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.
Max Scherzer turned down a $144 million extension offer from Detroit during spring training and when the Tigers acquired David Price at midseason many people assumed they did so in part to balance out not being able to re-sign Scherzer as a free agent, but … well, not so fast.
According to Buster Olney of ESPN.com the Tigers “are prepared to spend big, big dollars” to re-sign Scherzer and they also want to keep Price around for the final year of his contract in 2015.
Even without re-signing Scherzer the Tigers’ rotation is currently costing them nearly $80 million, so they’d likely be going over the $100 million mark for the starting five alone (and/or perhaps trading someone like Rick Porcello).
It’s unclear if any teams will be able to talk the Royals into breaking up their great bullpen, but Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that Kansas City is shopping second baseman Omar Infante.
Infante signed a four-year, $30.25 million contract with the Royals almost exactly one year ago. It was criticized a lot at the time and he went on to hit just .252 with six homers and a .632 OPS in 135 games this year.
Infante is 33 years old and is owed $7.5 million in 2015, $7.75 million in 2016, $8 million in 2017, and $10 million or a $2 million buyout in 2018. It’s hard to imagine the Royals getting much for him and presumably they’d have to eat a bunch of salary.