Chamberlain signs one-year deal with Tigers
DETROIT — Joba Chamberlain was once for the Yankees what Bruce Rondon now is for the Tigers: the young hard-throwing right-hander who is seemingly capable of long-term dominance out of the bullpen.
In his first full season in 2008, Chamberlain struck out 118 hitters in 100 1/3 innings.
Now, for 2014, the Tigers hope Rondon can be an eighth-inning fireballer like that to set up closer Joe Nathan.
But Rondon must prove he has the health, ability and savvy to do so over a full season. The Tigers wanted to find a veteran reliever to step into Rondon’s role if he couldn’t do it.
They evidently have selected Chamberlain for that assignment. On Thursday, according to reports from reliable media outlets, the Tigers signed Chamberlain to a one-year contract. As reported by Buster Olney of ESPN, the contract is for $2.5 million, plus performance bonuses.
On Wednesday, after the signing of outfielder Rajai Davis, general manager Dave Dombrowski said the Tigers’ roster was set for spring training with the exception perhaps of another reliever.
Robinson Cano and Mariners finalize huge contract
SEATTLE — All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano and the Seattle Mariners have finalized their $240 million, 10-year contract that was agreed upon late last week.
The Mariners announced the contract Thursday following Cano’s completion of a physical. The deal is tied for the fourth largest contract in major league history.
Cano had spent his entire career with the Yankees. The five-time All-Star played in 160 games last season and hit .314 with 27 homers and 107 RBIs. Cano posted a .899 on-base plus slugging percentage and finished fifth in American League MVP voting.
The Yankees offered Cano a $175 million, seven-year deal. New York went 85-77 last season and missed the playoffs for only the second time in 19 years; Seattle went 71-91 and hasn’t been in the playoffs since 2001.
Giants reach agreement on one-year deal with Morse
SAN FRANCISCO — Michael Morse and the San Francisco Giants reached agreement on a one-year, $6 million contract Thursday, and he is expected to be the team’s starting left fielder.
The deal is pending a physical, assistant general manager Bobby Evans said. Traded from Seattle to Baltimore on Aug. 30, Morse also can play first base and right field to give manager Bruce Bochy some flexibility in writing his lineup. If Morse becomes the everyday left fielder in place of Gregor Blanco, Bochy would have Blanco available coming off the bench, to fill in elsewhere or as a late-game defensive replacement.
Morse missed time this past season with both a broken right pinkie and strained right quadriceps before returning from the disabled list in late July. The 31-year-old nine-year veteran, batted .215 with 13 home runs and 27 RBIs in 88 games between the Mariners and Orioles.
He will fill a void at a position the Giants had been determined to upgrade this winter, though general manager Brian Sabean went into this week’s baseball winter meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., uncertain of what he might be able to find to fill out his roster.
Morse will be part of an outfield featuring Angel Pagan in center field and Hunter Pence in right. Pagan received a $40 million, four-year contract last December, while Pence was rewarded with a $90 million, five-year contract before the season ended. He played every game this year.
Marlins trade Ruggiano to Cubs
The Miami Marlins on Thursday put a bow on an active week at the Baseball Winter Meetings, acquiring outfielder Brian Bogusevic from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for outfielder Justin Ruggiano.
The left-handed hitting Bogusevic, 29, hit .273 with six home runs and 16 RBI in 47 games with the Cubs last season. He hit .317 in 79 games with Triple-A Iowa before returning to the majors.
“Really, Bogusevic is a younger version of Ruggiano,” President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill said. “In terms of skill set, can play all three outfield positions and will fill the role that we had identified for Ruggiano.”
The transaction will save the Marlins about $1 million. Ruggiano, who turns 32 in April, is arbitration-eligible whereas Bogusevic won’t qualify until after next season.
Ruggiano, who spent his first three seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays, hit .313 with 13 home runs in 91 games with the Marlins in 2012. Last season, he had a career-high 18 home runs and 50 RBI in 128 games. He also had an epic 42 consecutive at-bat hitless streak that contributed to a .222 average in 472 plate appearances.
Ruggiano hit 15 of his 18 home runs last season on the road.
By wire sources