It's the day after the winter meetings in Nashville and it's proving to be just as busy as the meetings themselves! OK, so maybe that's not saying a whole lot, but at least there has been some movement with two solid contributors coming off the board.
Diamondbacks agree with Brandon McCarthy on two-year, $15.5 million, pending a physical
As first reported by the Arizona Republic's Nick Piecoro, the Diamondbacks continued stockpiling starting pitching depth with the addition of Brandon McCarthy. The 29-year-old right-hander is coming off two injury-plagued, but solid when healthy seasons in Oakland that saw him post a 3.29 ERA in 43 starts. Over his career, McCarthy is 37-39 with a 4.02 ERA in 153 appearances (99 starts) spread out over the seven seasons.
BLS Take: McCarthy's pending deal is right in line with the two-year, $15 million deal Joe Blanton signed with the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday, which means their performance over the next two seasons will be compared frequently. Looking back, though, it's interesting to note that Blanton, despite what the perception might be, has topped 25 starts in seven of his nine seasons. McCarthy, on the other hand, has yet to do so in seven years. Just file that away.
This deal won't be official until McCarthy passes his physical, which is expected to happen but isn't a given considering his history of shoulder issues and also the fact he's coming off that very scary skull fracture that threatened his life. As you can tell, his signing is not without risk, but with Ian Kennedy, Trevor Cahill and Wade Miley already locked in to the rotation, and prospects Trevor Bauer, Tyler Skaggs and Patrick Corbin on the rise, Arizona's probably in the best position to sign him with the hope of getting 35-40 starts the next two years.
It also would give them enough depth to move one of those young pitchers to help fill the need at shortstop, which could be the next big domino to fall in the hot stove league.
As for the ballpark concerns. Yes, McCarthy leaving a very pitcher-friendly park in Oakland to head to the hitter-friendly Chase Field in Phoenix, but I believe that will be offset by leaving offenses like the Rangers and Angels behind to pitch in the far less threatening National League West.
Reds re-sign Ryan Ludwick
The Reds expected to get something done with Ryan Ludwick at the winter meetings, but instead had to wait an extra day to lock him in. According to Jon Heyman, the terms of the deal have yet to be released, but it's believed the Reds had a two-year deal worth between $13-$14 million on the table.
BLS Take: Ludwick will resume his role as Cincinnati's regular left fielder and for good reason. He's a very productive hitter when locked in and few ballparks allow you to lock in quite like the Great American Ballpark. His 26 homers and 80 driven in 108 games last season clearly evidence that. He's comfortable there, as most sluggers are, and based on his strong 2008 and 2009 performances in St. Louis, Ludwick probably feels very comfortable in the National League Central.
Andruw Jones signs one-year deal with the Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan
That's the report from Nikkon Sports, which comes to us courtesy of the folks at NPBTracker.com. The contract is said to be worth 300 million yen, or roughly 3.5 million in American dollars, and is pending the completion of a physical. Jones, 35, has put together a phenomenal career with 434 career home runs and a 10 year run (1998-2007) with the gold glove, but has declined sharply since that time and is coming off a season where he hit .197 in 239 plate appearances with the New York Yankees. Overall, he has not hit over .250 since 2006.
BLS Take: As many have said since this news tentatively broke on Friday night, if it's true, Jones represents one of the biggest MLB stars to make the move across the pond. He probably won't make a significant impact on the field for Rakuten, but he'll be a big name and a draw. He'll also earn more money than he would have in the states and also get his first chance to play regularly since 2007.
As for how it impacts teams in MLB, it's one less option on the board for those who wanted to add an experienced right-handed bat and outfield depth later in the winter. Another similar player, Ryan Spilborghs, signed with the Seibu Lions on Thursday.