Author: Aaron Gleeman

Devin Mesoraco

Reds sign four-year contract extension with Devin Mesoraco

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UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com says it’s a four-year, $28 million deal, so the Reds pre-pay for all three arbitration seasons and buy out his first year of free agency.

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Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors reports that the Reds and catcher Devin Mesoraco are “nearing a multi-year extension.”

Mesoraco is arbitration eligible for the first time at age 26 and filed for $3.6 million, while the Reds countered at $2.45 million.

After struggling early in his career Mesoraco had a breakout 2014 season, hitting .273 with 25 homers and an .893 OPS in 114 games while making his first All-Star game. He led all MLB catchers in homers, slugging percentage, and OPS.

He’s under team control through 2017, so to buy out any of his free agent seasons the Reds would have to sign Mesoraco for at least four years.

Jered Weaver packed on 25 pounds during the offseason

Jered Weaver AP
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Jered Weaver dropped below 200 pounds last season, which is crazy for someone 6-foot-7, so the Angels right-hander committed himself to putting on weight this offseason and now weighs 224 pounds.

Weaver told Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com that this is the first time in his life he’s ever weighed more than 218 pounds, saying: “I don’t know if my metabolism is slowing down from getting older or what, but I feel good.”

For most people weighing the most they’ve ever weighed at age 32 is not a positive thing, so I’m hesitant to throw this one into the Best Shape Of His Life pile just yet, but in Weaver’s case he added the weight in an effort to get stronger and “get deeper in games.”

He logged 214 innings in 34 starts last season, which is a fairly standard per-start rate for a good pitcher and right in line with Weaver’s career norms. He also posted a 3.59 ERA, which was his worst since 2009 and, when adjusted for the lower levels of offense across MLB, rates as the worst mark of his career.

A’s, Eric Sogard avoid arbitration with one-year deal

Sogard_Eric
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Utility infielder Eric Sogard and the A’s have avoided arbitration with a one-year, $1.075 million contract.

Sogard requested $1.425 million and the A’s countered at $900,000, so the two sides settled slightly below the midpoint.

Sogard has topped 300 plate appearances for the A’s in each of the past two seasons, but hit just .247 with three homers and a .633 OPS in 247 total games while playing mostly second base during that time. He’s pegged for a smaller role this year.

Twins avoid arbitration with Jordan Schafer

Jordan Schafer
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Jordan Schafer and the Twins have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year, $1.55 million deal.

Minnesota claimed Schafer off waivers in early August to take the place of Sam Fuld as their primary backup outfielder and he played his way into regular starts by hitting .285 with 15 steals and a .707 OPS in 41 games.

Schafer is 28 years old and there’s very little evidence of him being able to maintain that sort of production offensively, but he’s very fast and can play all three outfield spots defensively.

Cubs, Dexter Fowler avoid arbitration for $9.5 million

Dexter Fowler
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When the Cubs acquired Dexter Fowler from the Astros they knew his 2015 salary would be a big one and sure enough the two sides have now avoided arbitration for $9.5 million.

Fowler requested $10.8 million and the Cubs countered at $8.5 million, so they’re settling slightly below the midpoint after giving up Dan Straily and Luis Valbuena for the 30-year-old switch-hitter.

Fowler spent one season in Houston, hitting .276 with eight homers and a .774 OPS in 116 games, and will take over as Chicago’s everyday center fielder with free agency looming next offseason.