The St. Louis Cardinals have announced the signing of outfielder Dexter Fowler on Friday.
KSDK's Frank Cusumano first reported that Fowler was en route to St. Louis to take a physical. FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports that Fowler has earned a five-year, $82.5 million deal.
Fowler's $16.5 million annual average value ranks as one of the 30 highest outfield contracts in MLB history.
It's been quite a year for Fowler, who took a one-year, $13 million deal with the Cubs in February after turning down a qualifying offer and not receiving lots of interest. Betting on himself obviously turned out well for Fowler, as he was not only able to win a World Series, but turn in a career year as well.
Fowler will fit well in St. Louis, who lost corner outfielder Matt Holliday to the Yankees in free agency this offseason. Now, he will play center alongside Randal Grichuk in left field and Stephen Piscotty in right right.
Prior to the offseason, MLBTradeRumors.com projected Fowler to earn a $64 million deal, so he obviously did very well in this contract.
Last season, Fowler hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs and 48 RBIs over 551 plate appearances in 125 games with the Cubs. He posted a 129 wrC+ and a 4.7 WAR, according to FanGraphs.
In addition to the Cardinals, the Giants and Blue Jays were connected to Fowler, and the Nationals also internally showed interest before acquiring Adam Eaton in a trade.
The New York Yankees have signed Aroldis Chapman on Wednesday, as first reported by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
Chapman and the Yankees have agreed to a contract spanning five seasons and worth $86 million, reports Rosenthal.
The deal includes a full no-trade clause for the first three seasons of the deal and a limited no-trade to California teams in the two years thereafter. The deal has an opt-out clause following the 2019 season.
Here is the latest news from the past few days.
Cubs Extend Theo Epstein on Five-Year Deal
The Chicago Cubs announced that they have extended President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein on a five-year deal today.
Epstein, 42, has been with the Cubs since 2012, leading them through their rebuilding process. His current deal was set to expire after the end of this season, but there was no question on whether he was going to go elsewhere.
Now, the team rewarded him with a contract that will pay him $50 million, according to multiple reports, making him the highest-paid executive in the sport.
It appears, though, that Epstein deserves to be paid as such, taking the Cubs from a 61-win season in 2012 (when he inherited them) to a 101-win (and counting) season in 2016.
The Cubs, who have not won the World Series since 1908, are the odds-on favorite to do so this year. That appeared to have been Epstein's goal when coming to Chicago from the Boston Red Sox in the first place: to break the Cubs' World Series drought.
Marlins Extend Martin Prado
In another extension, the Miami Marlins have agreed to a three-year, $40 million contract with infielder Martin Prado, according to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald on Monday.
Prado set to become a free agent at the end of the offseason. Now, the 2016-17 free agent class--already notorious for being thin--becomes even weaker. Prado was one of the better position player free agents, but as a known clubhouse leader in Miami, it appears that both sides wanted him to stay put.
Prado has bounced around a bit in his 11-year MLB career, but his past two seasons with the Marlins have been two of his more successful campaigns overall.
His current contract, a four-year, $40 million deal, was signed with the Braves in the 2012-13 offseason, but he was immediately shipped to the Arizona Diamondbacks in a trade for Justin Upton. He was traded again in 2014 and headed to the Yankees, before landing with Miami in yet another trade that year.
He's been with the Marlins since, and all he has done is hit. In 2016, Prado is hitting .304/.359/.413 with seven home runs and 68 RBI over 647 plate appearances, walking 49 times and striking out 69. With solid defense at third base, Prado has been worth 3.0 Wins Above Replacement (fWAR), per FanGraphs.
Prado will now be a mainstay in Miami at least through the 2019 season.
The Chicago Cubs and New York Yankees completed a blockbuster trade on Monday, marking the second major move of the 2016 trade deadline season.
According to numerous reports, but first reported by Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, the Cubs have acquired All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman from the Yankees in a blockbuster deal.
In exchange for Chapman, the Yankees received the Cubs' No. 1 prospect, shortstop Gleybar Torres. In addition, right-handed pitcher Adam Warren and outfield prospects Billy McKinney and Rashad Crawford are also heading to the Yankees.
On Saturday, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported that the Yankees were telling teams that they were close to dealing Chapman. They wanted to finalize the process of getting a deal done. Today, those intentions were fulfilled.
As of Sunday, the Cubs were reportedly asking for an extension with Chapman before pulling the trigger on a deal. He is scheduled to hit free agency at the end of the season. It's unknown if the sides are discussing a deal.
The 28-year-old left-hander was suspended the first 30 games this season due to a domestic violence incident last offseason but has returned to his former ways since.
Chapman, who is known for reaching 100 MPH with his fastball quite frequently, has a 3-0 record with a 2.01 ERA and a 44 to 8 strikeout-to-walk ratio (1.93 FIP) in 31 1/3 innings pitched this season. He has recorded 20 saves in 21 chances.
Chapman will be a good fit for the Cubs. He will probably serve as their closer going forward, though Hector Rondon, the Cubs' current closer, has been phenomenal this season (1.95 ERA, 18/22 in saves).
With this deal, Rondon will likely be converted to a setup man, and he could return to the closer's position if Chapman leaves in the offseason through free agency.
For the Yankees, this deal does not signify a complete rebuilding effort, but it is more of a retooling effort. Dealing Chapman makes sense purely because he will not be there long-term. And they got some good talent for him.
Torres, 19, is one of the best prospects in all of baseball and is listed as the Cubs' No. 1 prospect on MLB.com. He has a .791 OPS this season in High-A Myrtle Beach, where he is three-and-a-half years younger than his average competition.
Warren, 28, has a 5.91 ERA and a 27 to 19 strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.83 FIP) in 35 innings pitched with the Cubs this season. He was just optioned to Triple-A Iowa.
The thing with Warren is that he was successful while with the Yankees from 2012 to 2015, however. He posted a 3.39 ERA in 289 1/3 innings pitched there, being used as both as a starter and a back-end reliever. He is very versatile.
McKinney, 21, is a consensus top-100 prospect and was acquired in the Jeff Samardzija deal from the Athletics. In Double-A this season, he has a .677 OPS in 349 plate appearances.
Crawford, 22, is a former 11th round pick by the Cubs who has a .713 OPS at Class-A Myrtle Beach this season.
The New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs are discussing a deal that would send left-handed reliever Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs, as Christopher Meola reported today.
Meola reports that the early names being discussed in this deal include Adam Warren and Javier Baez, both of whom would go to New York if the deal is completed.
On the contrary, Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic Chicago denied Meola's report, saying that the Cubs have not "engaged in talks" for Chapman. Julie DiCaro of 670 The Score reports that Chapman's name has come up in trade talks between the two sides.
The 28-year-old Chapman is one of the best relievers in the Major Leagues. Consistently hitting 100 miles per hour (MPH) on his fastball, Chapman has posted a 1.93 ERA in 14 innings this year, saving 11 games in 12 opportunities.
With a 21 to 3 strikeout-to-walk ratio (currently the best of his career), Chapman has a 0.77 FIP and a 2.28 xFIP. He has been worth 0.8 FanGraphs Wins Above Replacement (fWAR).
Chapman was suspended for the first 30 games this season due to violations of Major League Baseball's domestic violence policy.
A trade for Chapman could make sense for the Cubs, who currently rank 18th in the Major Leagues with just 0.4 fWAR from their relievers collectively. Their collective relievers' ERA is one of the better in the league (7th), but FIP (20th) and xFIP (8th) suggest that it may not be sustainable.
Hector Rondon has been the Cubs' closer this year, and he's done an excellent job in the role, pitching to his similarly fantastic 1.40 ERA and 1.89 FIP. He's saved all 11 opportunities. So, if the Cubs do get Chapman, he may not close for them going forward.
Chapman was arbitration eligible for the final time this past offseason, and he settled with the Yankees for $11.325 million. He will be a free agent at the end of the season.
Note: Meola has been correct on many reports in the past, including Kenta Maeda's deal with the Dodgers and Giancarlo Stanton's mega deal with the Marlins.