The Texas Rangers have agreed to sign shortstop Ian Desmond, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported Sunday.
Desmond's deal is a one-year, $8 million pact, and it is pending a physical.
Despite playing shortstop his entire Major League career, Desmond will become the Rangers' primary left fielder. Many around the game had noted that Desmond would likely have to change positions in order to find a new home.
The need for a left fielder arose when Josh Hamilton reported to Spring Training with a sore knee. He was reportedly seen on crutches just days ago, and he will begin the season on the disabled list.
Desmond has practically zero professional experience in the outfield.
He has a combined 15 innings of work there over the course of his Major and Minor League career. His last time playing in the outfield came in 2010, appearing in right field for a single out.
Position aside, it has been quite a downfall for Desmond over the last few years.
The Washington Post reported that the Washington Nationals offered Desmond was a seven-year, $107 million contract extension during the 2013-2014 offseason. He turned it down, setting for a two-year, $17.5 million pact to buyout his final two arbitration seasons.
Desmond was then offered a qualifying offer at the beginning of this offseason, which would have been a one-year, $15.8 million signing to stay with Washington. That was turned down as well.
He was then tied to draft pick compensation, limiting his value and lengthening his stay in free agency to trickle into the New Year. Now, at the end of February, Desmond was forced to take a 27 percent pay cut from his 2015 salary of $11 million.
Poor performance also played a role in Desmond's inability to find a new club.
The 30-year-old hit .233/.290/.384 with 19 home runs and 62 RBIs in 641 plate appearances in 2015. His 80 OPS+ was the lowest since 2011. FanGraphs pegged him at just 1.7 Wins Above Replacement, also the lowest since that season.
Desmond now heads to Texas for a season, where he hopes to rebuild value playing outside his normal position.
He'll hit the market again next fall, but again will be eligible for a qualifying offer, if his play warrants one. But with a rebound season, Desmond may be able to recoup some of the money he lost during his time with the Nationals.
Considering his age and ability to stay healthy, it's definitely possible he could rebound, and this may all work out for him.
The Chicago Cubs have re-signed outfielder Dexter Fowler, they announced on Thursday.
Fowler has signed a one-year, $8 million deal with a mutual option for 2017, according to Mark Gonzalez of the Chicago Tribune. The mutual option for next season is worth $9 million and comes with a $5 million buyout, guaranteeing Fowler $13 million total.
The move came as a shock to fans, writers, and others in the industry.
The Orioles had reportedly finalized a three-year, $33 million deal with Fowler on Feb. 23, but according to Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com, the team balked at completing the deal after Fowler demanded an opt-out after one season.
Fowler's agent, Casey Close, released a statement saying that his client had not reached a deal with the Orioles nor came close to one.
"Both the Orioles front office and members of the media were so busy recklessly spreading rumors that they forgot or simply chose not to concern themselves with the truth," Close said.
Orioles controversy aside, Fowler returns to a Cubs team that is now even more dangerous. Last season, they won 97 games. Then, they went out this offseason and virtually upgraded Chris Coghlan with Jason Heyward, while also signing Ben Zobrist (and John Lackey to their pitching staff).
Fowler's re-addition to the club provides them with a real solution at the top of the order. Prior to this re-signing, Heyward, Zobrist, or someone else may have been the Cubs' leadoff guy. Now, Fowler will be penciled in there, playing center field, almost daily.
Soon to be 30, Fowler had an extremely good season in 2015.
FanGraphs' says that he was worth 3.0 Wins Above Replacement after posting a .250/.346/.411 slash line with 17 home runs, 46 RBIs, and 20 stolen bases in 696 plate appearances.
The Cubs had offered Fowler a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer at the beginning of this offseason, but he turned it down to test to market. As the case with other free agents, he was tied to draft pick compensation. This likely served as a turnoff for many teams while he was looking for a new employer.
Now, while Fowler does get a possible second year on the deal, he is forced to take a guaranteed money pay cut, as Fowler is now guaranteed only $13 million.
Updated on Wednesday, Feb. 24: The Orioles and Gallardo have restructured their contract, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com and Jon Heyman of MLB Network.
Under the new deal, Gallardo will make $22 million over two seasons, a $13 million drop in guaranteed cash. He has a chance to earn $11 million more with a team option for a third season. If Gallardo earns all possible money, he will make $33 million.
Updated on Tuesday, Feb. 23: Physical exam issues with Gallardo have caused the deal to hit a snag, according to media reports. There is uncertainty as to whether the deal will be completed.
The Baltimore Orioles have agreed to sign right-handed pitcher Yovani Gallardo, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported Saturday.
Gallardo and the Orioles have agreed to a three-year, $35 million deal, per Heyman. The deal includes a club option for a fourth season for $13 million, according to SB Nation's Chris Cotillo with a buyout of $2 million.
Some of the money in Gallardo's deal will be deferred.
This means that his $35 million guarantee won't be paid all over the three seasons of the contract. The Orioles will continue to pay Gallardo after he reaches free agency again. This lowers the present-day value of the deal due to inflation rates.
The completion of a deal for Gallardo ends an offseason-long saga.
He was given a qualifying offer by the Texas Rangers at the conclusion of the World Series. Gallardo rejected it, and he was then tied to draft pick compensation. Like many free agents, this deterred teams from wanting to strike a pact.
The Orioles have been in advanced discussions with Gallardo for some time now, as they were reportedly close to signing him on Feb. 10.
Besides the Orioles, Gallardo also received the most interest from the Rockies and Astros, but the latter ducked out of the sweepstakes after signing Doug Fister. Colorado was thought at one time to have been close to a deal, but it obviously never crossed the finish line.
All things aside, Gallardo adds some much-needed depth to Baltimore's 2016 rotation.
He is projected to be pitching alongside Ubaldo Jimenez, Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez, and Kevin Gausman in the rotation come Opening Day.
The 29-year-old Gallardo was 13-11 with a 3.42 ERA in 184 1/3 innings pitched with Texas last season. He posted a 121 to 68 strikeout-to-walk ratio, good for a 4.00 FIP and a 4.31 xFIP. According to FanGraphs, he was worth 2.5 Wins Above Replacement.
Over his career, Gallardo has a 3.66 ERA, 3.74 FIP, and 3.65 xFIP in nine Major League seasons with the Brewers and Rangers.
Update, February 25, 2016: In a surprising turn of events, the Cubs announced a signing of Fowler. Read about the controversy here.
The Baltimore Orioles have agreed to sign outfielder Dexter Fowler, Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com reported Tuesday.
A pair of reports from ESPN's Buster Olney and MLB Network's Jon Heyman say that the deal is a three-year contract and is worth $33 million. Since the deal is not official, it is still pending a physical.
The Orioles get a deal done with Fowler just days after solidifying their rotation with Yovani Gallardo. However, the latter deal may fall apart, as concerns have been raised with Gallardo's physical. This puts Fowler's pending physical under more scrutiny.
Physical aside, Fowler will cost the Orioles either their first or second round pick (depending on whether the Gallardo deal goes through). He was offered a qualifying offer from his former team, the Cubs, at the beginning of the offseason in November.
That is part of the reason why Fowler remained unsigned for so long. Teams apparently were not willing to forfeit a draft pick in order to sign Fowler, leaving him without an employer until now.
That is not saying that Fowler was not a good performer by any means.
In fact, he was quite valuable last season, hitting .250/.346/.411 with 17 home runs and 46 RBIs in 690 plate appearances. Fowler, soon to be 30, added 20 stolen bases in 27 attempts. According to FanGraphs, he was worth a solid 3.2 fWAR, good for 11th in the Major Leagues amongst center fielders.
Fowler makes a good Orioles offense even better.
The team already boasts Manny Machado, Chris Davis, Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, and Mark Trumbo in the middle of the order, and now Fowler gives them a fantastic leadoff presence.
In the outfield, Fowler helps as well. Orioles' outfielders posted the second-worst wRC+ in 2015, likely due to the fact that only Adam Jones was considered an above-average bat there.
While it will cost the Orioles a draft pick, Fowler, especially at just $11 million per season, is a valuable upgrade for a team that is looking to capture the AL East in 2016.
The Cleveland Indians have agreed to terms with infielder Juan Uribe, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported on Friday.
According to a report from Buster Olney of ESPN, Uribe agreed to a one-year deal worth $4 million plus incentives. The deal is still pending a physical.
Cleveland has needed infield help for some time now, but they have been unwilling to spend big on free agents. Though a modest signing, Uribe should come in as the starting third baseman in Cleveland. They did not have a legitimate option there last year.
In fact, Indians' third basemen were the third-worst in the Majors last season in wRC+, with a 72 mark. Offense was scarce for Cleveland third basemen, but overall, they were worth 1.2 fWAR due to solid defense. Even still, that was 23rd in the Majors.
Uribe, soon to be 37, hit for a .253/.320/.417 slash line last season, playing for the Dodgers, Braves, and Mets. He swatted 14 home runs and drove in 43 RBIs in 397 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, he was worth 1.9 Wins Above Replacement.
Despite his age, Uribe was still an above-average contribution on both sides of the ball.
Over his career, Uribe has a .256/.303/.421 slash line in 15 Major League seasons. He has been worth a combined 24.4 fWAR.