Cardinals reach one-year deal with second baseman Mark Ellis
The St. Louis Cardinals will add another veteran presence to their clubhouse after agreeing to a one-year deal with Mark Ellis. The deal is reportedly pending a physical, but financial details haven't been released. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch was the first to report the deal.
BLS take: Signing Ellis gives the Cardinals insurance at second base where they plan on using 23-year-old Kolten Wong on a regular basis in 2014. If Wong falters or shows he’s not ready to run with the job full-time, Ellis can slide in seamlessly as a full-time or platoon player and provide acceptable production. In 2013, he hit 270/.323/.351 with six homers, 13 doubles and 48 RBIs.
Ellis’ agreement also means there’s one less second base target available for the New York Yankees. It’s looking more and more likely they’ll need to pull off a trade if they’re looking for an immediate full-time solution.
James Loney re-signs with Rays on three-year, $21 million deal
The Tampa Bay Rays kept a big part of the 2013 lineup around by re-signing James Loney to a three-year deal. ESPN's Buster Olney was the first to report the multi-year deal.
BLS take: Loney was the best pure first baseman left on the board so the Rays were wise to bring him back. The years and money may seem a bit much for a corner infielder who's never hit more than 15 home runs in his first five full seasons, but he's only 29. He's also coming off a career best .778 OPS and 118 OPS+ and seems like a guy ready to settle in as a productive middle-of-the-order hitter. He's also an above average fielder that can save his teammates from piling up errors.
Mike Pelfrey for two-years, $11 million
The Minnesota Twins have been aggressive in the starting pitching market this offseason, adding Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes to their 30th ranked rotation. Now CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports they've agreed to re-sign Mike Pelfrey for two years at $11 million. The deal also includes $3.5 million in performance-based incentives.
BLS take: As many experts have stated, it appears the Twins outbid themselves on this one. Pelfrey, 29, was a big part of their rotation problems in 2013, posting a 5.19 ERA in 152 2/3 innings. His services weren't going to be in high demand elsewhere, but apparently the Twins feel he'll be vastly improved in his second season removed from Tommy John surgery. Time will certainly tell. The Twins also remain interested in free agent Bronson Arroyo.
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