey McGehee avoid arbitration for $4.8 million

casey mcgehee marlins getty
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Third baseman Casey McGehee and the Giants have avoided arbitration with a one-year, $4.8 million deal.

Acquired from the Marlins to replace Pablo Sandoval at third base, McGehee hit .287 with four homers and a .712 OPS in 160 games last season. He was an All-Star game “Final Vote” candidate based on a high RBI total in the first half, but ended up with a measly .357 slugging percentage and led the league by hitting into 31 double plays.

McGehee is 32 years old and hasn’t cracked a .750 OPS in the majors since 2010. He asked for $5.4 million and the Giants countered at $4 million.

James Shields: “It came down to the Cubs and the Padres”

james shields getty
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James Shields is making the media rounds in San Diego after signing with the Padres and revealed during a radio interview that the Cubs finished runner-up in the bidding:

In all reality, it came down to the Cubs and the Padres–two great managers. I think I made the right decision here. I’m really happy about it. I’m really happy to be a Padre. …

When it came down to it, I had to think about my family, being close to home. And my No. 1 reason is winning. The teams I was looking at, I knew they were going to win and win now. That’s what I loved about San Diego and what ownership’s doing right now. They had that win-now mentality. They want not only to win now but win the next four, five years.

Previous reports had the Cubs offering Shields a three-year, $60 million contract. He ended up getting a four-year, $75 million deal from the Padres that also includes a fifth-year option for $16 million.

Shields lives in San Diego and the assumption all along is that he wanted to play somewhere on the West Coast, so if the Cubs and Padres were close in his mind despite the large gap in contract size that speaks to his desire to be reunited with Joe Maddon, his former manager with the Rays.

Phillies rejected Brewers’ offer of Jonathan Broxton for Jonathan Papelbon

Jonathan Papelbon AP
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Philadelphia and Milwaukee have apparently continued to talk about a Jonathan Papelbon trade recently, but Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com says the latest negotiations fell apart when the Brewers tried to send reliever Jonathan Broxton to the Phillies as a way to offset Papelbon’s bloated salary.

According to Rosenthal the Phillies were only willing to cover a large chunk of Papelbon’s contract if they received “a top prospect” in return, whereas the Brewers suggested including Broxton in the deal rather than a minor leaguer with upside.

Papelbon is owed $13 million this season with a $13 million vesting option for 2016. Broxton is owed $9 million this season with a $9 million option or $1 million buyout for 2016. It’s also worth noting that Broxton has been pretty good, throwing 59 innings with a 2.30 ERA and 49/19 K/BB ratio last season, and like Papelbon he has plenty of closing experience.

But apparently the Phillies decided downgrading from Papelbon to Broxton wasn’t worth saving a few million dollars and/or they’re still holding out some hope of cashing in Papelbon for a decent prospect at some point.

Francisco Rodriguez is holding out for a two-year contract

Francisco Rodriguez
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Francisco Rodriguez remaining unsigned late in an offseason is nothing new, but this time around the longtime closer is still on the market because he’s holding out for a two-year offer from someone.

That’s according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, who also says re-signing with the Brewers remains a possibility for Rodriguez after he spent parts of the past four seasons in Milwaukee.

Overall in various stints for the Brewers he logged 194 innings with a 3.11 ERA and 204 strikeouts, including 44 saves last season at age 32. Based on performance alone Rodriguez seemingly should have been able to snag a two-year deal, but his market has been less than the performance alone would have suggested for years now.