Right-handed pitcher Jesse Crain and the Houston Astros have come to an agreement on a one-year deal, the team announced Tuesday. Financial terms and details of the deal between the sides are currently unknown.
Crain, 32, was originally drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 2002 First Year Player Draft from the University of Houston. Although he has battled injuries throughout his entire career, he has posted a career 3.05 ERA and a 1.231 WHIP. Crain has posted career lows in ERA over the past three seasons while being nominated for an All Star appearance in 2013.
The right hander went 2-3 with a fantastic 0.74 ERA and a 1.145 WHIP with the Chicago White Sox, setting career-highs in both of those marks. He tied a career high with a 11.3 SO/9 rate while posting the third-lowest BB/9 rate of his career (2.7). Crain's 2013 campaign was shortened by injuries; he was only able to appear in 38 games (36.2 IP). He was sent to Tampa Bay midseason, but did not appear in a single game with the Rays.
Crain had surgery during the offseason, and while he may be battling for the closers job in Houston, there still isn't a guarantee that he will be ready for action on the first day of camp. If Crain is able to remain healthy during the entire season, the Astros will have found a gem for a very low price. As they continue to rebuild this offseason, the Astros add another low-risk, high-reward signing to a team that looks to be much improved in 2014.
Left-handed starter Johan Santana will be making a decision on his next team soon, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports in his Sunday notes. Cafardo notes that many have speculated that he could have a reunion with the Twins because they train in Fort Myers, Florida, where Santana currently resides. It was later reported that Santana's deal will likely be a minor league deal, but it is unknown whether he would get an invite to Major League Spring Training.
Santana, 35 in 2014, is still trying to prove that he is a solid starter at the professional level. Since Santana's 134-pitch no-hitter in 2012, he has never looked like the same pitcher that has four All Star appearances and two no-hitters. Another anterior capsule (shoulder) surgery since, and Santana is trying to come back and pitch in the MLB. Over his career, Santana has a 3.20 ERA and a 1.132 WHIP over twelve big league seasons.
On Tuesday, the Rakuten Golden Eagles have agreed to post Tanaka to be up for bid by Major League teams. One of the best Japanese pitchers in the Nippon Professional Baseball league, Tanaka was destined for the MLB, just if his club had let him. MLB executives told Buster Olney a deal in the $150 million range seemed like what Tanaka would get.
Nippon Professional Baseball and the MLB agreed to new posting rules on Monday, December 16, so that the Rakuten Golden Eagles (Tanaka's former club) can receive some grievance if they lose their pitcher (max $20 million on posting fee). Shortly after, Tanaka told the Golden Eagles wanted to come to the MLB. And on Tuesday, Tanaka's wishes were fulfilled; he was posted to the Major Leagues.
Over his Japanese career, 25-year-old Masahiro Tanaka has pitched beautifully. Over his seven year NPB career, Tanaka is 99-35 with a 2.30 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP. In 2013, Tanaka was practically perfect, pitching to a 24-0 record, a 1.27 ERA, and a 0.94 WHIP. Including the postseason, Tanaka was 30-0 in 2013. Tanaka should be a solid pitcher in the Major Leagues and could make a ton of money starting this offseason.
The Yankees, Cubs, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, are the largest suitors for the right-hander. More teams will show interest now that they know Tanaka has been allowed to come the MLB. The Golden Eagles will likely have a release fee of the maximum $20 million. Every team that puts in their $20 million will be allowed to negotiate with Tanaka, but the team that signs him will be the only team to pay the Golden Eagles $20 million. At this point, it seems like every team should put in the $20 million.
Wednesday, 3:55 AM: Buster Olney acknowledged that a Major League executive said that he believed Tanaka will get a deal in the $150 million range. Japanese Yu Darvish got a five-year, $56 million deal under the old system, he notes.
Wednesday, 12:18 AM ET: Jon Morosi tweeted that a report came from Japan that stated that the Rakuten president acknowledged problems with the new posting system, but that he did not want to hold back Tanaka from the challenge of the MLB.
Tuesday, 10:58 PM ET: Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News confirmed Sankei's report, one of many reports to come before 11:00 PM.
Tuesday, 10:19 PM ET: Sankei Sports, a Japanese sports newspaper, reported (on Twitter) that Masahiro Tanaka would be posted. This report was the first official report.
Tuesday, 10:03 PM ET: Robert Murray of Sports Injury Alert tweeted that reports on a Tanaka decision are premature and that a decision is imminent according to MLB.com.
Tuesday, 8:18 PM ET: ESPN MLB reported that Tanaka would be posted. At this point, only one "major" news source had reported that he would not be posted, making it seem like he definitely would be posted.
Tuesday, 7:46 PM ET: Jim Allen of Kyodo News tweeted that an official decision would come from the Rakuten Golden Eagles at approximately 11:00 AM Japan time (9:00 PM ET).
Tuesday, 7:23 PM ET: Hernandez noted in a second tweet that the only direct quote from all these articles was from the Rakuten president stating that the Golden Eagles had made a decision, but it was unknown.
Tuesday, 7:11 PM ET: Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times tweeted a link from Sports Jiji that Masahiro Tanaka would NOT be posted for MLB teams to bid.
Tuesday, 6:25 PM ET: Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times tweeted a link from Nikkan Sports (a legitimate source) that stated that Masahiro Tanaka would be posted to the Major Leagues.
Stay tuned for more updates as Cover Those Bases hears them.
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The Los Angeles Dodgers and right-handed reliever Chris Perez have agreed on a one-year deal, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Rosenthal notes that Perez will take his physical today, which will make the deal official. Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times first reported that the Dodgers and Perez were close late Sunday evening (western time). Perez will not be closing for the Dodgers in 2014, according to reports.
Perez, the former Cardinals and Indians reliever, went 5-3 with a 4.33 ERA and a 1.426 WHIP in 54 games (87 ERA+) with Cleveland in 2013. He added a 9.0 SO/9 rate, a 3.5 BB/9 rate, and a 9.3 H/9 rate while striking out 54 in 54 innings pitched. Perez added 25 saves in 30 opportunities in 2013. He was sidelined for 28 games with a rotator cuff injury, which ultimately lowered his stock this winter. After returning from his injury through the end of the season, Perez went 3-2 with a 4.34 ERA while saving 19 of his 22 opportunities in that stretch.
Over his career, the 28-year-old has gone 15-21 with a 3.41 ERA and a 1.219 WHIP with the St. Louis Cardinals (2008-2009) and the Cleveland Indians (2009-2013). He has also posted a 117 ERA+ while averaging 26 saves per year.
The Dodgers and Perez agree to a low-risk, high-reward type of deal. Although he was injury-ridden last year, Perez did finish the season very strong and has been a great reliever in the past. You can expect Perez to come back and pitch well for the Dodgers, who had decent relief pitching in 2013 (Reliever's ERA - 3.49; 13th in MLB). Perez should help bolster that staff and be a nice option in the seventh or eighth innings going forward.