Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association have reached a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA), as first reported by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and later confirmed by the league.
The current CBA, which has been in place since 2012, was set to expire at midnight on Dec. 1.
With the new five-year deal, baseball will now have 27 consecutive years of labor peace.
Players and owners reportedly discussed a variety of topics in the months and days leading up to the contract's expiration, leading some to believe that, at one point, a deal would not be completed by the deadline and a lockout could be put in place.
More controversial topics such as an international draft and the 26-man roster were believed to be part of the hold-up, but in the new deal, neither will be instituted.
Changes in the next CBA will include an increase in the luxury tax, which will immediately rise from $189 million in 2016 to $195 million in 2017. Under the life of the deal, the luxury tax will reach as high as $210 million.
Reforms to the qualifying offer system were also made, as well as the institution of an earlier schedule beginning in 2018 to allow for more off-days. As a result, a source told Cover Those Bases that Spring Training will be slightly cut back.
The New York Mets made a huge splash on Tuesday, re-signing slugging outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, as first reported by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
Rosenthal reports that the deal is a four-year, $110 million contract. It will also include a full no-trade clause. The deal is still pending a physical.
Cespedes' contract, at its $27.5 million annual average value, is the biggest free agent deal the Mets have ever completed. All time, Cespedes' deal ranks second in AAV for a position player, falling a few million short of Miguel Cabrera's current deal ($31 million/season).
Throughout the offseason, Cespedes had been connected to the Dodgers, Giants, Nationals and Yankees, in addition to the Mets. The latter, specifically, showed the most documented interest of the teams.
Regardless, though, Cespedes has enjoyed playing in New York, and it seemed as if he never wanted to leave, saying that "if I could spend the rest of my career with the Mets I would."
Without much thought, it is easy to see that Cespedes' deal is good for him. MLBTradeRumors.com projected him to earn a five-year, $125 million deal, so while he does not quite reach that mark in terms of total guarantee, he does surpass it in AAV.
Money aside, the deal provides some long-term stability. Cespede did sign a three-year deal with the Mets last offseason, but due to an opt-out clause after season one, it was as if he signed just a one-year pact. In 2016, Cespedes made $27.5 million, the same figure he will make over the next four years.
For the Mets, getting Cespedes back is very important, but it also provides some flexibility. Cespedes has been the heart of the Mets' lineup for the past year-and-a-half, serving them well offensively. Since Cespedes joined the team, the Mets are 110-79 when he appears in a game.
In terms of flexibility, New York could consider trading one of their outfielders due to the surplus they have at the position. The team now has four starting caliber outfield bats in Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce, Michael Conforto and Cespedes. In fact, Bruce's name has already been mentioned as a prime trade candidate.
Cespedes' deal has a lot of positives for the Mets, but mostly, it comes down to his ability to play good baseball.
Last season, Cespedes hit .280/.354/.530 with 31 home runs and 86 RBI over 543 plate appearances. He did miss some time with an injury, but according to FanGraphs, he was still worth 3.2 Wins Above Replacement.
One interesting bit from his last season performance was that Cespedes posted the highest walk rate, at 9.4 percent, of his career, leading to his highest on-base percentage since he first joined the league out of Cuba in 2012.
Though Cespedes has been in the league for only five years, he has spent time with the Oakland Athletics, Boston Red Sox, and Detroit Tigers in addition to the Mets. This long-term contract with the no-trade clause could him to stay in one place for a long time, a benefit he has yet to enjoy during his big league career.
The Miami Marlins have signed right-handed starting pitcher Edinson Volquez on Monday, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald first reported.
According to Barry Jackson, also of the Miami Herald, the two sides have agreed to a two-year, $22 million contract.
The Rangers were the only other team that reportedly showed interest in Volquez during his free agency. The Kansas City Royals declined his $10 million option in favor of a $3 million buyout.
After a small lull in free agent signings, the Marlins and Volquez have struck a deal even with the current Collective Bargaining Agreement set to expire on Thursday. With lots yet to be decided in the long-term, it appears that many have decided to wait before making big moves.
Regardless, the Marlins decided to make a late-November addition to their rotation. As a group, they posted the ninth-highest fWAR in the Major Leagues in 2016, so an addition makes sense, not even considering the tragic loss of Jose Fernandez. Going forward, Volquez will fit in the rotation alongside Wei-Yin Chen, David Phelps, Adam Conley and Tom Koehler.
Volquez, on the other hand, seemed to do well in this contract. MLBTradeRumors.com projected him to earn a one-year, $8 million deal, so going off of that, he not only earned more money per year but more money on the total guarantee.
The 33-year-old Volquez has spent the last three seasons with the Royals and did post some very good results in 2014 and 2015 before falling far off the table in 2016.
Last year, he made 34 starts, going 10-11 with a 5.37 ERA and a 139-76 K/BB ratio over 189.1 innings. Posting solid peripherals (4.57 FIP, 4.58 xFIP), Volquez still provided some value, and according to FanGraphs, he was worth 1.5 Wins Above Replacement.
The Marlins hope, though, that Volquez can return to his 2015 form, when he posted a 3.55 ERA and a 2.6 fWAR while helping the Royals capture the World Series championship.
The San Francisco Giants have at least had internal discussions on whether to pursue a trade for Boston Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval, reports Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald.
Sandoval was signed by the Giants as an amateur free agent out of Venezuela in 2003, and he had been with their organization until he left via free agency during the 2014-15 offseason.
Since joining Boston a five-year, $95 million deal, Sandoval, to say the least, has not lived up to expectations.
The contract would likely be the biggest concern when matching the two sides up in a trade, but as always, the more money the Red Sox decide to eat, the more they will receive. Of course, considering Sandoval's performance, it may not be a lot regardless.
On paper, Sandoval could be a good fit for the Giants, who appear to be headed into the 2017 season with Eduardo Nunez and Conor Gillaspie manning the hot corner. Last season, Giants' third basemen posted a .704 OPS, third worst in the National League.
As for the Red Sox, they spent basically all of 2016 without Sandoval. Travis Shaw was decent, but offensively, he did not provide a lot of spark. Boston could also turn to Yoan Moncada at third, but he did not hit in his brief stint in 2016.
In 2016, Sandoval played in just three games with Boston. He missed most of the season with a shoulder ailment that required surgery. The year prior, he posted a dismal .245/.292/.366 line with 10 homers and 47 RBI. According to FanGraphs, he was worth -2.0 Wins Above Replacement.
The Atlanta Braves have signed super utility man Sean Rodriguez, as Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported Thursday.
FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman reports that Rodriguez received a two-year, $11.5 million deal from Atlanta. He will earn $5 million in both 2017 and 2018 in addition to a $1.5 million signing bonus.
The Braves have been very active thus far this offseason, as Rodriguez is their third notable move. They signed two veteran starting pitchers--R.A. Dickey and Bartolo Colon--before adding Rodriguez to their lineup.
Going forward, Rodriguez is expected to mostly play second base with Atlanta. He does have experience at almost every position on the diamond, though, playing first, second, shortstop, third, right field, center field and left field all just last season with the Pirates.
Five teams reportedly showed interest in Rodriguez. The Blue Jays, Pirates and Dodgers were all mentioned as suitors. MLBTradeRumors.com pegged Rodriguez for a two-year, $12 million deal, so he got about what was expected money-wise.
Rodriguez had a great 2016 season, posting a .270/.349/.510 line with 18 home runs and 56 RBI over 342 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, he was worth 1.9 Wins Above Replacement.