Done Deals: Brewers acquire reliever Alex Claudio from Rangers

Yahoo Sports

This is Yahoo Sports’ running list of trades and signings that happen during baseball’s winter meetings. We’ll update this post as news happens.

THURSDAY

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An already deep Milwaukee Brewers bullpen got a little deeper on Thursday. As first reported by The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, the Brewers acquired veteran reliever Alex Claudio from the Texas Rangers. The Rangers will receive a competitive-balance pick from Milwaukee.


Rangers have traded reliever Alex Claudio to the Brewers. (AP)
Rangers have traded reliever Alex Claudio to the Brewers. (AP)

Our Take: Claudio, 26, has been one of the league’s steadier left-hander relievers. He has plenty of late-inning experience too, even serving as Rangers closer for a short time in 2017. He had a down season in 2018, posting a 4.48 ERA, but his lifetime ERA is still a solid 3.20. He’ll join Josh Hader, Jeremy Jeffress and Corey Knebel as experienced options for manager Craig Counsell.

Mariners, Indians and Rays complete massive deal

Not even illness and a trip to the hospital can prevent Jerry Dipoto from making a trade.

The forever scheming Seattle Mariners general manager reportedly finalized his most recent deal, a three-team trade that sent Carlos Santana back to the Cleveland Indians and brought Edwin Encarcacion to Seattle, from his hospital bed in Las Vegas.

Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown reports that in addition to the Santana-Encarnacion swap, the Tampa Bay Rays will receive corner infielder Yandy Diaz and right-handed pitcher Cole Sulser from Cleveland in exchange for Jake Bauers, a 23-year-old first baseman and outfielder. The Mariners received $5 million from the Rays as part of the deal.

Carlos Santana is returning to Cleveland Indians as part of a major trade. (AP)
Carlos Santana is returning to Cleveland Indians as part of a major trade. (AP)

Our Take: Wow. That’s a lot to keep track of even for a healthy general manager. Santana will return to where he enjoyed his most success, Cleveland. He was never a fit in Philadelphia, and never even got to wear a Mariners uniform. He’ll try to pick up where he left off as the Indians first baseman/designated hitter.

Like Santana, it’s possible Encarnacion will never play a game for Seattle. Dipoto is simply moving whatever pieces he can to land prospects and create salary relief. If that means temporarily taking on a big contract, so be it. The Mariners did get some salary too from the Rays.

WEDNESDAY

The Washington Nationals and Cincinnati Reds traded a Tanner for a Tanner on Wednesday. Tanner Roark, a six-year MLB veteran with a 3.59 career ERA, was traded to the Reds in exchange for Tanner Rainey, a 25-year-old right-hander with eight games of MLB experience.

The Reds announced the trade on Twitter.


The Nationals have traded reliable right-hander Tanner Roark to the Reds. (AP)
The Nationals have traded reliable right-hander Tanner Roark to the Reds. (AP)

Our Take: Roark isn’t a superstar by any stretch, but he’s been a reliable arm for Washington over the years. That the team has decided to trade Roark could be an indication they’re set to add another big name starter in free agency or by trade. The Nationals already signed Patrick Corbin to form a formidable trio with Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. But adding even more pitching depth might be their answer to what we assume will be life after Bryce Harper.

J.A. Happ returning to Yankees on two-year deal
The New York Yankees locked up another starting pitcher on Wednesday, reaching a two-year agreement with J.A. Happ. Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports the deal is worth $34 million, and will include a third year option.

J.A. Happ is staying with the Yankees on a two-year deal. (AP)
J.A. Happ is staying with the Yankees on a two-year deal. (AP)

Our Take: Happ, 36, is coming off an impressive split between the Blue Jays and Yankees. Overall, he posted a solid 3.65 ERA and 193/51 K/BB ratio over 177 2/3 innings. The Yankees obviously liked what they saw, electing to focus on Happ rather than spend big money on free agent Patrick Corbin. The Yankees have also added James Paxton this winter in a trade with the Seattle Mariners. General manager Brian Cashman is likely to focus on other needs, but we shouldn’t rule out another starting pitching addition. 

Justin Bour agrees to Angels deal 
Slugging first baseman Justin Bour is headed to the Los Angeles Angels, Yahoo Sports’ reported Wednesday. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.


Justin Bour will provide some insurance for the Los Angeles Angels. (AP)
Justin Bour will provide some insurance for the Los Angeles Angels. (AP)

Our Take: Bour, 30, is a pretty good insurance policy for the Angels. He’s has averaged 27 homers per 162 games during his career, which makes him a strong option to fill the DH or first base role for Los Angeles. With Albert Pujols and Shohei Ohtani both coming off major surgeries, Bour should see the field a lot in 2019.

Lance Lynn goes to Rangers on three-year deal
The Texas Rangers pursuit of a starting pitcher has led them to Lance Lynn. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand was the first to report the deal. The veteran right-hander agreed to a three-year, $30 million contract on Wednesday, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan confirmed.


Veteran right-hander Lance Lynn heads to the Rangers on a three-year deal. (AP)
Veteran right-hander Lance Lynn heads to the Rangers on a three-year deal. (AP)

Our Take: Hours after the Rangers learned they’d missed out on Charlie Morton, they rebounded to get a deal done with Lynn. Texas might feel they got the better deal after Morton received the same money as Lynn from Tampa Bay, but for one less year. Still, it’s a big commitment to a pitcher that didn’t exactly overwhelm in 2018. Lynn finished with a 4.77 ERA in 156 2/3 innings. Overall, Lynn has a 3.57 ERA in 2014 career appearances (190 starts). He’ll give Texas a veteran presence as they attempt to rebuild in a loaded AL West.

Rays bolster rotation with Charlie Morton deal
After trading Chris Archer, the Tampa Bay Rays spent the rest of 2018 with AL Cy Young award winner Blake Snell as their only truly reliable starting pitcher. Now they’ll have two excellent starters after reaching an agreement with 2018 All-Star Charlie Morton.

Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports the deal is for two years and $30 million.


Houston Astros starting pitcher Charlie Morton throws against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning in Game 4 of a baseball American League Championship Series on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Houston Astros starting pitcher Charlie Morton throws against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning in Game 4 of a baseball American League Championship Series on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Our Take: The Rays made bullpenning work last season, but the reality is they couldn’t go another whole season leaning so heavily on one starting pitcher. Morton gives them another solid pillar to rely on and build around. The 35-year-old right-hander has seemingly gotten better with age. In two seasons with the Astros, Morton posted a 3.36 ERA and an impressive 10.4 K/9 over 313 2/3 innings. He’s an ideal fit for a Rays team aiming to contend in 2019.

Tigers sign Jordy Mercer to take over at shortstop
The Detroit Tigers have added to the not-entirely-long list of deals at the MLB winter meetings. They’ve reportedly landed veteran shortstop Jordy Mercer on a one-year deal worth $5.25 million, according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi and Fancred’s Jon Heyman.



Our take: Mercer isn’t spectacular but seems like a good enough stopgap for a team that needed a shortstop. In seven years with the Pirates, Mercer averaged .256/.316/.383 with 11 homers and 55 RBIs across 162 games. He won’t win the AL Central for Detroit, but that’s not really in their sights regardless of who their shortstop is.

Jordy Mercer is reportedly headed to the Tigers to be their new shortstop. (AP)
Jordy Mercer is reportedly headed to the Tigers to be their new shortstop. (AP)

TUESDAY
Catcher Chris Herrmann joins A’s on one-year deal
Baseball scribe Jerry Crasnick reports that the Oakland Athletics have inked catcher Chris Herrmann. MLB.com’s Jane Lee notes that it’s a one-year deal for the seven-year veteran.


Our take: It’s a depth move for the A’s, who only had Josh Phegley in the catching mix before Tuesday. Herrmann isn’t likely to be an impact player offensively. He batted just .237/.322/.421 with two home runs over 36 games with the Mariners in 2018. However, the 31-year-old does provide valuable catching experience. Oakland is already his third AL West team this offseason. He was waived by Seattle and claimed by Houston last month before being non-tendered. 

Rangers make minor trade with Cardinals, hire former major leaguer

The Texas Rangers acquired third baseman Patrick Wisdom from the St. Louis Cardinals for infielder/outfielder Drew Robinson, Rangers executive VP of communications John Blake announced. The Rangers also announced they’ve hired former major league pitcher Brandon McCarthy as special assistant to general manager Jon Daniels.


Former MLB pitcher Brandon McCarthy is joining the Texas Rangers front office. (AP)
Former MLB pitcher Brandon McCarthy is joining the Texas Rangers front office. (AP)

Our take: The McCarthy hire is the bigger story in the baseball world. He’s a long respected pitcher who is clearly looking to extend his baseball career in a different avenue. The trade itself is strictly about depth for both teams.

Veteran pitcher Jordan Lyles signs with the Pirates
First reported by the New York Post’s Joel Sherman and confirmed by Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, reliever Jordan Lyles has headed to the Pirates. The details of the deal aren’t yet known.


Our take: Lyles’ numbers won’t blow you away (a 5.28 career ERA is the opposite of impressive), but he showed some spark at the end of the 2018 season that makes him interesting. He started eight games for the Padres in 2018, but had much better success as a reliever after the Milwaukee Brewers claimed him off waivers in August. He pitched 16.1 innings for them, and had a 3.31 ERA exclusively in a relief role. Given his improvements over the last few months of the season, he could be valuable to the Pirates’ bullpen in the 2019 season.

Phillies sign Andrew McCutchen to three-year deal
After playing for one team in nine years and two teams in one year, outfielder Andrew McCutchen has signed a three-year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. Matt Gelb of The Athletic was the first to report the deal, which was confirmed by Yahoo Sports’ own Jeff Passan. Jon Heyman of Fancred reported that McCutchen will get $50 million over his three-year contract.


Our take:  McCutchen is 31 and isn’t quite performing at his previous MVP form, but he’s still a major upgrade to the Phillies’ outfield, which is desperately needed. After spending time with both the going-nowhere Giants and a young Yankees team that obviously had no intention of keeping him around, he’s got a three-year commitment from a young team in need of veteran guidance and steady, competent play. Cutch can give them both.

Pirates deal starter Ivan Nova to White Sox
Day 2 of the Winter Meetings starts with a trade, as the Pittsburgh Pirates send starter Ivan Nova to the Chicago White Sox. The deal was first reported by The Athletic’s Robert Murray and confirmed by our own Jeff Passan, who says more trades may be on the way. The return is still unknown, but doesn’t figure to more than a minor leaguer.


Ivan Nova is going to the White Sox in a trade with the Pirates. (AP)
Ivan Nova is going to the White Sox in a trade with the Pirates. (AP)

Our take: Nova, 31, has been up and down during his career — really good at some times, remarkably average at others. Last year he was 9-9 with a 4.19 ERA. If the Pirates are going young with their pitchers, it makes sense to get what they can for Nova with the starting pitching market heating up. For the White Sox, a team with quite a few young pitchers, Nova could be some veteran stability. He has one more year left on his contract.

MONDAY

Tyson Ross is headed to Detroit on a one-year, $5.75 million deal. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)
Tyson Ross is headed to Detroit on a one-year, $5.75 million deal. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)

Tyson Ross signs a one-year, $5.75 million deal with Detroit Tigers
Journeyman pitcher Tyson Ross has found a new home with the rebuilding Tigers. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic was the first to report that Ross had signed with the Tigers, with Yahoo Sports’ own Jeff Passan confirming the length and the amount of the contract. With bonuses, Ross’s contract could reach $6 million.



Our take: The Tigers are Ross’s fifth team in four seasons, but he continues to get chances in the majors because when healthy, he can eat innings. But that depends on how the Tigers intend to use him. Ross has been a starter for the vast majority of his career, but when the St. Louis Cardinals claimed him off waivers in August they primarily used him as a middle reliever. He wasn’t as sharp in 2018 as he’d been in the past, but the Tigers have the time and the money to take Ross on as a reclamation project.

Billy Hamilton finalizing deal with Kansas City Royals for $5 million
This one isn’t a shocker, as the two sides have been linked before we all arrived in Las Vegas, but word is it’s happening and now the first deal of the Winter Meetings. Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports and Yahoo Sports’ own Jeff Passan are all over this one. Hamilton is reportedly getting more than $5 million for one year.


Our take: This seems like a good match. Even though the Reds cut Hamilton loose, he can still be a productive player. We all know about the speed and he plays great defense. His bat has never come along (he hit just .236 last year) but he’s still an exciting player. And for a team like the Royals, which isn’t looking at being too competitive next year, he fills a gap at a relatively low price and brings some pizzazz to the ballpark every day.

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Mike Oz is a writer at Yahoo Sports. Contact him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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