There’s plenty of intrigue in the Rockies’ outfield at the moment, but Charlie Blackmon‘s contractual status for 2016 isn’t part of it, as Thomas Harding of MLB.com reports that the two sides have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $3.5 million deal.
The deal is just a shade over the midpoint, as the first-time arbitration-eligible Blackmon requested $3.9 million and was offered $2.7 million by the Rockies when figures were exchanged earlier this month. The 29-year-old certainly earned the payday, as he followed up a breakout 2014 by batting .287/.347/.450 with 17 home runs, 58 RBI, and 43 stolen bases over 157 games last season.
The Rockies recently signed Gerardo Parra to a three-year contract and Blackmon admitted over the weekend that he was initially “a little perplexed” by the move. With Carlos Gonzalez and Corey Dickerson also in the mix, a trade could come be coming.
Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak created quite a bit of a chatter last weekend when he said that there has been “more momentum” in discussions with other general managers and owners for the designated hitter to come to the National League. That “momentum” might have been overstated.
In an interview with Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred indicated that a change isn’t likely to come anytime soon.
“The most likely result on the designated hitter for the foreseeable future is the status quo,” Manfred said in an interview with ESPN.com in conjunction with his one-year anniversary as commissioner. “I think the vast majority of clubs in the National League want to stay where they are.”
Most can agree that pitchers batting is generally a bad thing — Yeah, yeah, Bartolo Colon — but Manfred has the same feeling as a sizable group of National League fans, namely that the designated hitter is “the single most important feature that defines the differences between the two leagues.” It’s easy to understand that sentiment, but one wonders if part of the resistance on the part of owners is that they don’t want to pay the hitters who could benefit from a potential change.
The current collective bargaining agreement expires after this season, so the thought was that the universal designated hitter could become a thing as soon as 2017. Barring something unexpected, those clinging to tradition can rest easy for now.
The Phillies announced this afternoon that they signed outfielder David Lough to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
With his ability to play all three outfield positions, Lough has been a useful bench piece in the past, but he batted just .201/.241/.313 with four home runs and 12 RBI over 144 plate appearances with the Orioles last season. The 30-year-old was non-tendered by Baltimore in December.
While there’s opportunity with the rebuilding Phillies, it could be a challenge for Lough to make the Opening Day roster. As things stand right now, Odubel Herrera, Peter Bourjos, Aaron Altherr, Cody Asche are ahead of him on the depth chart and the club could be compelled to keep Rule 5 pick Tyler Goeddel.
The Rangers and closer Shawn Tolleson have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $3.275 million contract, per Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
It’s a substantial raise for Tolleson, who was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. The 28-year-old right-hander filed for $3.9 million and was offered $2.6 million by the Rangers when figures were exchanged earlier this month, so the two sides settled a little over the midpoint.
Tolleson spent most of last season as Texas’ closer and thrived in a big way, posting a 2.99 ERA and 76/17 K/BB ratio over 72 1/3 innings while going 35-for-37 in save opportunities. He might face some competition from the likes of Sam Dyson or Keone Kela in the near future, but he’s expected to go into 2016 as the team’s closer.
We heard on Friday that that free agent Yovani Gallardo is expected to choose between the Orioles, Astros, or Rockies, but it appears that at least one of those teams isn’t as interested as has been reported.
While speaking at the Rockies’ Fan Fest event today, general manager Jeff Bridich told Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post that the team’s interest has been “fairly overblown” by Gallardo’s agent, former major league pitcher Bobby Witt. It’s rare you hear this sort of thing, so it’s hard to believe they’ll work together to find a deal at this point.
You can’t blame Gallardo’s agent for trying to drum up his market. While the veteran right-hander is coming off a career-low 3.42 ERA in 33 starts for the Rangers last season, his strikeout rate is on the decline and he’s attached to draft pick compensation. It’s a tough sell.