MLB roundup: Castro agrees to 7-year deal with Cubs

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange


The Cubs agreed to terms with All-Star shortstop Starlin Castro on a seven-year deal with a club option for 2020.
The 22-year-old two-time All-Star is will reportedly receive $60 million in total salary, erasing his four remaining arbitration-eligible years and first two years of eligibility in free agency. He can hit the free-agent market at age 30 if his $16 million option isn't picked up in '20. The Cubs have a $1 million buyout.
The deal was finalized Tuesday, according to the Cubs, after 10 days of negotiations that centered around specific contract language.
Castro ended each of his first two seasons with a batting average over .300. He entered Tuesday with a .296 average.
Deals to buy out arbitration and early free agent years have become more common in recent years. The Brewers signed slugger Ryan Braun to an eight-year, $45 million contract after his rookie season. The Rays signed Evan Longoria to a six-year, $17.5 million deal in 2008 with club options through 2016.
If Castro continues to deliver and matures into a leadership role as the organization would like, the Cubs could do as Milwaukee did with Braun in 2011 and again address his contract so that it reflects his market value. Braun's new deal, signed last season at age 27, was a five-year, $105 million extension.

---ESPN is on the verge of an eight-year rights deal with Major League Baseball worth $5.6 billion that includes the rights to "Sunday Night Baseball," nationally televised games Monday and Wednesday nights and one wild-card playoff game.
The contract adds the rights to digital, international and radio in addition to domestic television rights for which ESPN had paid $306 million annually. The average of the current deal is $700 million per year.
MLB announced the annual rights fee will increase by 100 percent over its current deals, marking a new all-time record for a baseball rights agreement.

---Texas Rangers pitcher Roy Oswalt cleared waivers, meaning he can be traded to any team, according to multiple reports.
The deadline for players to be traded and still be eligible for the postseason is Friday, though this doesn't guarantee that Oswalt will be dealt.
Some reports suggested that the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox could seek pitching depth. Oswalt is owed about $1 million in salary for the rest of the year, plus potential incentives.

---The Pirates will continue their quest for a playoff berth without pitcher Erik Bedard.
Pittsburgh released the struggling lefty Tuesday. He had signed a one-year, $4.5 million deal with the team in December, but posted a 5.01 ERA this season in 24 starts. His 14 losses are tied for the most in the majors.

---The 2014 All-Star Game is coming to Minnesota, according to a Minneapolis Star-Tribune report.
A news conference has been scheduled for Wednesday to announce the decision, the report said. Baseball commissioner Bud Selig will attend the announcement at Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins.

---Following his return to a pitching mound over the weekend, 50-year-old Roger Clemens told the Houston Chronicle that he has no immediate plans to pitch again.
But he didn't rule it out, either.
"That could change in a couple days, but right now we haven't talked to any of the guys or anything like that," Clemens told the paper.
Clemens, who has won 354 games during a 24-year big-league career, threw 3 1/3 scoreless innings for the Independent Sugar Land Skeeters. His final season in the major leagues came in 2007, when he went 6-6 with a 4.18 ERA in 99 innings for the New York Yankees.

---Pitcher Marcus Stroman, the Toronto Blue Jays' first-round pick in the 2012 draft, has been suspended for 50 games for use of a banned substance, MLB.com reported.
The right-handed Stroman was the No. 22 overall pick out of Duke and signed for $1.8 million.
But he was suspended under Major League Baseball's substance abuse program because he tested positive for methylhexaneamine, a stimulant.
Stroman, 21, played for the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats and the Class A Vancouver Canadians this year. He is 3-0 with a 3.26 ERA in 19 1/3 innings of relief work between the two teams.

--- The Baltimore Orioles are close to finalizing a deal with left-handed pitcher Randy Wolf, MLB.com reported Tuesday.
Wolf, who was released by the Brewers on Wednesday, was 3-10 with a 5.69 ERA in 24 starts this season for the Brewers. He has not been as effective as he was last season when he went 13-10 with a 3.69 ERA.

---Chicago White Sox pitcher Gavin Floyd was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday because of a strained right elbow flexor. The move is retroactive to Monday.
Floyd left Sunday's game against the Mariners because of pain in his right elbow. He is 9-9 with a 4.55 ERA this season.
Chicago recalled right-hander Dylan Axelrod from Triple-A Charlotte and sent outfielder Alejandro De Aza to Charlotte for an injury rehab assignment. De Aza has been out with bruised ribs.

---The Chicago Cubs activated right-handed pitcher Blake Parker from the 60-day disabled list on Tuesday, and they designated left-handed pitcher Alex Hinshaw for assignment.
Parker, 27, has been out since June 6 with a right elbow stress reaction.