Dodgers acquire reliever Corey Knebel from Brewers

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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MILWAUKEE — The World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers acquired reliever Corey Knebel from the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday for a player to be named or cash.

Milwaukee had been facing a Wednesday night deadline on whether to offer Knebel a 2021 contract. Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns said the deal was completed before that deadline.

The 29-year-old Knebel was an All-Star in 2017 and a key part of the Brewers’ bullpen during their run to the 2018 NL Championship Series. The right-hander missed the 2019 season with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow and struggled after returning last season.

“Corey had a tremendous career as a Brewer,” Stearns said. “He pitched in some of the biggest games in the history of this franchise, and he pitched incredibly well in those games. … Corey’s meant a lot to this franchise. He’s earned the respect of a lot of people around the Brewers, and we wish him very well.”

Knebel’s best season came in 2017, when he went 1-4 with 39 saves and a 1.78 ERA in 76 appearances. He had a 6.08 ERA in 15 games last season.

The 2013 first-round draft pick has a career ERA of 3.31 with 57 saves in 239 relief appearances. He pitched eight games for Detroit in 2014 and had been with Milwaukee ever since.

The Brewers also announced Wednesday they did not tender contracts to left-hander Alex Claudio, outfielder Ben Gamel and utilityman Jace Peterson. The team reached one-year deals with shortstop Orlando Arcia ($2 million), first baseman Daniel Vogelbach ($1.4 million) and catchers Omar Narvaez ($2.5 million) and Manny Pina ($1.65 million).

Claudio compiled a 4.26 ERA in 20 appearances last season. Gamel batted .237 with three homers and 10 RBIs in 40 games. Peterson hit .200 with two homers and five RBIs in 26 games.

In another move, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press that the Brewers have agreed to terms on a major league contract with catcher Luke Maile. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the deal had not been announced.

Maile, who was with the Pittsburgh Pirates last season, missed the entire abbreviated season due to a broken right index finger. The 29-year-old played for Tampa Bay from 2015-16 and Toronto from 2017-19.

He is well-regarded for his defense and has a career batting average of .198 with 10 homers and 60 RBIs in 215 games.

The Brewers struggled to get much from their catchers last season.

Narvaez was coming off a 22-homer season when the Brewers acquired him from Seattle in December 2019, but he batted just .176 with two homers and 10 RBIs over 40 games with Milwaukee.

Pina batted .231 with two homers and five RBIs in 15 games before season-ending knee surgery. Jacob Nottingham hit .188 with four homers and 13 RBIs in 20 games.

Jeffrey Springs, Rays agree to $31 million, 4-year contract

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Left-hander Jeffrey Springs became the first of the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration salaries with their teams to reach a deal, agreeing Wednesday to a $31 million, four-year contract with the Tampa Bay Rays that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

The 30-year old was among seven Rays who swapped arbitration figures with the team on Jan. 13. He began last season in the bullpen, transitioned to the starting rotation in May and finished 9-5 with a 2.46 ERA in 33 appearances, including 25 starts. He is 14-6 with a 2.70 ERA in 76 outings – 51 of them in relief – since he was acquired from Boston in February 2021.

Springs gets $4 million this year, $5.25 million in 2024 and $10.5 million in each of the following two seasons. Tampa Bay has a $15 million option for 2027 with a $750,000 buyout.

The 2025 and 2026 salaries can escalate by up to $3.75 million each based on innings in 2023-24 combined: $1.5 million for 300, $1 million for 325, $750,000 for 350 and $500,000 for 375. The `25 and ’26 salaries also can escalate based on finish in Cy Young Award voting in `23 and ’24: $2 million for winning, $1.5 million for finishing second through fifth in the voting and $250,000 for finishing sixth through 10th.

Tampa Bay’s option price could escalate based on Cy Young voting in 2025 and 2026: by $2.5 million for winning, $2 million for finishing second through fifth and $500,000 for sixth through 10th.

Springs would get $45.25 million if the option is exercised, $52.75 million with the option and meeting all innings targets and the maximum if he meetings the innings targets and wins two Cy Youngs.

Springs’ ERA last season was the second lowest in franchise history for a pitcher working a minimum of 100 innings. Former Rays ace Blake Snell compiled 1.89 ERA on the way to winning the 2018 AL Cy Young.

In addition to finishing sixth in the AL in ERA, Springs allowed three runs or fewer in 22 of 25 starts and two runs or fewer 17 times. He joined Tampa Bay’s rotation on May 9, gradually increasing his workload over his next six appearances. Springs was 6-3 with a 2.40 ERA in 14 starts after the All-Star break.

Arbitration hearings start next week and the Rays remain with the most players scheduled to appear before three-person panels.

Springs had asked for a raise from $947,500 to $3.55 million and had been offered $2.7 million. Tampa remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam, Pete Fairbanks and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, third baseman Yandy Diaz and outfielder Harold Ramirez.

Tampa Bay also agreed minor league contacts with catcher Gavin Collins and right-hander Jaime Schultz, who will report to major league spring training.

Infielder Austin Shenton and pitchers Anthony Molina and Joe LaSorsa also were invited to big league spring training.