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 Arizona Diamondbacks have fired General Manager Dave Stewart and Manager Chip Hale on Monday, according to a team announcement.
The swift movement of Diamondbacks’ management has been expected for some time now; it was widely believed a regime change would be put in place following a dismal 2016 season.
Despite the firings of both Stewart and Hale, Diamondbacks’ Chief Baseball Officer Tony La Russa may still have a job in 2017, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports and other media reports. Arizona is reportedly undecided as to whether La Russa will be a part of the team’s future plans.
The Diamondbacks promised a competitive 2016 season after the front office signed ace starting pitcher Zack Greinke to a six-year, $206.5 million deal and traded for Shelby Miller from the Atlanta Braves, among other moves. However, the team did not live up to hefty expectations, finishing 69-93, ranking fourth in the NL West.
The Shelby Miller trade, in particular, is shaping up to be one of the most lopsided trades in recent memory. The Diamondbacks’ traded former No. 1 overall pick Dansby Swanson, along with other valuable pieces, in order to get Miller, who stumbled to a 6.15 ERA in 101 innings at the big league level (Miller was actually demoted to Triple-A during the season).
There has been no word on possible replacements for Stewart and Hale, though Ray Montgomery and Phil Nevin could be fits, as Robert Murray of FanRag says.
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.
San Diego Padres general manager A.J. Preller has been suspended without pay for 30 days for providing inaccurate medicals during trade talks, Major League Baseball announced.
Preller's suspension specifically relates to the Padres' trade of Drew Pomeranz to the Boston Red Sox, though the Miami Marlins, Chicago White Sox and one other unnamed club reportedly complained to the league, believing that San Diego did not provide full medicals when completing trades.
Perhaps the most notable of these incidents came with the Marlins, when right-handed starter Collin Rea exited his first game with Miami with elbow soreness. The Marlins allegedly were informed that the Padres did not provide full details on Rea, and they returned him to San Diego for highly touted right-handed pitching prospect Luis Castillo.
According toESPN's Buster Olney, the Padres' inaccuracies with their medicals ranged just past their trades.
Major League Baseball has a centralized injury report system known as the Sutton Medical System. Here, teams report their players' issues, varying in degree from getting some aspirin to going on the disabled list and having Tommy John surgery.
According to Olney, most teams had approximately 60 entries in the Sutton Medical System by the All-Star Break. The Padres, rather, had fewer than 10.
When teams are close to completing a trade, players' identifications are exchanged in the system, allowing teams to see the medical history of a player they will be acquiring to make an informed decision as to whether they are worth trading for.
The suspension was handed down by Major League Baseball this afternoon. The Padres and Preller each released statements in response.
"I accept full responsibility for issues related to the oversight of our medical administration and record keeping. I want to emphasize that there was no malicious intent on the part of me, or anyone on my staff, to conceal information or disregard MLB’s recommended guidelines. This has been a learning process for me. I will serve my punishment and look forward to being back on the job in 30 days."
From Padres Executive Chairman Ron Fowler, Managing Partner Peter Siedler and President and CEO Mike Dee:
"We accept the discipline handed down from Major League Baseball earlier today and will fully comply with Commissioner Manfred's recommendations pertaining to changes with our medical administration and record keeping. Rest assured, we will leave no stone unturned in developing comprehensive processes to remediate this unintentional, but inexcusable, occurrence. To be clear, we believe that there was no intent on the part of A.J. Preller or other members of our baseball operations staff to mislead other clubs. We are obviously disappointed that we will lose A.J.’s services for 30 days, but will work closely with him upon his reinstatement to ensure that this unfortunate set of circumstances does not happen again."
Today's suspension was not the first of its kind for Preller.
In 2010, while the Texas Rangers' Assistant General Manager, Preller was suspended for three months for violating international signing rules. Since moving to San Diego, he again was reprimanded for conducting an international workout that is against industry regulations.
The Miami Marlins have acquired outfielder Jeff Francoeur in a three-team trade with the Atlanta Braves and Texas Rangers on Wednesday, as Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported.
In the deal, the Braves acquired minor league first baseman and shortstop Dylan Moore from the Rangers and minor league catcher Matt Foley from the Marlins. Texas received three international signing bonus slots (two from Miami and one from Atlanta).
The 32-year-old Francoeur will provide outfield depth for the Marlins, especially in the wake of Giancarlo Stanton's groin injury that could keep him out for the rest of the season.
Francoeur also will be a veteran presence in an otherwise young and inexperienced clubhouse, something that the Braves had relished during his stay. In fact, the team decided to hold onto Francoeur at the non-waiver trade deadline due to this.
As for performance, Francoeur does not provide loads of value. This season, he is hitting .249/.290/.381 with seven home runs and 33 runs batted in over 276 plate appearances.
Francoeur has played a tick above replacement level with defense and base running added in, with his wins above replacement checking in at 0.1, per FanGraphs.
In dealing Francoeur, the Braves will receive the 24-year-old Moore. The Rangers' 7th round pick in 2015, Moore has hit for an .816 OPS in 494 plate appearances between Class-A and Class-A Advanced. He is not among the Rangers' top-30 prospects, per MLB.com.
The Braves also received the 22-year-old Foley from the Marlins. The 40th round pick in 2015 has a .644 OPS in 44 plate appearances Rookie-Level and Class-A Short Season this season.