With the trade market for David Price on hold during the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes, the Rays went ahead and locked down their ace's 2014 salary and avoided arbitration with the 2012 American League Cy Young award winner, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
Price is entering his age 28 season and has thrown at least 180 innings in each of his last four years. He struck out fewer batters in 2013 than in previous seasons, but he paired that with a significantly lower walk rate to the tune of a 3.33 ERA and 3.03 FIP, which makes $14 million a nice bargain. Despite a roster likely to challenge for a playoff berth in 2014, the Rays are considering trading Price because of their excellent pitching depth and financial constraints that make carrying at $14 million player difficult. With two seasons left under team control, the Rays will at least enterain the thought of moving him before Spring Training so as to maximize their possible return.
Athletics and Jaso agree to one-year deal
Athletics' catcher/designated hitter John Jaso also avoided arbitration on Thursday by signing a one-year deal, according to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. The deal is worth $2.3 million and includes playing time bonuses of up to $50,000, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
The 30-year-old catcher has also spent time with the Rays and Mariners in his career and is known for an exceptional walk rate (13.7% career, 15.3% in 2013) and massive platoon split. In 1117 career plate appearances against right-handed pitching, Jaso has a 126 wRC+, meaning that he is 26 percent better than league average offensively. Against lefties, in an admittedly small sample of 180 plate appearances, Jaso is 45% worse than league average with a 55 wRC+. Needless to say, the A's will likely deploy him against right-handed pitching 2014.
Mike Carp's future in Boston uncertain
A source tells Mastrodonato that there likely won't be enough playing time for Carp and that there is virtually "zero chance" that he signs an extension prior to arbitration. In 243 plate appearances with the Sox in 2013, Carp hit .296/.362/.523 and is a career .267/.337/.444 hitter. Most of his at bats came against right-handed pitching in 2013, but over the course of his career he has not suffered against the smaller sampling of left-handed hurlers he has faced.
If Carp becomes available on the trade market, numerous teams would have interest in using Carp as the strong side of a platoon and several would likely see him as a starting corner outfielder or first baseman.
Mets, Davis agree to deal
Ike Davis and the Mets agreed to a one-year, $3.5 million deal to avoid arbitration, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
Davis has been the target of many trade rumors this offseason as the Mets have superfluos first basemen, but they appear underwhelmed by the offers. Agreeing to terms doesn't preclude a trade going forward and Davis' 2010 and 2011 seasons will keep teams interested in Davis as a change of scenery, bounce back candidate who could return to his pre-2012 offensive form.
Rockies making progress with Nicasio and Lopez
The Rockies are moving toward deals with Juan Nicasio and Wilton Lopez, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post. Nicasio will enter spring training in competition for a spot in the rotation and Lopez, coming off a down year, will likely be in line to pitch earlier in games. Both pitchers are expected to make about $2 million in 2014.
*Update: Wilton Lopez and the Rockies have agreed to a $2.2 million deal, avoiding arbitration, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
Reds, Heisey avoid arbitration
Chris Heisey will spend another season as a bench player for the Reds after they came to an agreement on a $1.76 million deal to avoid arbitration, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN. Heisey doesn't offer much with the bat, but is a solid baserunner and defender who can backup at all three spots.
Yankees, Cervelli settle on a deal
The Yankees and Francisco Cervelli have agreed to a $700,000 deal according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Cervelli has spent parts of six seasons serving as the Yankees backup catcher and has produced well in that role over his very limited 623 career plate appearances.
Phillies, Overbay discussing minor-league contract
Lyle Overbay is drawing interest from several teams, most notably the Phillies who are interested in the first baseman on a minor-league deal, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Aside from playing solid defense at first, Overbay struggled mightily in 485 plate appearances with the Yankees in 2013, hitting .240/.395/393. It's been several years since Overbay was a meaningful big league contributor, but a minor league deal and a change of scenery couldn't hurt.