Veteran infielder/outfielder Ryan Raburn has a minor league contract with the Reds, the club announced on Sunday. The deal was reported last week, but had been pending a physical. It includes an invitation to spring training, where Raburn is expected to compete against Desmond Jennings for a major league utility role. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer’s C. Trent Rosecrans, there’s a $900,000 base salary waiting for him if he makes the big league roster by Opening Day.
Raburn, 35, is coming off of a down year with the Rockies in 2016. He slashed .220/.309/.404 for the team last season, clubbing nine home runs as he struggled to stay above the Mendoza line. Raburn was stationed in left field for much of the season, but also saw some time at DH, first base and right field toward the end of the year. Assuming he can turn out a production rate that skews closer to the .301 average and .936 OPS he put up with the Indians in 2015, however, the Reds should have little trouble finding a place for him off the bench or as a platoon option with Scott Schebler in right field.
Retired right-hander Eric Gagne was on the mound in front of Dodgers executives on Sunday. It’s been nearly seven years since Gagne entered retirement, though he’s scheduled to pitch for Team Canada during the World Baseball Classic later this spring.
MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick noted that while Dodgers’ president Andrew Friedman and GM Farhan Zaidi were in attendance on Sunday, along with “much of the front office,” the bullpen session wasn’t part of Gagne’s comeback attempt. It won’t be the only bullpen session he tosses this spring, however, as the veteran righty intends to sharpen his skills while also serving as a guest pitching instructor for the Dodgers’ staff.
The 41-year-old announced his retirement in 2010, but hasn’t set foot on a big league stage since his one-year stint with the Brewers in 2008. Over a 10-year career, most of which took place in Dodger Stadium, the right-hander delivered a 3.47 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 10.0 SO/9 for the Dodgers, Rangers, Red Sox and Brewers. He earned three All-Star nominations from 2002-2004 and took home his first and only NL Cy Young Award in 2003.
Gagne attempted a few rounds with various clubs in the Canadian-American Association in 2009, 2015 and 2016, though he hasn’t pitched more than 10 innings total in the last seven years. Now, he claims to have regained the velocity and pitch repertoire that fueled his success in the majors.
“I feel great,” he told Gurnick. “It’s almost scary.”
The Diamondbacks have signed free agent left-hander Jorge De La Rosa to a minor league deal, per a team announcement on Sunday. The contract includes an invitation to spring training. Nick Piecoro of AZCentral.com adds that De La Rosa stands to make $2.25 million if he secures a spot on the major league roster, with up to $600,000 in incentives if he pitches out of the bullpen and up to $1 million in incentives if he pitches out of the starting rotation.
The 35-year-old is expected to compete for a bullpen role after spending the better part of a decade in the Rockies’ rotation. He capped a nine-year run with Colorado in 2016, finishing the year with a 5.51 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.3 SO/9 over 134 innings. Despite his struggles out of the rotation, he found limited success in a three-game stint in the bullpen, striking out 10 of 26 batters and holding the opposition to just three hits and one earned run in eight innings.
The veteran lefty is set to join a bullpen comprised of right-handers Randall Delgado, Jake Barrett and Fernando Rodney, along with a number of unproven candidates on similar minor league contracts. His age and command issues may be off-putting, but the promise he showed as a reliever should give the Diamondbacks some upside as they attempt to redeem a league-worst bullpen in 2017.