Dec 16, 2014 2:39 AM

Things to know about MLB free-agent signings

The Associated Press

There were a bevy of free-agent deals Monday. Here are some things to know about the biggest moves:


Jon Lester and the Cubs finally made it official, and Chicago's new No. 34 thinks he can help bring the Windy City its first championship since 1908.

Lester says "we fully buy in."

Lester agreed to a $155 million, six-year contract with the Cubs at the winter meetings last week that set baseball records for largest signing bonus and biggest upfront payment.

Chicago President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein says this "really marks the start of a transition for the Cubs."

Lester gets a record $30 million signing bonus, of which $15 million is due by April 1, $2.5 million each by Dec. 31 in 2018 and 2019, and a final $10 million installment by Sept. 15, 2020.


Chase Headley is staying with the Yankees. He agreed to a $52 million, four-year contract that signals New York is not counting on Alex Rodriguez to play third base regularly.

Coming off a season-long suspension for violations of baseball's drug agreement and labor contract, Rodriguez is owed $61 million over the final three seasons of his $275 million, 10-year deal. The agreement with Headley is a sign New York plans to shift A-Rod to designated hitter, relegate him to a backup role or perhaps even seek trade offers.

Headley was batting .229 with seven homers and 32 RBIs when the Padres traded him to the Yankees on July 22, but he batted .262 with six homers and 17 RBIs in 191 at-bats for New York.


Infielder Jed Lowrie and the Houston Astros agreed to a $23 million, three-year contract. The agreement includes a 2018 club option. Lowrie was acquired by the Astros from Boston for pitcher Mark Melancon in December 2011 in Jeff Luhnow's first trade as general manager and was Houston's shortstop in 2012. He was dealt to Oakland in February 2013. A switch-hitter, Lowrie had 35 home runs and 155 RBIs over the last three seasons.


The White Sox finalized a $42 million, three-year contract with Melky Cabrera on Monday, bolstering their outfield with their latest big move in an impressive offseason.

Cabrera will make $13 million in 2015, $14 million in 2016 and $15 million in the final season of the contract, according to a person with direct knowledge of the deal. The agreement also includes limited trade provision for the 30-year-old left fielder, who hit .301 with 16 homers and 73 RBIs in 139 games with Toronto last season.

The White Sox will introduce offseason acquisitions Jeff Samardzija and David Robertson on Tuesday.


Outfielder Alex Rios and the Kansas City Royals agreed to an $11 million, one-year contract, a person with knowledge of the negotiations said. Rios would take over in right field from Nori Aoki, who became a free agent after helping the Royals win their first AL pennant since 1985.

Rios, who turns 34 in February, had been with Texas since August 2013 and hit .280 this year with four homers and 54 RBIs. He set career highs with the Chicago White Sox in 2012 with 25 homers and 91 RBIs.


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