Aaron Gleeman

Philadelphia Phillies v Washington Nationals

Stephen Strasburg avoids arbitration with the Nationals for $7.4 million

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Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year contract worth $7.4 million.

Strasburg was arbitration eligible for the second time after being paid $3.975 million in 2014. He’ll be due for a huge payday via arbitration in 2016 and then can hit the open market as a free agent.

His win-loss records haven’t been gaudy, but Strasburg has a 3.02 ERA in 109 career starts through age 25 and had his best season in 2014, throwing 215 innings with a league-leading 242 strikeouts and a 3.14 ERA.

Alexi Amarista signs two-year contract with Padres

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Utility man Alexi Amarista, who was arbitration eligible for the first time, has agreed to a two-year, $2.5 million contract with the Padres according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.

MLB Trade Rumors had Amarista projected to make $1.5 million via arbitration for 2015, so the Padres are getting a relative bargain in the two-year deal.

Of course, given how much Amarista has struggled offensively–he’s a career .234 hitter with a .615 OPS–there’s no guarantee he’d avoid being non-tendered in 2016 and so in the meantime the 26-year-old locks himself into a little more guaranteed money.

John Hart on the Braves: “We may not be the prettiest girl at the dance, but we’re going to be a lot of fun to dance with”

John Hart
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At this point it’s obvious to everyone that the Braves are rebuilding and not planning to contend in 2015, but new president of baseball operations John Hart is still putting up a positive front after blowing up the roster by trading away Jason Heyward, Justin Upton, Evan Gattis, and others.

“We may not be the prettiest girl at the dance, but we’re going to be a lot of fun to dance with,” Hart told the Associated Press, clearly not consulting with HBT’s resident Braves fan and notorious non-dancer Craig Calcaterra.

FanGraphs currently projects the Braves to have MLB’s second-worst record in 2015, ahead of only the Phillies. And no one wants to dance with either of those teams.

Jonathan Lucroy to attend President Obama’s “State of the Union” address

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Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy is headed to Washington, D.C. to attend President Barack Obama’s annual “State of the Union” address to Congress on January 20 as the guest of Wisconsin senator Ron Johnson.

Johnson invited Lucroy in recognition of the catcher’s charity work and Lucroy told the Associated Press:

Huge honor. I’m going to do something not a lot of people get to do. I’m going to do something or see something that a lot of people won’t be able to watch or see.

In addition to serving as the spokesperson for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and Brewers Community Foundation charities, Lucroy is involved in the Honor Flight Network that brings World War II veterans to Washington. He met Johnson via that work last year.

Rangers talking to Astros about catcher Carlos Corporan

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After trading for Hank Conger (and Evan Gattis) the Astros have too many catchers, so Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports that they’ve “discussed a trade” for Carlos Corporan with the Rangers.

Corporan seems unlikely to fetch much in return. Set to make $975,000 this season via arbitration, he’s a 31-year-old career .226 hitter with a .637 OPS in 659 plate appearances as a journeyman big leaguer.

In other words, he’s a backup. And those guys tend to be traded for players to be named later or cash considerations.