Author: Craig Calcaterra

jon lester a's getty

The Giants and Jon Lester are meeting today


“Hi, we’re the Giants.”

“Hi, I’m Jon Lester.”

“So what do you do, Jon?”

The Red Sox, Cubs, Braves and Cardinals all have interest in Lester as well. The Giants have a lot of dough to spend given the loss of Pablo Sandoval and could now turn to the “screw it, let’s just not let the other team score runs” approach instead of trying to replace Sandoval’s offense.

One presumes that, once Lester finally settles someplace, the rest of the free agent pitching market will shake out.

Bryce Harper and the Nats may have a grievance hearing this month

Bryce Harper

We first heard about this over a year ago, but Ken Rosenthal reminds us today that the Nationals and Bryce Harper s are heading toward a grievance hearing this month.

The deal: Harper and the Nationals reached an oral agreement on his current deal less than a minute before the Aug. 16, 2010 midnight deadline to sign draft picks. In the final minutes — when not everything was in writing — the Nationals believed that Harper and his agent, Scott Boras, agreed that the contract would not contain a clause that would allow Harper to opt out of the deal and opt-in to the salary arbitration system once he was eligible. Boras, on the other hand, believes the opt-out clause was included.

When the final written contract came from the Nats, it didn’t have the provision and Harper refused to sign it.  Major League Baseball and the Players Association proposed a compromise: a provision stating that if Harper qualified for salary arbitration before he reached the end of the contract, a grievance hearing would determine whether he could opt of his contract.  The hope being, I presume, that the issue would be moot and the contract would end before Harper was arbitration eligible (like, say, if he spent more time in the minors than ended up spending). But that didn’t happen and Harper now stands to be arbitration eligible if he could opt-out.

A hearing this month, Rosenthal notes, would be penny wise and pound foolish for the Nationals. Yes, if they won they’d have to only pay him $1 million or so under his deal and if they lose he could get $3-4 million in arbitration, perhaps. But it would also tick off Harper a bit, one assumes, and that’s no way to treat the guy you consider to be the future of the franchise.

Or, maybe, the Nats think that Harper is going to head out the door via free agency in four years anyway, and that no amount of kind treatment would change that.

Nelson Cruz has agreed to a deal with the Mariners: four years, $57 million

Nelson Cruz Getty

UPDATE: The deal is confirmed: four-years, $57 million for Cruz.

10:33 AM: Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes passes this along:

Rojas has passed this thing along from El Caribe in the past and, while it’s not his report, Rojas is pretty reliable when it comes to this stuff. Guess we’ll see shortly.

If it is accurate, though: the annual money is not terrible — it’s less than $15 million per, which is lower than a qualifying offer — but I still maintain that four years to Cruz is gonna look bad by the time it is all said and done.

That said: the M’s are in win-now mode, as they should be. If they get two good years from him they probably won’t care. Nor should they.

The Yankees are in “serious pursuit” of Andrew Miller

andrew miller getty

Not to be confused with “hot pursuit,” which is a totally different thing. This is serious pursuit:

Miller, it has been reported, has already fielded “multiple three-year offers,” so the Yankees’ “seriousness” may be about them going four. And, as Olney notes in subsequent tweets, if they did that, they could easily give up any pretense of bringing back Phil Hughes, collect his compensation draft pick and still have a lights-out bullpen with Miller and Dellin Betances.

Miller, 29, had a 2.02 ERA with a 103/17 K/BB ratio over 62 1/3 innings this past season between the Red Sox and Orioles.