Updated: Dec 21, 2020
Thanks for joining me on the diamond for today's Around the Horn ball, boys & girls. I do appreciate it. I hope you all had a happy and safe thanksgivings. Thanks to my partners over at Dan-o's seasoning, I made delicious butter/seasoning injections for my turkey, and it was a HIT! Check them out before you have to get Christmas dinner on the table use code "ballboy" to let them know I sent you.
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As always, with Around the Horn, we will cover Leauge news, trade rumors and news, free agent rumors and news, injury updates, and prospect buzz.
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-The BBWAA Writers- released the Hall of Fame ballot released on 11/16. In case you missed my full break down of each player on the ballot, you can check that out here
-If you missed it in last week's news: Rays OF/DH Randy Arozarena has been detained in Mexico's Yucatan state after allegedly attempting to take his daughter from her mother. The allegations also include domestic violence. The news is not good for Arozarena as we have seen sports take on harsh punishments for Domestic Violence. These are all the details as of 11/24. Arozarena "allegedly tried to take his daughter from her mother and assaulted the woman's (his ex) father. The situation does fall under MLB and the MLB Players Association's joint domestic violence policy. As of 11/25, there was no comment from the Rays. New developments as of 11/26- Officials released Arzarena from custody. Arozarena "was released from all charges when he reached an agreement with his former partner, who determined not to take legal action against Ray's player." Arozarena's reason for the arrest concerned a custody dispute over a child. The only comment as of 11/26 was from agent Abel Guerra "The only thing I know is he was hyper-sensitive about making sure that the child's needs were being taken care of," Guerra said. "He was always sending money down there, and he was very involved in her life. I don't want to speculate about [anything else]."
-The NY Mets have interviewed Chris Young for their GM Vacancy. Yes, former MLB P Chris Young. Since retiring after 2017, Young was named MLB VP of on-field operations, initiatives, and strategy. The role focuses on "the application of playing rules and regulations, on-field standards and discipline, pace of play and other special projects." One option reported is bringing J.P. Ricciardi and John Ricco back to work under Chris Young. Both Ricciardi and Ricco were in the Met's FO when Young played with the Mets in 2011-12. Steve Cohen does not want "people learning on my dime," but the experience of Ricciardi and Ricco would be tremendous for Young and would give the Met's a great front office.
-The Toronto Blue Jay's spokesperson Andrew Garas released a statement to media: "Prior to the pandemic, we were exploring options for the stadium, but through this year our primary focus has been keeping our customers connected and keeping our employees safe, so there is no update on the Rogers Centre to share at this time." Rogers Centre has been the Blue Jays' home stadium since 1989, but that might not be the case for much longer. Blue Jays ownership is hoping to knock down Rogers Centre and put up a new multibillion-dollar facility in its place, Andrew Willis of the Globe and Mail reports.
-"For the long term, the real estate arm of Angels owner Arte Moreno's business is about to engage on the reconstruction of Angel Stadium and the development of a ballpark village around it in a $320 million deal that is expected to close after technical procedures are fulfilled sometime next year. That $320 million agreement, approved in September and October by the Anaheim City Council, stipulates that $150 million for the stadium be paid overtime in cash payments of $5 million, $45 million, $20 million, and $80 million. Of that, $50 million is already paid. The remaining $170 million is earmarked for economic growth in the parking lot around the existing ballpark: $123.7 million to include mixed-use development and $46.2 million for a seven-acre park. The deal calls for the construction of 5,175 apartments, 777 of them affordable at market rates, 2.7 million square feet of office space, 1.75 million square feet for retail, restaurants, and 943 hotel rooms, plus the recreational park." You can read the full report from Barry L. Bloom here.
-The winter meetings are coming up on Dec. 7th-10th via teleconference. We could see George Springer and Kris Bryant to Boston, JT Realmuto, and Trevor Bauer to the Mets. The Angels could go all-in on their starting rotation. Theo Epstein could see himself with the Met's are their man in the front office. We could also see nothing at all. There should start to be some pins dropping as we get closer and closer to the meetings.
Free Agent Signings:
-If you have missed it, there have only been a few free-agent signings so far: Blue Jays & SP Robbie Ray, Padres & SP Mike Clevinger, Braves & P's Josh Tomlin, Drew Smyly, and Charlie Morton, Met's and RHP Sam McWilliams. At the same time, SP Marcus Stroman(Mets) and Kevin Gausman(Giants) accepted their Qualifying offers.
-The Twins and RHP Derek Law have agreed to a contract. The details of the agreement are not known as of 11/25. Law was apart of the Rangers 60-man player pool but didn't play in 2020. In 2019 with the Blue Jays Law posted a 4.90ERA/4.85FIP, 9.9 K/9, 5.9 BB/9 over 60.2IP
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Free Agent Rumors:
-This coming Wednesday, 12/2, is the Non-tender deadline, and we should start to see the Free Agent movement after this deadline as a clear picture will be painted of who is available.
-Free-agent OF Yasiel Puig is working and hoping to make his way back into the MLB. After landing a deal with the Braves for 2020, he ended up failing his COVID test and went unsigned from there. Puig is only 29 and has several good years left to give a team. Over 3015AB Puig holds an 18.9WAR with 834H, 132HR, 415RBI, 79SB, and a slash line of .277/.348/.475. The Astros, Orioles, and Red Sox are the most notable teams showing interest.
- Free-agent C Yadier Molina has been shown interested in five teams. The Cardinals(who he wants to stay with), Yankees, Mets, Padres, and Angels.
-The Blue Jays and FA OF George Springer have "progressed beyond just talking." I would assume this means there is an offer on the table for the 31yo. Springer could do a couple of things here 1- test the open market beyond this offer, 2- accept this offer before Jay's sign anyone else, and the offer shrinks 3- wait for the Mets to figure out their front office situation. Many agents are waiting on the Mets as they are a bidder for just about every big-name free agent and will be in play. Regardless of the situation, Springer is the PERFECT fit for Jay's. Playing for a great manager, young club, he would slot right in and be the best player on the team and the leader on and off the field. I love it!
-The SF Giants are hoping to make another big SP mistake as they did with Cueto and Samardzija. The club is being linked to SP Jon Lester
-The LA Dodgers are very vocal with their winter plans. The Dodgers will hope to sign LHP Brad Hand if they cannot retain Blake Treinen in free agency. Treinen was used in high-leverage situations with great success for the Dodgers as he had 25.2IP with a 3.86ERA, 1.21WHIP, and 25K. Hand was great in 2020; over his 22IP, he posted a 2.05ERA, 0.77WHIP with 29K.
-SP Tomoyuki Sugano is expected to be posted within the next two weeks since the Japan series is over. Over 1362.0IP in Japan over the last eight years, he holds a 2.34ERA. With a career 1216-265 K-BB ratio. The 31yo will join an attractive foreign market of free agents that includes INF Kim Ha-Seong and INF Tetsuto Yamada.
-It looks like we will be getting a bidding war this off-season as KBO Kiwoom Hero's INF Kim Ha-Seong will be posted for MLB teams to bid on just after Thanksgiving. Ha-Seong is good as he slashed a .292/.368/.487 through his 6yr career in KBO. He is only 25 and will get a significant contract somewhere this winter. Since opening day 2019, Kim has 49HR through 1247PA; he has a 145-148 BB-K rate and 56-62 SB success in that same span.
-The Blue Jays have also shown robust Ha-Seong Kim, the Korean SS. I love the move here, especially for Jay's, as they could use Kim at SS and move Bichette to 2B or 3B and Biggio around the INF as well. Vlad Jr. will be given every shot to remain every day 3B, but the connections to 3B say otherwise. Kim would also be a long-term building block for the Jay's as well
-The Rangers are also showing strong interest in Ha-Seong Kim as a long-term building block. The Rangers want to get younger and move on from one or both SS Elvis Andrus(-0.6WAR and in 111PA in 2020 slashed .194/.252/.330), and 2B Rougned Odor(-0.8WAR and 148PA slashed .167/.209/.413 2020). Both are signed for two more seasons, but with the emergence of 3B Isiah Kiner-Falefa as a gold glove winner, Kim's fit is obvious.
-Good Ol' big sexy is making his way into yet another post! The big lefty has something left in the tank and wants to finish his career with the Met's. Bartolo Colon wants to play, and I can see Steve Cohen and the Met's giving him every chance to do so.
-The Angels, Giants, and Red's are among teams interested in Dan Straily. After a terrible 2019 where he pitched just 47.2 innings and surrendered 52ER. Straily pitched with the KBO in 2020, where he had 31 starts for 194IP. At that time, he posted a 2.50ERA/2.97FIP 9.5 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9. Hopefully, Straily has turned the corner for the last part of his career.
-Another man who had himself quite the KBO season is Moises Alou's cousin Mel Rojas jr. In 2017 Rojas went to the KBO to work on his craft, and in 2020 it paid off with an MVP season that saw a win boast a .349/.417/.680 with 47HR and 135RBI in 628PA. We should see Rojas come back to the MLB and land a deal needing some OF the help.
-We had a trade happen. The Red's have acquired SP Jeff Hoffman(15 starts in 2019 with a 6.56ERA), P Case Williams(4th round pick in the 2020 draft) from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for P Robert Stephenson(A once well regarded pitching prospect has been inconsistent at best in his MLB time. In 2020 in 10IP he posted a 9.90ERA/12.19FIP/1.40WHIP) and CF Jameson Hannah(He hasn't played above High-A ball and in 538PA in the MiLB level has slashed a .275/.340/.371 the 23yo could get an extended look in the spring.)
-The Washington Nationals sure did miss Anthony Rendon in 2020. Have no fear Nat's fan, the team is eyeing Kris Bryant Cubs 3B. Bryant is a former NL ROY and NL MVP. Bryant is among "numerous hitters' they're currently considering.
-With the OF trio of Reddick, Springer, Brantley, all Free Agents. The Astros are coming to a crossroads. Their All-Star SS Carlos Correra is part of the superclass of 2021 SS's. Houston is "floating" the SS in trade talks before he reaches free agency next year. I have seen this coming since last season. The Astros had too many free-agents and not enough money to keep them all in-house. The AL-West is wide open after the always good Oakland A's and the Astro's are trending down. The Astro's cant keeps free agents, as we had seen because Springer, before he even got the QO, came out and said he wasn't going back.
-We have seen the Dodgers come out, as reported, to try and trade for Rockies 3B Nolan Arenado. Arenado has an opt-out after 2021, a no-trade clause, the Rockies want talent in return and $$ to help relieve that contact.
-The Rays have told several teams they would consider moving their Cy Young pitcher Blake Snell. Snell is going into his age 28 seasons. Snell is due to $38mil over the next three seasons while he finishes up a five-year deal. Come 2024; he will be an unrestricted free agent. Snell still has his best years ahead of him and should be a hot target on the market going through this winter. With his salary being $10mil, $12mil, $16mil, the low budget Rays will undoubtedly look to unload the lefty. The Seattle Mariners are the most logical landing spot for Snell; the Mariners need an Ace, the AL West is open, and it's time to strike, and Snell is a Shoreline, Wa native.
-The Cincinnati Reds are in a weird place as a team, and I think they are only a few pieces away from true contention. The team is "gauging what they might get in return" for All-Star P Sonny Gray. Gray is owed $10Mil in 2021 and $10.2Mil in 2022 with a $12mil club option for Grays age 33 seasons in 2023. These are the tail end of prime years for pitchers unless you are Max Scherzer or Justin Verlander.
No significant injury updates to talk about on today's around the horn.
-My Mariner's fans should remember that 2nd round picks back in 2017 P Sam Carlson. Just three innings into his professional career, BOOM, Tommy John surgery. It took Carlson 31 months until he could pitch again because 13 months after TJ, he had an impingement on the same elbow he had the surgery on. Then COVID happened; he was then sent to the Mariner's "alternate, alternate site" to work with MiLB pitching coach Sean McGrath. Almost 21yo has impressed in Fall ball and looks mature and more experienced than other MLB players years ahead of him. Sam is a young veteran already, and I adore this quote from him "I know I can't be knocked down because I've been in some really tough spots and I've doubted myself, and I've found my way back," he said. "I've gained a really unique perspective, and it's bled into my daily life, and I feel like it's just made me a better and happier person on a day-to-day basis. I feel like I have found the experiences and just a confidence in a sense that I feel like I know what I have been through, and I know that can't defeat me.
"So it's like, what can?"
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