40 players exchange figures with their clubs following today’s deadline

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There was a flurry of arbitration-related news today as players and teams scurried to reach agreements prior to the noon central deadline earlier. 39 players did not reach an agreement with their respective teams, and as such, they have exchanged salary figures with their clubs. Of note, Braves closer Craig Kimbrel filed for $9 million, which is a lot of money for a closer in his first year of arbitration eligibility. The Braves filed for $6.55 million while most experts projected Kimbrel to get around $7 million.

Here’s the full list of players, broken down by team:

Angels (2)

  • David Freese (3B) filed for $6M, team filed for $4.1M (source)
  • Kevin Jepsen (RP) filed for $1.625M, team filed for $1.3M (source)

Athletics (1)

  • Josh Reddick (OF) filed for $3.25M, team filed for $2M (source)

Braves (3)

  • Craig Kimbrel (RP) filed for $9M, team filed for $6.55M (source)
  • Freddie Freeman (1B) filed for $5.75M, team filed for $4.5M (source)
  • Jason Heyward (RF) filed for $5.5M, team filed for $5.2M (source)

Cardinals (1)

  • Daniel Descalso (IF) filed for $1.65M, team filed for $930,000 (source)

Cubs (4)

  • Darwin Barney (2B) filed for $2.8M, team filed for $1.8M
  • Jeff Samardzija (SP) filed for $6.2M, team filed for $4.4M
  • Justin Ruggiano (CF) filed for $2.45M, team filed for $1.6M
  • Travis Wood (SP) filed for $4.25M, team filed for $3.5M (source for all four)

Diamondbacks (2)

  • Gerardo Parra (OF) filed for $5.2M, team filed for $4.3M (source)
  • Mark Trumbo (LF) filed for $5.85M, team filed for $3.4M (source)

Dodgers (2)

  • A.J. Ellis (C) filed for $4.6M, team filed for $3M (source)
  • Kenley Jansen (RP) filed for $5.05M, team filed for $3.5M (source)

Giants (2)

  • Brandon Belt (1B) filed for $3.6M, team filed for $2.05M (source)
  • Joaquin Arias (IF) filed for $1.5M, team filed for $1.1M (source)

Indians (4)

  • Josh Tomlin (SP) filed for $975,000, team filed for $800,000
  • Justin Masterson (SP) filed for $11.8M, team filed for $8.05M
  • Michael Brantley (LF) filed for $3.8M, team filed for $2.7M
  • Vinnie Pestano (RP) filed for $1.45M, team filed for $975,000 (source for all four)

Mariners (2)

  • Justin Smoak (1B) filed for $3.25M, team filed for $2.025M
  • Logan Morrison (RF) filed for $2.5M, team filed for $1.1M (source for both)

Mets (2)

  • Dillon Gee (SP) filed for $4.05M, team filed for $3.2M (source)
  • Lucas Duda (1B/LF) filed for $1.9M, team filed for $1.35M (source)

Nationals (2)

  • Doug Fister (SP) filed for $8.5M, team filed for $5.75M (source)
  • Tyler Clippard (RP) filed for $6.35M, team filed for $4.45M (source)

Orioles (1)

  • Matt Wieters (C) filed for $8.75M, team filed for $6.5M (source)

Padres (1)

  • Andrew Cashner (SP) filed for $2.4M, team filed for $2.275M (source)

Phillies (2)

  • Ben Revere (CF) filed for $2.425M, team filed for $1.4M (source)
  • Antonio Bastardo (RP) filed for $2.5M, team filed for $1.675M (source)

Rangers (1)

  • Mitch Moreland (1B/DH) filed for $3.25M, team filed for $2.025M (source)

Red Sox (1)

  • Andrew Miller (RP) filed for $2.15M, team filed for $1.55M (source)

Reds (2)

  • Aroldis Chapman (RP) filed for $5.4M, team filed for $4.6M (source)
  • Homer Bailey (SP) filed for $11.6M, team filed for $8.7M (source)

Royals (3)

  • Aaron Crow (RP) filed for $1.7M, team filed for $1.28M (source)
  • Greg Holland (RP) filed for $5.2M, team filed for $4.1M (source)
  • Justin Maxwell (OF) filed for $1.7M, team filed for $1.075M (source)

Tigers (1)

  • Alex Avila (C) filed for $5.35M, team filed for $3.75M (source)

Players and teams can still reach agreements to avoid arbitration between now and when hearings start on February 1st. However, some teams simply don’t negotiate once the filing deadline passes. The Braves are one of them, as David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. GM Frank Wren said, “We have an organization philosophy of the filing date is our last date to negotiate prior to a hearing. We’re done.”

Last year, exactly zero cases went to arbitration for the first time in baseball history.

Dusty Baker hired to manage the Astros

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Note: This was first posted yesterday morning. Now that it has been confirmed by multiple outlets, we are updating it.

The Astros and Dusty Baker have an agreement to make Baker the new manager of the Houston Astros. Baker’s hiring was first reported by Bob Nightengale of USA Today yesterday. Today his hiring was confirmed by Marl Feinsand of MLB.com, citing multiple sources.

Baker recently interviewed with Astros owner Jim Crane who, as you know, was in the position of having to find a new manager on the quick given the suspension and subsequent firing of A.J. Hinch in the wake of the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal. Crane also interviewed Brad Ausmus in recent days.

In Baker the Astros are getting a manager who needs no training and needs no introduction. He has won basically everywhere he has managed, taking the Giants to the World Series in three postseason appearances, taking the Cubs to the postseason once, taking the Reds to the postseason three times and taking the Nationals to the postseason in both years at the helm. In 22 years as a skipper he has a record of 1,863-1,636. His worst single-team winning percentage is .497 with the Cubs. He was a .593 manager in Washington, a .540 manager in San Francisco, and a .524 manager in Cincinnati.

Baker has a track record of taking over poor-to-decent clubs and, almost immediately, making them winners. He did it in Washington, he did it in Cincinnati, he did it in San Francisco and, though it was only in his first season before running into some bad years, he even did it in Chicago. No one has the market cornered on assessing manager skill and quality, but the fact that Baker has won everywhere he’s gone probably means that, if they do eventually figure out what the special sauce is, Baker will be found to have possessed a vat of it.

He certainly has an interesting challenge in Houston. Unlike his past gigs, he’s taking over a monster of a team, winners of 107 games and the AL pennant last year and, of course, winning the 2017 World Series. With the exception of Gerrit Cole, who departed via free agency, basically all of the players who took the Nationals to Game 7 of the 2019 World Series will be back in 2020.

Which makes figuring out the expectations we should have for Baker an interesting thing. On the one hand, when a team loses Game 7 of the World Series like the Astros did, all but one outcome is a step back. Given that winning a World Series is no guarantee, ever, there’s a chance that even if Baker does an amazing job in Houston he ends his tenure being cast, again, as some sort of disappointment. A guy who couldn’t get it done in the postseason.

On the other hand the Astros have just been busted in a massive cheating scandal and — if you believe they were still cheating in 2019, which some do believe — they will have lost an advantage they once had. Between that, the departure of Cole and the overall fallout of the sign-stealing scandal and the scrutiny under which the team will be in 2020, it would not be at all shocking if they take a step back regardless of who was hired to manage. Which means that if Baker does win it all with Houston, man, it’d be a hell of an accomplishment. Or he could fall short of a World Series win and still be considered a massive success by virtue of keeping a team with every reason to be distracted to stay focused and play good baseball.

No matter how this plays out on the field, however, the fact of the matter is that, in addition to winning everyplace he’s ever been, Baker has long been praised for his management of the clubhouse. For motivating players and keeping them on an even keel. For bringing calm to places where one might expect storms. Win or lose, that’s exactly what this team needs right now. It’s exactly why, in our view, Baker is the perfect hire for the Houston Astros.