Here are the latest players to avoid arbitration: The Orioles have settled with infielder Ryan Flaherty for $1.075MM in 2015, plus an additional $25K if he makes 400 plate appearances, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets. Flaherty, 28, became arbitration eligible for the first time after hitting .221/.288/.356 in 312 plate appearances in 2014, mostly playing second, third and shortstop. Flaherty sought $1.5MM and the Orioles countered at $900K, so the agreed-upon contract falls below the midpoint. Via MLBTR’s Arbitration Tracker, the O’s have five arbitration cases they’ve yet to resolve: those of Alejandro De Aza, Bud Norris, Miguel Gonzalez, Steve Pearce and Zach Britton.
The Athletics have avoided arbitration with lefty Fernando Abad, MLBTR has learned. The Praver Shapiro Sports Management client will earn $1,087,500 for the coming season and can also achieve award bonuses in the deal.
The Cubs announced that they have claimed righty Gonzalez Germen off waivers from the Rangers. Germen had only just been acquired by Texas, after previously being dealt from the Mets to the Yankees following a DFA. Needless to say, the 27-year-old has covered some ground this offseason in rather a short period time. (He was first designated by the Mets in mid-December.) But the wide interest in his services bodes well for his prospects at receiving another big league opportunity. Germen saw regular time in the Mets bullpen in each of the last two seasons, compiling a 4.31 ERA in 54 calls from the pen. He delivers an average fastball of 92.9 mph and generates a good number of whiffs (8.9 K/9), but has less-than-perfect control (4.2 BB/9) and does not generate many ground balls (36.8%).
The Braves announced that they have claimed outfielder Eury Perez off waivers from the Yankees. The speedy Perez was designated for assignment by the Yankees in order to clear a spot on the roster for Stephen Drew. The Yankees claimed Perez off waivers from the Nationals in late September, and the 24-year-old went 2-for-10 with a pair of singles in a brief cameo with the Bombers late in the season. Perez has just 23 big league plate appearances and a .174/.174/.174 batting line to show for it, but he possesses a well-regarded glove and blistering speed in center field.
The Nationals have signed right-hander Evan Meek to a minor league deal with an invite to big league Spring Training, reports MLB.com’s Bill Ladson (on Twitter). Meek is a client of Relativity Sports. The 31-year-old Meek isn’t quite as flashy as the Nats’ most recent pickup, but he is a former All-Star setup man. From 2009-11 with the Pirates, Meek posted a strong 2.74 ERA in 147 2/3 innings of work, though other metrics such as his 7.9 K/9, 4.4 BB/9 and 3.58 FIP in that time indicate that he was likely overperforming a bit. A shoulder injury limited Meek to 12 innings in 2012, and he spent the 2013 season with the Rangers’ Triple-A affiliate (somewhat curiously starting 15 games despite spending nearly all of his career as a reliever). Meek was with the Orioles in 2014, but he struggled after breaking camp with the team and found himself outrighted to Triple-A in early June. From there, he went on to dominate at the Triple-A level, posting a 1.94 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 0.9 BB/9 in 41 2/3 innings of work. That earned him a September call-up, but while he got better results in the season’s final month, he still finished with a 5.79 ERA in 23 1/3 big league innings. He’ll compete for a job in a Nats bullpen that features Drew Storen in the closer’s role in front of setup options such as Craig Stammen, Jerry Blevins, Matt Thornton, Blake Treinen and possibly Tanner Roark, who could be bullpen-bound following Washington’s addition of Max Scherzer.
The Rangers have agreed to a deal to acquire backstop Carlos Corporan from the Astros, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports on Twitter. Corporan was designated for assignment yesterday to create roster space for the signing of Colby Rasmus. Corporan, 31, is set to earn $975K in his first season of arbitration eligibility. That means that he’ll come with two more years of control. His role was occupied by trade acquisition Hank Conger, and the presence of the younger Max Stassi rendered Corporan a largely redundant piece for Houston
The Red Sox have agreed to terms on a minor league deal with left-hander Dana Eveland, tweets SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. Eveland, a client of PSI Sports Management, will receive a split deal with an invite to big league camp. The 31-year-old enjoyed a solid half-season with the Mets in 2014, notching a 2.63 ERA with 8.9 K/9, 2.0 BB/9 and a 53.8 percent ground-ball rate in 27 1/3 innings. That work represented his first in the Majors since 2012, when he struggled to a 4.73 ERA with the Orioles in 32 1/3 innings. Eveland debuted as a 21-year-old reliever with the Brewers back in 2005 and struggled to establish himself in either the bullpen or the rotation with Milwaukee or Arizona over the next three seasons
The Pirates have designated infielder Jake Elmore for assignment, the club announced. The move creates 40-man roster space for the addition of Jung-ho Kang. Most recently, Elmore was claimed off waivers by Pittsburgh from the Reds, but he has also bounced around with the Athletics and White Sox in recent memory. The 27-year-old obviously holds appeal as a utility option, though clubs are wary of holding a roster spot for him when the need arises. Over 221 career MLB plate appearances, Elmore owns a .221/.288/.291 slash.
The Rangers have acquired right-hander Yovani Gallardo from the Brewers. Going in return are a group of young players: infielder Luis Sardinas and righties Corey Knebel and Marcos Diplan. Milwaukee will pick up $4MM of Gallardo’s salary, which will rise from $13MM to $14MM by operation of a clause in his contract. Gallardo brings plenty of value with him to a Rangers rotation that has several question marks coming off of a rough overall 2014. Though he’ll need to deliver all of it this season, as he qualifies for free agency after the year, Gallardo’s Texas roots could make him an extension candidate. He will not turn 29 until February. And he has had a nice run of gobbling up innings, lodging the sixth-most in the game over the last six years. Reuniting with his former pitching coach, Mike Maddux, probably does not hurt Gallardo’s outlook. In terms of performance, Gallardo has had his ups and downs but is undoubtedly a quality arm. He registered a career-low 6.8 K/9 last year, though he posted career-bests with a 3.51 ERA and 2.5 BB/9.
The Nationals have agreed to sign top starting pitcher Max Scherzer to a seven-year deal, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman tweets. The amount of the deal is not yet known, but the contract will carry through 2020, which will be Scherzer’s age-36 season. Scherzer is represented by Scott Boras. On Sunday, Heyman reported that the Nationals and another team were talking with Boras about seven-year deals for Scherzer, with the Washington Post’s Adam Kilgore later reporting that the two sides were close to a deal. The Nats’ emergence as a top bidder for Scherzer came as somewhat of a surprise, given the starting pitching talent they already had (including Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez and Doug Fister, with the signing bumping Tanner Roark, who himself had a very good 2014 season, out of the rotation). But signing Scherzer should help the Nationals continue to contend in a weak NL East division beyond next winter, when Zimmermann, Fister, Ian Desmond and Denard Span all can become eligible for free agency. The Scherzer deal also gives the Nationals the option to trade someone like Zimmermann or perhaps Fister within the next few months, potentially getting good value for one of their free-agents-to-be while maintaining a formidable rotation.