Author: Aaron Gleeman

ervin santana getty

Twins sign Ervin Santana for $54 million


Last offseason Ervin Santana had so much trouble securing a multi-year contract after turning down a qualifying offer that he settled for a one-year, $14.1 million deal with the Braves.

This time around it’s a much different story, as Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Santana has agreed to a four-year deal with the Twins worth around $54 million. That would be the largest free agent contract in Twins history, narrowly topping last year’s four-year, $49 million deal with Ricky Nolasco.

Santana actually had a better 2013 than 2014, but he still pitched well for Atlanta with a 3.95 ERA and 179/63 K/BB ratio at age 31. He had a 3.24 ERA for Kansas City in 2013 and prior to that Santana posted a 4.33 ERA in eight seasons with the Angels.

Mark Reynolds signs with the Cardinals

Minnesota Twins v Cleveland Indians

St. Louis has been linked to various right-handed bats all offseason and now they’ve found their man, with Jon Heyman of reporting the Cardinals agreed to terms with Mark Reynolds.

Reynolds hit just .196 in 130 games for the Brewers this year and hasn’t posted a batting average above .225 since 2009, but he did smack 22 homers and has averaged 30 homers per 150 games for his career.

He can play third base, first base, and the outfield corners and will probably be used in a platoon role versus left-handed pitching, perhaps subbing for first baseman Matt Adams.

Royals find Billy Butler replacement, sign Kendrys Morales

kendrys morales getty

Billy Butler left the Royals to sign a three-year, $30 million deal with the A’s and now Kansas City has filled the designated hitter spot with Kendrys Morales.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Morales gets a two-year deal worth $17 million, plus incentives. So the Royals save money compared to Butler, but Morales is a huge question mark following a season in which he turned down the qualifying offer, waited until late July to sign, and hit .218 with a .612 OPS in 98 games.

However, in 2012 and 2013 he hit a combined .275 with 45 homers and a .786 OPS in 290 games. By comparison, during that same time Butler hit .301 with 44 homers and an .836 OPS before seeing his production drop significantly (although not as much as Morales’ did) in 2014.

Tigers acquire Alfredo Simon from Reds

Alfredo SImon AP

Another Reds starter on the move, as Cincinnati has traded right-hander Alfredo Simon to Detroit for Eugenio Suarez and Jonathon Crawford.

Simon got his first full-time crack at a rotation spot this past season at age 32 and threw 196 innings with a 3.44 ERA while making his first All-Star team. However, his secondary numbers–including a 127/56 K/BB ratio–were nowhere near as impressive and he’ll be a free agent next offseason.

Simon replaces Rick Porcello in the Tigers’ rotation after they sent him to the Red Sox in exchange for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes this morning.

Suarez made his MLB debut at age 22, struggling in 85 games for the Tigers, but he’s shown some offensive potential in the minors for a young shortstop. Crawford is considered a good but not great pitching prospect who spent this year at low Single-A.

Mets sign John Mayberry Jr.

Washington Nationals v Philadelphia Phillies

John Mayberry Jr. has agreed to a one-year, $1.45 million contract with the Mets, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

Mayberry was traded from the Phillies to the Blue Jays in September and then non-tendered by Toronto last week.

Mayberry is a 31-year-old career .241 hitter with a .734 OPS, but if used mostly against left-handed pitching he’d have value in a part-time outfield role. He’s hit .269 with an .857 OPS off lefties, compared to .224 with a .658 OPS off righties.