Jon Heyman reports that the Braves have signed Tyler Flowers to a one-year contract extension.
Flowers, who would otherwise become a free agent this offseason, will make a base salary of $4 million with a $6 million club option for 2020. That option has a $2 million buyout, making it a $6 million guarantee for the Braves’ backup catcher. And though, yes, technically a backup, Flowers is closer to having the junior portion of a job-sharing agreement with Kurt Suzuki anyway, with Flowers having 230 plate appearances to Suzuki’s 321 in 2018.
Flowers, who is considered one of the better pitch-framers in the game, has done well at the plate in this three seasons with the Braves, hitting a combined .264/.365/.409 (OPS+ of 107) in 925 plate appearances. Now he’ll get at least one more season and possibly two in Atlanta.
Cubs owner Tom Ricketts met the media in Mesa, Arizona today and said a couple of things that were fun.
First, he addressed the controversy that arose earlier this month when emails of his father’s — family patriarch Joe Ricketts — were leaked, showing him forwarding and approvingly commenting on racist jokes. Ricketts apologized for those serving as a “distraction” for the Cubs which, OK. He also said “Those aren’t the values our family was raised with… I never heard my father say anything remotely racist.” If you choose to believe that a 77-year-old conservative guy who loves racist emails — who once spearheaded an anti-Obama ad campaign that required a “literate African-American” as its spokesman — hasn’t said racist stuff a-plenty, that’s between you and your credulity.
More relevant to the 2019 Cubs is this:
The Cubs aren’t in the same position as some other contenders in that (a) they don’t have a cheap payroll; and (b) are not obvious candidates for the big free agents like Harper or Machado, but I still find that comment pretty rich for an owner of one of baseball’s marquee franchises in a non-salary cap league. If nothing else, it’s an admission by Ricketts that he, like the other owners, consider the Luxury Tax to be a defacto salary cap.