Adams, Hector and Bruce Rondon among 26 new free agents
NEW YORK (AP) Atlanta first baseman Matt Adams, former Chicago Cubs closer Hector Rondon and Detroit Tigers reliever Bruce Rondon were among 26 players who became free agents Friday night when their teams failed to offer them 2018 contracts.
Nineteen of the players set free would have been eligible for salary arbitration had they been offered deals by the 8 p.m. EST deadline.
Others cut loose included Houston pitcher Mike Fiers, Toronto second baseman Ryan Goins and Chicago White Sox pitchers Al Alburquerque, Jake Petricka and Zach Putnam.
Adams hit .271 with 19 homers in 100 games with Atlanta after he was acquired from St. Louis in May after first baseman Freddie Freeman got hurt.
Hector Rondon is sixth on the Cubs’ career saves list with 77, all from 2014-16. The 29-year-old Venezuelan struggled this year with a 4.24 ERA in 57 1/3 innings.
Bruce Rondon was once considered a top candidate to be Detroit’s closer, but he has only seven big league saves since his debut in 2013. He is 8-7 with a 5.00 ERA in 123 appearances, including 1-3 with a 10.91 ERA in 21 games this year.
Fiers was 8-10 with a 5.22 ERA in 28 starts and one relief appearance for the Astros but was not included on any of the team’s postseason rosters. Goins hit .237 this year and set career highs for home runs (nine) and RBIs (62).
Kansas City outfielder Terrance Gore became a free agent, then agreed to a minor league contract.
Eleven players reached agreements as the deadline approached, among them Milwaukee catcher Stephen Vogt ($3,065,000) and right-hander Jeremy Jeffress ($1.7 million plus a pair of club options) and Cleveland right-hander Dan Otero ($1.3 million) and outfielder Abraham Almonte ($825,000).
Also striking deals were Los Angeles Angels right-hander Blake Wood ($1.45 million), Chicago White Sox right-hander Danny Farquhar ($1.05 million), Seattle utilityman Andrew Romine ($1.05 million), Kansas City right-hander Mike Morin ($750,000), San Diego left-hander Robbie Erlin ($650,000) and Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Yimi Garcia ($630,000).
Atlanta claimed right-hander Chase Whitley off waivers from Tampa Bay and agreed to an $800,000 deal.
Following the flurry of moves, there were about 195 players eligible for salary arbitration, down from 225 earlier in the week. Most will reach agreements before players and teams exchange proposed arbitration salaries on Jan. 12.
Among players who became free agents last month, catcher Welington Castillo agreed to a $15 million, two-year contract with the White Sox. The 30-year-old Castillo will make $7.25 million in each of the next two years, and the White Sox have an option for $8 million for 2020 with a $500,000 buyout.
Castillo, who broke into the majors with the crosstown Cubs in 2010, hit .282 with 20 homers and 53 RBIs in 96 games with Baltimore last season. He also threw out 24 of 49 would-be basestealers for a major league-best 49 percent success rate.
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