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.

Astros talking to Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole about extensions

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It’s extension season and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros — who already agreed to an extension with Alex Bregman — are discussing contract extensions with Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.

Funny thing about Verlander, by the way: when he got his current $180 million deal, most people fell into the “oh, there’s an overpay!” column. What’s more, this past winter, when everyone was talking about how bad it is to give guys big long term deals, Verlander’s name was notably absent in the conversation despite the fact that his deal has turned out to be quite good. I suppose that says something about how good the anti-long-term deal folks are at cherrypicking.

That being said, Rosenthal says “it would be an upset” if either Verlander or Cole signed extensions. I can see that. Verlander is locked up this year and has a vesting option for 2020, and a lot can happen in a year or two. Cole is a Scott Boras client and Boras clients tend to hit the market rather than sign extensions. Perhaps their former teammate, Dallas Keuchel‘s, terrible experience on the free agent market this winter will alter that calculus. Hard to say.