UPDATE: FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal has confirmed the full deal, which sends Corey Dickerson and prospect third baseman Kevin Padlo to Tampa Bay and Jake McGee and German Marquez back to Colorado.
6:10 p.m. ET: MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that the Rockies will also receive prospect right-hander German Marquez in the deal. Marquez, who turns 21 in February, posted a 3.56 ERA and 104/29 K/BB ratio over 139 innings (23 starts and three relief appearances) at High-A Charlotte last season. He’s not regarded as one of Tampa Bay’s top pitching prospects.
4:01 p.m. ET: Colorado has lessened its outfield logjam by trading Corey Dickerson to the Rays for reliever Jake McGee. Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that there are also undisclosed minor leaguers involved in the swap.
When the Rockies surprisingly signed free agent Gerardo Parra to a three-year, $26 million deal it seemed inevitable that at least one of Dickerson, Charlie Blackmon, or Carlos Gonzalez would be on the move. It ends up being Dickerson, who was limited to just 65 games last season with foot and rib injuries while hitting .304 with 10 homers and an .869 OPS.
At age 27 he’s still making the minimum salary and is under team control through 2019, although with a career OPS of 1.085 in Colorado compared to .695 on the road it’s unclear what type of hitter the Rays are actually getting. In his lone full, healthy season Dickerson hit .312 with 24 homers and a .931 OPS for the Rockies in 2014.
McGee has been one of the best left-handed relievers in baseball since debuting in 2010, logging a total of 260 innings with a 2.77 ERA and 319 strikeouts. However, he’s starting to get expensive via the arbitration process with a $4.8 million salary for 2016 and McGee will be a free agent after the 2017 season.
McGee is a fantastic, high-impact reliever, but it’s unclear why the rebuilding Rockies of all teams need an expensive 29-year-old reliever two seasons from free agency or why they signed the 29-year-old Parra to get that ball rolling.
Right-hander Ivan Nova and the Yankees have avoided arbitration with a one-year, $4.1 million contract.
Nova returned from Tommy John elbow surgery last season to post an ugly 5.07 ERA in 17 starts, but the Yankees are betting on the 29-year-old returning to the form that saw him throw 475 innings with a 4.00 ERA from 2011-2013.
Nova requested $4.6 million and the Yankees countered at $3.8 million, so they settled just slightly on the team-friendly side of the midpoint. He was paid $3.3 million in each of the past two seasons.
At the moment Nova appears to be sixth on the Yankees’ rotation depth chart, which means he could wind up in a bullpen role, but given the many question marks surrounding various starters odds are he’ll be asked to join the rotation at some point.
Mariners catcher Jesus Sucre suffered a broken fibula while playing in the Venezuelan winter league and the team announced today that he’s expected to miss six months following surgery.
Sucre played 57 games for the Mariners last season, but he struggled and Seattle added catchers Chris Iannetta and Steve Clevenger this offseason in addition to still having former top prospect Mike Zunino.
Once healthy Sucre figures to play at Triple-A.
Right-hander Doug Fister, one of the top two or three remaining free agent pitchers, has agreed to a one-year contract with the Astros. Chris Cotillo of SB Nation reports that the deal is worth $7 million, with incentives that could total another $5 million.
Fister struggled through an injury wrecked 2015 season with the Nationals and the drop in his velocity at age 31 is a potential red flag going forward, but he posted a 2.41 ERA for Washington in 2014 and had a combined 3.11 ERA in 751 innings from 2011-2014.
Houston already had a rotation of Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh, Mike Fiers, Lance McCullers, and Scott Feldman, so Fister’s arrival is an interesting one. It could lead to a potential trade or may simply suggest that the team is worried about Feldman’s status following late-season shoulder problems.
Free agent shortstop Ian Desmond remains unsigned, which in theory could open the door for the Nationals to re-sign him given that they’re the one team able to do so without forfeiting a draft pick. However, according to James Wagner of the Washington Post “that ship has sailed.”
Wagner reports that Desmond and the Nationals have had zero negotiations this offseason and in fact haven’t talked contract since he turned down a $90 million offer in the spring of 2014. He also turned down a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer two months ago.
Clearly the Nationals never intended to keep Desmond once that happened, which is why they traded for a long-term shortstop in Trea Turner and signed veteran middle infielders Daniel Murphy and Stephen Drew to go with in-house option Danny Espinosa. If anything the Nationals have too much middle infield depth.
And now Desmond, who’s coming off a career-worst season at age 30 and has seen his OPS decline every year since 2012, will be lucky to get even a fraction of what the Nationals offered him less than two years ago.