UPDATE: Bob Nightengale of USA Today updates that the deal is worth $132.75 million over six seasons. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal writes that the deal has an opt-out after the second season, so Upton would have the ability to test free agency again as a 30-year-old.
9:45 p.m. ET: Tigers owner Mike Ilitch strikes again. Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Tigers and Upton have agreed to a six-year contract. It’s expected to be north of $125 million, per FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
Anthony Gose was previously expected to be the Tigers’ primary left fielder for 2016, but the lineup looks a lot more imposing with the addition of Upton. The interesting part is that they are all right-handed outside of the switch-hitting Victor Martinez.
9:36 p.m. ET: FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal hears that the two sides are close to a six-year deal.
9:32 p.m. ET: The Tigers have been mentioned as a possible suitor for free agent Yoenis Cespedes, but another big-name outfielder could be their primary target. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Tigers are in talks with Justin Upton while MLB Network’s Jon Heyman hears that the two sides are “close” to a deal.
Upton was widely-expected to land a deal in excess of $100 million this offseason, but his market has been suspiciously quiet for the most part. Still, he’s just 28 years old, so a team could be paying for his prime seasons. Heyman hears that it is expected to be a long-term deal.
Upton batted .251/.336/.454 with 26 home runs and 81 RBI over 150 games last season with the Padres. He turned down a qualifying offer, so the Tigers would surrender a draft pick to sign him. The Tigers’ first-round pick is protected and the club already gave up their second-round pick to sign right-hander Jordan Zimmermann, so the club will give up their third-rounder for Upton.
Cardinals right-hander Carlos Martinez was shut last September due to a Grade 2 shoulder strain, but he told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com at the team’s Winter Warm-Up event today that he feels “90 percent” in advance of beginning his throwing program on Tuesday.
Martinez did not require surgery for the injury, but he has been rehabbing at the team’s spring training complex in Jupiter, Florida for most of the offseason. While the 24-year-old said today that he expects to be ready for the start of 2016, there should be more clarity on his status as he ramps up his throwing in the coming weeks.
Martinez thrived during his first extended chance in the Cardinals’ rotation last season, posting a 3.01 ERA and 184/63 K/BB ratio over 179 2/3 innings.
The Yankees and shortstop Didi Gregorius have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $2.425 million contract, per Jack Curry of YES Network.
Gregorius was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. The 25-year-old requested $2.525 million and was offered $2.3 million by the Yankees when figures were exchanged last Friday, so the two sides settled just a shade north of the midpoint.
Replacing franchise icon Derek Jeter at shortstop last season, Gregorius was a big improvement defensively and batted .265/.318/.370 with nine home runs and 56 RBI. After scuffling during the first half, he hit .294 with a .345 on-base percentage and a .762 OPS after the All-Star break.
The Mets swept the Cubs 4-0 in the National League Championship Series to advance to the World Series last year. Worse yet, the World Series-starved Cubs had to watch the Mets clinch at Wrigley Field. Cubs co-owner and board member Todd Ricketts apparently still has some bad blood about how things played out.
Check out what he said at the 31st annual Cubs Convention earlier today:
After some careful research, I have concluded that some fans of all teams can be “really, really obnoxious,” but perhaps he has some different data. Ultimately, it’s not worth getting too bent out of shape about if you are a Mets fan. It’s a red meat-type of quote which the fans likely ate up at this particular event. The Mets and Cubs have a long history and it would be a lot of fun to see them potentially meet again next postseason.
After the Orioles reportedly reached agreement with Chris Davis on a seven-year, $161 million contract, it was assumed that they would move on from free agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. The club is probably better-served to invest in another starting pitcher after losing left-hander Wei-Yin Chen in free agency, but they apparently haven’t ruled out signing Cespedes as well. Their interest comes with an important caveat.
The Orioles previously made Cespedes an offer which was reportedly worth $90 million over five years. It was the biggest offer we have heard until this point, which is a far cry from the massive price tag he was initially seeking this winter.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today notes that the Mets and White Sox are interested if Cespedes would consider a short-term deal. We can now add the Orioles to that list, though there are surely a handful of other unidentified clubs who could find such a scenario appealing.
Cespedes, who turned 30 in October, is coming off career-highs with 35 home runs and an .870 OPS last season.