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.
Francisco Liriano turned his career around in Pittsburgh and now he’s staying with the Pirates, as Robert Murray of MLB Daily Rumors reports that the free agent left-hander has agreed to a three-year, $39 million deal.
Liriano was a buy-low pickup for the Pirates two offseasons ago and provided a huge return on a minimal investment, starting 55 games with a 3.20 ERA and 338 strikeouts in 323 innings to re-emerge as one of the most dominant lefties around.
Liriano rejected the Pirates’ one-year, $15.1 million qualifying offer last month, so any other team signing him would have had to give up a draft pick to do so. Pittsburgh doesn’t have to give up anything and now has Liriano signed for similar annual money and a shorter deal than guys like Matt Garza, Ricky Nolasco, and Ubaldo Jimenez received last winter.
Now that Chicago’s deal to acquire Jeff Samardzija (and Michael Ynoa) from Oakland is complete, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn told reporters that he wants to sign Samardzija to a long-term contract extension.
Samardzija has one season remaining until free agency, which is why the A’s traded him, but Hahn says the White Sox “are going to make every effort in the coming weeks and months to try to make this a long-term relationship.”
Samardzija played for the Cubs previously and indicated that he liked Chicago, so presumably he’d want to stick around, but he’s also 30 years old and potentially in line for a $100 million-plus contract this time next offseason.
Veteran reliever John Axford has drawn interest from the Reds, according to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com.
Axford hasn’t been the same since saving a league-leading 46 games for the Brewers in 2011, but he still throws hard and still misses plenty of bats.
This year, split between the Indians and Pirates, he posted a 3.95 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 55 innings, but also walked 36 batters.
Aroldis Chapman is entrenched as the Reds’ closer, so bringing in Axford for a setup role at age 32 could make some sense.
Last week reports had the Mets active looking to deal Bartolo Colon, Dillon Gee, and/or Jon Niese, but now Adam Rubin of ESPN New York says they’re “aggressively shopping” Gee and are looking to deal him “more than the other starters.”
Which makes some sense, because Colon likely won’t bring back much in return and may require the Mets eating some salary, and Niese is under team control through 2018.
Gee, meanwhile, is under team control for two more seasons and projected to earn around $5 million for 2015 via arbitration. They may be able to actually get something decent in return for him and save some money to spend elsewhere.