HAPPY NEW YEAR! We made it to 2021, guys, and I could not be more excited about us being another week closer to baseball. Welcome into todays Around the Horn. We have some news to cover today, including Leauge news, free agent signings and rumors, trades and trade rumors, injury news, and prospect news. If you missed the last Around the Horn, that's okay; check that out right here.
Have you listened to Ball Boy Talk, the official Podcast of Ball Boy Blog? If you haven't, then what are you waiting for? Have you thought about creating your awesome Podcast? Then do I have the platform for you to do it on Anchor is a top-notch recording service. Anchor offers multiple benefits to go along with high-quality audio. Free with your account, you get drops, transitions, and music to support your PodcastPodcast. You can even add on sponsored segments and get paid! Anchor will even distribute your Podcast on Spotify, Google Podcasts, and several other notable streaming services. Check it out for yourself now, and send me the link to your fabulous new Podcast.
-The Boston Red Sox made history happen on 1/4 as they hired Bianca Smith as a Minor League coach. Making her the first African-American woman to serve as a coach in professional baseball history. The MLB is finally making long-overdue progress regarding women and African-Americans in the front office and coaching roles.
-Phil Hughes is officially hanging them up. He last pitched in the MLB in 2018 with the Padres. Hughes begins his announcement by saying, "While it's been fairly apparent to most over these last couple years, I'd like to officially announce my retirement from baseball. Through many ups and downs over 12 years, I look back and am incredibly proud of what I was able to accomplish."
-Did you guys see that Randy Arozarena raced a horse. Pretty cool video; you can find it on the Rays Twitter page.
-Condolences to the Scully family. Sandra Scully, wife of longtime Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully passed away 1/4 at 76 from ALS complications.
League News Updates:
-Starting date for the season: My 12/30 update: Now that there are two approved vaccines, owners could push to delay the season depending on the vaccine's availability for players and personnel. The MLBPA and players are all planning on showing up to spring training on time, and most of the PA feels the protocols and how COVID is being handled is enough to keep them safe. The players want to and plan to play a full 162 game season and not take any pay cut. As of 1/3, the MLB is planning to start ON TIME! It also sounds like right now we will have a full 162 game season! YAY! Per The Athletic's Evan Drellich, "We have announced the dates for the start of Spring Training and the Championship Season. As we get closer, we will, in consultation with public health authorities, our medical experts, and the Players Association, determine whether any modifications should be considered in light of the current surge in COVID-19 cases and the challenges we faced in 2020 completing a 60-game season in a sport that plays every day."
Free Agent Signings:
NPB/KBO Signings: Last week, I posted that 21 former MLB players either resigned or signed with either the NPB/KBO. Bringing reported totals nearing 40 players. This week we add OF Aaron Altherr, RHP Drew Rucinski, LHP Felix Doubront to the growing list.
-The Marlins signed LHP Ross Detwiler to a 1-year deal. In 2020 he posted a 3.20ERA/3.90FIP with an excellent 58.3% groundball rate in 19.2IP. Detwiler will look to help turn around the last ranked NL bullpen in ERA (5.50) and FIP (5.65).
-The SF Giants signed C Curt Casali to a 1yr deal worth $1.5mil. Over the past three seasons, he has slashed .260/.345/.440 slash over 485PA. Casali goes to SF as the top backup option to Posey and will reunite with Keven Gausman and Anthony DeSclafani.
-The Dodgers re-signed RHRP Blake Treinen to a 2yr $17.5mil guarantee that includes an $8mil club option or $1.5mil buyout for 2023. The Dodgers got 25.2IP with a 3.86ERA and a 20.6% strikeout rate, and a 64% groundball rate in 2020 while being an excellent high leverage situation pitcher.
-The Tigers signed OF Robbie Grossman to a 2yr $10mil deal with an additional $1mil available in bonus over those two seasons. Grossman brings the Tigers a career .252/.350/.380 slash with 50HR in 2748PA.
Free Agent Rumors:
-Teams have until 1/8 also bid on NPB star Tomoyuki Sugano; Sugano arrived in the US on New Year's day to take a physical. The Red Sox, Mets, Giants, Padres, Blue Jays, and Rangers are the favorites.
--The Mets are out of the running as of 1/4. With the Giants and Blue Jays as the top two teams.
-The Astros and FA Jason Casto I reported were close to a deal in last week's news, but we have yet to see a deal. It seems the reunion is just one possibility for the veteran catcher. The Cubs have also talked to Castro.
-SP Masahiro Tanaka is open to playing with other teams. He also hasn't ruled out a return to the NPB. He is
-Free Agent Reliever Brad Hand is drawing interest from the NY Mets. He would give the Mets a reliable southpaw if he signed.
-Free Agent Reliever Alex Colome is drawing interest from the Twins, Nationals, Red Sox, Astros, and White Sox.
-Free Agent Reliever Liam Hendricks visited with the Blue jays on 1/4. He is seeking a 4yr deal and has drawn intense interest from the Astros. He also has the Mets, Dodgers, White Sox as other potential suitors. The Dodgers are reportedly turning up the pressure to sign Hendricks away from the competition.
-Free Agent OF Yasiel Puig is gaining interest from the Yankees, Red Sox, Astros, Marlins, and Orioles. Each has a different level of interest in the 29yo slugger.
Free Agent Notes:
-The top free-agents are expecting to still their big days this winter and are expecting the following in deals: JT Realmuto( 4-5yr $20-25Mil ann), Trever Bauer(4-6yr, $36-40mil ann), DJ LeMahieu(4-5yr $20-25mill ann), George Springer(4-6yr with $150mil guarantee)
-Trevor Bauer recently had a meeting with the Toronto Blue Jays, specifically with their pitching coach (Pete Walker) and high-performance coach (presumably VP of high-performance Angus Mugford).
-The Blue Jays have made an aggressive offer to star FA George Springer. The offer is supposedly well under the asking price of $150mil. It could be a short term, high $ deal.
-Free Agent 3B Justin Turner is reportedly asking for a 4yr deal at the age of 36. The Dodgers have only offered a two-year deal. I wouldn't be surprised to see them make the offer for 2yr guaranteed with two options.
-The International signing period opens in 9 days on the 15th.
-KBO/NPB stars P Kohei Arihara(Rangers) and Ha-Seong Kim(Padres) have both found homes but a couple of days before their window closed.
-Teams have until 1/10 too bid on NC Dino's slugger Sung-Bum Na
-Teams had until 1/2 to bid on and sign 28yo OF Haruki Nishikawa, and he ended up not signing with an MLB team.
-The Cardinals and 2B Kolten Wong both have talked about a reunion.
-The Padres have already loaded their offense to the brim. They are still in talks with Kirby Yates and Jurickson Profar.
--The Padres are also looking to give Fernando Tatis Jr. a long term extension this spring.
-The Miami Marlins are looking to add to their corner outfield spots. The team is interested in Adam Duvall and Yasiel Puig
We have a trade to announce:
*Insert sad face* we didn't have any trades, and Jerry Dipoto didn't see the day this time around.
-If you missed it, the Padres acquired both SP Blake Snell(Rays) and Yu Darvish(Cubs) in trades last week for some of their prospect depth.
-The Pirates and Indians have tried to trade for Blue Jays catcher Alejandro Kirk during the past 14 months.
Brewers Catcher Jacob Nottingham underwent surgery on the radial collateral ligament of his left thumb. The Brewers hope he will be healed and ready for the start of Spring Training.
-Free Agent SP Corey Kluber will be throwing a bullpen session next week on the 13th for interested teams. The Red Sox are one of them that have shown interest before the announcement. The Mets, Nationals, Diamondbacks will also be attending the workout.
I have been trying to find something interesting in terms of upside prospects, but I am sure we are close to tons of prospect news as the international signing opens and pitchers and catchers report.