Author: Aaron Gleeman

mike moustakas getty

Royals, Mike Moustakas avoid arbitration with one-year deal


Third baseman Mike Moustakas has avoided arbitration with the Royals by signing a one-year, $2.64 million contract, reports Jon Heyman of

Moustakas requested $3.1 million and the Royals countered at $1.85 million.

He finished the season on a high note with some postseason heroics, but Moustaksas had a rough year overall by hitting just .212 with 15 homers and a .632 OPS in 140 games.

The former top prospect and No. 2 overall pick is a lifetime .236 hitter through age 25 and his 20-homer power is often canceled out by terrible plate discipline, leading to a measly .668 career OPS. Kansas City is sticking with him, but this could be a make-or-break year for Moustakas.

Rays sign Alexi Casilla

Alexi Casilla

Tampa Bay has added some infield depth by signing switch-hitter Alexi Casilla to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Early in his career Casilla showed some promise with the Twins, but he never developed enough offensively to be a quality regular and is more of a second baseman than a shortstop defensively.

He’s a 30-year-old career .247 hitter with a .633 OPS, but Casilla does bring plus speed and some defensive versatility to a possible bench role for the Rays.

Padres sign Wil Nieves

Wil Nieves

Journeyman catcher Wil Nieves has agreed to a minor-league deal with the Padres, according to Corey Brock of

Nieves spent last season backing up Carlos Ruiz with the Phillies, hitting .254 with one homer and a .614 OPS in 36 games. He has a .598 career OPS and has topped a .700 OPS just once, in 2012, so at age 37 expectations should be very modest.

He’ll compete with Tim Federowicz to back up Derek Norris in San Diego.

John Axford signs with the Rockies

John Axford

Veteran reliever John Axford has signed a minor-league deal with the Rockies, according to

Axford was tabbed as the Indians’ closer to begin last season, but quickly lost the job and eventually wound up with the Pirates. Overall he threw 55 innings with a 3.92 ERA and 63/36 K/BB ratio.

Axford still has the raw stuff to rack up strikeouts, but his control is very shaky and he has a tendency to give up too many homers. Coors Field may not be the best fit for him, but he should be decent enough setting up for closer LaTroy Hawkins.

Thomas Harding of says the deal will be worth $2.6 million plus incentives if Axford makes the Opening Day roster.