Dodgers re-sign Brandon League to three-year, $22.5M deal

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The Dodgers acquired reliever Brandon League from the Mariners at the July 31 trade deadline and were pleased with the numbers (2.30 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 27 1/3 innings) he posted down the stretch. So they’ve decided to keep him around for a while.

According to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, the impending free agent was re-signed on Tuesday evening to a new three-year contract. The financial details of which are not yet available.

Any three-year deal for a reliever deserves to be met with raised eyebrows, but League boasts a 3.14 ERA (and 122 ERA+) since the start of the 2010 campaign. And the Dodgers have enough financial backing now to spend somewhat recklessly.

The 29-year-old righty will presumably serve in a setup role in 2013 behind closer Kenley Jansen.

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UPDATE, 8:50 PM: Jim Bowden of ESPN and SiriusXM reports that the three-year deal is worth north of $7.1 million per season and Hernandez adds that the Dodgers are viewing League as their closer. Lordy.

UPDATE, 9:02 PM: Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors says the contract is actually worth $7.5 million per year and that it also includes a vesting option. What in the world is Ned Colletti doing?

UPDATE, 9:05 PM: Hernandez confirms: it’s a three-year, $22.5 million contract for League.

Cubs won’t make Kyle Schwarber available in trade talks

Kyle Schwarber
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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Cubs won’t deal Kyle Schwarber this winter, despite multiple inquires from teams around the league. Schwarber is approaching his first year of arbitration and will remain under team control for another three seasons before reaching free agency in 2022.

The decision comes on the heels of one of the strongest seasons of the 25-year-old outfielder’s short career. Over 137 games and 510 PA for the Cubs, he proved a passable defender in left field and batted .238/.356/.467 with 26 home runs, an .823 OPS, and 3.2 fWAR in 2018. He also led the National League in intentional walks, with 20, and bumped up his total walks from 59 in 2017 to 78.

Despite his marked improvements from previous years, Schwarber’s performance still left something to be desired — specifically against left-handed pitchers, who held the slugger to a paltry .224/.352/.303 with four extra-base hits across 91 PA. Still, it’s evident the Cubs feel Schwarber is capable of strengthening his splits in the years to come, and they might stand to get more value from him on the field than they would in a trade this offseason.

Of course, that’s not to say the Cubs intend to pass the Winter Meetings in total silence, especially as they’ll be seeking bullpen and catching depth in advance of their 2019 run at the division title. As club president Theo Epstein remarked last week, “We’re certainly open and active in trade talks with a lot of deals that usually don’t come to fruition. So, we may make some trades. We could make big ones that transform the roster. We may make smaller complementary ones. But there’s certain things we’d like to accomplish.”