From Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times comes word that Cuban slugger Yoenis Cespedes turned down a six-year, $36 million contract offer from the Cubs last month before inking his four-year, $36 million deal with the A’s. Wittenmyer explains:
In addition to the significant difference in annual salary, the center fielder told his agent he didn’t want a six-year deal from anybody. If not four, [Cespedes] wanted eight or more.
The Cubs wouldn’t go that long, and they also wouldn’t agree to a clause that would make Cespedes ineligible for arbitration. The Athletics did, meaning the 26-year-old can hit the open market again at age 30.
Cespedes is 3-for-16 in the Cactus League with a home run, two singles, two walks and six strikeouts. He batted .333/.424/.667 with 33 home runs and 99 RBI in 90 games last year in Cuba’s Serie Nacional.
Braves manager Brian Snitker is hoping recently-signed starter Dallas Keuchel will make his season debut on Friday when the Braves open a 10-game road trip with a three-game set against the Nationals, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports. For now, the Braves have not officially named a starter for Friday.
After spending seven months as a free agent, Keuchel finally inked a one-year, $13 million contract with the Braves on June 6. He tossed seven shutout innings with nine strikeouts in his first start with Single-A Rome, then gave up three runs on 11 hits across seven innings for Double-A Mississippi on Saturday.
Last year, his final season with the Astros, Keuchel went 12-11 with a 3.74 ERA and a 153/58 K/BB ratio in 204 2/3 innings. The 31-year-old supposedly worried prospective teams due to his declining strikeout rate.
Keuchel is hoping to continue the Braves’ momentum, as the club has won 9 of its last 10 games and is 12-3 overall in June thus far, building up a 2.5-game lead over the Phillies in the NL East.