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Justin Turner Re-Signs with Dodgers: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Third baseman Justin Turner has reportedly re-signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers, per Jim Bowden of ESPN.

Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball reported the two sides have agreed to a four-year, $64 million deal.

Turner, 32, had a career year in 2016, hitting .275 with 27 home runs, 90 RBI and 79 runs. Turner was a late bloomer, but in the past two seasons with the Dodgers, he’s ripped 43 homers and knocked in 150 runs, making him one of the more appealing players in free agency.

But he was always likely to return to Los Angeles.

“I’d love to stay here,” the Long Beach native told Heyman in September. “I love playing here. I love playing at home.”

While Turner’s age means he may not have many productive seasons left, he was a huge reason the Dodgers reached the National League Championship Series.

There may be some concerns, however. Namely, Turner hit just .209 with five home runs against left-handed pitchers last year. While he slayed right-handers—hitting .305 with 22 homers—he could find himself in a platoon if he gets off to a slow start in 2017.

But Turner hit well enough to hold an everyday role in 2016, and Los Angeles will be banking on him to do the same in 2017.


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Kenley Jansen Re-Signs with Dodgers: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Relief pitcher Kenley Jansen reportedly re-signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday, according to Jim Bowden of ESPN and Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

Bowden reported the contract is for five years and worth $80 million. Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports later reported Jansen chose the Dodgers over better offers from other clubs and has an opt-out clause after three years. The deal does not include a no-trade clause, per Rosenthal

Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported the Washington Nationals were willing to pay as much as $5 million more than the Dodgers.

Jansen, 29, was excellent for the Dodgers in 2016, compiling 47 saves in 53 opportunities to go along with 104 strikeouts, a 1.83 ERA and 0.67 WHIP in 68.2 innings pitched. It was his fifth straight season with 25 or more saves and his third straight season with at least 35 saves.

He’s established himself as one of baseball’s better closers, ensuring a big payday was coming this winter. But he hinted at a desire to stay before the 2016 season concluded.

“L.A.’s nice. L.A.’s great. L.A. gave me the opportunity. L.A. converted me when I failed as a catcher,” Jansen told Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball in September. “I’m grateful about it and will never forget L.A. But at the same time, we’ll have to see what’s good for the family.”

Ultimately, Jansen decided remaining in Los Angeles was the right move—and the Dodgers benefited.

Jansen will once again solidify the ninth inning for the team, meaning the Dodgers should again have an excellent pitching staff. If he can replicate his phenomenal form from the 2016 season, the Dodgers will have secured one of the best signings of free agency and should be a postseason contender again in 2017.


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Dexter Fowler to Cardinals: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Outfielder Dexter Fowler agreed to sign with the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday, as first reported by USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale.

The deal is for five years and $82.5 million, including a full no-trade clause, per Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports on Friday. 

Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports in St. Louis reported a physical is scheduled for Friday.

Fowler, 30, was a crucial member of the Chicago Cubs as they won their first World Series title since 1908, hitting .276 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs and 13 stolen bases in 125 regular-season games. He was solid in the postseason as well, hitting .250 with three home runs, six RBI, 11 runs and a stolen base in 17 games.

But the Cubs are loaded in the outfield, with Kyle Schwarber, Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist and Albert Almora Jr. available. Heyward and Almora are capable of manning center field duties, so re-signing Fowler was never likely to be a priority for the reigning champions.


That allowed St. Louis to snag Fowler, who should not only improve the team’s defense but also provide consistent production toward the top of the lineup. Additionally, his postseason experience will be valued in the clubhouse.

Fowler was a key ingredient in the Cubs’ title-winning season. Now, the Cardinals will be hoping he’s the addition that puts them over the top as they seek another championship themselves.

One of the primary areas of need for the Cardinals was an upgrade in center field, so Fowler will check off that box. Fowler’s signing should also fan the flames of the team’s heated rivalry with the Cubs, and his addition makes the Cardinals a threat in the NL Central.

Fowler’s signing won’t be as flashy as some of the other names out there, but he was exactly what the Cardinals needed this offseason.

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Wade Davis to Cubs: Twitter Reacts to Trade Involving Jorge Soler

The Chicago Cubs traded outfielder Jorge Soler to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for closer Wade Davis on Wednesday.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today and Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported the deal was done. 

The Cubs announced the deal on Twitter by showing their fans a GIF of what Davis’ fastball can do to opposing hitters:

Soler offered a farewell to the franchise that gave him his first opportunity to play Major League Baseball:

Joel Sherman of the New York Post pondered which team will look back on its deal with the Cubs for a closer more fondly:

The Cubs needed to do something to address the back of their bullpen with Aroldis Chapman entering free agency. Since it didn’t appear as if they were going to spend the money for one of the big closers (Chapman, Kenley Jansen), Davis became an excellent fallback plan for the Cubs. 

ESPN’s Jesse Rogers likes what the Cubs did with this deal:

This is likely a calculated move by the Royals, with Dave Cameron of FanGraphs writing there are causes for concern with Davis moving forward:

Those DL stints in July were scary, especially because flexor bundle strains often are followed in the not too distant future by the words Dr. James Andrews. Davis’ strikeout rate has gone from 39% to 31% to 27% the last three years, and his wOBA allowed is driven in large part by a complete lack of home runs; he’s only given up three in the last three years, thanks to the lowest HR/FB rate in baseball. Davis has dominated, but especially more recently, it’s been more (Mark) Melancon’s kind of domination than Chapman’s or Jansen’s.

MLB Stat of the Day did counteract some of that skepticism with this nugget about Davis’ performance over the previous three seasons:

Soler, 24, hit .238 with 12 home runs and 31 RBI across 86 games this past season. He was sidelined for much of the summer, however, with a hamstring issue.

Even though Soler’s tenure with the Cubs didn’t go the way anyone hoped it would after he signed with the team out of Cuba in 2012, Christopher Kamka of Comcast SportsNet Chicago did note he bookended things nicely:

The Cubs, even after trading Soler and possibly losing Dexter Fowler in free agency, still have too many outfielders for three spots.

Ben Zobrist and Kris Bryant can play left field, but the team also has to get Kyle Schwarber back out there. Albert Almora and Jon Jay could be penciled in for center field, while Jason Heyward is capable of moving over there with Bryant in right, if that’s what manager Joe Maddon wants to do. 

Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star did note the Royals are now in a similar predicament in terms of having too many outfielders:’s Jane Lee reported the Oakland Athletics have had talks with the Royals about Jarrod Dyson, which would take care of Kansas City’s issue. The Royals could also use Soler at DH if they wanted to after Kendrys Morales signed with the Toronto Blue Jays earlier this offseason.

Soler never lived up to the hype in his three seasons with the Cubs. While he’s still young and has a high ceiling, he didn’t flash superstar potential in Chicago. He was excellent in the 2015 postseason, however, hitting .474 with three home runs and five RBI in seven games, so Soler could yet become an MLB star.

The Royals will hope the opportunity to provide him more playing time and at-bats will spark that ascension to stardom, especially since they are facing an uncertain future after 2017 with Eric Hosmer and Lorenzo Cain due to become free agents. 

Soler gives the Royals some versatility as an outfielder or DH, as well as a tremendously high ceiling for a player who is still young and under team control through 2020. He knows there will be ample playing time for him now to just focus on becoming the hitter he was expected to be in Chicago.

The Cubs did what they could to turn Soler into a star, but they were also in a situation the past two years in which they were winning and needed to put their best team on the field. 

Davis gives the Cubs exactly what they need for 2017, and the front office wasn’t forced to overspend on a free-agent closer. It’s a rare trade that looks smart and necessary from both sides. 


You can follow Timothy Rapp on Twitter.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen and More

Let’s talk closers.

Coming into this offseason, it was always clear that this particular free-agent market was going to be headlined by a strong closing class, and players like Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen have been at the center of much of the buzz thus far.

Once Mark Melancon signed with the San Francisco Giants on a four-year, $62 million deal, per Chris Haft of, it was off to the races for the closers market.

Chapman and Jansen will certainly be the next big names to drop, but Kansas City Royals closer Wade Davis is also generating a ton of buzz on the trade market. So, which teams are in the mix for the trio?

Well, the New York Yankees are at the epicenter of the Chapman-Jansen universe. General manager Brian Cashman confirmed as much to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News:

Offers have been put out there. (Chapman agent) Barry Praver and (Jansen agent) Adam Katz are the people you’d have to ask about whether it’s progress or not. We’re still having the dialogue, but whether it leads us to a positive resolution from our perspective or not remains to be seen. They’re still active with a whole bunch of people.

Cashman seemed to indicate that Chapman would be the team’s preference as well since it wouldn’t have to give up a draft pick to sign him, unlike Jansen:

The preference, yes, would be to retain our draft pick if possible. We know that Chapman pitched in New York. I don’t believe that Jansen would have any issues pitching in New York either, but it’s nice to have that box checked, too. They’re both exceptionally talented individuals and they’re both going to be well-rewarded for that talent regardless of where they decide to play. It would be nice if somebody picks us at some point. If not, we’ll adjust.

One interesting wrinkle? Chapman told ESPN’s Marly Rivera that he wants a six-year deal, according to Andrew Marchand of, though Marchand doubts the Yankees would offer that length of contract.

Certainly, the money will be on the table, as Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball reported:

But for the moment, it appears that the Yankees and Chapman are likely to be reunited.

That leaves a whole slew of teams in the running for Jansen. According to Jim Bowden of, the Washington Nationals, Miami Marlins, Yankees, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers are interested in the free agent.

A return to the Dodgers is always a possibility, as the team remains heavily involved in the closer talks, per Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times:

But don’t count out the Marlins, per Heyman:

And don’t count out Davis either.

He’s one of many players who almost assuredly will find themselves traded once Chapman and Jansen are signed, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:

Heyman added:

The closers market is one move away from exploding. It’s rare that the pitchers who generally appear for only an inning garner more interest and intrigue than starting pitchers or sluggers, but the game is changing. Bullpens are valued more highly than ever, and the rest of free agency simply doesn’t have the same star power that the closers have presented.

The closers are getting paid this winter. And given how important players like Chapman and Jansen were to the Cubs and Dodgers last year, they’ve earned it.


You can follow Timothy Rapp on Twitter.

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Mitch Moreland Reportedly Agrees to Contract with Red Sox

Free-agent first baseman Mitch Moreland was one of the more appealing options on the market for teams looking to add power to their lineups, but he has reportedly chosen his next team.

Moreland has agreed to a one-year deal with the Boston Red Sox, per Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

Prior to the deal, Moreland was also being pursued by the Cleveland Indians, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The Toronto Blue Jays were also talking to Moreland, according to Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball.

Moreland, 31, had spent his entire career with the Texas Rangers, hitting 22 or more home runs in three of the past four seasons. In 2016, he hit just .233 but added 22 homers and 60 RBI. It was a bit of a down year after an impressive 2015 that saw him hit .278 with 23 home runs and 85 RBI.

Moreland can be utilized as either a first baseman or a designated hitter, though he’s best suited to a platoon in either role, given his struggles against left-handed pitching. In the past three seasons, he’s hitting .245 against lefties, with just 10 of his 47 home runs in that time frame coming against southpaws.

Boston was in the market for a designated hitter after David Ortiz’s retirement. 


You can follow Timothy Rapp on Twitter.

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2017 World Baseball Classic Initial List of Confirmed Players Announced by MLB

The World Baseball Classic confirmed Monday the participation of 30 players, highlighted by a list of 24 MLB All-Stars, according to MLB Communications.

Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Danny Duffy also confirmed to Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star that he planned to participate for Team USA.

“Definitely excited to wear those colors,” Duffy said in a text message.

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Marcus Stroman confirmed as well that he would play for Team USA on Twitter:

Stroman was eligible to represent Puerto Rico, since his mother is of Puerto Rican descent.

Other players who were on the preliminary list but have not yet been confirmed for the United States include Noah Syndergaard, Jake Arrieta, Kris Bryant, Eric Hosmer, Ian Kinsler, Corey Kluber, Jonathan Lucroy, Andrew Miller, David Price, Giancarlo Stanton, Justin Verlander and Christian Yelich, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post in early November.

As Sherman noted, players on the list can still pull out of consideration, while those not on the list—like Mike Trout or Bryce Harper, arguably the two biggest superstars who could feature for the United States—can still be named to the final roster.

The Dominican Republic is the defending champion, winning the 2013 edition. The World Baseball Classic will be played in Miami, San Diego and Los Angeles in March 2017.


You can follow Timothy Rapp on Twitter.

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Wade Davis Trade Rumors: Latest News, Speculation Surrounding Royals RP

Kansas City Royals closer Wade Davis has been the subject of trade rumors this offseason as bullpen-hungry teams look to bolster their rosters.

Continue for updates.

Dodgers Reportedly Interested in Davis

Monday, Dec. 5

Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reported the Los Angeles Dodgers “have shown interest” in Davis but that it’s “unclear” if the Royals are ready to sell.

Cubs Reportedly Eyeing Davis

Monday, Dec. 5

Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported the Chicago Cubs are among the teams looking into trading for Davis.

Davis Reportedly Is Firmly on Trade Block

Monday, Dec. 5

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports shared what he was hearing regarding the free-agent market for bullpen arms and how that would impact Davis:

Mark Melancon has since agreed to a deal with the San Francisco Giants, according to Buster Olney of ESPN The Magazine and Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

Davis Would Have No Shortage of Suitors on Trade Market

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports noted that the trade market for Davis should be strong, while Morosi cited the new collective bargaining agreement as the likely basis for a trade: “Without the ability to collect first-round picks on departing free agents, Kansas City is more likely to deal Davis now than watch him depart after the 2017 season.”

Davis, 31, was excellent in 2016, finishing 2-1 with a 1.87 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 27 saves in 30 opportunities and 47 strikeouts in 43.1 innings pitched.

With Kelvin Herrera and promising young pitcher Matt Strahm (25)—if he isn’t converted to a starting role, as the Royals will give him the chance to start in spring training—Kansas City has the arms in the back of the bullpen to make Davis expendable. And the Royals have areas they could address, including their starting rotation and shortstop.

Davis, meanwhile, is a cheaper alternative to the teams that miss out on the top trio of closers in free agency—Melancon, Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen. Add it all up, and a Davis trade seems imminent.


You can follow Timothy Rapp on Twitter.

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Jung Ho Kang Charged with Leaving Scene of DUI: Latest Details and Reaction

Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang reportedly was charged with leaving the scene of a DUI, according to Jeeho Yoo of Yonhap News and Sung Min Kim of Vice Sports.

Kim shared a photograph of the incident in question:

Kim added that “Kang allegedly tried to flee the scene after causing an accident and was caught shortly thereafter.” The incident reportedly took place early Friday morning in Seoul, South Korea.

Rob Biertempfel of offered more details:

Pirates president Frank Coonelly released a statement on Kang, per Stephen J. Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Kang apologized through his management company, courtesy of NBC Sports’ Craig Calcaterra:

I’d like to apologize to everyone who is disappointed with me. Today, I got behind the wheel after drinking and committed an irrevocable mistake. I panicked at the moment of the accident and did something that I never should have done. I am deeply regretting the incident. I will humbly accept whatever punishment is deemed fit for my actions.

Kang, 29, has also been the subject of a sexual assault case. A 23-year-old woman said the pair met at a Westin Hotel in Chicago and Kang gave her a drink. The woman then said she drifted in and out of consciousness, per Andrew Goldstein of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Kang was never charged with a crime in the incident, although he was named as a suspect. Chicago police have said the accuser has not cooperated fully with the investigation.

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Matt Joyce to Athletics: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Outfielder Matt Joyce found a new home Wednesday, as he signed a two-year, $11 million contract with the Oakland Athletics

The team announced the move after Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports was the first to report the deal.

Joyce, 32, hit .242 with 13 home runs, 45 runs and 42 RBI in 140 games with the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2016 season. It was his sixth season with at least 10 or more homers, though his batting average matched his mediocre lifetime average of .242.

That said, Joyce posted an excellent .403 on-base percentage and struck out just 67 times in 231 at-bats. In turn, he was fantastic for the Pirates as the team’s fourth outfielder, making him a valuable addition to Oakland’s depth.

And if Joyce continues to produce like he did in limited plate appearances in 2016, he may just earn himself a steadier dose of playing time.

The A’s have long embraced the Moneyball system under general manager Billy Beane, and the fact that Joyce registered a career-best OBP in 2016 likely endeared him to the organization.

Certainly, there will be concerns that Joyce could sink back to his 2015 form, which saw him hit just .174 with five homers and 21 RBI in 93 games with the Los Angeles Angels. But Joyce appeared to make significant changes to his approach at the plate in 2016, and it paid major dividends.

Now, Oakland will be hoping to cash in on those alterations.

Joyce is far removed from the career season he put up with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2011, when he hit .277 with 19 home runs and 75 RBI en route to his first and only All-Star nod, but he seemingly fits what the Athletics are trying to do at a reasonable price.

Although Joyce isn’t likely to put up huge numbers, he should provide an upgrade to an outfield that lacked in terms of production and experience outside of Khris Davis in 2016.


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