Bill Baer

HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 08:  Joe Thatcher #54 of the Houston Astros pitches in the seventh inning against the Cleveland Indians at Minute Maid Park on April 8, 2015 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

Joe Thatcher retires


Lefty reliever Joe Thatcher has retired after spending parts of nine seasons in the majors, Pedro Velazco of the Kokomo Tribune reports.

Thatcher, 35, pitched for the Padres, Diamondbacks, Angels, and Astros while also spending time in the Brewers’, Dodgers’, and Cubs’ minor league systems. He started his career in the independent league with the River City Rascals before the Brewers signed him in the summer of 2005.

Thatcher had a good sense of humor about his retirement, saying, “Yeah, I’m not Derek Jeter or Big Papi [David Ortiz] so there wasn’t a farewell tour or anything. I’ve decided to retire. It’s hard to say still and it hasn’t really sunk in yet that I’m a former big leaguer, but I’m happy with it, I’m comfortable with it.”

Report: Dexter Fowler seeking a four-year contract

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 01:  Dexter Fowler #24 of the Chicago Cubs looks on during the first inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Six of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 1, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Outfielder Dexter Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer to become a free agent ahead of Monday’s deadline. Bruce Levine of 670 The Score reports that Fowler is seeking a four-year contract.

Fowler, you may recall, had an interesting offseason ahead of the 2016 season. As he had draft pick compensation attached to him as a result of rejecting the Cubs’ qualifying offer, he didn’t sign until late February. It began with a three-year deal with the Orioles, but that fizzled out. Fowler then signed with the Cubs two days later on a one-year, $13 million contract.

It ended up working out well for both sides. Fowler helped the Cubs win the World Series for the first time in 108 years and he had a good enough season to raise his stock, finishing the regular season with a .276/.393/.447 triple-slash line, 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances. As a result, Fowler will likely secure a better multi-year deal than he might have if things panned out with the Orioles.

Michael Fulmer named 2016 American League Rookie of the Year

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 28: Michael Fulmer #32 of the Detroit Tigers pitches during the first inning of the game against the Cleveland Indians on September 28, 2016 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

The Baseball Writers Association of America announced on Monday that Tigers starter Michael Fulmer is the 2016 American League Rookie of the Year. He’s the first Tiger to win the award since Justin Verlander in 2006. He’s the first starting pitcher to win the award in the AL since Jeremy Hellickson in 2011 with the Rays.

Fulmer, 23, went 11-7 with a 3.06 ERA and a 132/42 K/BB ratio over 159 innings for the Tigers. He and Verlander anchored an otherwise uninspiring starting rotation.

Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez impressed in the final two months of the season, putting up a 1.032 OPS with 20 homers in 53 games. However, voters likely thought that Fulmer’s effort over a full season was more impressive than Sanchez’s over one-third of a season.

Fulmer was named first in 26 of 30 ballots with Sanchez taking the other four. Indians outfielder Tyler Naquin finished in third place followed by Astros reliever Chris Devenski, Mariners reliever Edwin Diaz, Rangers outfielder Nomar Mazara, and White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson.

Astros shortstop Carlos Correa won the AL ROY last year.