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2016 - 2017 MLB Off-Season  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Thu Nov 10th, 2016 05:44 pm
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lobo316



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The Houston Astros are looking to make a major splash this winter, but they'd prefer to keep their financial commitments short term.

Free-agent slugger Edwin Encarnacion is one of general manager Jeff Luhnow's top targets, and he'd ideally like to land the slugger on a three-year deal with a larger annual salary, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

It was reported earlier this week that Encarnacion has generated interest from 10-11 teams, with his agent seeking a five-year, $125-million deal. He's already been in contact with his former team, the Toronto Blue Jays, while the Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox are believed to have varied levels of interest.

Signing him would cost the Astros a draft pick, as the Blue Jays extended him a qualifying offer. Rosenthal noted that Encarnacion would fit into the middle of Houston's lineup, but the only knock against the three-time All-Star is that they'd prefer to add a left-handed bat to an already righty-heavy lineup.

Luhnow acknowledged Tuesday that the Astros' front office feels a sense of urgency to compliment their young core with a big veteran bat this winter. They've also been tied to free-agent designated hitter Carlos Beltran, Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera, and New York Yankees catcher Brian McCann.

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 Posted: Thu Nov 10th, 2016 05:45 pm
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lobo316



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Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow attempted to poor some cold water on a rumor suggesting his club is interested in trading for Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera.

"I was asked, 'Would we consider a trade for a Hall of Fame-caliber first baseman,' and we're considering everything. I think the media kind of ran with that," Luhnow told Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle on Wednesday.

"Whoever started that rumor, it wasn't us. I can't comment specifically on any deals that we're talking to other clubs about. I will tell you though we're talking to teams about lots of different scenarios, and some of them are notable players that would really impact our club. Whether or not any of those conversations have a chance of getting over the finish line remains to be seen.

The rumor came from Jon Morosi of MLB Network, who reported Tuesday that the Astros plan to pursue either Cabrera or free-agent slugger Edwin Encarnacion.

Luhnow was adamant earlier this week that the club intends on being aggressive this winter in hopes of adding to its already strong young core. He said Wednesday that there are a number of options on his wish list, though actually finding a deal that works is a long process.

"Players that have a lot of service time and have a lot of hardware usually don't move that easily and it takes a while to get those deals done," Luhnow said.

"We have the resources financially and player-wise to put together something that's going to feel to our fans maybe bigger than the things we've done the last few years. And we're not ruling anything out if we think it can improve our club."

Cabrera is currently under contract through the next seven seasons and is owed $212 million. He also has a full no-trade clause.

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 Posted: Thu Nov 10th, 2016 05:47 pm
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lobo316



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It may be the offseason, but Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein is still keeping close eye on his players.

So when right-hander Jake Arrieta tweeted a suggestion to Hillary Clinton supporters Wednesday morning, following Donald Trump's election win, Epstein noticed.

Time for Hollywood to pony up and head for the border #illhelpyoupack #beatit

— Jake Arrieta (@JArrieta34) November 9, 2016
"I'm still processing that, too (along with the election results)," Epstein told Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. "I believe in the first amendment. But I also believe we should be mindful of how other people feel."

The tweet is believed to be in response to numerous celebrities who claimed they'd leave the United States if Trump were ever elected president.

Epstein acknowledged that all players go through social media training, and that they're allowed to have opinions.

"We've had conversations with guys about being thoughtful, and being empathetic and understanding that other people might see things differently, and try to think about that before you (tweet)," Epstein said. "And they have training."

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 Posted: Thu Nov 10th, 2016 05:48 pm
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lobo316



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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - After speaking with doctors, agent Scott Boras concluded New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey pitched since spring training with decreased sensation in his fingertips.

Harvey had surgery July 18 to correct thoracic outlet syndrome, a compression of nerves in the area between the neck and armpit, after going 4-10 in 17 starts with a 4.86 ERA. That was more than two runs per game above his previous major league high.

While Harvey's fastball velocity dropped only slightly, by 1 mph to 95 mph, he repeatedly said he was working on changes to his mechanics. He adjusted his arm angle and the rotation of his lower half. Mets manager Terry Collins cited a lack of command with Harvey's breaking balls.

''As the season went on, he complained of the fact that command of his pitches was not nearly the same,'' Boras said Wednesday at the general managers' annual meeting.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson says the 27-year-old right-hander will be ready for spring training. Boras said Dr. Robert Thompson, who performed the operation, explained what Harvey went through.

''You don't really notice or think to notice that the sensation in your fingertips is dull. Only when you get that full-fledged tingling do you know something's wrong,'' Boras said. ''It will affect something about your release point, where you don't have the same sensation you do normally.''

Harvey, who missed the 2014 season following Tommy John surgery, is 29-28 with a 2.94 ERA in four big league seasons. Boras said he visited Harvey in New York recently and expects him to be at full strength next year.

''There's nothing about shoulders, elbows or anything,'' the agent said. ''It's just really getting that nerve free and clear so that it cannot be impacted by the muscle.''

At past MLB meetings, Boras used metaphors involving supermarket aisles to describe the Mets' spending - ''fruits and nuts'' in 2011 vs. ''freezer section'' in 2012 vs. ''ready foods'' in 2014. New York boosted payroll from about $110 million in 2015 to roughly $150 million this year, so Boras switched to different imagery as he spoke in the sun-lit courtyard of a hotel with Camelback Mountain as a backdrop.

''To finish the lap in the pool, you've always got to swim in the deep end to get back to the shallow end, and the deep end is a place now that the Mets are regularly visiting, and I think they've got a good chance of completing their lap,'' he said. ''I've kind of taken it to the resort dynamic.''

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 Posted: Thu Nov 10th, 2016 05:49 pm
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lobo316



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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - After speaking with doctors, agent Scott Boras concluded New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey pitched since spring training with decreased sensation in his fingertips.

Harvey had surgery July 18 to correct thoracic outlet syndrome, a compression of nerves in the area between the neck and armpit, after going 4-10 in 17 starts with a 4.86 ERA. That was more than two runs per game above his previous major league high.

While Harvey's fastball velocity dropped only slightly, by 1 mph to 95 mph, he repeatedly said he was working on changes to his mechanics. He adjusted his arm angle and the rotation of his lower half. Mets manager Terry Collins cited a lack of command with Harvey's breaking balls.

''As the season went on, he complained of the fact that command of his pitches was not nearly the same,'' Boras said Wednesday at the general managers' annual meeting.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson says the 27-year-old right-hander will be ready for spring training. Boras said Dr. Robert Thompson, who performed the operation, explained what Harvey went through.

''You don't really notice or think to notice that the sensation in your fingertips is dull. Only when you get that full-fledged tingling do you know something's wrong,'' Boras said. ''It will affect something about your release point, where you don't have the same sensation you do normally.''

Harvey, who missed the 2014 season following Tommy John surgery, is 29-28 with a 2.94 ERA in four big league seasons. Boras said he visited Harvey in New York recently and expects him to be at full strength next year.

''There's nothing about shoulders, elbows or anything,'' the agent said. ''It's just really getting that nerve free and clear so that it cannot be impacted by the muscle.''

At past MLB meetings, Boras used metaphors involving supermarket aisles to describe the Mets' spending - ''fruits and nuts'' in 2011 vs. ''freezer section'' in 2012 vs. ''ready foods'' in 2014. New York boosted payroll from about $110 million in 2015 to roughly $150 million this year, so Boras switched to different imagery as he spoke in the sun-lit courtyard of a hotel with Camelback Mountain as a backdrop.

''To finish the lap in the pool, you've always got to swim in the deep end to get back to the shallow end, and the deep end is a place now that the Mets are regularly visiting, and I think they've got a good chance of completing their lap,'' he said. ''I've kind of taken it to the resort dynamic.''

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 Posted: Thu Nov 10th, 2016 05:52 pm
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lobo316



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The Cincinnati Reds expect Joey Votto to be wearing a Cincinnati Reds uniform on Opening Day.

Though Votto's name popped up repeatedly in trade rumors last season, and will continue to this winter, the rebuilding Reds have no intention of moving the four-time All-Star, a team official told Bob Nightengale of USA Today, citing not only his on-field value but also his leadership in an increasingly inexperienced clubhouse.

Votto, one of few veterans to survive the roster purge that started last winter, enjoyed another sensational campaign in 2016 as the Reds, 68-94, stumbled to a second straight fifth-place finish in the National League Central.

In 158 games, the former MVP managed a .984 OPS with 29 homers and 34 homers while leading the NL in on-base percentage (.434) and park-adjusted offense (158 wRC+). Since his injury-shortened 2014 campaign, Votto, a career 313/.425/.536 hitter, has out-raked every player in baseball except the inimitable Mike Trout.

Still, while Votto is expected to draw interest from multiple teams this winter, he'd have to waive his no-trade clause to facilitate a deal, something he didn't seem interested in doing last offseason.

"I absolutely love playing here," Votto told MLB.com's Mark Sheldon in December.

"When all this trade stuff gets going, it's natural for a player to have that thought process and what would you consider? I just absolutely love playing here. I really like where I live. I like my team and my job. I like the location of the ballpark and the fans and the clubhouse and the uniform and the number on my back - all the littlest things that people take for granted are very comfortable to me and something I look forward to.

He continued, "I don't think of myself as anything other than a Cincinnati Red. It's one of the really cool things about having a no-trade clause. I'm one of the rare players who has that. I get to stay a Cincinnati Red."

Last month, Reds president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty downplayed the likelihood of trading Votto as well, noting that the 33-year-old - guaranteed another $179 million through 2023 - was encouraged by Cincinnati's performance in the second half of 2016.

"When we started getting guys back and we started playing better, it was enjoyable. It really was," Jocketty told C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer. "I can see the light at the end of the tunnel with this club. I talk to guys like Joey (Votto) - Joey sees it, he's excited about it. I've seen him more engaged with some of these young guys."

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 Posted: Thu Nov 10th, 2016 06:09 pm
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lobo316



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MLB commissioner Rob Manfred believes a new collective bargaining agreement is on the horizon.

The current deal is set to expire Dec. 1, but Manfred is optimistic a deal will be struck before the deadline.

"Look, I think we're going to make a deal before the expiration of the agreement," Manfred said at the annual GM meetings, according to MLB.com's Richard Justice. "I remain optimistic that we'll be able to do that. Collective bargaining is one of those processes where it's difficult to predict with certainty when things are going to take place.

"I think what I've said is there are a couple of natural deadlines. One is the beginning of free agency, the other obviously is the expiration date. We missed deadline one, so we're looking at deadline two."

The commissioner instructed general managers and their staffs to operate under the current deal until a new one is formed.

"I think there's been a lot of public comment to the effect that the absence of an agreement creates a certain amount of uncertainty," Manfred said. "As we've learned the last couple of days, markets don't like uncertainty. It's just something we have to deal with.

"It's a natural product of the expiration date that we've always had in this agreement during the middle of the offseason. I think the union understands that as well."

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 Posted: Fri Nov 11th, 2016 03:31 am
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lobo316



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The Baltimore Orioles, apparently interested in improving their outfield, are reportedly chasing free-agent outfielder Josh Reddick, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network.

Reddick, the 2012 Gold Glove winner in right field, could bring consistency to a position that was a weak link defensively for Baltimore in 2016.

The Orioles started nine different right fielders that combined to record minus-19 defensive runs saved, the second-lowest total in the league behind only Detroit last season. Their outfield as a whole had a league-worst minus-51 DRS and minus-55 defensive WAR.

Orioles general manager Dan Duquette acknowledged Thursday that this is a major area of need for his club.

"We need to improve overall defense in the outfield," Duquette told Joel Sherman of the New York Post at the GM meetings in Arizona. "We need to look at all the options to support better team defense in the outfield."

Another reason Reddick might fit in Baltimore is his apparent love of hitting in Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Over 87 plate appearances at the ballpark, the 29-year-old has recorded a 1.167 OPS, his highest at any ballpark, to go along with five homers and seven doubles.

Despite a wrist injury limiting him to 115 games in 2016, Reddick hit .281/.345/.405 with 10 homers and 112 runs scored while splitting his year between the Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Dodgers, adding another eight hits in postseason play.

Reddick also tallied six defensive runs saved as a right fielder.

Because he was traded midseason, Reddick was ineligible to receive a qualifying offer.

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 Posted: Fri Nov 11th, 2016 03:32 am
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lobo316



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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Outfielder Matt Holliday became the final free agent, formally leaving the St. Louis Cardinals when he and the team agreed to waive a provision in his contract that would have guaranteed his 2017 salary if he finishes among the top 10 in NL MVP voting.

The 36-year-old certainly will not finish among the top 10 when voting is announced Nov. 17, so the move makes him a free agent one week earlier. He hit .246 with 20 homers and 62 RBIs in 110 games, missing substantial time after his left thumb was broken when he was hit by a pitch on Aug. 11.

He was brought into the Cardinals' season finale to play left field in the ninth inning. He was given a standing ovation and taken out before the next pitch. On the start of the season's last weekend, the Cardinals said they planned to decline his $17 million option for 2017.

Holliday, who still gets a $2 million buyout, became a free agent Thursday, three days after the other 157 eligible players went free. He was held up because of the vesting provision.

A seven-time All-Star, Holliday was drafted by Colorado in 1998, traded to Oakland after the 2008 season and then dealt to St. Louis the following July.

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 Posted: Fri Nov 11th, 2016 03:33 am
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lobo316



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The New York Mets' outfield could look much different next season if Yoenis Cespedes - who opted out of his contract - departs via free agency, but the club could potentially deal another piece of it, too.

Teams seem interested in three members of the Mets outfield, Jay Bruce, Curtis Granderson, and Michael Conforto, and recently approached the club about their availability, reports Marc Carig of Newsday.

General manager Sandy Alderson would not identify any of the clubs showing interest in the team's trio of left-handed outfielders, according to Carig.

"I think people are aware that we are left-handed," Alderson explained. "I wouldn’t be any more specific than that because we’ve had inquiries across the board. We have four or five guys in that category."

If the season were to begin today, the trio would be New York's starting outfield, although they've expressed a serious interest in trying to re-sign Cespedes, making it a top priority.

If they were to able to ink Cespedes to a new deal, the Mets could then flip an outfielder, from what would be an excess, to one of the interested clubs in exchange for help in an area of need, such as the bullpen or behind the plate.

Both Bruce and Granderson have one year left on their contracts, while the 23-year-old Conforto isn't eligible for free agency until 2022.

Bruce, 29, is set to earn $13 million next season after hitting .250/.309/.506 with 33 home runs and 99 RBIs split between the Cincinnati Reds and the Mets.

The 35-year-old Granderson will make $15 million next season. He hit .237/.335/.464 with 30 home runs and 59 RBIs in 2016.

After an impressive rookie campaign, Conforto's numbers dropped substantially as he played more. His batting average dropped 50 points, while his OPS fell from .841 to .725.

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 Posted: Fri Nov 11th, 2016 06:00 am
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lobo316 wrote: R.A. Dickey is bringing his knuckleball back to the National League East.

The Atlanta Braves announced Thursday they've signed the former Cy Young Award winner to a one-year contract with a club option for 2018. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Atlanta, the NL's worst team in 2016, has been active in searching for starting pitching to boost a staff that posted the third-worst ERA in baseball at 4.87. Dickey's reputation as an innings-eater - he threw at least 210 innings in three of his four years with the Blue Jays, and surpassed the 200-inning mark each year from 2011-15 - could help ease the load on the Atlanta's crop of young starters.

Dickey, one of the last knuckleball pitchers remaining in the majors, spent the last four seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays, who acquired him from the New York Mets following his 2012 Cy Young campaign. He posted a 4.46 ERA and struck out 126 batters across 169 2/3 innings with Toronto in 2016, but wasn't part of the postseason roster. He was a finalist for the AL Gold Glove, which he won in 2013.

Over four years with the Blue Jays, the 42-year-old posted a 4.05 ERA and averaged 6.6 strikeouts per nine innings, helping Toronto to consecutive playoff berths while boosting his reputation as a valued innings-eater.

Dickey's greatest success came as a member of the Mets, where he became the first knuckleballer to win the Cy Young Award as a 37-year-old in 2012, and became famous for his late-career redemption story.

Over 14 major-league seasons with the Blue Jays, Mets, Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, and Minnesota Twins, Dickey owns a 4.01 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, and 1,341 strikeouts across 1,883 2/3 innings.

Does this mean that R.A . Dickweeds  favorite catcher Josh T Ahole will join him in Atlanta.

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 Posted: Fri Nov 11th, 2016 02:06 pm
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lobo316



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Mysterious wrote: lobo316 wrote: R.A. Dickey is bringing his knuckleball back to the National League East.

The Atlanta Braves announced Thursday they've signed the former Cy Young Award winner to a one-year contract with a club option for 2018. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Atlanta, the NL's worst team in 2016, has been active in searching for starting pitching to boost a staff that posted the third-worst ERA in baseball at 4.87. Dickey's reputation as an innings-eater - he threw at least 210 innings in three of his four years with the Blue Jays, and surpassed the 200-inning mark each year from 2011-15 - could help ease the load on the Atlanta's crop of young starters.

Dickey, one of the last knuckleball pitchers remaining in the majors, spent the last four seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays, who acquired him from the New York Mets following his 2012 Cy Young campaign. He posted a 4.46 ERA and struck out 126 batters across 169 2/3 innings with Toronto in 2016, but wasn't part of the postseason roster. He was a finalist for the AL Gold Glove, which he won in 2013.

Over four years with the Blue Jays, the 42-year-old posted a 4.05 ERA and averaged 6.6 strikeouts per nine innings, helping Toronto to consecutive playoff berths while boosting his reputation as a valued innings-eater.

Dickey's greatest success came as a member of the Mets, where he became the first knuckleballer to win the Cy Young Award as a 37-year-old in 2012, and became famous for his late-career redemption story.

Over 14 major-league seasons with the Blue Jays, Mets, Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, and Minnesota Twins, Dickey owns a 4.01 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, and 1,341 strikeouts across 1,883 2/3 innings.

Does this mean that R.A . Dickweeds  favorite catcher Josh T Ahole will join him in Atlanta.



As zack Ryder would say, "you know it".

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 Posted: Fri Nov 11th, 2016 07:05 pm
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lobo316



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The Toronto Blue Jays have apparently dipped into the international free-agent waters, as they've reportedly agreed to a seven-year, $22-million deal with highly touted Cuban prospect Lourdes Gurriel Jr., according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post and Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com.

Gurriel, ranked the sixth-best international prospect by MLB Pipeline, held a showcase in Panama in September that attracted the interest of multiple teams. He has the ability to play both the infield and outfield, though he primarily played second base in Cuba.

Lourdes Gourriel Jr. se exhibirá a clubes de Grandes Ligas este miércoles @cuballama pic.twitter.com/4yLw8Xwlpe

— cuballama.com (@cuballama) September 13, 2016
Gurriel ran the 60-yard dash in 6.65 seconds and worked in both the infield and outfield while also taking batting practice. Several interested teams reportedly tried to arrange private workouts; the Blue Jays weren't listed among the reported teams.

During his six-year career in Cuba's Serie Nacional, Gurriel posted a .277/.362/.426 slash line with 27 homers and 23 stolen bases. His best season came in 2015 when he posted career highs across the board for Industriales while playing multiple defensive positions. He also played for the Cuban national team in several international tournaments.

Because Gurriel turned 23 on Oct. 19, his contract is exempt from international spending limits.

Gurriel and his older brother, Cuban baseball legend Yulieski Gurriel, defected from their homeland in February 2016. In July, Yulieski signed with the Houston Astros; he made his big-league debut in August.

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 Posted: Fri Nov 11th, 2016 07:07 pm
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The Atlanta Braves have spent the past two days getting much, much older.

After agreeing to a one-year deal with 42-year-old R.A. Dickey on Thursday, the Braves agreed to a one-year, $12.5-million deal with 43-year-old Bartolo Colon on Friday, a source told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

Atlanta now employs two of the three oldest players in the majors.

Colon spent the last three years with the New York Mets, becoming a fan favorite and an All-Star for the fourth time in 2016.

Despite his age, he has remained effective and durable. He went 15-8 with a 3.83 ERA and 1.21 WHIP across 191 2/3 innings last season, and has averaged 16 wins and 195 innings over the past four seasons.

The $12.5 million Colon will earn in 2017 will be his highest salary since 2007.

With Colon signing with a division rival, the Mets will now likely be in the market for another starter as Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler are both coming off injuries.

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 Posted: Fri Nov 11th, 2016 07:13 pm
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lobo316



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Craig Counsell is staying put in the Milwaukee Brewers' dugout.

The club announced Friday the 46-year-old manager has been signed to a three-year contract extension that will keep him in Milwaukee through the 2020 season. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Counsell, who took over as manager in May of 2015, was initially signed to a three-year contract that would've expired following the 2017 season. Although the rebuilding Brewers finished under .500 for the third time in four years in 2016, he received rave reviews following his first full season as a big-league skipper.

"I think Craig has had a really solid year," general manager David Stearns said during the Brewers' final series of the season, according to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com. "Coming into the year, one of our main objectives as an organization was to develop a positive culture and a chemistry from top to bottom, and he's been a big part of developing that."

The Brewers hired Counsell, then a member of their front office, to replace the fired Ron Roenicke after a slow start in 2015 despite his having zero coaching or managerial experience. He's posted a 134-165 record since taking over; under his watch in 2016, a young Milwaukee squad improved on its 2015 record by five wins despite trading star catcher Jonathan Lucroy at the deadline.

Counsell played 16 years in the major leagues as a utility infielder from 1995-2011, including six with the Brewers. A career .255/.342/.344 hitter, he was also a key member of World Series champions in Florida (1997) and Arizona (2001).

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