The Cardinals’ five-year, $75 million contract with catcher Yadier Molina is already creating quite a ripple effect around the major leagues.
Miguel Montero officially cut off long-term talks on Wednesday afternoon with the D’Backs, and now Mike Napoli has done the same with the Rangers.
Napoli told Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram late Wednesday evening that multi-year contract negotiations have been “squashed” and are unlikely to be reopened.
“I’d love to be here, but I’ll test the market,” Napoli said. “Every player plays to get to free agency. But it’s not something I’m going to worry about. That’s why I have my agent.”
The 30-year-old catcher hit .320/.414/.631 with 30 homers and 75 RBI in 113 games last year. He’s not nearly as strong defensively as Molina, but another season of big-time slugging could yield serious dollar signs.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros and outfielder Michael Brantley are closing in on an agreement for a two-year contract in the $32 million range.
Brantley, 31, played a mostly full season last year for the first time since 2015. He hit .309/.364/.468 with 17 home runs, 76 RBI, 89 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases in 631 plate appearances. He made the AL All-Star squad for the third time in his career.
Brantley’s health, though, is why he had to settle for a two-year deal as opposed to a longer contract for a player of his caliber. He will take over in left field. In the event Brantley succumbs to injury woes, the Astros have top prospect Kyle Tucker waiting in the wings.
Update: According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, who also reports that the deal is in place, the Astros plan to rotate Brantley between left field, first base, and DH. That opens up some more playing time for Tucker.