The Royals have agreed to contract terms with lefty Tim Collins to avoid arbitration, the club announced. Collins will earn $1.475MM for the 2015 season, Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com reports on Twitter. That’s exactly what he made last year and what MLBTR predicted for the coming campaign. The reason: Collins, 26, missed all of 2015 after undergoing Tommy John surgery in March. Truth be told, it’s now been some time since Collins has been at his best. He also dealt with forearm and elbow issues in 2014, throwing only 21 big league frames while watching his strikeout rate plummet to a personal low of 6.4 batters per nine. (Collins did get about twice as much work in Triple-A that season, putting up much better numbers there.) Obviously, though, the Royals believe in his arm. While he’s small in stature, Collins still delivers his average fastball in the 92 to 93 mph range
The first major domino on the starting-pitching market fell on Monday. Twenty-nine-year-old right-hander Jordan Zimmermann inked a five-year, $110 million deal with the Tigers, becoming the first player to sign a contract worth at least $50 million this offseason.
Royals first base prospect Balbino Fuenmayor — one of the more intriguing candidates to be selected in the upcoming Rule 5 Draft — is progressing very well in his recovery from a torn ACL this past summer, as recently noted by his agents at True Gravity Sports. Fuenmayor underwent surgery to repair the ligament on Aug. 3 but is running multiple times per week at present and is on track to begin baseball activities in early January. Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper recently listed Fuenmayor as one of the most plausible Rule 5 targets
The Phillies announced that they have claimed right-hander Michael Mariot off waivers from the Royals. Mariot was designated for assignment 10 days ago when the Royals set their 40-man roster in advance of the Rule 5 Draft. The 27-year-old Mariot logged just three innings with the Royals in 2015 but filled in for 25 innings in 2014 with less-than-stellar results. He has a 6.11 ERA with a 22-to-14 K/BB ratio in 28 total big league innings but has a considerably better minor league track record.
Alex Avila holds great memories from his seven years catching in Detroit, including significant contributions made to the Tigers reaching the postseason from 2011-14.
The Phillies on Monday claimed right-hander Michael Mariot off waivers from the Kansas City Royals.
Diamondbacks ownership sees Johnny Cueto as a “special case” who is worth a franchise-altering investment, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal (links to Twitter). The team’s six-year, $120MM offer to Cueto would’ve been above the D’Backs stated comfort zone of a $15MM-$18MM average annual salary for a pitcher, yet Rosenthal notes that Arizona has been willing to stretch payroll in recent years. The D’Backs gave their largest contract in club history to an unproven rookie in Yasmany Tomas, and they were also prepared to give Masahiro Tanaka a huge contract after posting a bid to negotiate with him in the 2013-14 offseason. Cueto, meanwhile, rejected Arizona’s offer in order to further explore his options. With Jordan Zimmermann now off the market, it’s indeed possible that Cueto could perhaps surpass that offer from the Snakes. Here’s some more from around baseball… The Mariners privately acknowledge that Robinson Cano will inevitably be moved from second to first base, according to Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune (Twitter link). The question now may be how many more seasons can Cano remain at the keystone. Cano just turned 33 last month and his defensive metrics (-7.3 UZR/150, minus-9 Defensive Runs Saved) plummeted.
Hanley Ramirez “is going to be our first baseman,” a high-ranking Red Sox source tells WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. The club is committed to using Ramirez at first in 2016 and the Sox have mapped out a rough 140-game schedule for Ramirez at the position. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo reported earlier today that the Red Sox were shopping Ramirez. While this statement from Bradford’s source won’t end that speculation, it only makes sense that the club is preparing as if Ramirez will be on the roster rather than assuming a trade partner will be found. President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski also said the Sox were intent on using Ramirez at first during his season-end media conference, for what it’s worth. Here’s more from around the AL East… The Red Sox will likely need to make a decision about whether to keep or trade Ramirez before the Winter Meetings if they want a shot at signing Chris Davis, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald writes. Davis could well agree to a deal at the Meetings, leaving Boston looking for lower-tier first basemen as platoon options to share time with Travis Shaw and utilityman Brock Holt. Signing Davis before trading Ramirez, of course, isn’t feasible since it would leave the Sox with zero negotiating position in trade talks. The Blue Jays are looking at relievers with closing experience, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports (Twitter link), and Ryan Madson is one of the names under consideration. Madson had a tremendous year as the Phillies’ closer in 2011 but then missed the next three seasons with injuries before reviving his career in the Royals’ bullpen in 2015.
6:48pm: D’Backs GM Dave Stewart tells Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that he visited Cueto in the Dominican Republic prior to meeting with Dixon, and that Cueto already turned down one contract offer from the club. Stewart said the D’Backs are still interested in Cueto and understood why the initial offer was rejected. “When you’ve still got the two big guys who haven’t done anything yet, [David] Price and [Zack] Greinke, you kind of want to wait,” Stewart said. “Depending on how [Dixon] sees his client, and he probably sees his client above [Jordan] Zimmermann, it puts you in a situation where you want to wait and see what happens.” Though Stewart didn’t specifically comment on Rosenthal’s reported gap in Cueto’s asking price and the Diamondbacks’ comfort zone, he did imply that his team may have to spend more in order to land the righty. “I guess ultimately that decision is going to be made by ownership, if we can go there,” Stewart said. “Having a conversation with him gave us an idea of what’s going to happen and what he’s thinking. We’re going to have to wait and see how this thing plays out.” 1:18pm: The Diamondbacks met with Johnny Cueto‘s agent last week, sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). The expectation, however, is that Cueto’s price will exceed with Arizona is comfortable with paying.
The Tigers on Sunday have reportedly come to terms with right-hander Jordan Zimmermann, according to CBSSports.com. FOX Sports said the deal is expected to be for five years and roughly $110 million. The Tigers have not commented.