Drew Silva

Asdrubal Cabrera
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Mets agree to two-year, $18.5 million deal with infielder Asdrubal Cabrera

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The Mets acquired second baseman Neil Walker from the Pirates on Wednesday afternoon for starting pitcher Jon Niese, but New York is not done collecting middle infielders.

According to Chris Cotillo of SB Nation’s MLB Daily Dish, the Mets have signed free agent Asdrubal Cabrera to a two-year contract with a club option for 2018. Jim Duquette of MLB Network Radio says the deal is worth $8.25 million per year with a $2 million buyout on the option. So that’s an $18.5 million guarantee.

Cabrera posted a decent .744 OPS with 15 home runs in 143 games this past season as the Rays’ primary shortstop. He’s not a very good defender at this point in his career, but the 30-year-old will presumably play all around the infield with the Mets.

David Wright is going to need days off at third base, and Cabrera offers a significant offensive upgrade over in-house middle infielders Ruben Tejada and Wilmer Flores.

White Sox pick up third baseman Brett Lawrie from the A’s

Brett Lawrie
AP Photo/Bill Kostroun
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Third base is a position the White Sox needed to address this winter. And they did just that on the third day of MLB’s Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tennessee.

According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, the A’s have shipped Brett Lawrie to the south side of Chicago in exchange for minor league pitchers Zachary Erwin and J.B. Wendelken.

Lawrie produced a disappointing .260/.299/.407 batting line in 602 plate appearances this past season for Oakland, but he did manage 16 home runs and he played in a career-high 149 games. That power stroke should work a little better for him at U.S. Cellular Field.

Erwin, a fourth-round pick in 2015 out of Clemson University, posted 1.34 ERA, 0.967 WHIP, and 30/7 K/BB ratio in 40 1/3 innings this summer between rookie-level Great Falls and Low-A Kannapolis.

Wendelken, a 13th-round pick in 2012, is really more of a throw-in.

Astros acquire young closer Ken Giles from Phillies for four players

Ken Giles
AP Photo/John Bazemore
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Big get here for last year’s American League Wild Card Game winners …

According to Mark Berman of FOX 26 in Houston, the Astros have acquired young closer Ken Giles from the Phillies for pitchers Vince Velasquez and Brett Oberholtzer, outfield prospect Derek Fisher, and one additional player.

Giles, 25, boasts a 1.56 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and 151/36 K/BB ratio through his first 115 2/3 innings at the major league level. He won’t hit arbitration until 2018 and can’t become a free agent until after the 2020 campaign.

The right-hander can provide a long-term answer at the back of the Houston bullpen.

Velasquez made his major league debut in 2015 and was somewhat of a disappointment, but the 23-year-old right-hander entered the summer as a top-100 prospect and put up very enticing numbers at Double-A. Oberholtzer is a 26-year-old left-handed starter with a so-so track record at the major league level. Fisher was a supplemental first-round pick in 2014 with superb power and speed numbers at the lower levels of the minor leagues. When that fourth player is revealed, we’ll pass it along.

It’s a pretty nice haul for the rebuilding Phillies.

Nationals sign Yusmeiro Petit to one-year contract

Yusmeiro Petit
AP Photo/Ben Margot
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Yusmeiro Petit was a surprising non-tender earlier this month by the Giants. Unsurprisingly, he has already found a new home.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Nationals have reached a one-year deal with Petit, pending a physical. No word yet on the financial terms.

Petit posted a solid 3.67 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 59/15 K/BB ratio in 76 innings this past season for San Francisco. He has experience both as a starter and reliever.

Washington figures to use him in a long relief role.

Cardinals, Giants interested in Wei-Yin Chen

Wei-Yin Chen
AP Photo/Gail Burton
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The secondary starting pitching market is burning red hot, and right-hander Mike Leake or left-hander Wei-Yin Chen could be the next domino to drop.

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports says the Cardinals and Giants have expressed recent interest in Chen. Both of those teams are also thought to be in the running for Leake, though the Nationals now appear to be the favorite on that front.

Chen, 30, posted a 3.34 ERA (124 ERA+) in 191 1/3 innings this past season for the Orioles. The native of Kaohsiung City, Taiwan has improved his ERA and WHIP each of the last three years in Major League Baseball.