After locking up center fielder Cameron Maybin and catcher Nick Hundley on long-term deals earlier this month, the Padres just announced a short while ago that they have signed left-hander Cory Luebke to a four-year contract extension with club options for 2016 and 2017. The deal could potentially cover all of his arbitration seasons and his first year of free agency.
Corey Brock of MLB.com reports that Luebke will receive a $500,000 signing bonus to go along with salaries of $500,000 in 2012, $1 million in 2013, $3 million in 2014 and $5.25 million in 2015. The club option for 2016 is worth $7.5 million while the 2017 option is worth $10 million.
Luebke only has 157 2/3 innings to his name in his big leagues, but he had an impressive 3.31 ERA and 111/29 K/BB ratio over 17 starts after being moved to the rotation last June. This is a bit of a calculated gamble for San Diego, but with only $12 million guaranteed, it could pay off big if the 27-year-old continues to progress.
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.