An agreement between the Los Angeles Dodgers and closer Kenley Jansen, first reported almost a month ago, was finalized on Tuesday. The righty will earn $80 million over the next five seasons on his new contract.
Unfortunately, there is still no such finality in the Brian Dozier trade talks. The saga has dragged on for several weeks, with LA and Minnesota apparently unable to settle on a package behind headliner Jose De Leon.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported Tuesday that talks between the two sides are at an impasse. This comes about a week after a source told Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press that the Twins were nearing a final decision "out of respect" for the veteran Dozier, who has been hanging in limbo.
Some have wondered whether making the Jansen move official, while designating Micah Johnson for assignment, is a signal that the Dodgers have given up on Dozier. They did sign Cuban second baseman Jose Miguel Fernandez to a minor-league deal a few days earlier, creating a potential contingency (though the rusty and flawed Fernandez is a flimsy starting option at this point).
It appears that Minnesota's new front office leadership duo of Derek Falvey and Thad Levine – both thrust into top decision-making roles for the first time this winter – are adamant about not relenting in their demands. And while a trade could still materialize, we're reaching a point where both teams are going to need to move on and round out their rosters ahead of spring training.
For the Dodgers, that would mean finding another power bat. Their offense badly needs a major boost. They could seek to trade for another second baseman like Ian Kinsler or Logan Forsythe. Or perhaps they will settle at second and turn their gaze to free agent Jose Bautista.
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Rays Reel In Rasmus
There was a time that Colby Rasmus appeared destined for stardom. A former first-round pick who achieved elite prospect status before graduating and finding immediate success with the Cardinals, he seemed a lock to make multiple All Star teams.
Eight years later, he still has yet to make one. For all his promise, he hasn't convinced any club that he's worthy of more than a one-year commitment, and that trend continued this week when the free agent outfielder agreed to a $5 million deal with the Tampa Bay Rays. Rasmus can earn another $2 million in incentives.
Battling injuries, he endured the worst season of his career in 2016, finishing at .206/.286/.355 with 15 homers in 107 games. But as a power-hitting center fielder, he is a desirable commodity. He's still only 30 and one year removed from launching 25 bombs. If he puts together a strong campaign in Tampa, proving his surgically repaired core is good to go, Rasmus should have no trouble getting that elusive multi-year contract next time around.
Don't Stress Over Scherzer
We learned this week via Mark Zuckerman of MASN that Max Scherzer will miss the World Baseball Classic, as he ensures that a stress fracture in his right ring finger heals fully.
If this issue developed during the course of the season, it wasn't evident in his performance while he rolled to his second career Cy Young Award. Stress fractures aren't typically long-term concerns and it sounds like that's the case here; Scherzer expects to be fully ready for spring training. For fantasy purposes, we're glad to see any star player skip the WBC with its added risk and wear.
It would be very surprising if he isn't ready to go on Opening Day. Scherzer will continue to contend with Clayton Kershaw and a few others for the title of best pitcher in baseball.
Quick Hits: Even at 44, Manny's still being Manny – Manny Ramirez, who last appeared in the majors in 2011, signed a contract with the Kochi Fighting Dogs of Japan's independent Shikoki Island League Plus ... The Athletics reached agreement on a one-year deal with Trevor Plouffe, who will likely plug in at the corner infield spots against left-handed pitchers ... Dallas Keuchel, who missed the final month in 2016 due to shoulder inflammation, is back to playing catch three times a week, according to Joe Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle ... The Dodgers avoided arbitration with southpaw Vidal Nuno with a $1.125 million pact ... C.J. Cron needed a second thumb surgery in October after experiencing a setback, but has been cleared for all baseball activity and should be good to go for spring ... Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports says it's becoming less and less likely that the Orioles will strike a deal to bring back slugger Mark Trumbo ... Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Rangers have reached out to Trumbo ... Heyman also says the Angels have discussed going after Matt Wieters, who would be a significant upgrade over Carlos Perez and Martin Maldonado behind the plate.