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Sports Data APIs for Individuals!
Relief pitcher Kirby Yates is the newest member of the Atlanta Braves, joining the defending champions on a two-year deal worth $8.25 million dollars in guaranteed money. The contract includes a $5.75 million dollar club option for 2024 with a $1.25 million dollar buyout. Yates has been a top fantasy closer in the past, but he's coming off Tommy John surgery and won't be ready to pitch until midway through 2022. He only managed a total of 4 1/3 innings between the 2020 and 2021 seasons. With 57 saves and 400 strikeouts in 291 career games, Yates could challenge for the closer role if he stays on track with his rehab, but that's a significant if.
Long-time outfielder Melky Cabrera announced his retirement on Friday. Cabrera hadn't played in the major leagues since 2019, but he had played in winter ball each of the last two years. The switch-hitter broke into the bigs in 2005 with the New York Yankees. He spent the first five seasons of his career in the Bronx before making stops with the Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Royals, San Francisco Giants, Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians and Pittsburgh Pirates. Cabrera's most productive season came in 2012 with the Giants when he hit .346/.390/.516 with 11 home runs, 60 RBI and 13 stolen bases in his only All-Star appearance. The Melk Man never had much power (career-high 18 home runs), but he had a productive 15-year career that saw him hit .285/.334/.417 with 144 homers, 383 doubles, 854 RBI and 101 stolen bases in 1,887 games.
Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. (knee) has taken the next step in his rehab from right knee surgery and has resumed hitting on the field. Acuna had surgery back in July of last year to fix a torn ACL, and he missed the rest of the 2021 season and Atlanta's improbable World Series run. Despite the progress, Acuna is expected to be limited when players report to spring training at the end of February if MLB and the players reach an agreement to end the ongoing lockout. There are still many steps for him to clear, and he could still miss the beginning of the 2022 season, which makes him much more risky as an early first-round selection in fantasy drafts. Speed is a big part of Acuna's game, and it remains to be seen if he'll run as much when he eventually makes his 2022 season debut.
Three-time World Series champion and 200-game winner Jon Lester announced his retirement on Wednesday after a 16-year career. The 38-year-old made 30-plus starts in a season 12 times, including 28 starts in his final season with the Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals last year. The southpaw made five All-Star teams and had a 2.51 career postseason ERA. Lester will be known for a nasty cutter, and he is one of only nine modern left-handers with 200 wins, a .600 winning percentage and a career ERA under 4.00. Six of the other eight southpaws are all in the Hall of Fame. From 2016 to 2018, Lester had a sparkling 1.93 ERA in 10 playoff outings. "I never wanted fans to leave a game and ask, 'Was the effort there?'" Lester said. "I think I always gave it."
Seattle Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager announced his retirement in a statement that was posted to Twitter by his wife on Wednesday. Seager is calling it quits after a career season in 2021 in which he posted 35 home runs and 101 RBI. In his 11 seasons in MLB, all with the Mariners, Seager recorded 242 home runs, 807 RBI and had a .251 batting average. The 34-year-old was originally a third-round pick by Seattle in 2009, and he made his big-league debut in 2011. Seager's breakout came in his second season in 2012, when he hit 20 home runs in 155 games while slashing .259/.316/.423. Abraham Toro is an option to settle into the hot corner with Seager gone in 2022, but the Mariners could address the position via free agency or trade once the lockout is lifted.
The Los Angeles Dodgers and outfielder Cody Bellinger agreed to a one-year, $17 million deal to avoid salary arbitration before the league's Dec. 1 lockout, according to sources familiar with the agreement. The 26-year-old is coming off the worst season of his career, slashing .165/.240/.302 with 10 home runs in 95 games, but he played much better in the postseason. Bellinger is only two seasons removed from winning the National League MVP in 2019 by slashing .305/.406/.629 with 47 home runs. The deal won't be guaranteed until Bellinger makes the Opening Day roster, but he won't hit the free-agent market now until after the 2023 season. A hairline fracture in his left leg, a rib fracture and a hamstring strain caused him to miss time last year, so with better health, fantasy managers should expect better production in 2022.
The San Diego Padres signed outfielder Nomar Mazara to a minor league deal that includes an invite to big-league spring training. Mazara was eligible to sign a minor league during MLB's lockout because he didn't finish the 2021 season on any team's 40-man roster after he was released by the Detroit Tigers in June. Mazara made his big-league debut at 20 years old in 2016, batting .266/.320/.419 with 20 home runs in 568 plate appearances in his rookie season. But the left-handed slugger never was able to break out and he posted below-average offensive numbers for the Texas Rangers before he was traded to the Chicago White Sox. He struggled with Chicago in 2020 before slashing just .212/.276/.321 in 181 plate appearances for Detroit last year. The 26-year-old represents a low-cost depth option for a Padres team with plenty of questions at the corner outfield spots.
The New York Yankees signed former Chicago White Sox and Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher Jimmy Cordero to a minor league deal on Wednesday. The right-hander was recovering from Tommy John surgery that he had in March and did not pitch at all last season. The 30-year-old could be a nice high-upside, low-risk signing, but it's unclear when he might be ready to pitch for the Yankees. Cordero had one of the best chase rates in 2020 despite being among the leaders in exit velocity. He had a 6.08 ERA while striking out 22 hitters in 26 2/3 innings in 30 relief appearances for the White Sox in 2020. Cordero was allowed to sign during MLB's lockout because he ended the 2021 season off the 40-man roster of another team.
The New York Yankees signed outfielder Ender Inciarte to a minor league deal on Wednesday. The three-time Gold Glover can sign with a team during MLB's lockout because he was not on a 40-man roster to end last year. The 31-year-old was an All-Star in 2017 and has hit .280 with 118 stolen bases and a 91 OPS+ in eight seasons in the majors. Inciarte is best known for his defense in center field, though, but he has seen a sharp decline with his glove since his last Gold Glove season in 2018. He played 52 games with the Atlanta Braves in 2021 before he was designated for assignment in July, and he finished out the year at Triple-A for the Cincinnati Reds before being released in August. The Yankees also signed center fielder Blake Perkins, shortstop Wilkerman Garcia and right-hander Vinny Nittoli to minor league deals.
The Boston Red Sox have at least checked in with free-agent shortstop Trevor Story. There are at least three serious players for Story, plus others and one mystery team. MLB Network's Jon Heyman also mentioned the Houston Astros as a team to have expressed interest in Story this offseason. Boston recently reached out to Carlos Correa's representatives before the lockout, but it remains to be seen if All-Star Xander Bogaerts would be moved out of the position. It's unclear if Story is willing to move to another position besides shortstop, but the Seattle Mariners have reportedly been interested in adding Story to play third base. Leaving Coors Field will be a downgrade for Story, but landing in Boston wouldn't be a bad place for the power/speed threat at shortstop.
Right-hander Nick Martinez's four-year, $20 million deal with the San Diego Padres didn't quite make it through before the deadline on Wednesday night, so he technically remains a free agent with the sport's lockout beginning on Thursday. However, there's no reason to believe that the two sides won't finalize the agreement after a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is done. Martinez's deal includes opt-outs after the first and second seasons. The 31-year-old spent the last four years in Japan and had a very nice 1.62 ERA for the SoftBank Hawks last season. In his four seasons with the Texas Rangers before going overseas, he was 17-30 with a 4.77 ERA. It's unclear if San Diego's crowded starting rotation will have room for Martinez to begin the 2022 season.