Orioles designate Endy Chavez for assignment, call up Nate McLouth

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The Orioles signed Endy Chavez to a one-year, $1.5 million contract over the winter to serve as a fourth outfielder, but he was designated for assignment this afternoon in order to make room for the promotion of former All-Star outfielder Nate McLouth.

Chavez was a big disappointment with the Orioles this season, batting just .190/.222/.281 with two home runs, eight RBI, two stolen bases and a .503 OPS in 129 plate appearances. The 33-year-old has served stints on the disabled list due to hamstring and oblique injuries. Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com reports that the O’s are now exploring possible trades for the veteran outfielder.

McLouth was granted his release by the Pirates at the end of May after batting just .140 (8-for-57) in 34 games. The 30-year-old signed a minor league deal with the Orioles a few days later and batted .244/.325/.461 with 10 homers and a .786 OPS in 47 games during his time with Triple-A Norfolk. According to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun, McLouth’s contract included an out-clause if he wasn’t promoted to the majors by Saturday. He’s starting in left field and batting seventh tonight against the Rays.

Report: Gerrit Cole has seven-year, $245 million offer from Yankees

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Bob Klapisch of The New York Times reports that free agent starter Gerrit Cole has a seven-year, $245 million contract offer on the table from the Yankees. As Klapisch also notes, the deal would set a record for total value and average annual value for a pitcher, besting Zack Greinke‘s $34.4 million AAV and David Price‘s $217 million total.

While it is possible that Cole signs before the end of the Winter Meetings on Thursday, clients of Scott Boras have tended to sign later in the offseason, so this may be a protracted process with today’s report as a jumping-off point. Both the Yankees’ and Angels’ front offices have received clearance from ownership to break the bank to sign Cole.

Cole, 29, could not have timed having a career year any better. During the regular season, he led all of baseball with 326 strikeouts and led the American League with a 2.50 ERA while also posting a 20-5 record and walking only 48 batters across 212 1/3 innings. He performed brilliantly in the playoffs as well, holding the opposition to seven runs on 21 hits and 11 walks with 47 strikeouts over 36 2/3 innings of work as the Astros narrowly missed out on winning another championship.

Cole is entering his age-29 season, so a deal of at least seven years would take him well into his mid-30’s. Teams, especially lately, have been hesitant to commit to pitchers, but as the Nationals showed with Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin, sometimes it leads to a championship.

For what it’s worth, Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports says the Yankees haven’t made a formal offer to Cole yet, though the club plans to make one this week. During this time of year, both sides — front office personnel and player agents — leak details to the press to help establish leverage. What we can generally take from this is that the Yankees are hot for Cole and he’s going to get a record-setting contract from some team, even if it’s not the Yankees.