Friday was the contract tender deadline, where teams either assigned contracts to unsigned players on their 40-man roster or decided to let them walk. As you can expect, several big names are now free agents. Elsewhere, a pair of trades were also agreed to, while one big trade is on the verge of becoming official. Here are the latest MLB news and notes.
Hamilton, Schoop among non-tenders
Maybe the most intriguing player who was non-tendered on Friday was Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton. Hamilton has always been considered one of the fastest players in baseball, as well as an elite defender. However, his bat has been subpar, hitting .242/.299/.331 the past two seasons. The switch-hitting speedster was projected to earn around $6 million next year after arbitration.
Another interesting player who is now a free agent is Brewers second baseman Jonathan Schoop. In 2017, Schoop hit 32 home runs and 105 RBIs with the Orioles in an All-Star season. He regressed this past season, only hitting .233/.266/.416 between Baltimore and Milwaukee. Schoop was also projected to make around $10 million next season, making it easy for Milwaukee to cut ties.
As for other non-tenders, the White Sox said goodbye to outfielder Avisail Garcia and infielder and DH Matt Davidson. Starting pitcher Shelby Miller, who made just four starts in 2018 coming back from Tommy John surgery, was let go by the Diamondbacks. The Mets’ Wilmer Flores, the Twins’ Robbie Grossman, and the Blue Jays’ Yangervis Solarte are all now free agents as well.
Gomes, Colome traded
With nearly everyone on the Indians’ roster on the trading block, catcher Yan Gomes was traded to the Nationals on Friday. In return, Cleveland received prospects Jefry Rodriguez, Daniel Johnson, and a player to be named later.
The 31-year old Gomes is coming off of a strong season with the bat. He hit .266 with 16 home runs and 48 RBIs in 112 games. It was his strongest season since 2014, where he hit .278 with 21 homers and drove in 74 runs. Gomes now joins new-acquisition Kurt Suzuki behind the dish in Washington.
The Mariners are also right there with Cleveland as a team where everyone is on the table. They continued the fire sale on Friday by trading reliever Alex Colome to the White Sox for catcher Omar Narvaez.
In six seasons with Tampa Bay and Seattle, Colome has 96 saves. He was an All Star in 2016 and led the league in saves in 2017 with 47. Since being acquired by the Mariners in May, he went 5-0 with a 2.53 ERA in 47 appearances primarily as a set-up man.
Mets closing in on Cano, Diaz
In a trade that has been discussed for the last several days, the Mets and Mariners are moving closer to a deal. The trade is centered around All Stars Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz heading to the Mets. Veterans Jay Bruce, Jason Vargas, and Anthony Swarzak are all being mentioned as trade pieces heading to Seattle, as well as prospects Justin Dunn, Jarred Kelenic, and Jeff McNeil.
Diaz is the biggest player in this deal. The 24-year old is coming off of a career year in Seattle, having a 1.96 ERA and leading the majors with 57 saves. Due to his age and experience, he is still under team control for the next three seasons and would require a strong package to trade for him.
Seattle is including him in a deal in the hopes to shed Cano’s salary. The eight-time All-Star signed a 10-year, $240 million contract with Seattle in December 2013. The 36-year old was suspended for 80 games last season after testing positive for PEDs, hitting .303 with 10 home runs and 50 RBIs. Cano still has five years and $120 million remaining on his deal, with one of the trade’s holdups being how much money Seattle will retain.
With a new group of free agents and trades being discussed, it will surely be a suspenseful next few days. Up next, the Baseball Winter Meetings start December 9th in Las Vegas.