Jim Edmonds-for-Chris Dickerson swap smart all-around

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It’s almost a challenge trade: division rivals swap left-handed-hitting center fielders.
But there isn’t much downside for either Reds GM Walt Jocketty or Brewers GM Doug Melvin here. The Brewers have fallen completely out of the race in the NL Central, and Jim Edmonds has indicated that he’s probably going to retire after the season. Now he’ll get a chance to go out with a winner, and the Brewers can take a look at Chris Dickerson to see if he should fit into their 2011 plans.
Edmonds will definitely be a useful part for the Reds. What remains to be seen is how exactly he’ll fit. He’s not a regular center fielder these days anyway, and he has a sore Achilles’ tendon causing him pain with every step.
What he also has is an OPS 60 points higher than that of any of the Reds’ regular outfielders. He’s at 843 at the moment, compared to 780 for Jonny Gomes, 737 for Jay Bruce and 705 for Drew Stubbs. The guess is that the Reds will keep their current reserve outfielders, Chris Heisey and Laynce Nix. So, the team could demote either Bruce or Stubbs and give Edmonds a major role or it could have him replace Juan Francisco and give Dusty Baker headaches trying to find at-bats for everyone.
I’m guessing that Stubbs gets sent down until Sept. 1, with Edmonds and Heisey sharing time in center.
The Brewers will probably give Dickerson about three starts per week while also looking at Lorenzo Cain in center. Dickerson has been on the DL since the end of April after suffering a broken hamate bone, but he’s hit .442/.528/.767 with three homers and six steals over 13 games in a rehab assignment for Triple-A Louisville.
While he’s yet to really establish himself in the majors, the 28-year-old Dickerson did hit .274/.367/.421 in 401 at-bats for the Reds over the last three years. He’s an average defender in center, a plus defender in the corners and he’ll make the minimum in 2011. His track record makes him look like a perfect fourth outfielder. However, he also has a history of inconsistency and injuries. He’s a nice pickup regardless, but the injuries may prevent him from ever fulfilling his potential.

Jeffrey Springs, Rays agree to $31 million, 4-year contract

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Left-hander Jeffrey Springs became the first of the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration salaries with their teams to reach a deal, agreeing Wednesday to a $31 million, four-year contract with the Tampa Bay Rays that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

The 30-year old was among seven Rays who swapped arbitration figures with the team on Jan. 13. He began last season in the bullpen, transitioned to the starting rotation in May and finished 9-5 with a 2.46 ERA in 33 appearances, including 25 starts. He is 14-6 with a 2.70 ERA in 76 outings – 51 of them in relief – since he was acquired from Boston in February 2021.

Springs gets $4 million this year, $5.25 million in 2024 and $10.5 million in each of the following two seasons. Tampa Bay has a $15 million option for 2027 with a $750,000 buyout.

The 2025 and 2026 salaries can escalate by up to $3.75 million each based on innings in 2023-24 combined: $1.5 million for 300, $1 million for 325, $750,000 for 350 and $500,000 for 375. The `25 and ’26 salaries also can escalate based on finish in Cy Young Award voting in `23 and ’24: $2 million for winning, $1.5 million for finishing second through fifth in the voting and $250,000 for finishing sixth through 10th.

Tampa Bay’s option price could escalate based on Cy Young voting in 2025 and 2026: by $2.5 million for winning, $2 million for finishing second through fifth and $500,000 for sixth through 10th.

Springs would get $45.25 million if the option is exercised, $52.75 million with the option and meeting all innings targets and the maximum if he meetings the innings targets and wins two Cy Youngs.

Springs’ ERA last season was the second lowest in franchise history for a pitcher working a minimum of 100 innings. Former Rays ace Blake Snell compiled 1.89 ERA on the way to winning the 2018 AL Cy Young.

In addition to finishing sixth in the AL in ERA, Springs allowed three runs or fewer in 22 of 25 starts and two runs or fewer 17 times. He joined Tampa Bay’s rotation on May 9, gradually increasing his workload over his next six appearances. Springs was 6-3 with a 2.40 ERA in 14 starts after the All-Star break.

Arbitration hearings start next week and the Rays remain with the most players scheduled to appear before three-person panels.

Springs had asked for a raise from $947,500 to $3.55 million and had been offered $2.7 million. Tampa remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam, Pete Fairbanks and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, third baseman Yandy Diaz and outfielder Harold Ramirez.

Tampa Bay also agreed minor league contacts with catcher Gavin Collins and right-hander Jaime Schultz, who will report to major league spring training.

Infielder Austin Shenton and pitchers Anthony Molina and Joe LaSorsa also were invited to big league spring training.