What is going on ball, boys, and girls? 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.
-The MLB is going to look a lot different in the future. Only the Chicago White Sox will have the same full-season affiliate alignment in 2021 as they did in 2019. The 56-page deal that will link these affiliates to their MLB teams is for the next ten seasons. 40+ units have been cut due to the restructure of the MiLB. The Athletics Evan Drellich said the following To move forward, MLB requires minor league owners to sign two things in the next week and a half: a non-disclosure agreement and an indemnification of MLB. To emphasize: Minor league owners at this point are not formally agreeing to be MLB's partner. That comes once the actual PDL is reviewed. So the decision those teams face now, then, seems simple: if they're considering a lawsuit against MLB, they'd be signing away those rights in order to review the full PDL."
--View the full list of who your club invited here.
-Congrats on the well-deserved Comeback Player of the Year Award Winners AL C Salvador Perez and NL P Daniel Bard.
-The Tampa Bay Rays may not just be the TB Rays come 2028. There have been 0 movements on an extension to keep TB past the 2027(lease expiration) season or plans to build a new stadium. The TB Rays are already planning a splitting season between Tampa and Montreal by 2028. A direct quote from Chairman Stuart Sternberg "We are getting toward 2028, and you can't snap your fingers and just have the stadium show up. It's getting trickier and trickier by the year to get something done. This year certainly set things back, but fortunately, we've got a strong group of people who work for us, and we've got a very motivated group of people in Montreal who want us. And I think we have a plan that makes incredible sense. At least it does to me. And we're going to try to see it "through."
-The Phillies may be done with their search for the President of Baseball Ops. As of the morning of 12/10, The Phillies are in "advanced stages of talks to hire Dave Dombrowski as their new president of baseball ops, reports the Athletic's Jayson Stark. Dombrowski had been linked to Angel's position, but he was said to be content in his role with the Nashville group. The part in Philadelphia was appealing enough to lure him from his responsibilities in bringing baseball back to Nashville. By the time I got back home for the day on 12/10, I had checked my phone and sat down to write. Dombrowski was hired by the Phillies officially. Dombrowski carries 4WS appearances, 2WS rings, and high expectations. The thought was that the Phillies were going to strip it down, I don't think that will be the case now, and Dombrowski is coming into win and win now! Now Dombrowski is tasked with finding the next GM of the Phillies.
Free Agent Signings:
-C Chadwick Tromp, after being non-tendered he resigned on a minors deal. The 25yo played in 19 games for the team in 2020 and slashed .213/.219/.426 in 64PA. Defensively for Tromp, he threw out 2/6 runners stealing and finished in 67th percentile as a pitch framer. Tromp will look to provide quality depth behind Buster Posey and Joey Bart.
-The Seattle Mariners have signed RHP Chris Flexen to a 2yr $4.75mil contract with a 3rd-year option if he hits performance goals. The 26yo played with the Mets from 2017-2019, pitching to an 8.07ERA/6.92FIP over 68IP. He then spent 2020 in the KBO pitching to a 3.01ERA/2.74FIP with a 10.2K/9, 2.3BB/9 over 116.2IP. Flexen will factor into the competition for the 4th/5th spot in the rotation with Justin Dunn, Nick Margevicius, Ljay Newsome, and Robert Dugger. If not, he should easily factor into the bullpen mix.
Free Agent Rumblings:
-The NC Dinos posted Sung-Bum Na officially on 12/10, thus opening his 30-day winder for teams to bid on his services.
-The Mets and C James McCann have been in talks for much of the winter meetings, and as of 12/9, there is not an official word. The deal is expected to be a four-year deal, and the details are in the works.
--Despite the reports about McCann, the Mets are still in talks with JT Realmuto. The Angels are very much in on McCann as well. McCann could also be a great fit with the Phillies. With the hire of Dombrowski, McCann could return to the man who drafted him.
---The Mets are also interested and have talked with RHP Liam Hendricks
-The Boston Red Sox are not interested in the Jon Lester reunion. The SF Giants are another team showing interest in the vet Lefty.
--However, the Red Sox have been in contact with both RHP Corey Kluber and RHP Matt Shoemaker after the team missed on Charlie Morton.
-The reunion rumors are full go this time of year. Astros and former backstop Jason Castro have been in talks. He has also drawn interest from the Texan Rangers.
-It seems like it's more likely than not to happen at this point. The Mets are "engaged" with OF George Springer. This means the initial offer was rejected, countered, and now they are sorting out the details and logistics.
-Yankees slugging 1B Luke Voit said the following the morning of 12/9, "If I had to put money on that, I think he will." Could Voit be telling us something we don't know about DJ LeMahieu staying with the Yankees?
--The Yankees have not spoken to SP Masahiro Tanaka yet in free agency. This rumor suggests that the team could be saving all their pennies to keep DJ and sign cheaper SP to complement their in-house options behind Ace Gerritt Cole.
-The recent memo instructing MLB teams to prepare under the assumption that there won't be a DH in the NL next season has not expedited talks between the Twins and Nelson Cruz, reports Dan Hayes of The Athletic. It's worth noting that, per ESPN's Buster Olney, despite that memo from MLB, most people around the game still expect MLB and the MLBPA to eventually work out a deal to add a universal DH next year. The league and union weren't exactly expeditious in their last several waves of negotiations, taking months to hammer out return-to-play conditions and then agreeing to expanded playoffs mere hours before the season's first pitch was thrown.
--The Twins may be preparing to move on from Cruz as they have spoken to Michael Brantley, Kyle Schwarber, and Adam Duvall. The club could also stay in the house with top prospect Alex Kirilloff and give him every chance to earn an everyday role. The team could also look to Jake Cave and Brent Rooker to fill in at DH.
-It feels odd even to contemplate different uniforms for longtime Cardinals Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright, but it's far from certain either or both will remain in St. Louis. Molina's camp viewed an initial offer from the Cards as an attempt to lowball the veteran. Wainwright doesn't seem to have held many substantial discussions at all with the Cardinals or other organizations. He says that he has yet to receive any firm numbers from suitors. In my opinion, if there were a deal, it would be done by now, and the more time that passes means that neither will be back with the Cardinals.
--Molina wants a 2yr deal, and Wainwright wants a one year deal.
---Yadi was also "insulted" by the Cardinals latest offer. The news doesn't surprise me. Yadi, to me, is a top 3 all-time best catcher ever. The Cardinals will fix their offer now that Yadi has the leverage, and he will end his career with the Cardinals.
We have a trade to announce:
-The Rangers have acquired 1B Nate Lowe, 1B Jake Guenther, and a PTBNL from the Tamps Bay Rays in exchange for C Heriberto Hernandez, INF Osleivis Basabe, OF Alexander Ovalles. The 25yo Lowe is the only player in the deal with MLB experience. Carrying a .251/.322/.447 line over 245PA in 71 games. Guenther also goes back home to Texas, where he played at TCU before being drafted by the Rays in 2019. In his one professional season, he slashed .320/.431/.423 and could factor into the Ranger's INF plans in 2021.
-The Pittsburg Pirates have acquired Luis Oviedo from the NY Mets. The Mets selected Oviedo in the Rule 5 draft, then traded shortly after.
-The Miami Marlins have acquired RHP Zack Pop from the AZ D-Backs for a PTBNL. Pop was selected with the 6th pick in the Rule 5 Draft.
-We have come to the inevitable. SS Francisco Lindor will not be a member of the Cleveland Indians come the 2021 season. Per ESPN's Buster Olney, the Indians "by all accounts" are ready to "aggressively" listen to trade offers for their All-Star shortstop. The team could also be shopping SP Carlos Carrasco and his $24mil remaining over the next two seasons.
-The Yankees and Pirates might have something brewing. The two sides have spoken about a trade where the Yankees would receive 1B/DH Josh Bell and SP Jameson Taillon. The deal would make a lot of sense for the Pirates to sell high on their best two players. The Yankees side's move makes a lot of sense with Taillon but not as far as Bell's fit. If this happens, it turns into a three-team trade where the Yankees get Taillon, team b gets Bell, and the Pirates get the prospects.
--Another package of trade targets that the Pirates have been called about more than Bell and Taillon is Joe Musgrove and Adam Frazier.
-"Third baseman/outfielder Kris Bryant has frequently come up as a trade candidate this offseason. Still, president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said Thursday that there is "absolutely" away he'll return to the team next year, per Gordon Wittenmyer of NBC Sports Chicago. "I don't think it should be treated as a fait accompli that [a trade is] going to happen," added Hoyer."
Oakland A's SP AJ Puk is on track to be back from shoulder surgery and be in the 2021 starting rotation for the A's.
-The Phillies may have their next best LHP since Cole Hamels. 26yo Damon Jones was added to the 40man roster ahead of the Rule 5 draft. Phillies fan, be glad because this young man is electric—100MPH fastball with additional plus Slider. Get excited to see this young-man in 2021.
Thank you guys for being with me today. I hope you enjoyed the blog today. Please stay tuned through the winter; we have more Around the Horn, Yearly Reviews, Ball Boy Talk, and of course, the Podcast. Don't forget to share with a friend and until next time Ball boys & girls.
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