Arizona Diamondbacks

Diamondbacks sign Merrill Kelly to two-year, $5.5 million deal

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Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that the Diamondbacks and pitcher Merrill Kelly have agreed to a two-year, $5.5 million contract. The deal also includes club options for 2021 ($4.25 million with $500,000 buyout) and 2022 ($5.25 million, no buyout).

Kelly, 30, was selected by the Rays in the eighth round of the 2010 draft. He pitched in the Rays’ minor league system through 2014, reaching Triple-A and generally posting good numbers, though he never received a call up to the majors. Kelly signed with the SK Wyverns of the Korean Baseball Organization for the 2015-18 seasons. Overseas, Kelly showed an improved ability to strike batters out and also displayed better command than he did in the minors, which helped pique the D-Backs’ interest.

Passan notes that Kelly is expected to be part of the Diamondbacks’ starting rotation, which presently includes Zack Greinke, Taijuan Walker, Zack Godley, and Robbie Ray.

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.