Giants Moves Baseball

Associated Press

SET FREE — In this Sept. 4 file photo, the Giants’ Kevin Pillar follows through on a two-run home run. The Giants allowed Pillar to become a free agent by failing to offer a 2020 contract.

NEW YORK — Former All-Stars Blake Treinen, Aaron Sanchez and Addison Russell were among 56 players who became free agents along with current Gold Glove second baseman Yolmer Sánchez when their teams declined to offer 2020 contracts Monday rather than make them eligible for salary arbitration.

Baltimore, faced with a similar decision, traded second baseman Jonathan Villar to Miami, which claimed first baseman Jesús Aguilar off waivers from Tampa Bay.

One big-name free agent found a home: All-Star infielder Mike Moustakas and the Cincinnati Reds agreed to a $64 million, four-year contract, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the agreement had not been announced.

For the second straight offseason, the Reds are making a splurge as they try to shake themselves out of a rut of six straight losing seasons. Their first move involves getting a player from the NL Central-rival Milwaukee Brewers. The 31-year-old could fill the Reds’ hole at second base that opened when Scooter Gennett got hurt and then was traded last season.

Cincinnati scored the fourth-fewest runs in the NL last season despite one of the league’s most hitter-friendly ballparks. Bulking up on offense, stabilizing the outfield and overhauling the bullpen are the Reds’ priorities in the offseason.

Ahead of the deadline to offer 2020 contracts to unsigned players on 40-man rosters, San Diego obtained second baseman Jurickson Profar from Oakland for catching prospect Austin Allen, then agreed to a $5.7 million, one-year contract. Cleveland acquired catcher Sandy León from Boston for minor league right-hander Adenys Bautista and agreed to a $2 million deal.

Seattle failed to offer a contract to infielder Tim Beckham, who has 32 games remaining on a drug suspension, and San Francisco let go outfielder Kevin Pillar.

Milwaukee was the most active team in cutting its budget for arbitration-eligible players, allowing a quintet to go free: left-hander Álex Claudio, right-handers Junior Guerra and Jimmy Nelson, infielder Tyler Saladino and third baseman Travis Shaw. The Brewers also agreed to a $2.2 million, one-year deal with shortstop Orlando Arcia and a $1.4 million, one-year contract with catcher Ben Gamel, whose deal includes a $2.55 million team option for 2021.

After starting the day with 10 arbitration-eligible players, the Brewers finished with three: right-hander Corey Knebel and lefties Josh Hader and Brent Suter.

“I’d say that payroll flexibility helps and isn’t a bad thing as we evaluate potential acquisitions throughout the offseason,” Brewers general manager David Stearns said. “The way the arbitration system is set up, sometimes you’re forced to make difficult decisions if it doesn’t appear that allocating the payroll to specific players in the way the arbitration would dictate would be the most effective use of those dollars.”

Baltimore jettisoned its top player in Villar in exchange for minor league pitcher Easton Lucas. Villar played in all 162 games this year and led the 108-loss Orioles with 176 hits, five triples and 40 stolen bases. He likely will command a salary of about $10 million in arbitration.

“He was a tremendously exciting player for us, a joy to have,” Orioles general manager Mike Elias said. “It was hard to let him go, but we’ve got to keep an eye on our strategic objectives, which is prioritize the future right now.”

Russell, a 2016 All-Star, was banned for 40 games last offseason under Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy after a series of allegations made by ex-wife Melisa Reidy. The 25-year-old returned to the Chicago Cubs in May and batted a career-low .237 with nine homers, 23 RBIs and a .699 OPS.

Russell earned $4 million in 2019 and was likely to gain a raise in arbitration, probably to around $5 million.

“We decided to non-tender Addison Russell today simply because the role we expected him to play for the 2020 Cubs was inconsistent with how he would have been treated in the salary arbitration process,” Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said in a statement.

Treinen, a 31-year-old right-hander, had a 4.91 ERA for Oakland this year, up from 0.78 ERA in his All-Star season of 2018. Treinen was expected to command roughly $7.5 million in arbitration.

Sanchez, a 27-year-old right-hander, was an All-Star for Toronto in 2016 and was dealt to Houston on July 31. He was 2-0 in four starts and 18.2 innings, including the first six innings of a combined no-hitter against Seattle in his Astros debut. But Houston said on Sept. 5 that he needed shoulder surgery.

Among others cut loose were Philadelphia third baseman Maikel Franco and second baseman César Hernández; Arizona outfielder Steven Souza Jr. and Minnesota designated hitter C.J. Cron.

Angels

ANAHEIM — The Los Angeles Angels declined to offer a 2020 contract to catcher Kevan Smith on Monday, making him a free agent.

The 31-year-old Smith played in just 67 games last season with the Angels after they claimed him off waivers from the White Sox. He batted .251 with five homers and 12 RBIs while missing time with injuries including a lower back strain and a concussion.

The Angels tendered a contract to catcher Max Stassi, but his recovery from right hip surgery could keep him sidelined past opening day. Anthony Bemboom is the only other catcher on the Angels’ 40-man roster.

The Angels also tendered contracts to their other seven arbitration-eligible players, infielder Tommy La Stella, outfielder Brian Goodwin and left-hander Andrew Heaney.

Dodgers

LOS ANGELES — Catcher Austin Barnes agreed to a $1.1 million, one-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, who also reached an $875,000 deal with left-hander Scott Alexander on Monday.

Los Angeles failed to offer a 2020 contract to Yimi García, allowing the right-hander to become a free agent.

Barnes, who turns 30 on Dec. 28, hit .203 with five homers and 25 RBIs in 242 plate appearances. His 64 games behind the plate led the team as he shared time with Russell Martin and Will Smith. Barnes is a veteran of five major league seasons, all with Los Angeles. He also spent time at Triple-A Oklahoma City this year, where he was used occasionally at second base.

Alexander, 30, was 3-2 with a 3.63 ERA over 28 relief appearances in his second season with the Dodgers.

García, a 29-year-old right-hander, was 1-4 with a 3.61 ERA in 64 relief appearances.

Los Angeles has nine players still eligible for arbitration, including NL MVP Cody Bellinger, shortstop Corey Seager, infielder Max Muncy and outfielder Joc Pederson.

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