From Jon Heyman of MLB Network comes word that the Red Sox have avoided arbitration with reliever Junichi Tazawa by agreeing to a one-year, $3.375 million contract for 2016.
This was Tazawa’s final turn through the arbitration process. He can become a free agent leading into the 2017 season.
Tazawa faltered to the tune of a 4.14 ERA and 1.33 WHIP in 2015, but he put up a stellar 2.62 ERA and 1.135 WHIP in 175 1/3 innings between 2012-2014.
Boston is hoping that the offseason additions of Craig Kimbrel and Carson Smith will help Tazawa and fellow Japanese right-hander Koji Uehara avoid second-half fatigue in 2016. Tazawa made 71 appearances last year and 71 appearances the year before.
MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that the Mets have agreed to terms on a contract with free agent left-hander Antonio Bastardo. It’s a two-year, $12 million deal, per Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com.
Bastardo, 30, posted a 2.98 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, and 64/24 K/BB ratio in 57 1/3 innings last season for the Pirates while holding left-handed batters to a .138/.233/.215 slash line. For his career, Bastardo boasts a .178/.277/.319 slash versus lefty hitters.
Bastardo is obviously not Yoenis Cespedes, but he is a nice fit for the Mets’ bullpen mix in 2016.
The southpaw also drew interest this winter from the Blue Jays, Orioles, Twins, Cubs, and Dodgers.
It’s been a slow-rolling offseason for free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo, who posted a solid 3.42 ERA (124 ERA+) across 33 starts last year for the Rangers.
Playing into the lack of interest is that his free agency is tied to draft pick compensation — Gallardo declined a one-year, $15.3 million qualifying offer from Texas in early November. And he also registered some rather underwhelming peripherals last season, like a 1.42 WHIP and a 121/68 K/BB ratio in 184 1/3 innings.
But the 29-year-old has a nine-year track record of major league success and he is clearly the top starting pitcher remaining on the open market. The guy should be able to find a landing spot before January flips to February and players begin heading to spring training.
Jon Heyman of MLB Network says the Orioles and Astros are “among teams looking at” Gallardo. There was also a report last week suggesting the Blue Jays might have legitimate interest.
Gallardo, a second-round pick of the Brewers in 2004, owns a 3.66 ERA, 1.317 WHIP, and 8.2 K/9 in 1,473 2/3 career major league innings.
There is a massive organizational rebuild underway in Milwaukee and star catcher Jonathan Lucroy figures to be traded away for prospects at some point. But he is coming off a disappointing, injury-plagued 2015 and the Brewers might wait until well into the 2016 campaign to move the 29-year-old backstop.
Either way, it sounds like Lucroy has his bags packed. He spoke candidly Tuesday with Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel …
“I’m not going to sit here and say we’re going to compete for the playoffs this year,” Lucroy said in a telephone interview Tuesday afternoon while running errands back home in Lafayette, La. “If I did that, you’d call me a liar. I’d lose credibility and respect.
“I want to win and I don’t see us winning in the foreseeable future. I want to go to a World Series. That’s what all players want. Rebuilding is not a lot of fun for any veteran guy.”
With that in mind, Lucroy thinks it would be best for all concerned if the Brewers do what they’ve done with many veteran players since last July — trade him. He has been the subject of trade speculation since the end of the 2015 season, when new general manager David Stearns was charged with taking over the team’s rebuilding process.
Lucroy finished fourth in the National League MVP balloting in 2014 after batting .301/.373/.465 with a league-leading 53 doubles in 153 games. And he’s due just $4 million this year with a bargain $5.25 million club option for 2017. There will be plenty of suitors once the Brewers decide they’re comfortable moving him.
Ivan Nova and offseason trade acquisition Aroldis Chapman are now the only open arbitration cases on the Yankees’ roster.
Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York reports that right-handed starter Nathan Eovaldi has agreed to a one-year, $5.6 million contract for 2016, avoiding the need for a February arbitration hearing. He filed earlier this month at $6.3 million and the Yankees countered at $4.9 million. It didn’t take long for the two sides to find an acceptable middle ground.
This was the second year of arbitration eligibility for Eovaldi, who registered a 4.20 ERA and 121/49 K/BB ratio in 154 1/3 innings (27 starts) last season while earning a salary of $3.3 million.
He’ll play an important role in the Yankees’ rotation for 2016.