Storylines: Cards, Braves complete blockbuster trade
In this MLB News and Notes segment, I will be giving occasional reports on the latest news and rumors throughout the MLB. I also will try to tweet news and rumors as I see them, so feel free to follow me on Twitter: @AndrewIBI.
Here are the stories from Monday, Nov. 17.
- The Cardinals acquired right fielder Jason Heyward and right-hander Jordan Walden from the Braves in exchange for righty Shelby Miller and pitching prospect Tyrell Jenkins, the teams announced.
- Toronto-born Russell Martin is heading home, as the free agent catcher agreed to a five-year, $82 million contract with the Blue Jays. The contract doesn't have any no-trade protection, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reported, as per the Jays' team policy. The Blue Jays were the only team that put a fifth year on the table for Russell Martin, according to Jim Bowden of ESPN.com, and that was the key to landing the backstop.
- The Marlins and outfielder Giancarlo Stanton agreed to a 13-year, $325 million contract extension that will set the benchmark as the new largest contract in the history of professional sports, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reported. Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reported that the deal has been finalized and a press conference will be held at 11 am on Wednesday of this week to announce the extension. The extension contains a full no-trade clause and Stanton "will be able to opt out not long after he turns 30," according to Heyman, so it would seem that the opt-out clause can be triggered after the 2019 season, or after 2020 at the very latest. Stanton just celebrated his 25th birthday on November 8. Stanton's groundbreaking contract will buy out 11 free agent years, valuing each of those seasons in the $26-27 million range, depending on how much he'd have earned in arbitration over the next two seasons. The new contract will run through the 2027 season, after which Stanton will be 37 years of age. Of course, that assumes that Stanton does not exercise the opt-out clause, at which point he could be able to seek an even larger annual commitment over a longer term, should he continue to perform as he has to this point in his career.
- The Braves, Cubs, Giants, Red Sox, Royals and Twins are six of the teams thought to have asked for Justin Masterson's medicals or otherwise checked in on the right-hander, ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reported. Though Masterson is coming off an injury-plagued season, he is drawing significant interest and could find a two-year deal on the open market. The Indians, Masterson's former club, are also reportedly in the mix for the 29-year-old.
News and Notes:
- Pablo Sandoval met with the Red Sox yesterday and the club will also sit down with Jon Lester before the lefty flies off for meetings with other suitors today, WEEI.com's Rob Bradford reported. Also, Boston never made an effort to acquire Jason Heyward before he was sent to St. Louis, according to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald.
- As if signing Russell Martin wasn't enough, the Blue Jays are also looking to address their rotation and bullpen. Toronto is one of the six teams in the market for southpaw Jon Lester, WEEI.com's Rob Bradford reported. The Jays have also been "very aggressive" in courting Andrew Miller, Sportsnet's Jeff Blair heard from a source on another team in pursuit of the free agent reliever.
- With Jason Heyward now in St. Louis, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that a trade of Justin Upton can't be ruled out. Nightengale listed the Mariners as a strong suitor for Upton, should the Braves decide to market him. Upton recently dropped the Mariners from his no-trade list.
- The Yankees are largely waiting and watching at the moment, according to George A. King III of the New York Post. It is possible that the Rangers would be willing to part with shortstop Elvis Andrus, but it remains unknown whether New York would take on enough cash or part with sufficient prospects to make a deal attractive to Texas. And the team's own free agents still seem to be feeling out the market at present.
- King also noted that an arm like Max Scherzer could become increasingly appealing to the Yankees as the offseason progresses, and indeed Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported that there has been at least "brief contact" between the team and Scott Boras (Scherzer's agent) since the GM Meetings. New York "may revisit their initial instinct to largely sit this winter out," per Heyman, who explained that the silence around Scherzer's market is rather unusual.
- The Pirates had the inside track on signing A.J. Burnett, as agent Derek Braunecker told Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "It's the only place he wanted to play in 2015. He instructed me to negotiate exclusively with the Pirates and thankfully there was mutual interest," Braunecker said. Burnett enjoyed his previous stint in Pittsburgh and rejoined the Bucs on a one-year, $8.5 million deal.
- Mutual interest exists between the Cubs and free agent righty Jason Hammel, CSN Chicago's Patrick Mooney reported. Hammel pitched well during his three months as a Cub in 2014 prior to being traded to the A's, and Mooney pointed out yet another connection between the two sides — Hammel played under Joe Maddon in Tampa in 2008. At least nine teams and as many as 12 teams have reportedly shown interest in Hammel this offseason, including the Astros and Yankees.
- The Tigers exercised their club option on catcher Alex Avila for the 2015 season, the team announced. Avila will earn $5.4 million in 2015 rather than being bought out for $200,000, though he still would've been arbitration-eligible and under team control had Detroit chosen to buy him out.
- The Reds released right-hander Carlos Marmol, Baseball America's Matt Eddy reported. Cincinnati signed Marmol to a minor league deal in May, though he was placed on the restricted list just a few weeks later after he left the team without permission. Paul Kinzer, Marmol's agent, said his client needed a "mental break" and left to address some personal issues at home in the Dominican Republic.