Around the Horn: News & Notes 2/3

Welcome in! Thank you for reading today. I appreciate your time in reading about everything that happened in the last week around the MLB. The news comes out every Wednesday for now until we get into spring training, and we may need to increase as we get into the spring. I recently had my "Why I Love Baseball" piece published with Authenticity Mags if you missed it. You can check that out here. Also, I will be publishing my future and present series, which was a huge hit last season, and my top fantasy baseball targets at each position. Today, we got league news, free agent signings, rumors and notes, trade announcements and rumors, injury updates, and prospect buzz. To check out last week's news, click here and here.


League News:

BIG SEASON UPDATE:

On Friday, MLB made another attempt to find an acceptable solution, submitting a proposal to the MLBPA for a 154-game season without prorating player pay, per Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter). The proposal also includes delaying the season by a month and expanding playoffs. Joel Sherman of the New York Post adds that the universal designated hitter is also included in this offer. The MLBPA leadership is mulling the offer this weekend. The offer has everything both sides want. The season would start April 28th, with the postseason carrying into November. All told, the expectations are the MLBPA will reject this newest proposal, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Per Jess Passan of ESPN, if the MLBPA doesn't counter. The season will go as customarily planned. Officially as of 2/1, the MLBPA rejected the deal from the MLB, and the season will start on time, with pitchers and catchers reporting in February and the season starting 4/1. Update on 2/1: The league would have been willing to push back the season without expanded playoffs, and the universal DH had the MLBPA made a counterproposal, Heyman tweets. The union declined to do so, as Heyman notes the players would instead start the season on time because of concerns over injuries.

-The MLB named Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. to a Senior Advisor to commissioner Rob Manfred. In the role, Griffey will emphasize "baseball operations and youth baseball development, particularly regarding improving diversity at amateur levels of the game." He'll also serve as an ambassador at youth baseball initiatives and events such as the All-Star Game.

-Former MLB players Michael Hill and Raul Ibanez have been named Senior Vice Presidents of on-field operations. Hill will oversee umpiring and on-field disciplinary matters at both the major league and minor league levels. Ibanez, meanwhile, will focus on issues pertaining to rules, equipment, and on-field technology. The league also hired Rajai Davis as director of on-field operations; he shares that title with Nick Hundley and Gregor Blanco.

-Rockies GM Jeff Bridich said the following on 2/2: Bridich stopped short of saying that Story wouldn't be traded whatsoever, as "it's very difficult to predict what the coming months will look like." Beyond just Story, however, Bridich more firmly stated that the Arenado trade wasn't the first of many for his team. "This certainly is not a total tear-down and rebuild….If that were the case, certain players already would have been traded," the general manager said.

-AL RoY, AL MVP, 3x World Series Champ, 4x Gold Glove, 4x All-Star, 37yo, Boston Red Sox LEGEND, Dustin Pedroia has officially called it a career.

-Three-time All-Star and 2015 National League Championship Series MVP Daniel Murphy is retiring from baseball after a 12-year Major League career; he tells SNY's, Andy Martino.

-Former Atlanta Braves legend Chipper Jones is joining the club as a part-time hitting consultant.

-The Oakland Athletics lost long-time public address announcer Dick Callahan on 1/29. He was with the A's in the booth for 15 years and called over 1000 games for the club. As a fan of the A's, we will miss his voice echoing the Coliseum. All the Ball Boy Blog's condolences to the family, friends, and loved ones as well as Oakland A's nation.

League News Updates:

-On 1/25, the MLB announced that the league would host a scouting combine for draft prospects ahead of the selection period. The combine "will feature top high school and college baseball prospects, as identified by MLB clubs, who will have the opportunity to participate in a series of medical and performance assessments as well as educational programming designed to prepare them for a career in professional baseball." The combine will be held June 20-28 at the USA Baseball National Training Complex. The draft will take place July 11-13. Members of the MLB Draft League—a six-team, a 68-game league that MLB announced in November—will also be able to participate in combine assessments and evaluations in their league communities throughout June. The information I just provided is from Jenna Ciccotelli from Bleacher Report; you can read the full article by clicking here.

-After the firing of GM Jared Porter, the Mets named Zack Scott as the acting General Manager.

-Speaking of former Mets GM's, Brodie Van Wagenen has been hired as the COO at Jay-Z's Roc Nation Sports.

-The Mets can't dodge the headlines; current Angels pitching coach Mickey Callaway has been accused by five women in sports media of lewd behavior. Callaway's alleged behavior has been well-known in some corners of baseball, as one of the accusers told Ghiroli and Strang, "It was the worst-kept secret in sports." The Angels issued the following statement "The behavior being reported violates the Angels Organization's values and policies," the team said. "We take this very seriously and will conduct a full investigation with MLB." As of 2/2, Callaway "has denied any wrongdoing," thus preventing him from being fired without investigation. He has been suspended, pending the investigation results.

Free Agent Signings:

-The Philadelphia Phillies signed SS Didi Gregorius to a 2yr $28mil guarantee with deferrals. The Phillies were pleased with Didi in 2020 as he started 56/60 games and slashed .284/.339/.488 with 10HR over 237PA. The move will allow the Phillies to keep Segura at 2B, Alec Bohm at 3B, Rhys Hoskins back at 1B, and of course JTR behind the plate.

-The Chicago Cubs signed RHP Trevor Williams to a 1yr $2.5mil deal. Williams posted a 6.18ERA, 19.4%K rate over 55.1IP. He also allowed a league-high 15HR. The 29yo will look to fill into the #3 sport behind Hendricks and Davies.

-The Minnesota Twins re-sign DH Nelson Cruz, to a 1yr $13mil deal. We all know Cruz is the best slugger in the MLB and is a huge re-sign for the Twins.

-The Chicago Cubs signed LHRP Andrew Chafin to a 1yr $2.25mil deal with a mutual option for 2020. Since Chafin's debut in 2014, he has a 3.67ERA with a 52.3% groundball rate over 274.2IP.

-The Rays signed RHP Chris Archer to a 1yr $6.5mil deal. Archer, over the last couple of seasons, owns a 5.19ERA over 119.2IP. Archer joins Michael Wacha as a reclamation project for the Rays.

-The Cincinnati Reds signed LHRP Sean Doolittle to a $1.5mil deal. That includes performance bonuses. Over the last 3 1/2 seasons with the Nationals, he had 75saves, 3.03ERA, 28.2%K rate, 5.7%BB rate.

-The Chicago White Sox re-signed LHP Carlos Rodon to a 1yr $3mil deal. Rodon was able to make it back to the mound in 2020 after TJ surgery in 2019. He made two starts, went down to shoulder soreness, then made it back for two relief appearances at the end of the season. He will compete with Reynaldo Lopez, Dylan Cease, and Michael Kopech for a rotation spot.

-The Cleveland Indians signed OF Eddie Rosario to a 1yr $8mil deal. Rosario has three seasons of 20+HR and owns a .277/.310/.478 slash over 2830PA. The OF now will play against the Twins in the AL Central.

-The St. Louis Cardinals are also expected to re-sign C Yadier Molina to the end of the Caribbean Series on February 6th. Contract details aren't yet known.

-The St. Louis Cardinals re-signed Adam Wainwright to a 1yr $8mil deal with $775K in incentives. The 39-yo pitched to a 3.15ERA over 65.2IP over 10starts. Waino was incredible in 2020 and will be playing in what we all expect his final season.

-The Phillies signed LHP Matt Moore to a 1yr $3mil deal with additional incentives. Moore spent the 2020 season pitching in Japan. In 2019 he pitched 10IP but tore his meniscus while fielding a grounder, which ended his season.

-The Chicago Cubs signed OF Joc Pederson to a 1yr $7mil deal with $500k in incentives, a mutual option for 2022. Pederson, the career Dodger will now have an opportunity to be an everyday player and not a platoon player. Pederson is a career .230/.336/.470 hitter.

-The Washington Nationals signed C Alex Avila to a 1yr deal. Avila has been known in his career for a low batting average but a high OBP. In 2020 he his .184/.355/.286 in 62PA. The power was down as he only hit 1HR but owns a .394 SLG% over 3527PA with 104HR.

-The Chicago Cubs signed RHP Kohl Steward to a 1yr deal worth $700K. The former #4 overall pick back in 2013 owns a 4.79ERA over 62IP between 2018-19. He owns a 4.87ERA over 136.2IP at the AAA level. He opted out of 2020 due to health concerns.

-After the NY Mets missed on Brad Hand, they signed LHRP Aaron Loup. Loup is coming in as the most experienced LHP for the Mets pen. He owns a career of 3.38ERA. He has held lefty hitters to a .232/.301/.319 and righty hitters to a .264/.333/.428. Both those lines show a steady and reliable pen arm for the Mets'

-The NY Yankees also landed a veteran pen arm in Darren O'Day. The deal is a 1yr 1.75$ deal with an interesting club/player option. The Yankees hold power come next off-season. O'Day is coming off a season where he threw 16.1IP with a 1.10ERA, 8H, 5BB, and 22K.

Free Agent Rumors:

-The Mets offer to Bauer was 3-4 years and less than the $36mil AAV record. The Dodgers have a similar interest in terms of the contract.

--The Angels are not expected to be pursuing Trevor Bauer.

---The Mets and Bauers camp seem far apart on a deal.

-The Dodgers, Blue Jays, Brewers, and Braves are all seen as the likeliest landing spots for FA 3B Justin Turner.

Free Agent Notes:

-Did you see the deal that the A's offered Marcus Semien. It was a 1yr, $12.5mil deal. With $10mil deferred over ten years. I think this would have been an incredible deal for Semien for many reasons.

-Speaking of the A's, SP Mike Fiers wants to be back on the team in 2021. However, there has been no deal or movement between the two sides.

-Free Agent SP Masahiro Tanaka signed a 2yr deal to return to the NPB Rakuten Eagles.

-The Blue Jay's newest link is to RHRP Trever Rosenthal

-The Red Sox have an interest in bringing back INF Travis Shaw and RHRP Brandon Workman.

-OF Jackie Bradley Jr. has interest from the Mets, Blue Jays, Cubs, Phillies, and Astros. The Red Sox look to be out on their previous CF.

-UTL Marwin Gonzalez keeps having his name floated in connections. He has a market of six teams. The Twins, Red Sox, Twins, Phillies are among those teams.

-KBO LHP Hyeon-jong Yang ended his negotiations with the Kia Tigers. He set to pursue an MLB deal that will guarantee him a spot on the 40 man roster. The 33yo is coming off a season where he pitched to a 4.70ERA over 172.1IP. However, in 2019 he owned a 2.29ERA. In his 14 KBO seasons, he owns a 3.83ERA.

Official Trades:

-THE CARDINALS LANDED ANOTHER BIG FISH! The deal is DONE! The St. Louis Cardinals will be acquiring 8x Gold Glove, 4x All-Star Nolan Arenado from the Colorado Rockies for $50mil, and a package of prospects. The Rockies will also pay all of Arenados $35mil salary in 2021. Arenado will keep his full no-trade clause, opt-outs after the 2021 and 2022 seasons. Arenado owns a career .293/.349/.541 slash with 235HR over 4558PA. He also has a total of 120DRS, 56.4UZR on defense. The Cardinals will be getting their next-generation Scott Rolen. LHP Austin Gomber, 3B Mateo Gil, INF Elehuris Montero, RHP Tony Locey, RHP Jake Sommers.

-The NY Mets have acquired RHP Jordan Yamamoto from the Miami Marlins in exchange for INF Federico Polanco. Yamamoto looked to be coming on as a vital piece of the rotation in 2019; he quickly tailed off in 2020 before an injury ended his season. He has up 23ER, 27H, in 11.1IP. Polanco most recently appeared with the Mets' DSL affiliate in 2019, hitting .299/.383/.418 in 231PA.

-The LA Angels have acquired RHP Alex Cobb from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for INF Jahmai Jones. The Orioles will also be eating more than half of the $15mil due to Cobb this season. Jones went 3-7 in his brief time at the MLB level in 2020.

-The Cincinnati Reds acquired SS Kyle Holder from the Phillies in exchange for cash considerations. Holder was a Rule 5 draft selection of the Phillies earlier in the winter. Holder holds a career .267/.317/.350 slash over 1744PA in the Yankees farm system. Holder has yet to play above the AA level but has a well-regarded glove that is MLB ready. He can also play 2B, 3B.

-The Oakland A's acquired LHP Cole Irvin in exchange for cash considerations from the Phillies. The 27yo had 19 MLB appearances over the last two seasons. He has a 6.75ERA/4.87SIERA with a 6.9%BB rate over 45.2IP.

-The Blue Jays have acquired LHP Steven Matz from the Mets for a package of prospects Josh Winckowiski, Sean Reid-Foley, Tennsy Diaz.

Matz, 29, the 6yr run with the Mets ends with a 4.35ERA or 579.2IP. Both Reid-Foley and Diaz have made their MLB debuts. Reid-Foley has thrown 71.2IP of 4.40ERA over the last three seasons with a 76:48 K-BB ratio. Diaz has one MLB appearance and a solid track record of success at the AA level. Winckowski, 22, has reached just the High-A level throwing 127.1IP with a 2.69ERA.

Trade Rumors:

-The Reds have called on Cleveland Indians' newly acquired SS Amed Rosario as an alternative to spending on the free-agent market. The Reds also have called on the Rays Willy Adames and free agent Dee Strange-Gordon.

-The Pirates have one final valuable piece to sell in 2B/OF Adam Frazier. They are taking calls on Frazier.

-The Braves have checked in on Orioles OF Trey Mancini. There has been nothing serious discussed yet between the two sides. The interest makes sense for the Braves to go after a cheaper replacement rather than pay Marcell Ozuna prices.

Injury Updates:

-FA SP Jeff Samardzija worked out for the Cubs this week as well. The team continues to look for cheaper additions with the additional spending they have been granted.

-FA RHP Mike Foltynewicz held a showcase on Friday 1/29 for teams. The Cubs, Mets, Rays, White Sos, and Twins are the interested teams.

-FA Jake Arrieta threw for interested teams this last week; the Mets were notable teams in attendance. The Twins were also in attendance.

-FA SP Spencer Patton threw for interested teams on 2/2. The Braves, Rays, Angels, Royals, Rangers, and Giants are among interested teams.

Prospect Buzz:

-I don't know what section to put this under, but since 2017 the Pirates have traded away a dynasty. Gerrit Cole, Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows, Josh Bell, Jameson Taillon, Joe Musgrove, Starling Marte, Andrew McCutchen, Corey Dickerson, Francisco Liriano. Had they never started selling, I doubt they could have kept all these pieces, but this team could have won a World Series.


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