February 25th

Aaron Hicks – Extension

Aaron Hicks won’t be testing the open market next winter after all. The Yankees announced on Monday that they’ve signed Hicks, a client of CAA Baseball, to a seven-year contract extension that supersedes his previous one-year, $6MM contract for the 2019 campaign. The new pact will reportedly guarantee Hicks $70MM and come with a club option for an eighth season, meaning Hicks is now controlled by the Yankees through his age-35 season.

Hicks will reportedly receive a $2MM signing bonus in addition to a $6MM salary in 2019 before earning $10.5MM annually from 2020-23 and $9.5MM in 2024-25. The club option is said to be valued at $12.5MM (with a $1MM buyout), and while Hicks doesn’t have any no-trade protection on the deal, he’d receive a $1MM assignment bonus upon being traded.

Hicks, 29, has quietly emerged as one of the game’s more underrated players over the past couple of seasons. The former first-rounder, acquired in a lopsided deal that sent catcher John Ryan Murphy to the Twins, struggled in his first season with the Yankees but has since hit .255/.368/.470 with 42 home runs, 36 doubles, three triples and 21 stolen bases in 942 plate appearances. Hicks has generally graded out as a quality defensive center fielder in his career at the MLB level and provides plenty of value on the basepaths beyond his raw stolen base totals, as well.” – Steve Adams, MLBTR

Bryce Harper – Update

Bob Nightengale of USA Today wrote that Bryce Harpers decision should come this week. Hopefully bringing this painfully slow offseason to a close. There are still some other notable free agents looming, but with. Harper off the board, it should speed up the rest of the FA market.

Jimmy Nelson – Set Back

It has been a long road back for Jimmy Nelson. After having surgery in 2017 to repair his labrum, he still hasn’t seen action. Now in February of 2019, he is facing another setback; David Sterns tells reporters today that Nelson is struggling with “Arm Fatigue Discomfort.” The killer AFD is at it again on a pitcher. The Brewers need Nelson healthy if they are looking to take the NL Central away from the Cubs and the fighting Cardinals.

Andy Pettitte – Hired

“The Yankees announced Monday that they’ve hired Andy Pettitte as a special advisor to general manager Brian Cashman. As is often the case with such appointments, Pettitte’s responsibilities are somewhat nebulous. The long-time MLB lefty will “help coach both the physical and mental side of being a champion and pitching in New York,” Cashman told reporters today (including MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch). It seems the initial plan is for Pettitte to ease into things with the Yankees organization while remaining a resident of Texas. ” – Steve Adams and Jeff Todd, MLBTR

Red Sox – No More Signings

Rob Bradford offered some insight into the Red Sox’s potential future today. In his article today, there is this prime quote:

Talking at LECOM Park prior to the Red Sox’ Grapefruit League game against the Pirates, the president of baseball operations didn’t mention the free agent closer by name but did offer a definitive approach when it came to how his club was moving forward.

“As far as signings are concerned I would say we’re through at this point,” Dombrowski said.

It looks as if the Red Sox roster is set when it comes to signees. While there is still some competition going on for the catcher position and of course the bullpen, it doesn’t look like Kimbrel is making a comeback to Fenway as a home player.

Bud Black – Extension

The Colorado Rockies have announced they have come to an agreement with Manager Bud Black to a three year extension which will keep Black as the skipper until after the 2021 season. Black has gone 178-147 in his first two years and gotten to the wild card in both years.

Stat of the Day – Spin Rate

A pitcher’s Spin Rate represents the rate of spin on a baseball after it is released. It is measured in revolutions per minute.

The amount of spin on a pitch changes its trajectory. The same pitch thrown at the same Velocity will end up in a different place depending on how much it spins. (For instance, a fastball with a high Spin Rate appears to have a rising effect on the hitter, and it crosses the plate a few inches higher than a fastball of equal Velocity with a lower Spin Rate. Conversely, a lower Spin Rate on a changeup tends to create more movement.)

As more data have become available, most experts have agreed that fastballs and breaking balls are tougher to hit when they possess higher Spin Rates. In fact, some data suggest that Spin Rate correlates more closely than Velocity to swinging-strike percentage.

Stat of the Day Curtesy of MLB.com

Header Photo Curtesy of Pin Stripe Alley

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