Wednesday's MLB: Slugger Kris Bryant signing with Colorado Rockies

Ian Harrison
Associated Press

Scottsdale, Ariz. — Veteran slugger Kris Bryant has agreed to a $182 million, seven-year deal to join the Colorado Rockies, according to a person familiar with the agreement.

The person confirmed the deal to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday because its completion is pending a successful physical.

15. Kris Bryant, 3B/OF (30): A solid if not spectacular middle-of-the-order bat, who also provides defensive flexibility at third base and with his ability to play all over the outfield. He had an above-average season at the plate in 2021, split between the Cubs and Giants, bouncing back from the shortened 2020. And it was just five years ago that he was National League MVP. Prediction: Mariners, five years, $120 million. UPDATE: Rockies, seven years, $182 million.

Bryant is headed to his third team in eight months after spending his first six major league seasons with the Chicago Cubs, who traded him to San Francisco last July.

The 2016 NL MVP and World Series champion batted a combined .265 with 25 homers and 73 RBIs last season, and he pounded out eight hits in the Giants' five-game playoff loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Despite a midseason slump that precipitated the trade, Bryant earned his fourth career All-Star selection during a solid rebound from a rough year at the plate in 2020.

The Rockies clearly liked what they saw: Bryant landed a huge free-agent deal to move to Colorado as a middle-of-the-order bat and a fielder who can play third base, first base or the outfield. Bryant also is an obvious candidate to join Charlie Blackmon among the Rockies' designated hitters.

The 2015 NL Rookie of the Year's right-handed swing also will offset the left-handed slant to the outfield lineup for the Rockies, who haven't won a playoff game since 2009.

They've made a major investment in being competitive in the NL West after their roster upheaval over the past year-plus, including last year's trade of Nolan Arenado and the impending probable departure of Trevor Story.

Bryant is a career .278 hitter with 167 homers and 487 RBIs, but he is about to get a full season of play at hitter-friendly Coors Field, where he has batted .263 (15-for-57) with two homers, nine RBIs and a .757 OPS.

Blue Jays acquire 3B Matt Chapman from Oakland

All-Star third baseman Matt Chapman was acquired by the Toronto Blue Jays from the payroll-shredding Oakland Athletics for four players on Wednesday.

A five-year veteran and three-time Gold Glove winner, Chapman hit .201 with 27 home runs and 72 RBIs in 151 games for the Athletics last season. He was a first-time All-Star in 2019.

Oakland Athletics' Matt Chapman hits a two-run home run against the Detroit Tigers during the third inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021, in Detroit.

Since the end of the lockout, the A’s also dealt All-Star righty Chris Bassitt to the New York Mets and first baseman Matt Olson to Atlanta. The three trades cut Oakland’s projected payroll by about $30 million.

Oakland received right-hander Gunnar Hoglund, Toronto’s top pick in the 2021 amateur draft, minor league left-hander Zach Logue, left-handed reliever Kirby Snead, and infielder Kevin Smith.

Chapman is eligible for arbitration this season and next. He earned $6.54 million in 2021, including a $50,000 bonus for Gold Glove.

Chapman is the latest addition in a busy offseason for the Blue Jays, who went 91-71 last year but finished one game behind Boston and New York in the AL wild-card race. Toronto also signed right-hander Kevin Gausman, left-hander Yusei Kikuchi, and right-handed reliever Yimi Garcia.

Schwarber, Phils agree to deal for about $80M

Kyle Schwarber is coming to Philadelphia, agreeing Wednesday to a four-year deal with the Phillies worth about $80 million, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the agreement was subject to a successful physical.

A 29-year-old slugging outfielder, Schwarber split last season with Washington and Boston. Schwarber agreed to a $10 million, one-year contract with Washington last January that included a $7 million salary and an $11.5 million mutual option with a $3 million buyout. He was traded to the Red Sox in July.

Kyle Schwarber is coming to Philadelphia, agreeing Wednesday, March 16, 2022, to a four-year deal with the Phillies worth about $80 million, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.

He hit .266 with 32 home runs and belted a grand slam for the Red Sox in the AL Championship Series.

Schwarber will likely spend time as the Phillies designated hitter with time in the outfield and first base.

Reigning NL MVP had stumped for the Phillies to sign Schwarber. Bryce Harper said this week it would be a “downer” if the Phillies didn’t sign Kris Bryant, Nick Castellanos or Schwarber. The teams needs a left fielder and President Dave Dombrowski said Sunday ownership hasn’t given him any limitations on spending money.

Harper said at the Phillies spring training complex in Clearwater, Florida he was thrilled with the move.

The Phillies finished 82-80 last season, their first winning record since 2011, but extended their postseason drought to an NL-worst 10 years.

“I know the fans want us to be a winning team and this organization wants us to be a winning team,” Harper said. “Being able to add somebody like that is going to help us that much more.”

Schwarber won a World Series with the Cubs in 2016.

The Phillies finalized their one-year contract with outfielder Odúbel Herrera. He played in 124 games for the Phillies in 2021, batting .260 with 27 doubles, two triples, 13 home runs, 51 RBI, 59 runs scored and six steals. He made starts at each outfield position, 92 of which came in center field.

Since the lockout ended, the Phillies have added a pair of late-inning relievers, signing right-hander Jeurys Familia and lefty Brad Hand. A day earlier the Phillies finalized a $6 million, one-year deal with Hand and a $6 million, one-year contract with Familia.

Familia can earn $600,000 for games pitched: $150,000 each for 50, 55, 60 and 65. He also can earn $400,000 for innings: $200,000 apiece for 60 and 65.

“Hopefully, we're not done and we can go out and get another guy,” Harper said. “We'll see where we go from there.”

Royals sign RHP Greinke to $13M contract for 2022

The Kansas City Royals signed six-time All-Star pitcher Zack Greinke to a $13 million contract for this season Wednesday, reuniting the left-hander with the club that drafted him in the first round two decades ago.

Greinke also can make up to $2 million in performance bonuses, a person familiar with the terms told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not disclosed.

The 38-year-old Greinke was the sixth overall pick of the Royals in the 2002 amateur draft, and he spent his first six seasons with the club, winning the Cy Young Award during his standout 2009 season. He was traded to the Brewers the following year for a package of players that formed the basis of the Royals' back-to-back AL champion teams.

Greinke spent just over a season in Milwaukee before his he was traded to the Angels, then spent three seasons across town with the Dodgers, where he finished second in Cy Young voting in 2015. Greinke went on to pitch four seasons for the Diamondbacks before spending the past three seasons with the Astros.

He went 11-6 with a 4.16 ERA and one complete game in 29 starts for Houston last season.

Greinke has 219 wins over 18 years in the big leagues, seven behind Justin Verlander among active pitchers, and he needs just 191 strikeouts to reach 3,000 for his career. Greinke also is a six-time Gold Glove winner.

The Royals created space on the 40-man roster for him Wednesday by placing reliever Tyler Zuber on the 60-day injured list with a right shoulder impingement.

Greinke left the Royals as an up-and-coming star just hitting his prime years, and he returns to provide veteran leadership for a rotation that figures to be among the youngest in baseball. Brad Keller had been the elder statesman at 26 years old, while Brady Singer, Kris Bubic, Daniel Lynch, Carlos Hernandez and Jackson Kowar are even younger.

The move to sign Greinke came hours after the Royals traded left-hander Mike Minor to the Reds for reliever Amir Garrett on Wednesday. The Reds also would get $500,000 from the Royals if Minor’s mutual option for 2023 is declined.

Minor is due $10 million in the second year of an $18 million, two-year contract. The deal originally included a $13 million club option for 2023 with a $1 million buyout but a provision converts it to a mutual option because of the trade.

Former Tiger Goodrum signs with Astros

Former Detroit Tiger Niko Goodrum has agreed to a $2.1 million, one-year contract with the Houston Astros.

The 30-year-old outfielder aand infielder can earn $250,000 in performance bonuses for plate appearances under Tuesday's deal: $50,000 each for 250, 300 and 400, and $100,000 for 500.

Former Detroit Tiger Niko Goodrum has agreed to a $2.1 million, one-year contract with the Houston Astros.

Goodrum made his big league debut with Minnesota in 2017 and spent the last four seasons with Detroit. He hit .214 with nine homers, 33 RBIs and 14 steals in 90 games last year.

In addition, 33-year-old left-hander Zac Rosscup agreed to a minor league contract and reported to big league spring training. Rosscup had a 3.00 ERA in four games with Colorado last year.

Tatis has surgery on broken left wrist, out 3 months

All-Star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. of the San Diego Padres had surgery on his broken left wrist on Wednesday.

General manager A.J. Preller said earlier this week that the $340 million superstar is expected to miss three months. Tatis led the NL with 42 homers in 2021 and was third in the NL MVP balloting.

All-Star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. likely will need surgery for a broken left wrist and could miss up to three months, general manager A.J. Preller said on Monday, March 14, 2022. Tatis suffered the injury in the offseason, Preller said. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

It's unclear how the electrifying player broke his wrist, but there were reports in December that he had a motorcycle accident in his native Dominican Republic. Preller said on Monday that the team believed the injury occurred early in the offseason but that Tatis didn't start feeling it until he began taking swings about a month ago in preparation for spring training.

Tatis, 23, had a series of injuries to his left shoulder last year and also was on the COVID-19 injury list at one point. He batted .282 with 97 RBIs and 25 stolen bases.

Kim Ha-seong is expected to replace Tatis at shortstop. Kim is entering his second big league season after starring in his native Korea.

He signed a $330 million, 14-year contract with the Padres during spring training last year.

Red Sox ace Sale to miss opener again

The baseball lockout ended, and Red Sox manager Alex Cora was finally able to call his players.

That’s when Chris Sale gave them the bad news: He was injured again.

“'Hey how’s it going?’ Well, not so good, actually,” Sale said, recalling the conversations he had with Cora and chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom last week. “So that’s when they became aware of it.”

A seven-time All-Star and the Boston ace when healthy, Sale said Wednesday that he will spend opening day on the injured list for the third straight season — this time with a stress fracture in his rib cage.

The news came on the day before the team was scheduled to start its lockout-shortened spring training schedule against the Minnesota Twins, and three weeks before the April 7 regular-season opener against the Yankees in New York.

With Sale out, Cora confirmed that Nathan Eovaldi will be the opening day starter.

Sale, who turns 33 this month, missed all of 2020 and made only nine starts last year while recovering from Tommy John surgery. There is no timetable for his return, but the broken rib is expected to take 6-8 weeks to heal before Sale can even begin pitching workouts.

Sale said is isn’t sure how the injury occurred, but he began feeling discomfort after a Feb. 24 workout at Florida Gulf Coast University. Over the next five days, he felt progressively worse, but because of the lockout, he wasn’t able to contact the Red Sox or their medical staff.

Sale went 5-1 with a 3.16 ERA last season, when he also missed time after testing positive for COVID-19 in September. He also made three starts in the postseason, including a loss in Game 5 of the AL Championship Series against Houston.

Cora said the team was encouraged by Sale's improvement at the end of 2021 and had hoped this would be a normal season for the pitcher who finished in the top 6 of the AL Cy Young voting in seven straight seasons before a series of injuries that have plagued his last three seasons in Boston.

“The way my body was feeling before all this happened — I was throwing off a mound a lot better than I had been at that time in previous years. I had a little bit more to prove coming into to this spring training,” he said. “I wanted to be ready. That’s obviously not the case now.”

Sale confirmed that he has chosen to remain unvaccinated. The injury means he will probably avoid the uncomfortable position of sitting out the Red Sox series in Toronto April 25-28 because Canada requires a player to be fully vaccinated to enter the country.

“Got more teammates picking up the slack, doing my job, (while I'm) getting paid to do nothing," Sale said. “That sucks. And I'm not afraid to say it. That’s who I am. That’s what I believe. All I can do is show up every day, try to get this thing right and go back out there and try to do my job.”