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MLB rumors: Angels in the mix for free agent Mike Moustakas; Yankees, Luis Severino avoid arbitration

It is Feb. 15, which means we’re 105 days into the baseball free agency period. Superstar sluggers Bryce Harper and Manny Machado remain free agents.

As teams report for spring training, the hot stove remains relatively cold but in the meantime, we’ll be here to round up all the notable rumors and news around baseball. As always, our free-agent tracker is a great way to catch up on what’s already happened on that front.

Let’s round up the activity for Friday here.

Yankees, Severino avoid arbitration

The New York Yankees and starting pitcher Luis Severino avoided arbitration by agreeing to a four-year, $40 million deal, according to multiple reports. Severino will be guaranteed $40 million over a four-year contract that includes a club option for a fifth season. The new contract is pending a physical.

The Phillies‘ recent deal with starting pitcher Aaron Nola created the framework for the Yankees to sign Severino long-term. Nola and the Phillies agreed to a four-year, $45 million contract extension. Severino’s deal with New York can max out at $52.25 million over five years. He will give up only one year of free agency — one fewer than Nola did. If the Yankees exercise the $15 million option, Severino will hit the open market at 29 years old.

Angels enter market for Moustakas

The Los Angeles Angels are entering the market for free-agent third baseman Mike Moustakas, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reports. CBS Sports ranked Moustakas No. 19 on our top 50 best free agents available this winter.

Moustakas, represented by Scott Boras, declined his 2019 option with the Milwaukee Brewers and elected for free agency. The 30-year-old hit the open market for a second consecutive season after splitting time with the Kansas City Royals and Brewers in 2018. 

The rumors about Moustakas’ landing spot for next season have been patchy this winter. The Padres, Phillies and Brewers have been all rumored to be in the mix for his services in 2019, as Heyman notes. The Angels are still toying around with a few positional players to find an everyday third baseman, so having a player like Moustakas join the club seems to make sense. Zack Cozart, 33, spent some time at second base in 2018 before he underwent season-ending shoulder surgery.

In 152 games between the Royals and Brewers last season, Moustakas slashed .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs and a career-high 95 RBI.

Giants sign Solarte

The San Francisco Giants have added veteran free-agent infielder Yangervis Solarte, pending a physical, The Athletic’s Robert Murray reports. Solarte’s deal is worth $1.75 million (if he makes the big league club) and includes $250,000 in incentives, according to Fancred’s Jon Heyman.

Solarte, a switch-hitter, had a .226/.277/.378 slash line with the Blue Jays last year. He hit 17 homers, which was more than any Giant. Solarte played third base for the Blue Jays but also has played second, short, first and left. With the Giants, he should have a real chance at making the team as a backup infielder and most likely would become a nice addition to San Francisco’s bench.

Royals ink Storen

The Royals have come to terms with right-handed reliever Drew Storen on a minor-league contract for 2019, Ken Rosenthal reports. The deal will be incentive-heavy and is pending a physical. Storen underwent Tommy John surgery in September of 2017 and didn’t pitch last season. 

Storen, 31, has pitched to a 116 ERA+ and a 3.16 K/BB ratio across parts of eight big-league seasons. He’s also got 99 career saves to his credit. 

Colon still wants to pitch in 2019

Starting pitcher Bartolo Colon, who turns 46 in May, still wants to play in the majors in 2019, according to Fancerd’s Jon Heyman.

Colon was with the Texas Rangers last season, pitching with a record eighth American League team. Near the start of the 2018 season, Colon took a perfect game into the 8th inning and struck out seven batters against the 2017 World Series champion Houston Astros. He finished the season with a 7-12 record and 5.78 ERA. If Colon finds a club to sign with, the 2019 season will be his 22nd year in the big leagues.

Tigers‘ Fulmer loses arbitration hearing

Right-hander Michael Fulmer lost his arbitration hearing against the Detroit Tigers, according to multiple reports. Fulmer will receive $2.8 million instead of the $3.4 million he sought.

Fulmer endured the worst season of his young career in 2018. He went 3-12 with a 4.69 ERA in a career-low 132 1/3 innings as he fought oblique and knee injuries. He underwent season-ending right knee meniscus surgery in September of 2018.

The 25-year-old will be entering his fourth season in the majors after a 2016 season in which he was named American League Rookie of the Year.

Fulmer is the 10th and final player to go to a hearing this year. This year’s slate of arbitration hearings will lean slightly in favor of the players’ side with the players winning six of the 10 hearings.

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