Matthew Pouliot

Starlin Castro
AP Photo

Yankees acquire Starlin Castro from Cubs

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The Yankees have themselves a new second baseman, acquiring Starlin Castro from the Cubs in exchange for right-hander Adam Warren and a player to be named.

Castro is coming off a disappointing age-25 campaign in which he hit .265/.296/.375 in 547 at-bats. He’s a career .281/.321/.404 hitter in 3,524 at-bats since debuting at age 20.

In return, the Cubs, who just landed Ben Zobrist to take over at second base, pick up a pretty useful piece in Warren, who had a 3.29 ERA in 17 starts and 26 relief appearances for the Yankees last season. He’ll most likely be in the pen initially, but his addition gives the Cubs four experienced rotation fallbacks, what with Travis WoodTrevor Cahill and Clayton Richard already on the roster.

According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports, the Cubs will not be picking up any of the $38 million that Castro is owed over the next four years.

Oddly enough, this trade comes together because of one that never did in July: the A’s sought to get Warren and second baseman Rob Refsnyder from the Yankees for Zobrist then. The Yankees turned them down, not wanting to trade Warren for two months of Zobrist. Now they are trading Warren for a player expendable because another team signed Zobrist.

UPDATE: The player to be named is reportedly veteran utilityman Brendan Ryan.

 

Cubs sign INF/OF Zobrist to four-year, $56 million pact

Ben Zobrist
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The Cubs have beaten out the Mets, Nationals and Giants for Ben Zobrist‘s services.

He’s getting a four-year, $56 million contract.

Zobrist, who turns 35 in May, won a World Series with Kansas City after hitting .276/.359/.450 in 467 at-bats for the A’s and Royals last year. One of the game’s most consistent hitters, he’s batted between .269 and .276 each of the last five years, also posting at least a .350 OBP each season.

Unfortunately, Zobrist’s defensive numbers took a huge hit last year, both as a second baseman and as an outfielder. One could choose to ignore those metrics, but those are the same metrics that rated him as such a valuable defender earlier in his career.

Zobrist has indicated he’d prefer to focus on one position next year. The Cubs have the ability to trade Starlin Castro and/or Javier Baez and turn second base over to Zobrist. Left field is also an option, though that depends on what happens with Kyle Schwarber. Whether it happens in 2016 or not, Zobrist figures to spend the majority of his contract as a corner outfielder.

Report: Braves sign Tyler Flowers to two-year deal

Tyler Flowers
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The rebuilding Braves have decided to go with a catching duo of 39-year-old A.J. Pierzynski and 30-year-old Tyler Flowers after signing Flowers to a two-year deal on Tuesday.

USATODAY’s Bob Nightengale reports that the contract is worth $5.3 million.

Flowers, a former Braves prospect, hit .239/.295/.356 in 331 at-bats as the White Sox’s primary catcher last year. He’s a career .223/.289/.376 hitter in 1,267 at-bats. While he wasn’t previously known for his defense, he’s recently gotten very good grades for his pitch-framing.

The Braves’ addition means there’s no longer any room on the team for former top prospect Cristian Bethancourt, who is out of options. He’ll likely be traded in the coming months.