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Minnesota Twins reach deals with 8 players, including Kyle Gibson, to avoid arbitration



MINNEAPOLIS — Right-hander Kyle Gibson and left fielder Eddie Rosario were among eight Minnesota Twins players who avoided salary arbitration by agreeing to one-year contracts Friday.

Gibson and Rosario received hefty raises. Gibson will earn $8,125,000, an increase from his 2018 salary of $4.2 million, while Rosario got $4.19 million for an increase from $602,500 last year.

Also agreeing on contracts were right-hander Jake Odorizzi for $9.5 million, up from $6.3 million; center fielder Byron Buxton for $1.75 million; third baseman Miguel Sano for $2,650,000, up from $602,500; right fielder Max Kepler for $3,125,000, up from $587,500; left-hander Taylor Rogers for $1,525,000; and right-hander Trevor May for $900,000.

Gibson finally had the breakout year in 2018 the Twins had been looking for since they drafted him in the first round in 2009. The lanky pitcher posted a 3.62 ERA with 179 strikeouts in 196 2/3 innings over 32 starts — all career bests — and his 3.9 wins above replacement was the highest mark on the team. Gibson lost his arbitration hearing before last season, when the Twins offered $4.2 million and he asked for $350,000 more.

Rosario was the team’s best everyday player for most of last season, until a strained quadriceps ruined his final month. He led the team with 24 homers, 87 runs and 77 RBIs in 136 games. This marked Rosario’s first time being eligible for arbitration.

Odorizzi, who made $6.3 million last year after arriving in a trade with Tampa Bay, was one of three pitchers for the Twins to make 32 starts in 2018. His 4.49 ERA, though, was the highest for a full season in his major league career.

Kepler, eligible for arbitration for the first time, won the team’s defensive player of the year award after his third straight season as the regular right fielder. He never found a rhythm at the plate, batting a career-low .224, but he did set his big league high with 20 home runs.

Sano’s 2018 season went so far off track that the slugging third baseman was sent to the minors for reconditioning. He appeared in only 71 games for the Twins and batted just .199 with 115 strikeouts.

Rogers, a first-time arbitration candidate, had a breakout year in the bullpen in 2018 with a team-low 2.63 ERA. He finished the season on a consecutive scoreless streak of 26 innings from July 30 on, with 29 strikeouts and just 10 hits and three walks allowed during that span.

May made an encouraging return to the bullpen last year from Tommy John surgery that kept him out the entire 2017 season, with a 3.20 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 25 1/3 innings.

Buxton, the second pick in the 2012 draft, has yet to make it through any of his four major league seasons without going on the disabled list or being sent to the minors. Last year was the speedy center fielder’s worst yet, when he broke a toe fouling a ball off his foot during a rehab assignment in April. Buxton appeared in only 28 games for the Twins and batted just .156 with 28 strikeouts and three walks. Though he finally got healthy over the summer, he was angered when he wasn’t included among the September call-ups.

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Cincinnati Reds agree with newly acquired Yasiel Puig on $9.7 million contract



CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Reds avoided arbitration with Yasiel Puig, agreeing with the newly acquired outfielder on a $9.7 million contract for 2019.

The Reds also reached deals Friday with right-handers Tanner Roark ($10 million), Anthony DeSclafani ($2,125,000) and Michael Lorenzen ($1.95 million), second baseman Scooter Gennett ($9,775,000) and shortstop Jose Peraza ($2,775,000).

Left-hander Alex Wood is Cincinnati’s only arbitration-eligible player without a deal. He asked for a raise from $6 million to $9.65 million, and the team offered $8.7 million.

The Reds acquired Puig and Wood last month in a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Cincinnati got Roark in a deal with Washington.

Puig hit .267 with 23 home runs and 63 RBI last season.

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Philadelphia Phillies reach agreements with five players, not Aaron Nola



PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Phillies have avoided arbitration with five players, including second baseman Cesar Hernandez and third baseman Maikel Franco.

All-Star right-hander Aaron Nola didn’t reach an agreement with the team. The Phillies offered $4.5 million, and Nola is seeking $6.75 million. He finished third in National League Cy Young Award voting last year after going 17-6 with a 2.37 ERA. The 25-year-old earned $573,000 in 2018.

Hernandez gets $7.75 million under Friday’s deal, up from $5.1 million. Franco gets $5.2 million, an increase from $2.95 million.

Hernandez had career highs in homers (15) and RBIs (60) last year but his average dropped from .294 in 2016 and 2017 to a career-low .253.

Franco had a team-high .270 average with 22 homers and 68 RBIs last year.

Right-hander Vince Velasquez, outfielder Aaron Altherr, and left-handers Adam Morgan and Jose Alvarez also agreed to deals on Friday. Former closer Hector Neris and righty Jerad Eickhoff agreed to deals Thursday.

Velasquez gets $2,249,000. He was 9-12 with a 4.85 ERA in 30 starts last year. He had 161 strikeouts in 146 2/3 innings. The 26-year-old earned $559,000 in 2018.

Altherr gets $1.35 million. He batted .181 with eight homers and 38 RBIs last year after hitting 272 with 19 homers and 65 RBIs in 2017. Altherr, who turns 28 Monday, made $565,000 in 2018.

Morgan gets $1.1 million. He led the team with 67 appearances, going 0-2 with a 3.83 ERA and one save. The 28-year-old made $559,000 in 2018.

Alvarez gets $1.925 million. He was 6-4 with a 2.71 ERA in 76 relief appearances for the Angels last year. The 29-year-old made $1.05 million in 2018 and was acquired in a trade last month.

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Colorado Rockies, Nolan Arenado likely to reach post-deadline settlement



The Colorado Rockies and third baseman Nolan Arenado did not reach a settlement on a one-year deal for the 2019 season on Friday, but league sources told ESPN there is a strong sense that the two sides will reach an agreement before an arbitration hearing.

Arenado, a four-time All-Star selection who is seen as the gem of the 2019-20 free-agent class, requested $30 million. The Rockies, meanwhile, offered $24 million. Sources told ESPN that it’s likely that they will settle in the $27 million range.

Wherever he does settle, it’ll be a single-season arbitration record, breaking the mark of $23 million set by Josh Donaldson with the Toronto Blue Jays last year.

Arenado, a slick-fielding, slugging 27-year-old, is coming off a season in which he hit .297 an led the National League with 38 home runs and was second with 110 RBIs and a .935 OPS.

Meanwhile, his teammate with the Rockies, shortstop Trevor Story, was one of the many players to reach a post-deadline settlement. After originally appearing like he was headed to an arbitration hearing, Story, who made $555,000 last season, settled on a $5 million salary for 2019.

The 26-year-old Story hit .291 with 37 home runs, 108 RBIs and 27 stolen bases for the Rockies last season.

Philadelphia Phillies ace Aaron Nola, New York Yankees pitcher Luis Severino and Houston Astros teammates Gerrit Cole and Carlos Correa were among those who did not reach settlements on one-year deals for the 2019 season and are expected to head to arbitration hearings to determine their salaries, league sources told ESPN on Friday.

Nola (17-6, 2.37 ERA, 224 strikeouts) and Severino (19-8, 3.39 ERA, 220 strikeouts) are both first-time-eligible starting pitchers, a market that has been notoriously difficult for players.

While first-time-eligible closers regularly exceed $6 million salaries, the only starting pitcher to do so was Dallas Keuchel coming off his Cy Young season with the Houston Astros in 2015.

Also not reaching deals Friday are Trevor Bauer, T.J. McFarland, Kyle Barraclough, Ryan Tepera, Tommy Pham, Alex Wood, Michael Fulmer, Chris Devenski and Michael Taylor.

The non-settlements capped a wild morning in which more than 100 eligible players negotiated their contracts.

There were, however, some record settlements reached Friday.

• American League MVP Mookie Betts set a new standard for players with four or more years of service by settling with the Boston Red Sox for $20 million — a raise of $9.5 million over 2017, when he beat the Red Sox in an arbitration hearing.

• National League Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom more than doubled his salary with the New York Mets, jumping from $7.4 million to $17 million to set a record for the highest raise in arbitration, which had been set just hours earlier by Betts.

Khris Davis, who led the majors with 48 home runs and was second with 123 RBIs last season, settled with the Oakland Athletics for $16.5 million — a raise of $6 million.

Nearly 200 players are in the arbitration system, which covers every player who has spent three, four or five full seasons in the major leagues and a small percentage of those with the most service days in the class of two-year players. Once a player reaches six full seasons of service time, he can become a free agent the following winter.

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