MLB's free agent market begins to thaw, Soler agrees to $42 million deal with Giants, AP source says

Tue, Feb 13, 2024
MLB News (AP)

MLB's free agent market begins to thaw, Soler agrees to $42 million deal with Giants, AP source says

PHOENIX (AP) - The San Francisco Giants and slugger Jorge Soler agreed to a $42 million, three-year deal on Tuesday, according to a person with direct knowledge of the negotiations, taking one of the remaining marquee free agents off the market as most of the 30 teams reported for spring training in Arizona and Florida.

But there's still plenty of talent available - especially considering its mid-February.

Two-time Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell, lefty Jordan Montgomery, third baseman Matt Chapman, slugger J.D. Martinez and former MVP Cody Bellinger are all still looking for homes as camps got underway.

Eighteen teams start workouts on Wednesday and the final 10 begin Thursday. The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres began early because of their March 20 opener at Seoul, South Korea.

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After a flurry of big signings early this offseason - most notably Shohei Ohtani, Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Aaron Nola - MLB's hot stove cooled.

Soler's deal with the Giants was confirmed by a person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal was pending a successful physical.

The veteran provides the Giants with a formidable power threat. He made his first All-Star team with the Marlins last season, hitting .250 with 36 homers, and led the American League with 48 homers in 2019 while with the Royals.

The well-traveled Cuban was the 2021 World Series MVP for the Atlanta Braves after hitting .300 with three homers. He also won a championship with the Chicago Cubs in 2016.

San Francisco hopes to contend in the NL West after hiring Bob Melvin from division rival San Diego to replace Gabe Kapler following two straight years missing the playoffs. The Giants won a franchise-record 107 games and the division crown in 2021.

CAVNAR HIRED BY A'S

Jenny Cavnar is the new primary play-by-play announcer for the Oakland Athletics, hired by NBC Sports California.

Cavnar becomes the first woman to handle primary play-by-play duties in major league history - set to be the voice for most of the A's games during the upcoming 2024 season.

She has covered baseball for 17 of 20 years in the media business, most recently calling Colorado Rockies games the past 12 years as a backup play-by-play announcer while also hosting pregame and postgame shows and regional coverage.

She became the first woman in a quarter-century to handle play-by-play for an MLB game in 2018. She is a graduate of Colorado State.

DIAZ BACK FOR METS

New York Mets closer Edwin Diaz will be brought along slowly as he finishes his recovery from a torn patellar tendon in his right knee sustained last March 15 while celebrating Puerto Rico's win over the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.

"He's doing great to begin with," new Mets manager Carlos Mendoza said Tuesday at spring training in Port St. Lucie, Florida. "He's got a smile on his face."

A two-time All-Star who turns 30 next month, Diaz had a 1.31 ERA and 32 saves in 35 chances in 2022, then agreed to a $102 million, five-year contrac t that calls for the Mets to make deferred payments stretching to 2042.

"He's probably going to be doing a lot of back field work first," Mendoza said. "And then we've got to get him on the main stage."

Mendoza was Aaron Boone's bench coach with the New York Yankees before replacing Buck Showalter as Mets manager in November.

"It's exciting to be able to put on a big league uniform as a manager for the first time." Mendoza said. "I'm really. really excited. It was a long three months." University and former college lacrosse player.

BARD INJURED

The Colorado Rockies said reliever Daniel Bard will have surgery Wednesday to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.

There's no timetable for Bard's return. Rockies pitchers and catchers report Wednesday for physicals before the start of spring training, a day ahead of Colorado's first workout.

Bard got hurt last week during a throwing session, according to The Denver Post. Bard is entering the the final season of a $19 million, two-year deal.

"I was playing normal catch stuff and I moved a little awkwardly and I felt something pop," Bard told the Post, the first to report his injury.

The right-hander appeared in 50 games last season, going 4-2 with a 4.56 ERA and one save. Bard missed time at the start of the 2023 season due to anxiety, which he said he experienced both on and off the field.

RANGERS ADD SAMPSON

Right-hander Adrian Sampson has agreed to a minor league contract with the Texas Rangers and will report to big league spring training with the World Series champions.

Sampson is returning to the Rangers for the first time since 2019. The 32-year-old didn't pitch in the majors last season after right knee surgery in May while in the Chicago Cubs organization.

After going 6-11 with a 5.64 ERA in 40 games (19 starts) with Texas in 2018 and 2019, Sampson spent one season with the Lotte Giants in South Korea. He went 5-7 with a 3.03 ERA in 31 games for the Cubs in 2021 and 2022.

Sampson is 11-19 with a 4.43 ERA in 44 starts and 28 relief appearances over five big league seasons.

RODRIGUEZ CONTRACT DETAILS

Cuban pitcher Yariel Rodriguez's $32 million, five-year contract with the Toronto Blue Jays contains options, escalators and performance bonuses that allow the 26-year-old right-hander to earn up to $47.5 million as a starter and $37.5 million as a reliever.

Rodriguez gets an $8 million signing bonus payable upon approval of the deal by the commissioner's office, according to contract terms obtained by the AP.

His deal, announced Friday, calls for salaries of $2 million this year, $5 million each in 2025 and 2026 and $6 million in 2027. Rodriguez has a $6 million player option for 2028 and if he declines that option, the Blue Jays have a $10 million club option.

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AP Baseball Writers Ronald Blum, Stephen Hawkins and Janie McCauley, AP Sports Writers Dave Skretta and Pat Graham, and AP freelance writer Chuck King contributed to this report.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb

DAVID BRANDT Sports Reporter based in Phoenix twitter mailto "
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