Storylines: Hughes signs extension with Twins
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, Dec. 22.
- The Twins locked up a key rotation cog going forward, as the team announced yesterday that they have restructured and extended the contract of Phil Hughes. Originally owed $16 million through 2016, Hughes will now receive an additional three years and $42 million under his new deal. Hughes had been scheduled to earn $8 million in each of the next two seasons. He'll now earn $9.2 million in 2015 and in 2016 before earning $13.2 million annually from 2017-19. In essence Hughes' contract is now a five-year, $58 million contract. He'll have limited no-trade protection, allowing him to block deals to three clubs each season. Additionally, Hughes will earn $200,000 each season for reaching 200 innings pitched.
- The Pirates won the bidding for Korean infielder Jung-ho Kang, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported. Kang's former club, the Nexen Heroes of the Korea Baseball Organization, will reportedly accept the bid. The winning bid on Kang was said to be $5,002,015 over the weekend, according to a report from Yonhap. Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review confirmed with a source that the bid was indeed $5 million. Kang, 28 in April, put together an exceptional season in Korea in 2014, .356/.459/.739 with 40 home runs in 117 games between the regular season and the playoffs. Kang's Heroes reached the Korean Series (KBO's Championship series) but fell to the Samsung Lions four games to two.
News and Notes:
- MLB and its umpires reached a five-year labor agreement to follow their current deal, which was set to expire at the end of the year, Ben Walker of the Associated Press reported. The new pact continues more than a decade of labor peace within the game and will be the last labor agreement under outgoing commissioner Bud Selig. The current Collective Bargaining Agreement between MLB and its players expires in December 2016.
- MLB has more parity than any of the other three major pro US sports, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports wrote. The only teams that haven't made the playoffs in the last ten years, Morosi noted, are the Blue Jays, Mariners and Marlins, and all have spent heavily at some point in the past few seasons in efforts to turn themselves around. Meanwhile, two of this offseason's biggest spenders, the White Sox and Padres, were in the bottom third of team payroll in 2014.
- Dan Haren is said to be holding out hope that the Marlins will trade him to either the Angels or the Padres, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The veteran Haren, acquired in the trade that also sent Dee Gordon to Miami, has a very strong, well-known desire to be on the West coast near his wife and children in Los Angeles.
- Meeting the Rockies' asking price for Troy Tulowitzki doesn't make sense for the Mets given Tulo's health concerns, Newsday's David Lennon wrote. The Rox are set on multiple pitching prospects in return and haven't shown any indication that they're willing to eat a significant amount of cash. Lennon assumed the Rockies would need to eat a similar a percentage of the contract as the Dodgers did when moving Matt Kemp, which would come out to roughly $36 million.
- The Padres and right-hander Josh Johnson are close to an agreement on a one-year deal worth a guaranteed $1 million that can reach $7.25 million total via incentives, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported. Johnson was said to be on the verge of an agreement late last week. Sosnick, Johnson's agent, told ESPN's Jerry Crasnick that an agreement isn't in place, and Johnson has not taken a physical. If and when a contract gets done, Sosnick told Crasnick, it will take a few more days. Johnson will reportedly receive $500,000 for making his fifth start, $1 million for his 10th start, $500,000 for his 15th start and $1 million for his 20th. He will then earn $250,000 per start for starts 21-33, according to Passan.
- Though the Marlins have an exceptional young outfield in Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Giancarlo Stanton, the club is still on the lookout for a fourth outfielder, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Ideally, Morosi noted, they'd acquire someone who can handle center field to back up Ozuna. The free agent market has little to offer in terms of center fielders who saw significant time in the Majors last year, though the trade market has some options. The Padres have a number of outfielders that can play center field (Will Venable, Abraham Almonte and Cameron Maybin), Oakland's Craig Gentry is an excellent defender, and the Cardinals' Peter Bourjos is elite with the glove as well. One buy-low option on the free agent market could be Franklin Gutierrez, though his health issues are significant and he didn't take the field in 2014.
- The Nationals reached a minor league contract with right-hander Heath Bell, the pitcher himself wrote in an exclusive guest column for The Players' Tribune.