In terms of headline-grabbing it’s a step down for the Mets after bringing in Michael Cuddyer yesterday, but they’ve signed infielder/outfielder Alex Castellanos to a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training
Castellanos played briefly in the majors for the Dodgers in 2012 and 2013 after being acquired from the Cardinals for Rafael Furcal in 2011, but spent last season at Triple-A for the Padres.
He’s hit .286 with 44 homers, 43 steals, and an .869 OPS in 312 total games at Triple-A, which along with the ability to play second base, third base, and the outfield corners could make him a decent bench option at age 28.
San Diego declined a $4 million option on Josh Johnson after he missed the entire season following Tommy John elbow surgery, but Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Padres are now “working” to re-sign him.
When healthy Johnson has a long history of being an elite starter–he led the league in ERA in 2010 and from 2008-2012 he threw 732 innings with a 3.06 ERA–but unfortunately his injury history is even longer.
After an injury wrecked 2013 season with the Blue Jays he signed a one-year, $8 million deal with the Padres, but then got hurt in spring training and went under the knife.
Detroit has hired David Newhan as its assistant hitting coach, replacing Darnell Coles who left the job last month.
Newhan was a Single-A manager in the A’s farm system and previously coached in the Padres organization, where he worked with current Tigers manager Brad Ausmus.
As a player Newhan spent parts of eight seasons in the majors for five different teams and also spent 14 seasons in the minors. Oh, and his dad, Ross Newhan, is a legendary sportswriter.
Following reports of the Rays shopping right-hander Jeremy Hellickson, now Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic writes that the Diamondbacks are interested in the former Rookie of the Year winner.
According to Piecoro, general manager Dave Stewart “acknowledged he has had discussions with the Rays about Hellickson” but “didn’t consider the talks to have been especially substantive.”
Joel Sherman of the New York Post wrote previously that the Rays were close to dealing Hellickson to a National League team, which is why the Diamondbacks’ admitted interest is especially noteworthy.
Hellickson has two more seasons under team control, but he’s about to get fairly expensive via the arbitration process and has struggled since 2013 with poor performances and injuries.
Three straight offseasons filled with speculation about various free agents who received qualifying offers accepting the one-year deals and three straight offseasons in which no one accepted them.
In all 34 players have turned down qualifying offers since the system was put in place and zero have accepted, including borderline cases like Michael Cuddyer, Ervin Santana, and Francisco Liriano declining their teams’ offers today.
Here’s a list of all the free agents to turn down the $15.3 million qualifying offer this time around:
Melky Cabrera, Blue Jays
Nelson Cruz, Orioles
Michael Cuddyer, Rockies
Francisco Liriano, Pirates
Russell Martin, Pirates
Victor Martinez, Tigers
Hanley Ramirez, Dodgers
David Robertson, Yankees
Pablo Sandoval, Giants
Ervin Santana, Braves
Max Scherzer, Tigers
James Shields, Royals
Last year Kendrys Morales and Stephen Drew clearly should have accepted what was then a $14.1 million qualifying offer, so we’ll see if any of this year’s offer-declining free agents regret their decisions in a few months.