Outfielder Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels have agreed upon a record-setting deal on Wednesday. They agreed to a one-year, $1 million contract. Although this is not the record-setting deal you may have been thinking about, Trout's $1 million salary will make him the highest paid pre-arbitration player ever. Trout will be arbitration eligible in 2015. The previous record for a pre-arbitration contract was a tie between Ryan Howard (2007) and Albert Pujols (2003) with $900,000. Trout's deal could build a bridge into discussions for a long-term deal, as reports said a few days ago that was the case.
The 22-year-old Trout has already established himself as one of the best players in the Major Leagues, if not the best player. In his 2.070 years of service time, Trout has gone to two All Star games, won two Silver Sluggers, and has been voted American League Rookie of the Year. He's finished second in the MVP voting both seasons. In 2013, Trout hit a triple-slash line of .323/.432/.557 with 27 home runs and 97 RBI in 157 games (179 OPS+). He also stole 33 bases in 40 attempts. Trout added 9.2 total WAR to the Angels. Trout's only "liability" is his defense, where he's only added 1.4 wins to the Angels in his time there (career).
Mike Trout will continue to be one of the best players in the Major Leagues this season, and his contract will finally reflect that. A contract extension will likely come within the next couple of weeks, but if it does not, Trout has very good salary this season.
The Texas Rangers and manager Ron Washington have agreed to an extension that extends Washington through the 2015 season, according John Blake, the team's Executive Vice President of communications.
Washington has a 611-524 record in 7 years with the Rangers. He has really made this team into a contender year after year and has taken them to two World Series losses, becoming only the third African American manager to take his team to the World Series.
Aguably the best manager in Rangers history, Washington holds the club record for wins as a manager. He's taken them to their only two World Series, and has led their team to 40% of their division titles. Prior to managing the Rangers, Washington was a coach in the Mets' and Athletics' organizations and played a role in the book Moneyball. The 61-year-old will get at least two more chances to win the World Series in Texas.
Former second baseman Ian Kinsler said this about Washington in 2010.
The New York Yankees and outfielder Brett Gardner have agreed to a four-year, $52 million deal, according to media reports on Sunday. The deal includes a $12.5 million option, which includes a $2 million buyout, making Gardner's contract worth a total of $54 million.
The 30-year-old speedster was drafted by the Yankees in the 5th round of the 2005 draft. Gardner sped through the minors, posting a triple-slash line of .298/.395/.370 with 0 home runs and 35 RBI. He also added 58 steals, which was his professional career-high. He first appeared in the Major Leagues in 2008.
Since then, Gardner has focused on using his speed to his advantage. In 2,228 plate appearances, Gardner has posted a triple-slash line of .268/.352/.381 while stealing 161 bases and only being caught 38 times. Gardner, while playing center field and left field, is also a very good defender. He's posted a 8.5 dWAR since appearing in the Major Leagues. Overall, Gardner has added 19.3 wins to the Yankees as well.
In 2013, Gardner hit a triple-slash line of .273/.344/.416 with 8 home runs and 52 RBI. The leadoff hitter also stole 24 bases in 32 attempts. Gardner hit a American League leading 10 triples during the 2013 campaign. He posted a 3.4 oWAR and a 1.1 dWAR.
This offseason the Yankees signed Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran, putting Gardner's future with the Yankees somewhat in jeopardy. He was a hot trade topic, but after this extension, it seems like he will remain with the Yankees for years to come. The Yankees now do have four outfielders (Ichiro Suzuki), but it seems like one of them will be playing designated hitter. We will have to see how it plays out as we get closer to the beginning of the season.
The Baltimore Orioles and outfielder Nelson Cruz have agreed to a one-year, $8 million deal, according to media reports Saturday. Cruz can make an extra $750,000 in incentives. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported this morning that the Orioles and Cruz were close to an agreement.
The Orioles have been busy as of late, signing Ubaldo Jimenez and now Cruz in just a matter of days. Cruz had a chance at a much more favorable contract; he declined the Texas Rangers' $14.1 million qualifying offer at the beginning of the offseason. The Rangers will receive the number 30 overall pick in the 2014 draft, and the Orioles will lose the number 55 pick. The Orioles already lost the number 17 pick for the signing of Ubaldo Jimenez.
In 413 plate appearances due to a 50 game suspension (for a banned substance), Cruz hit .266/.327/.506 with 27 home runs and 76 RBI (123 OPS+). Over his career, Cruz has posted a 114 OPS+ while posting a .495 slugging percentage. Nelson Cruz has a 11.6 WAR (Baseball Reference) and a fantastic 127 oWAR over his career.
Since 2009, when Cruz received 500 plate appearances for the first time, he has hit a triple-slash line of .272/.331/.511 while averaging 27 home runs and 81 RBI per season (119 OPS+). He turned himself into one of the most feared players in the American League. In 21 career games at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Cruz has hit a triple-slash line of .333/.368/.481 while hitting hitting 2 homers and driving in 9. That would average out to about 7.5 homers and 34.5 RBI in 81 games.
The Orioles' right fielders in 2013 were among the worst in baseball. That position posted just a .668 OPS in 2013, ranking fourth-worst in the Major Leagues. Cruz will not only bring power to the lineup, but also fill a spot where the Orioles had trouble with in 2013. Their regular right fielder, Nick Markakis, posted a career-low 86 OPS+. However, Markakis has a career 113 OPS+, which should be enough to shift him to another outfield spot. With left fielder Nate McLouth now with the Nationals, expect Markakis to move to left.
The Orioles are going all-in in 2014, showing that even more by signing Nelson Cruz to just a one-year deal. The American League East will be a very exciting division to watch in 2014, as the Yankees, Orioles, Rays, and Blue Jays all are made good moves to attempt to knock off the Boston Red Sox. How will these teams stack up in 2014? It's hard to know, but the Orioles have done a really good job this offseason getting some talent that could bring them to the top of the division this upcoming season. I cannot wait for some Orioles baseball.
The Boston Red Sox and left-hander Chris Capuano have come in agreement on a one-year, $2.25 million deal, according to reports. Capuano's deal can reach up to $5 million in incentives. Capuano will likely pitch in Boston's rotation this season.
The 35-year-old pitched with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2013. He went 4-7 with a 4.26 ERA in 105 2/3 innings (24 games, 22 starts). He posted a 84 ERA+ and a -0.6 WAR this past season. Capuano has had good seasons over his career, as he has posted an ERA+ over 100 three times (minimum 100 innings). Capuano has never pitched in the American League, however he is 9-8 with a 4.78 ERA in 131 2/3 inning pitched against AL teams. Over his career, Capuano has a 4.27 ERA, a 2.68 K/BB ratio, and a 97 ERA+.
The Red Sox have been looking for pitching help this off-season after finishing 14th in the Major Leagues in pitchers' ERA. Also, following the loss of Ryan Dempster this season, they have needed another reliable starter to fill the void. And, Chris Capuano should do that. He's a veteran, and can toss plenty of solid innings.