Author: Aaron Gleeman

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Nationals sign former Blue Jays closer Casey Janssen

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Looking for late-inning bullpen help after trading Tyler Clippard to the A’s, the Nationals have signed former Blue Jays closer Casey Janssen. Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com says it’s a one-year, $5 million deal and includes a mutual option for 2016.

Janssen saved 81 games from 2012-2014 and has posted a sub-4.00 ERA every year since 2010, logging a total of 286 innings with a 2.99 ERA and 261/66 K/BB ratio during that time.

His strikeout rate dipped to 5.5 per nine innings in 2014 after being 8.7 per nine innings from 2010-2013 and at age 33 he might be solidly into his decline phase, but for a $5 million investment Janssen seems like a worthwhile addition in a setup role.

Ichiro Suzuki’s deal with the Marlins is worth $2 million

New York Yankees' Suzuki runs and watches the ball after he hit a walk-off home run to beat the Texas Rangers in their MLB American League game in New York
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Making official what was reported last week, the Marlins signed Ichiro Suzuki to a one-year contract. According to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com the deal is worth “$2 million plus performance incentives.”

To announce the signing there will be a press conference in Japan attended by Suzuki and Marlins president David Samson, president of baseball operations Michael Hill, and general manager Dan Jennings.

At age 41 he’ll be joining the Marlins in a backup role, playing behind starting outfielders Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, and Christian Yelich.

Between the projected part-time work and Suzuki’s declining production–he hit just .275 during the past four seasons while never cracking a .700 OPS–it’ll be tough for the 10-time All-Star to collect the 156 hits needed to join the 3,000-hit club in MLB. Counting his time in Japan he has 4,122 total hits, which is 134 short of Pete Rose’s record.

It’ll be interesting to see if Suzuki’s style at the plate lends itself to being a productive pinch-hitter. Thanks to almost always being in the starting lineup throughout his career Suzuki’s pinch-hitting numbers are limited, but he’s batted .286 with zero extra-base hits and a .634 OPS in 46 total plate appearances off the bench.

Giants, Brandon Crawford avoid arbitration with one-year deal

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Shortstop Brandon Crawford and the Giants have agreed to a one-year, $3.175 million deal, avoiding arbitration.

Crawford requested $3.95 million and the Giants countered at $2.4 million, so they settle at the exact midpoint.

Arbitration eligible for the first time, the slick-fielding Crawford hit .246 with 10 homers and a .713 OPS in 153 games last season while setting career-bests in most offensive categories at age 27.

GM says Rockies are “highly, highly unlikely” to trade Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez

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No amount of denials can seem to halt the Troy Tulowitzki trade speculation, but perhaps this will slow things down a bit: General manager Jeff Bridich told Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com that the Rockies are “highly, highly unlikely” to trade Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez before Opening Day.

Tulowitzki is owed $114 million for the next six seasons and Gonzalez is owed $53 million for the next three seasons, and injuries have put both players’ market value in question.

In other words, even if the Rockies eventually want to part ways with Tulowitzki and/or Gonzalez–and that’s far from a certainty–they’d probably be smart to wait until they’re healthy again before really pushing for a deal.

Royals and Jarrod Dyson settle, avoid arbitration

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Jarrod Dyson has avoided arbitration with the Royals by agreeing to a one-year, $1.225 million deal.

Dyson requested $1.6 million and the Royals countered at $900,000 following a season in which he hit .269 with 36 steals and a .651 OPS in 120 games as a part-timer.

Dyson figures to fill the same type of role for Kansas City in 2015, with his speed and outfield defense making him valuable in the right spots and his lack of offense keeping him from taking hold of a full-time gig.