Justin Duchscherer signs with the A's

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Somewhere there’s a guy who came up with the idea to fasten all of the little parts of kids’ toys to the box with clamshell packaging, elastic bands and twisty wires.  While I’m sure the idea was to make the product look cool on the store shelf, the benefits of his innovation are far outweighed by the number of raw, cut fingertips and impatient, screaming kids on Christmas morning.  If I ever meet him, he’s getting punched in the back of the neck. Wait — that’s too crude.  If I ever meet him I’m going to force him to open and assemble the Barbie Party Cruise Playset at gunpoint.

Anyway, while we were drinking eggnog and abusing the copy machine at the CTB Christmas Party on Thursday night, Justin Duchscherer signed with the A’s.  The deal has a $2 million base with start and innings incentives that could bring it up to $5.5 million.

Good deal for the A’s. Duchscherer likely sees it as a prove-yourself deal and, if successful, will find himself back out on the market again next year.

Report: Yankees, Reds finalizing trade for Sonny Gray

Sonny Gray
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Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.

According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.

Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.