The reigning Most Valuable Players in both leagues ended Sunday with good news.
The Rangers’ Josh Hamilton, the American League winner, was discharged from an Arlington hospital, six days after he was admitted for what was described as an early case of pneumonia. He is expected to be able to resume baseball activities in the near future.
Health is more important than a contract, but Sunday was still a pretty good day for the Reds’ Joey Votto, too. The National League MVP avoided arbitration with a three-year, $38 million deal, pending a physical on Monday.
Hamilton, too, filed for arbitration and is likely to receive a raise from his $3.25 million salary last season by February, when arbitration hearings begin. He has a busy week ahead of him, including appearances at the Rangers Mid-Winter Banquet at the Grapevine Texan Resort on Friday and the Baseball Writers’ Association of America dinner in New York on Saturday.
Elsewhere around the hot stove:
- The A’s continued a busy offseason — and the revamping of their bullpen — with the pursuit of left-hander Brian Fuentes. Fuentes, 35, recorded 24 saves, a 2.81 ERA last season for the Angels and Twins and is said to be looking for a multi-year deal. Right-hander Grant Balfour, formerly of the Rays, signed with the A’s earlier in the week.
- A day after it came out that Albert Pujols‘ camp has set a deadline of the start of Spring Training for his contract to be extended, he said little of the situation Sunday at the Cardinals’ annual Winter Warm-Up fan festival. “Let’s set it up and straight,” Pujols said when the topic was first raised. “My agent is talking with Bill [DeWitt, the club's principal owner] and [general manager John Mozeliak], and let’s leave it up to that. We’ll tell you guys. Whenever we get a deal done, I think everybody’s going to know. And that’s it.”
- At the same festival, right-hander Ryan Franklin said he wants to continue his career beyond 2011. Franklin, who turns 38 in March, had previously discussed retirement. “If I keep healthy — which I don’t see why I shouldn’t — I don’t see any reason why [I couldn't continue]. My family’s kind of told me, hey, just keep playing.”
- The Twins and infielder Alexi Casilla avoided arbitration on a one-year, $865,000 deal for the 26-year-old switch-hitter.
- The Pirates are to sign 30-year-old right-hander Jose Veras, according to a Twitter report from ESPN Deportes. It’s reportedly a Minor League deal that could see Veras make more than $1 million if he makes the Majors.
– Evan Drellich