Rockies, right-hander Jose Ureña agree to 1-year, $3.5M deal

Mike De Sisti/The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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DENVER – The Colorado Rockies agreed to a one-year, $3.5 million deal with right-hander Jose Urena.

Urena gets a $3 million salary next season, and the Rockies have a $4.5 million option for 2024 with a $500,000 buyout. He can make up to $1 million annually in performance bonuses for starts: $250,000 each for 15, 20, 25 and 30.

Urena, 31, started last season with Milwaukee and made four relief appearances before being released. He signed a minor league deal with the Rockies in May and joined the team two months later. He went 3-8 with a 5.14 ERA over 17 starts with Colorado. He had 60 strikeouts and 38 walks.

The pitcher from the Dominican Republic was originally signed by Miami as a non-drafted international free agent. He’s 39-62 over his career with a 4.80 ERA. His career high for wins was 14 with the Marlins in 2017.

Colorado used eight starting pitchers last season, which tied Houston for the fewest in the majors. The team turned in a 5.06 ERA, the highest in the league.

Phillies, RHP Taijuan Walker reportedly agree to 4-year deal

Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO – The active Philadelphia Phillies added Taijuan Walker to their rotation on Tuesday, agreeing to a $72 million, four-year contract with the right-hander.

A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the move to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it was pending a physical.

It was the second major free-agent score for the Phillies at the winter meetings after they reeled in shortstop Trea Turner on Monday with a $300 million, 11-year deal. Walker and Turner join a Phillies team that made it to the World Series this year before losing to the Houston Astros.

The 30-year-old Walker went 12-5 with a 3.49 ERA in 29 starts this season for the New York Mets, one of Philadelphia’s biggest NL East rivals. He slots into a rotation fronted by Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola.

The Phillies recently lost pitcher Zach Eflin in free agency to Tampa Bay.

Asked about the market for Walker earlier in the day, agent Scott Boras said it was robust.

“As you can see in the marketplace, there’s a whole number of pitchers that are throwing 60 and 70 innings that have been pursued, probably with the exception of (Jacob) deGrom, at the lower end of threshold around $13-15 million a year because the demand for quality pitching is so great,” Boras said.

“So, Tai … is one of the younger ones, one of the more durable ones and we expect him to be pursued greatly as his market unfolds.”

Walker was selected by Seattle with the No. 43 pick in the 2010 amateur draft. He made his big league debut with the Mariners in 2013.

Walker signed with New York as a free agent in February 2021. He turned down a $7.5 million player option last month in favor of a $3 million buyout, making his deal worth $17 million over two seasons.

The 6-foot-4 Walker made the All-Star team for the first time in 2021, putting together a fast start before fading to a 7-11 record with a 4.47 ERA in 30 games, 29 starts.