The Cubs had a one-year deal in place with outfielder Chris Denorfia in place on New Year’s Eve and made it official today, per the club’s official Twitter. Denorfia will earn $2.6 million in 2015 and can earn an additional $400,000 in incentives.
Denorfia, 34, had the worst offensive season of his career in 2014, posting a .612 OPS in 268 plate appearances for the Padres before being sent to the Mariners at the trade deadline. In Seattle, he compiled a .573 OPS in 90 plate appearances. The Cubs are likely to limit Denorfia to left-handed pitching as his career OPS is over 110 points higher against them than against right-handers.
Regardless of his production with the bat, Denorfia has value since he has a significant amount of experience at all three outfield positions and plays above-average defense.
Another big free agent domino has fallen at the Winter Meetings in San Diego. Third baseman Anthony Rendon is signing with the Angels on seven-year, $245 million contract, per Jon Heyman.
Rendon, 29, was the top free agent position player. He’s coming off of a season in which he helped the Nationals win their first championship, batting .319/.412/.598 with a league-high 126 RBI and an NL-best 44 doubles along with 34 home runs and 117 runs scored in 646 plate appearances. Rendon also continued to play solid defense at third base. During the postseason, Rendon hit .328/.412/.590 with seven doubles, three homers, 15 RBI, and 11 runs scored in 75 trips to the plate.
The Angels badly needed to make a big free agent splash this offseason, and third base was as good a place as any to do it. Rendon will now slot easily into the middle of the Angels’ lineup along with Mike Trout. It remains to be seen if the Angels are done making moves, but they could use a corner outfielder and another starting pitcher.
Humorously, Rendon has said he’d like to retire by age 35, as Jesse Daugherty of the Washington Post alluded to on the Nationals Talk Podcast. This contract will take him through his age-36 season.