Author: D.J. Short

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Marco Estrada throws against the Kansas City Royals during the first inning in Game 5 of baseball's American League Championship Series on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015, in Toronto. (AP Photo/Tim Donnelly)
AP Photo/Tim Donnelly

Report: Blue Jays nearing two-year deal with Marco Estrada


We heard yesterday that the Blue Jays and right-hander Marco Estrada were talking about a multi-year deal and now Joel Sherman of the New York Post says there’s “lots of buzz” that the two sides are nearing a two-year contract in the range of $24-29 million.

Estrada was one of 20 free agents who received a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer last Friday. The 32-year-old is coming off an excellent season where he posted a 3.13 ERA and 131/55 K/BB ratio over 181 innings. He had a 2.33 ERA over three starts during the Blue Jays’ postseason run.

Estrada would be tied to draft pick compensation if he declines the qualifying offer (he has until 5 p.m. ET tomorrow to do so), which could impact his market. He struggled in 2014 and his success this year was largely unexpected, so teams could be hesitant about giving up a draft pick to sign him in a deep class of free agent starting pitchers. Taking a two-year deal to stay in Toronto makes sense through this prism.

Mariners hire Scott Brosius as Triple-A hitting coach

Ezra Shaw /Allsport

The Mariners announced today that they have hired former major league infielder Scott Brosius as their hitting coach with Triple-A Tacoma.

Brosius played 11 seasons in the majors between the Athletics and Yankees. He won three World Series titles during his time in New York, earning one All-Star appearance and one Gold Glove Award along the way.

Brosius quickly got into coaching after his retirement following the 2001 season. He has spent the last eight seasons managing at Linfield College, his alma mater. He said earlier this year that he wants to get back into the majors as a coach, so this will get him started on that path.

Angels acquire Andrelton Simmons from Braves

Andrelton Simmons
AP Photo/Todd Kirkland

UPDATE: The deal is now official. Simmons and Briceno have been traded to the Angels while Aybar, Newcomb, and Ellis are headed to the Braves.

7:23 p.m. ET: Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels will also receive prospect catcher Jose Briceno in the deal. The 23-year-old was acquired from the Rockies this past January and batted .183 with a .482 OPS in 88 games this season in High-A. He’s not regarded as a top prospect.

6:41 p.m. ET: Trade chatter began to intensify last night regarding Andrelton Simmons and the Braves have already found a match, as Jesse Sanchez of reports that the defensive wizard has been traded to the Angels.

It’s quite a big splash for new Angels general manager Billy Eppler. Per Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Braves will receive shortstop Erick Aybar, prospect left-hander Sean Newcomb, and prospect right-hander Chris Ellis in return. The Angels are also sending $3 million to the Braves in the deal. Newcomb and Ellis are regarded as the Angels’ best pitching prospects. The Braves’ strategy of stockpiling young arms continues.

Newcomb, the centerpiece of the deal for the Braves, was selected 14th overall in last year’s draft. The 22-year-old posted a 2.85 ERA over 27 starts this season between Class A Burlington, High-A Inland Empire, and Double-A Arkansas. While he struck out 168 batters in 136 innings, he also issued 76 walks. He could be something special if he figures out his control. Ellis, 23, was a third-rounder from 2014. He put up a 3.90 ERA and 132/63 K/BB ratio over 140 2/3 innings this year between High-A Inland Empire and Double-A Arkansas.

Aybar is due to become a free agent after 2016, so he’s obviously not a great fit with the rebuilding Braves. They now have the ability to ship him elsewhere for more prospects, if they so choose. Shortstop-needy teams like the Padres and Mets could come calling.

The Angels don’t have much left in their farm system after dealing Newcomb and Ellis, but they now have the best defensive shortstop in the game. The 26-year-old owns a .666 OPS over 499 games in his career, but he has still managed to be very valuable without making much progress offensively. He signed a seven-year, $58 million extension with the Braves last February, so he’s under team control through 2020.

The Angels still have some holes to fill on their roster — and they’ll likely have to do it exclusively through free agency with the farm system barren — but having Simmons and Mike Trout on the same team should be a lot of fun to watch.

Report: Colby Rasmus to accept qualifying offer from Astros

Houston Astros' Colby Rasmus watches his two-run home run ball clear the fence against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the sixth inning of a baseball game Friday, Oct. 2, 2015, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

Historic news from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, who hears that Colby Rasmus will accept his qualifying offer from the Astros and return on a one-year, $15.8 million contract.

Rasmus becomes the first player to accept a qualifying offer. As Rosenthal notes, all 34 players who were extended qualifying offers over the past three years all declined.

Rasmus was one of a record 20 free agents to receive a qualifying offer last Friday. The assumption, as it was with most free agents, was that he would decline and sign elsewhere. Doing so would net the Astros a compensatory draft pick in 2016. However, Rasmus’ agent clearly felt that he was going to have a tough time in the market with a draft pick attached. So now he gets a nice one-year deal and will give it another try next offseason.

As for the Astros, this is probably more than they’d want to pay Rasmus, but fortunately it’s only a one-year deal. And it’s not like he wasn’t productive this season. The 29-year-old slugged 25 home runs with a .789 OPS over 137 games. Now that the Astros know he’s coming back, they could explore trading Evan Gattis to upgrade in other areas.

Free agents have until tomorrow at 5 p.m. ET to accept or decline their qualifying offers. You can view the complete list here.

2015 Silver Slugger Award winners are announced

silver slugger getty
Getty Images

The 2015 Silver Slugger Awards presented by Louisville Slugger will be announced this evening (6:00 p.m. ET) during an hour-long special on MLB Network.

The Silver Slugger Award is given annually to the top hitter at each position in the American and National Leagues based on votes by MLB’s coaches and managers. We’ll post the names of this year’s recipients as they are announced:

American League

First Base:

Miguel Cabrera, Tigers

Second Base:

Jose Altuve, Astros


Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox

Third Base:

Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays


Mike Trout, Angels

Nelson Cruz, Mariners

J.D. Martinez, Tigers


Brian McCann, Yankees

Designated Hitter:

Kendrys Morales, Royals


National League

First Base:

Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks

Second Base:

Dee Gordon, Marlins


Brandon Crawford, Giants

Third Base:

Nolan Arenado, Rockies


Bryce Harper, Nationals

Andrew McCutchen, Pirates

Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies


Buster Posey, Giants

Starting Pitcher:

Madison Bumgarner, Giants