Cardinals, Jordan Walden avoid arbitration with two-year deal

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Right-hander Jordan Walden, who was acquired from the Braves in the Jason Heyward swap, has avoided arbitration with the Cardinals by agreeing to a two-year, $6.6 million contract.

Walden’s deal also includes a team option for 2017, which would cover his first year of free agency.

Walden has somewhat quietly been a top-notch setup man for most of his five-year career, throwing 212 innings with a 3.10 ERA and 10.8 strikeouts per nine frames. That includes a 2.88 ERA and 62/27 K/BB ratio in 50 innings for the Braves this past season, so expect Walden to be a big part of the Cardinals’ bullpen.

Oakland Athletics reverse course, will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.