For the second time in a week on Tuesday, the Blue Jays pulled the trigger on a trade
involving catcher/infielder Mike Napoli. Napoli, acquired from the Angels along with Juan Rivera for Vernon Wells last Friday, is heading back west but this time to the Rangers.
In exchange for Napoli, the Rangers sent right-handed reliever Frank Francisco to Toronto. Francisco, 31, saved 25 games for the Rangers in 2009 and brings a solid resume to the back end of the Blue Jays’ bullpen.
Napoli, on the other hand, could serve in a variety of roles. He slots in as another possible backup catching option as well as provide insurance in case first baseman Mitch Moreland struggles and can take over some designated hitter at-bats. The 29-year-old Napoli also brings a healthy dose of power to the Rangers, having hit at least 20 home runs in each of the last three seasons.
Tuesday’s swap dominated most of the Hot Stove action, but here’s a look at other news and notes from around the league:
– The Astros avoided a salary arbitration hearing with left-hander Wandy Rodriquez, signing the left-haned starter to a three-year, $34 million extension. The deal includes a one-year option that would hike the deal to $44.5 million.
– The Cubs added a familiar arm, agreeing to terms with Todd Wellemeyer on a one-year, non-guaranteed Minor League deal
for $800,000, ESPNChicago.com reported. Working mostly as a starter, Wellemeyer went 3-5 with a 5.68 ERA last season for the Giants.
– Oakland avoided arbitration
with left-hander Craig Breslow on Tuesday, agreeing to a one-year, $1.4 million deal, according to MLB.com’s Jane Lee. Breslow, the A’s last remaining arbitration-eligible player, earned a significant raise over his 2010 salary of $425,000. Breslow is also eligible for $25,000 in incentives based on the number of games he finishes, Lee reported.
– The Twins avoided arbitration with Kevin Slowey, agreeing to a one-year, $2.7 million deal, MLB.com’s Kelly Thesier reported. Slowey had filed at $3.1 million and the Twins had filed at $2.3 million, which puts the agreed-upon deal right at the midpoint of the two submissions.
Slowey posted a 4.45 ERA with 6.7 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9 in 155 2/3 innings last year. The 26-year-old has never posted a walk rate above 1.7 per nine or a strikeout rate above 6.7 per nine in four big league seasons.
– After an offseason of additions, the Brewers are still seeking another veteran bench presence, Fox Sports.com reported Tuesday. Mark Kotsay is one possibility for the role, according to the report. The 35-year-old hit .239 for the White Sox last season but owns a .312 career average as a pinch hitter.
– The Os agreed to a Minor League deal with reliever Clay Rapada on Tuesday, MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli reported
. The deal, which would include an invite to Spring Training, gives the O’s a candidate for the situational lefty role in the pen. The 29-year-old appeared in just 13 games last season for the Rangers, but was exceptionally tough on left-handed hitters (1-for-21).
— Bailey Stephens