One pitcher is getting paid, another is looking to get seriously paid and a third seems like a good bet to cash in this winter.
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The Rangers signed Martin Perez to a four-year deal on Thursday that will keep him in Texas through 2017 with club options extending to 2020. The contract was worth $12.5 million and bought out his remaining arbitration years. The team obviously liked what it saw from the 22-year-old this year, as he registered a 3.62 ERA and 84/37 K/BB ratio over 124 1/3 innings.
A $12.5 million contract is apparently chump change for Ervin Santana, who is reportedly looking for a five-year deal upwards of $100 million. That average annual value would put him in the territory of Adam Wainwright and Matt Cain, among others.
It makes sense for Santana to be asking for a nice payday after posting a 3.24 ERA over 211 innings this year, but a nine-figure deal seems like a bit much. And his demands have some fantasy implications, too, as he may have limited suitors willing to put up that kind of money. The 30-year-old is homer prone, so if he ends up pitching his home games in a ballpark not tailored to his strengths -- Yankee Stadium, say -- suddenly his chances of a repeat performance get slimmer. It'll be worth noting where the right-hander settles in.
Speaking of teams with homer-friendly parks, the Rockies have shown some interest in Brian Wilson, presumably for a ninth-inning role. The 31-year-old will likely get a job closing somewhere after putting up a 0.66 ERA in 13 2/3 innings coming back from Tommy John surgery this season. The Rox are also looking at Grant Balfour and other "power" relievers, but even if Wilson doesn't end up in Colorado it looks as though he'll cash in on his rebound season.
Cubs Get Their Guy
For the longest time baseball was old boy's club, but that may be changing.
With all the managerial vacancies now filled, four of the five new managers are first-time skippers. Come Opening Day, Bryan Price with the Reds, Brad Ausmus with the Tigers, Matt Williams with the Nationals and, as of Thursday, Rick Renteria with the Cubs will all be making their managerial debuts. The Mariners' Lloyd McClendon is the only rerun of the group.
Those new managers will no doubt have the success of the first-time managers who came before them. Mike Matheny's back-to-back deep runs in the postseason and Robin Ventura's impressive 2012 debut showed baseball executives that a lack of experience didn't necessarily mean a lack of effectiveness.
In Renteria, the Cubs hope they've found a manager who can change the team's recent culture of losing. Renteria was a coach with the Padres since 2008, eventually becoming a bench coach for manager Bud Black in 2011. Renteria also served as manager for Team Mexico in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
It's a young roster Renteria is inheriting, with Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro and Junior Lake as some of the bigger talents currently on the team. Renteria said he's alright with the idea of a "youth movement."
"I've been involved in a youth movement my whole life," Renteria told MLB.com. "Players, in essence, keep us young. I try to use everything I've ever had as a parent -- for example, dealing with whatever moments of frustration or issues that might have occurred in the family -- to my advantage. I've used that in my thought process through the game and teaching."
He's certainly got a positive attitude, which will aid him in some of the situations the club may face in 2014. But with talent like Javier Baez, Jorge Soler and Kris Bryant, among others, in the pipeline, Renteria has a shot at continuing the success first-time managers down the road.
National League Quick Hits: One of Wilson's former teammates, Ricky Nolasco, is said to be looking for a deal in the five-year, $80 million range. It's a good time to be a free agent starting pitcher ... Shin-Soo Choo's agent, Scott Boras, is "trying to push" the outfielder as a $90 million player. After the season he had, it's not hard seeing him reaching that goal ... Johan Santana likely won't sign with a team until he's healthy and can showcase himself to teams. He's currently throwing on flat ground from 90 feet as he works his way back from April surgery to repair a re-tear of the anterior capsule in his left shoulder ... the Dodgers and manager Don Mattingly have begun discussing a multi-year extension. It's a far cry from where the two sides were in May.
American League Quick Hits: Stephen Drew's agent, also Boras, said the Red Sox can "forget" about his client accepting their qualifying offer. Boras said the shortstop already has "a number" of meetings set up with prospective teams ... Dallas Braden, who hasn't pitched since 2011, intends to pitch next year and will likely have a workout or two for interested teams. The lefty likely won't do better than a minor league deal with an invite to spring training.
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- Rick Renteria
- Ervin Santana