The Athletics are in agreement with free-agent right-hander Yusmeiro Petit on a two-year, $10MM contract with a third-year club option, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports (via Twitter). Petit is represented by Godoy Sports. He’ll earn $3.5MM in 2018, $5.5MM in 2019 and has a 2020 club option for another $5.5MM that comes with a $1MM buyout, I’m told. The deal is pending a physical. The 33-year-old Petit is fresh off a career year in which he led big league relievers with 87 1/3 innings and also tossed four innings in a spot start. Overall, he pitched to a 2.76 ERA with 10.0 K/9, 1.8 BB/9 and a 32.9 percent ground-ball rate in his 91 1/3 frames with the Halos. Of Petit’s 59 relief appearances, 33 lasted more than an inning, and he was often asked to work two or even three innings at a time. By season’s end, he’d graduated from lower-leverage spots to high-leverage setup appearances and even a few closing opportunities, as he saved four games for the Halos. Petit will add some length to a bullpen that figures to be anchored by Blake Treinen, who shined in Oakland after being acquired from the Nationals in the trade that sent Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson to Washington. Manager Bob Melvin’s bullpen figures to also feature right-handers Santiago Casilla, Ryan Dull, Emilio Paganand Chris Hatcher (assuming Hatcher is tendered a contract). His experience working in longer stints could also give Melvin and the A’s some flexibility to utilize him as an occasional spot starter should the need arise, though it seems likely that he’ll be relied upon as a bullpen arm rather than a candidate for the fifth spot in the rotation. The A’s — like every other club given the painfully slow pace of the 2017-18 offseason — still have work to do between now and Opening Day, of course. They’re reportedly on the hunt for a controllable right-handed-hitting corner outfielder now that the trade of Ryon Healy (to the Mariners in exchange for the aforementioned Pagan) has paved the way for Khris Davis to serve as their DH. They also need to bring in a center fielder and could look to add some left-handed bullpen options as well as an upgrade at catcher. However, with Petit and Pagan now on board, plus the midseason pickups of Treinen and Hatcher, Oakland doesn’t seem likely to consider additional right-handed relief a top priority.
With the deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players looming, The Astros will “surely attempt to trade” right-hander Mike Fiers between now and that 8pm ET deadline on Friday. The 32-year-old Fiers will take home a $5.7MM salary in what would be his second trip through the arbitration process. Any club that acquired Fiers would be picking up his rights not only for the 2018 campaign but also for the 2019 season, as he’ll be arbitration-eligible once more next offseason. Of course, the fact that Fiers is already a non-tender candidate speaks to the fact that he’s coming off a down season, and he’d need to enhance his stock with a solid 2018 performance for those 2019 rights to even come into play. Fiers served as a useful rotation piece for the Astros and Brewers in 2015-16, working to a combined 4.07 ERA with 8.1 K/9 against 2.7 BB/9 with a roughly 40 percent ground-ball rate in 349 innings. The righty traded some of his 2015 strikeouts for improved walk and ground-ball tendencies in 2016 and experienced generally useful results in both years. The 2017 campaign saw the return of Fiers’ ability to miss bats (8.6 K/9) but also some control issues (3.6 BB/9) — this time paired with a best-yet 42.9 percent grounder rate. Home runs have long been an issue for Fiers, a righty who works with a four-seamer that averages just under 90 mph, but that issue was more pronounced than ever in 2017, as Fiers yielded an average 1.88 HR/9 in this past season’s 153 1/3 innings. The resulting 5.22 ERA wasn’t pretty, though an uptick in home runs plagued pitchers across the league this season as pundits and players alike speculated on the possibility of some alterations to the composition of the baseball.
The Red Sox are reportedly one of several teams in trade talks with the White Sox about first baseman Jose Abreu. The Red Sox had been one of four finalists to sign Abreu, along with the Brewers and Astros, when he inked a six-year, $68 million deal with the White Sox in Oct. 2013. Abreu, 30, hit .304 with 33 home runs and 102 RBI in 2017, his fourth straight season with at least 25 homers and 100 RBI. His consistent production has made him one of the best power hitters in baseball. With the White Sox clearly in rebuilding mode—they lost 95 games in 2017 after trading Chris Sale to Boston and outfielder Adam Eaton to the Washington Nationals before the season—he’s an excellent trade chip as they continue to acquire young, talented prospects. Jim Callis of MLB.com ranks the White Sox as having the top-rated farm system in all of baseball. The Red Sox, meanwhile, have just two prospects in MLB.com’s top-100 rankings: pitcher Jay Groome and third baseman Michael Chavis. By contrast, the White Sox have six. The Red Sox would have to tap into a thin farm system to pull the trigger on an Abreu deal. On the other hand, Abreu is a reliable power bat and is due a reasonable $11.5 million next season and $12 million in 2019. That makes the Red Sox logical trade partners with Chicago as Boston looks to rebound from a disappointing ALDS defeat this past season. For a White Sox team that is looking to the future rather than the present, dealing Abreu this winter would likely maximize his value.
The Giants and the Pirates have “remained in contact” regarding Andrew McCutchen. McCutchen started off slowly in 2017 but then went on a tear in June and July, slumped again in August but then was strong again in September. When it was all said and done he hit .279/.363/.486 with 28 homers, which is not too shabby. The Pirates exercised their $14.5 million option on McCutchen earlier this month. 2018 will be McCutchen’s tenth year as a Pirate but his last year under contract. It’s thus not too crazy to think that the Pirates might shop him in trades this offseason or early next season if he gets off to a quick start. It’s likewise not too crazy to think that the Giants, who are in desperate need of an outfielder and some offense, might be interested.
Former Seattle Mariners second baseman Bret Boone may want to re-examine the things he finds funny. The 48-year-old three-time All-Star decided to mock sexual assault victims in an unprompted rant Wednesday morning. Boone decided to “joke” about being sexually harassed to Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporter Stephen Cohen on Twitter.
Boone says he was sexually harassed twice Wednesday morning when a girl at Starbucks smiled at him and a woman at Rite Aid flirted with him. He concluded that message with “lol.” When asked why he thought it was a good idea to make light of sexual assault, Boone gave the standard “it’s a joke/sorry if you were offended” line. Then, inexplicably, he responded with yet another message joking about being harassed. Boone’s comments were sent as direct messages on Twitter. For those who aren’t aware, direct messages are meant to be private. In a previous tweet, Cohen said he wasn’t sure he was going to share the conversation publicly, but decided to go ahead with it. Boone later issued a public apology on Twitter, saying “there are zero excuses” for his comments regarding sexual harassment. He added, “it will never happen again.” As Cohen notes, Boone’s initial rant was completely unsolicited. He didn’t reach out to Boone for a comment or anything like that. It appears Boone saw some of Cohen’s earlier tweets about former host of “A Prairie Home Companion” Garrison Keillor being fired due to improper behavior, and decided to spew his thoughts. Keillor is one of the more recent men in prominent positions to be accused of sexual harassment or sexual assault since October. Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein stepped down after a number of women came forward to accuse him of sexual assault. Weinstein’s allegations have spurred others to come forward with their stories of being sexually assaulted.