Free agent right-hander Mike Fiers is nearing a deal with the Athletics, Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported Saturday. While it doesn’t appear the deal has been formally announced yet, Morosi hears it’s a two-year contract “between $14 million and $15 million.”
Fiers, 33, first arrived in Oakland last August during a multi-player trade from the Tigers. The veteran righty finished out his eighth major-league campaign with a cumulative 12-8 record in 31 starts and a 3.56 ERA, 1.9 BB/9, 7.3 SO/9 and 1.4 fWAR through 172 innings for the two clubs, then was non-tendered by the Athletics in November. Those results present a marked improvement over his two-year tenure with the Astros in 2016-2017, however, and something the A’s will be able to sink their teeth into as they look for more stable contributors to bring them back to the cusp of another division title in 2019.
Right now, the Athletics are poised to enter the 2019 season with some combination of right-handers Daniel Mengden, Aaron Brooks, Paul Blackburn, Chris Bassitt and Frankie Montas (and, possibly, left-handed prospect Jesus Luzardo) in their rotation. They placed 20th among all major-league rotations in 2018 with a collective 4.17 ERA and 7.8 fWAR, worse than every division rival save the no. 27 Rangers.
The Yankees appear to have moved on from free agent Manny Machado this winter, but could they be turning their attention to Rockies superstar Nolan Arenado? That’s the idea floated by Andy Martino of SNY, who hears that GM Brian Cashman has been involved in recent discussions concerning the third baseman. No official comments have been made to the press yet, though, and it’s not clear whether the Yankees would prefer to pursue Arenado prior to the 2019 season or partway through it.
The 27-year-old infielder earned his fourth consecutive All-Star nomination, Silver Slugger, and Gold Glove award in 2018 after slashing .297/.374/.561 with 38 home runs, a .935 OPS, and 5.7 fWAR across 673 plate appearances. There’s no question he’s provided immense value to Colorado’s lineup over the last half-decade, and his consistency and incredible power at the plate helped form the basis of the record $30 million arbitration figure he presented to the team last week. The Rockies countered at $24 million, however, and in doing so may have jeopardized their chances of convincing the infielder to forego free agency in 2020 and take a long-term deal instead.
Assuming he declines to negotiate an extension with the Rockies, Arenado’s decorated résumé and career-best 2018 numbers should attract plenty of interest around the league — a reality that could put considerable pressure on the Yankees (or any other interested party) to finesse a deal sooner rather than later. For now, the club is prepared to enter the 2019 season with hot-hitting third baseman Miguel Andújar, whom Martino speculates would be the “centerpiece” of any trade with Colorado.