Houston failed to land free agent relievers Andrew Miller or David Robertson, but the Astros have snagged their No. 3 bullpen target.
Bob Nightingale of USA Today reports that the Astros have signed right-hander Luke Gregerson to a three-year, $18.5 million deal.
Gregerson spent this past season with the A’s, throwing 72 innings with a 2.12 ERA and 59/15 K/BB ratio in a setup role. He has a lifetime 2.75 ERA in 435 appearances, with a sub-3.25 ERA in each of his six seasons as a big leaguer.
Calling pitcher-friendly Petco Park home for his first five seasons definitely helped Gregerson’s raw numbers, but it’s still impressive that he’s thrown the second-most innings of any reliever since 2009 (behind only Tyler Clippard) and ranks ninth in ERA during that time.
Even after signing Nelson Cruz for $57 million the Mariners are still looking for more right-handed power and Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that they’re “showing increased interest” in White Sox outfielder Dayan Viciedo.
Viciedo was first linked to the Mariners way back in March, but stayed in Chicago and ended up hitting just .231 with a .686 OPS in 145 games. He has plenty of power, smacking 21 homers this year and 20 homers per 150 games for his career, but Viciedo is a lifetime .254 hitter with a terrible 388/95 K/BB ratio and .298 on-base percentage. And at age 25 he’s also a really bad defensive outfielder.
Seattle may view Viciedo as a fallback option if they can’t sign free agent Melky Cabrera, but they’re very different players and Cabrera is superior offensively and defensively.
Minnesota never spends big on free agents or gives up draft picks to sign anyone, but LaVelle E. Neal of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the Twins are interested in free agent Ervin Santana.
Santana turned down a qualifying offer for the second straight offseason. Last year that led to him signing a one-year deal with the Braves, but this time around he’s apparently pretty confident about getting multi-year offers and in fact is said to be looking for a five-year deal.
Santana actually had a better year in 2013 for Kansas City, but was still solid for Atlanta with a 3.95 ERA and 179/63 K/BB ratio in 196 innings at age 31.
Right now the largest free agent contract in the history of the Minnesota Twins is four years and $49 million to Ricky Nolasco last offseason.
UPDATE: It’s a done deal. Arizona will receive minor leaguers Jefferson Mejia and Zack Godley, with Chicago taking on all of Montero’s contract.
Monday’s rumored trade is apparently close to a done deal, as Bob Nightingale of USA Today reports that the Cubs “are on the verge of acquiring” Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero.
Montero was an All-Star in 2011 and signed a five-year, $60 million contract extension in May of 2012, but he’s failed to crack a .700 OPS in each of the past two seasons and is now 31 years old. He’s owed $12 million in 2015, $14 million in 2016, and $14 million in 2017.
Chicago was looking to upgrade at catcher following a poor year from Welington Castillo. Arizona is expected to receive a pair of minor leaguers and it’s unclear if any money will be changing hands to cover Montero’s salaries.
After designating Drew Butera for assignment the Dodgers have traded the veteran catcher to the Angels for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
Butera is a good catch-and-throw guy with a nice reputation in the clubhouse, but he’s one of the worst hitters in modern baseball history. For his career he’s hit .183 in 251 games, posting a .508 OPS that ranks as the lowest of anyone in the past 30 years:
.508 - Drew Butera
.513 - Brandon Wood
.526 - Kevin Cash
.530 - Rafael Belliard
Earlier this offseason the Angels traded backup catcher Hank Conger to the Astros, so Butera will presumably take over for him as starter Chris Iannetta’s caddy.