Sunday, February 23, 2014

Yankees, Brett Gardner agree to 4-year extension

The New York Yankees and outfielder Brett Gardner have agreed to a four-year extension worth $52 million, per Mark Feinsand of the NY Daily News.

In addition, the Yankees have a team option at $12.5 million (with a $2 million buyout) for 2019.

Gardner hit .273 last season with an AL-high 10 triples, eight homers, 52 runs batted in, 81 runs and 24 stolen bases. In his career, Gardner has stolen 168 bases on 199 attempts for a success rate of 84 percent.

One of the faster players in baseball, Gardner will play left field this year with the Yankees signing Jacoby Ellsbury in the offseason. In addition to Ellsbury, the Yankees signed Carlos Beltran this offseason.

All three of those outfielders are under contract for at least the next three seasons: Ellsbury (2020), Gardner (2018) and Beltran (2016).

In my 2014 fantasy outfielder rankings, I currently have Ellsbury, Beltran and Gardner ranked seventh, 27th and 44th, respectively.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Closer Craig Kimbrel, Braves agree to four-year extension

The Braves and closer Craig Kimbrel have agreed to a four-year extension that includes a team option for 2018 as well, via Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports.

As Ken Rosenthal tweets, the extension buys out all three years of arbitration and one, possibly two (with the 2018 option), year of free agency.

Per ESPN's Jayson Stark, the deal is worth at least $42 million over those four years.

In the past three seasons as the team's closer, Kimbrel has a total of 138 saves with an ERA of 1.48, a WHIP of 0.871 and K/9 rate of 14.9 (341 strikeouts in 206.2 innings).

Without question, Kimbrel is the top fantasy reliever heading into the 2014 season.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Derek Jeter to retire after the 2014 season

One year after we saw the farewell tour for Mariano Rivera, it will be El Capitan's turn in 2014.

Earlier today, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter announced via his Facebook page that the 2014 season will be his final season.

While he's never won a regular-season MVP, Jeter helped lead the Yankees to five World Series titles and will be a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer.

Breaking the franchise's hit record several seasons ago, Jeter currently ranks 10th on the all-time hits list with 3,316. Assuming Jeter stays healthy, which is no given after playing in only 17 games in 2013 and about to turn 40 in June, he has an excellent chance to move up to sixth all-time in hits.

With 120 hits, he will pass Cap Anson (3,435, 6th), Honus Wagner (3,420, 7th), Carl Yastrzemski (3,419, 8th) and Paul Molitor (3,319, 9th). There is little chance that he gets the 200 hits he needs to pass Tris Speaker (3,515, 5th), but Jeter did get 216 hits just two seasons ago (2012). (He's reached the 200-hit milestone eight times in his career.)

Not only does Jeter rank first among Yankees' players in hits, he ranks first in games (2,602), at-bats (10,614) and stolen bases (348). Jeter ranks third in runs scored (1,876) behind Babe Ruth (1,959) and Lou Gehrig (1,888) and sixth in runs batted in (1,261).

Phillies sign Burnett to one-year deal, Hamels won't be ready for Opening Day

According to Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly, the Phillies have agreed to a one-year deal with free-agent starting pitcher A.J. Burnett and that the deal is worth $16 million.

Even though he had a losing record (10-11) last season with the Pirates, Burnett tied a previous career low in ERA (3.30) and struck out 209 batters in 191.0 innings.

Not only did Burnett's K/9 rate of 9.848 set a career best, but he ranked first in the National League in the category. Miami's Jose Fernandez (9.747) and New York's Matt Harvey (9.639) finished second and third, respectively.

In addition, his HR/9 rate of 0.518 was only slightly worse than his career-best rate of 0.517 (2005). The only N.L. pitchers that had a better rate in 2013 were Harvey (0.353), Clayton Kershaw (0.420) and Jhoulys Chacin (0.502).

Burnett will be the team's No. 3 starter behind Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels. That said, Hamels (shoulder tendinitis) is currently behind in his throwing program and won't be ready for the start of the season.