Author: Bill Baer

Yoenis Cespedes
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Mets sign Yoenis Cespedes to a three-year, $75 million deal

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The Mets got their guy. The club has signed free agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to a three-year deal, Jon Heyman reports. It’s for $75 million in total with an opt-out after the first year and a no-trade clause, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Heyman notes that if Cespedes opts out after the first year, he’ll earn $27.5 million for the 2016 season.

The Nationals were also reportedly interested in Cespedes along with the Padres, Orioles, and White Sox, each of which could have been one of the “mystery” teams as Jon Heyman put it earlier.

Having Cespedes back in the fold greatly helps the Mets as he is a significant offensive upgrade over Juan Lagares in center field. During the 2015 regular season, Cespedes hit a combined .291/.328/.542 with 35 home runs and 105 RBI between the Tigers and Mets. That included 17 home runs and 44 RBI with the Mets specifically, with all 17 home runs occurring in 31 games between August 12 and September 14.

Earlier this offseason, the Mets acquired second baseman Neil Walker from the Pirates to replace Daniel Murphy, and signed Asdrubal Cabrera to handle shortstop. The defending National League champions have addressed nearly all of their areas of need.

Royals sign Peter Moylan to a minor league deal

Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Peter Moylan throws during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park, Sunday, Sept. 6, 2015, in Washington. The Nationals won 8-4. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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ESPN’s Jim Bowden reports that the Royals have signed reliever Peter Moylan to a minor league deal.

Moylan, 37, pitched 10 1/3 innings for the Braves last season after recovering from his second Tommy John surgery. He yielded four earned runs on 12 hits and no walks while striking out eight. The right-hander also spent some time with Triple-A Gwinnett.

Moylan will have to prove his durability and skill during spring training with the Royals. If he is able to pass muster, the veteran could serve as bullpen depth during the season.

Bowden notes that the Marlins signed lefty pitcher Jo-Jo Reyes to a minor league deal as well.

Mets avoid arbitration with Lucas Duda, Jenrry Mejia

KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 28:  Lucas Duda #21 of the New York Mets makes an error on a ball hit by Ben Zobrist #18 of the Kansas City Royals (not pictured) in the fourth inning in Game Two of the 2015 World Series between the Kansas City Royals and the New York Mets at Kauffman Stadium on October 28, 2015 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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The Mets and first baseman Lucas Duda have avoided an arbitration hearing, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $6.725 million, Jon Heyman reports. The two sides weren’t able to come to an agreement before last Friday’s arbitration submission deadline. Duda had filed for $7.4 million and the Mets countered at $5.9 million, so their new deal comes in just ahead of the midpoint between the two submitted figures.

Duda, 30 in February, hit .244/.352/.486 with 27 home runs and 73 RBI in 554 plate appearances during the regular season for the Mets. Opposing pitching held him to just three extra-base hits in 54 playoff plate appearances. Duda will be eligible for arbitration for a fourth and final year next offseason.

The Mets also avoided arbitration with reliever Jenrry Mejia, per Heyman. The right-hander will earn $2.47 million in 2016. Mejia filed for $2.595 million and the Mets countered at $2.345 million, so they met exactly in the middle. However, Mejia earned $2.595 million last year, making him a rare case of a player taking a pay cut advancing through arbitration eligibility.

Mejia, 26, made only seven appearances last season as he was suspended twice for positive drug tests and dealt with an early season elbow injury. The second positive test resulted in a 162-game suspension. As ESPN’s Adam Rubin notes, Mejia’s salary will be prorated, so he’ll be paid only for the 63 games for which he is active.

Report: Tigers, J.D. Martinez discussing a long-term contract extension

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The Tigers and outfielder J.D. Martinez have discussed a long-term contract extension, MLive.com’s Chris Iott reports. “I love this team. I want to be part of this team. I would love to be a Tiger for life,” Martinez said before the team’s annual caravan in Michigan.

Martinez, 28, was released by the Astros in March 2014 and the Tigers happily snapped him up two days later. Over the last two seasons, Martinez has hit 63 doubles, 61 home runs, driven in 178 RBI, and posted an .893 OPS while playing decent defense in the outfield.

Martinez and the Tigers didn’t settle ahead of last Friday’s arbitration submission deadline. The slugger filed for $8 million and the team countered at $6 million in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. An extension would help the two sides avoid a hearing in February.

Padres designate Rymer Liriano for assignment

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 16:  Rymer Liriano #7 of the San Diego Padres plays during a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Petco Park September 16, 2014 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
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The Padres made the Alexei Ramirez signing official on Friday. To make room for him on the 40-man roster, the club designated outfielder Rymer Liriano for assignment. Liriano was considered one of baseball’s 100-best prospects heading into the 2012 and ’13 seasons. As Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune notes, Liriano is out of minor league options.

Liriano, 24, spent the entire 2015 season with Triple-A El Paso, where he hit .292/.383/.460 with 14 home runs, 64 RBI, and 18 stolen bases in 549 plate appearances. The numbers are flashy, but the Pacific Coast League is hitter-friendly, which helped Liriano’s numbers a bit.

Liriano made his major league debut in 2014 with the Padres. He put up a .555 OPS in 121 trips to the plate.