Doug Fister is an interesting free agent case coming off a down year and ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that the veteran right-hander has received both one-year and two-year offers from multiple teams. No word on who made the offers, but he’s reportedly been linked to teams like the Marlins, Phillies, and Tigers this winter.
After finishing fourth in the NL with a 2.41 ERA during his first season with the Nationals in 2014, Fister had a 4.19 ERA in 15 starts and 10 relief appearances last season. Along with showing diminished velocity, he missed some time with a forearm issue and was eventually demoted to the bullpen in August.
With a weak class of free agent starters next winter, there could be incentive for Fister to take a one-year deal with the aim of reestablishing his value on the open market.
Omar Infante was the worst hitter in baseball last season while dealing with arm problems and FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi reports that the veteran infielder underwent surgery in November to remove a bone spur from his elbow.
News of the surgery was previously unreported, but Infante has had lingering arm problems during his two seasons with the Royals. It’s believed that he changed his throwing motion to compensate for the elbow, which caused a shoulder issue. The expectation is that he’ll be good to go for the start of spring training.
Among players with at least 450 plate appearances, Infante’s .552 OPS was the lowest in the majors last season. He took on a diminished role after the Ben Zobrist trade and was left off the playoff roster after suffering an oblique injury in September. However, with Zobrist now in Chicago, Infante is expected to serve as the starting second baseman again in 2016. The 34-year-old is guaranteed $17.75 million over the next two seasons.
As reported by both Thomas Harding of MLB.com and Jon Heyman, the Rockies are pursuing free agent outfielder Gerardo Parra.
The Rockies are already set in their outfield with the trio of Carlos Gonzalez, Charlie Blackmon, and Corey Dickerson, so their pursuit sets the stage for a trade. Gonzalez is owed $37 million over the next two seasons while Blackmon and Dickerson are under team control through 2018 and 2019, respectively. Harding writes that “logical speculation” surrounds Gonzalez. It makes sense, as his contract could make him an appealing alternative to teams pursuing high-profile free agents like Chris Davis, Alex Gordon, Justin Upton, and Yoenis Cespedes.
Parra turns 29 in May and batted .291/.328/.452 with 14 home runs, 51 RBI, and 14 stolen bases over 155 games last season between the Brewers and Orioles. His production took a huge dip after being traded to Baltimore, but his 110 OPS+ was still his best since 2011. He’s said to be looking for a multi-year deal while Heyman hears that “seven or eight teams” are in the mix.
UPDATE: Joel Sherman of the New York Post hears that Maeda’s deal with the Dodgers is for at least five years, but it’s “complicated” and includes a bunch of incentives.
6:24 p.m. ET: Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports that while the two sides have an agreement, details are still being worked out and the deal won’t be official for a few days.
5:41 p.m. ET: One day after adding left-hander Scott Kazmir to their rotation on a three-year contract, the Dodgers have signed Japanese right-hander Kenta Meada, according to Christopher Meola on Twitter. CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman has confirmed the report.
No word on the terms involved in the deal. In addition to a contract, the Dodgers will presumably pay the maximum $20 million posting fee to Maeda’s team in Japan, the Hiroshima Carp. Maeda was put through the posting process earlier this month and MLB teams faced a January 8th deadline to sign him to a contract. It comes as no surprise that he ended up with the Dodgers, as he reportedly paid a visit to Dodger Stadium a week ago.
Maeda turns 28 in April and posted a 2.39 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 over his eight seasons in Japan. He had a 2.09 ERA and 175/41 K/BB ratio in 206 1/3 innings this past season. While Maeda might not have the upside of other high-profile pitchers who have recently come over from Japan like Yu Darvish or Masahiro Tanaka, he should help a rotation which features multiple wild cards. He’ll also be the lone right-hander in a group which includes Clayton Kershaw, Kazmir, Brett Anderson, Alex Wood, and Hyun-Jin Ryu. Brandon McCarthy, another right-hander, is working his way back from Tommy John surgery and will likely be sidelined until around midseason.
We learned on Christmas Eve that the Nationals have a reported three-year, $37.5 million agreement with second baseman Daniel Murphy, but FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi reports that the club isn’t done looking for upgrades in their lineup.
At the very least, the Nationals are presumably looking for someone who could share center field duties with young Michael A. Taylor and function as insurance for Jayson Werth, who has dealt with a number of injuries in recent years. Pete Kerzel of MASN Sports reported earlier this month that the Nationals talked to the Rockies about a trade for Charlie Blackmon, but there are still a number of options remaining on the free agent market.
If the focus is on center field, the possibilities include the likes of Denard Span, Dexter Fowler, Gerardo Parra, and Austin Jackson. You could also potentially include Yoenis Cespedes in this mix, though his price tag could be beyond where the Nationals are willing to go. James Wagner of the Washington Post reports that the Nationals haven’t ruled out a reunion with Span, but they are hesitant about his health after hip surgery. This could be why they declined to give him a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer after the season.