Author: Drew Silva

Steve Cishek
AP Photo/Bill Boyce

Cardinals non-tender reliever Steve Cishek

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As announced Wednesday on the official Twitter account of the St. Louis Cardinals, the club has opted to non-tender reliever Steve Cishek, making him a free agent. Cody Stanley, a catcher recently suspended for PEDs, was also cut free.

Cishek pitched well following the mid-summer trade that moved him from Miami to St. Louis, posting a 2.31 ERA over his final 23 1/3 innings, but the 29-year-old side-armer was due a raise via arbitration from his 2015 salary of $6.65 million and the Cardinals deemed him unworthy of such a high price tag.

Cishek had a 4.50 ERA in 32 innings with the Marlins before the trade.

He tallied a career-high 39 saves for Miami in 2014 alongside a 3.17 ERA.

There should be interest out there on the open market.

Blue Jays, Justin Smoak avoid salary arbitration with one-year, $3.9 million deal

Justin Smoak
AP Photo/Kathy Willens
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Justin Smoak will be back with the reigning American League East champs in 2016.

According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the 28-year-old first baseman avoided arbitration ahead of the non-tender deadline on Wednesday by agreeing to a one-year, $3.9 million contract with the Blue Jays.

Smoak, a switch-hitter, posted a .768 OPS with 18 home runs and 59 RBI in 132 games this summer for Toronto while making 71 starts at first base.

He held a .692 OPS in his four-plus seasons with the Mariners.

Phillies avoid arbitration with Peter Bourjos at $2 million

Peter Bourjos
AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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Just hours after acquiring Peter Bourjos off waivers from the Cardinals, the Phillies have avoided salary arbitration with the 28-year-old outfielder by granting him a one-year, $2 million contract.

Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com had the report first, and Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports disclosed the financial details.

Bourjos gets a slight raise from the $1.65 million he made in 2015, his second year of salary arbitration. The speedster hit just .218/.292/.342 in his two seasons with St. Louis, but he’s a tremendous defender in the outfield and should get a lot of use next summer with the rebuilding Phillies.

Philadelphia also avoided arbitration with infielder Andres Blanco for $1.45 million.

White Sox non-tender catcher Tyler Flowers

Michael Brantley Tyler Flowers
AP Photo/Aaron Josefczyk
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Mark D. Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports that the White Sox have non-tendered catcher Tyler Flowers, making him a free agent.

Flowers was in line for a raise from the $2.675 million he made in 2015 while hitting .239/.295/.356 with nine home runs and 39 RBI in 112 games. And the White Sox deemed he wasn’t worth it.

The 29-year-old backstop should generate quite a bit of interest on the open market because of the position he plays and the power he has flashed in the past.

Flowers tallied 15 homers and 50 RBI across 127 games for Chicago in 2014.

Jacob Turner was also non-tendered by the White Sox on Wednesday.

Mariners sign reliever Justin De Fratus to one-year contract

Justin De Fratus
AP Photo/Matt Slocum
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As first reported by Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Mariners have agreed to terms on a one-year, $750,000 major league contract with right-handed reliever Justin De Fratus.

De Fratus elected to become a free agent in October after being outrighted off the Phillies’ 40-man roster. He had a rough 5.51 ERA in 80 innings this past season for Philly, but the 28-year-old finished with a 2.39 ERA in 2014 and he also boasts a promising set of minor league numbers.

It could be a sneaky-good pickup for the Mariners, who have been more active than any team this winter under new general manager Jerry Dipoto.