What is going on, Ball Boys and Girls? I hope you guys are doing super well as always. If you missed it recently had my second piece published with Authenticity Mags. I talk about how baseball looks and the long-term changes post-2020. Check it out here. The future and present series, fantasy dugout, and power rankings are coming out regularly, so please check those out as well. 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.
-Talks between the MLB and MLBPA on such topics as Expanded Playoffs, Universal DH in 2021 are dead. "Association regarding the potential implementation of an expanded postseason or the universal designated hitter for the 2021 season, reports Evan Drellich of the Athletic. There are no current plans to revisit those talks, per Drellich, who characterizes playoff expansion and the National League DH as "dead issues" for next season." per Anthony Franco of MLBTR
-The MLB will adopt a modified, loan-based revenue sharing plan for the 2021 season. "The Athletic's Evan Drellich reports (subscription required). Smaller-market clubs will only receive half of the normal amount of funds this year, with the other half coming in 2022. The league itself will be covering the 2021 payments in a loan deal, with the larger-market teams expected to eventually pay MLB back." Read a little bit more from Mark Polishuk of MLB Trade Rumors here.
-MLB released its latest COVID-19 testing results on 3/5 with 13178 tests conducted with FIVE players testing positive which marks a 0.04% positive rate. None of the 81 intakes came back positive either.
-The Astros have EIGHT players sidelined as of 3/5. Bryan Abrey, Pedro Baez, Luis Garcia, Cristian Javier, Francis Martes Enole Paredes and NRI Ronel Blanco and Hector Velazquez. GM James Click rejected the notion that the team was suffering an outbreak, more so saying the COVID protocols "cast a wide net" to reduce viral transmission. There is no plan to pause current team activities.
-FA pitcher Sam Dyson accepted a suspension covering the entire 2021 season under its domestic violence policy. Dyson underwent shoulder surgery in September; then, the MLB began investigating him after ex-girlfriend Alexis Blackburn accused him of abuse.
-The Rangers will be open at full capacity for opening day. The Rockies will allow up to 21363 fans. Most other teams have reported about 25-35% capacity. The Orioles will open at 50% capacity.
-Get excited. Met's fan, the team, and Francisco Lindor will explore extension talks beginning this week. We are a little bit more than three weeks out from the opening day. However, the club is confident they can get a deal done.
-National fans, great news the Nat's will make long-term extension offers to Juan Soto and Trea Turner in the "near future." GM Mike Rizzo said the following to Jessica Camerate of MLB.com "We've discussed internally with ownership about it. We're in the midst of making decisions on what a timeframe would look like … We certainly have made & will make a long-term extension offer to both players sometime in the near future."
-The Phillies have a good problem in CF. The team has five options: Scott Kingery, Adam Haseley, Roman Quinn, Odubel Herrera, and Mickey Moniak.
-Pirates manager Derek Shelton is planning on using Richard Rodriguez in the closer role for the team. At the same time, Kyle Crick and Chris Stratton could snag some opportunities.
-The Cardinals will not open with Alex Reyes in the rotation, and he will start the season in pen. Miles Mikolas will also be out of the opening day rotation due to injury. Dakota Hudson is also out due to TJ surgery. The rotation should feature Jack Flaherty, Adam Wainwright, Kwang Hyun Kim as locks with Carlos Martinez in there, and John Gant, Daniel Ponce de Leon, Johan Oviedo, Jake Woodford as the likely options for a 5th/6th role.
-The Blue Jays will likely have Ross Stripling in Nate Pearson's rotation spot to open the season. Pearson is working his way back from a groin strain, holding him back from being ready for opening day.
-The Nationals will likely open with Joe Ross as their 5th starter.
Free Agent Signings:
-RHP Jake Odorizzi finally got his 3yr deal. The Astros signed the RHP to a 2yr deal with a player option for 2023. Odorizzi is good rotation addition despite the three IL stints that limited him to 13.2IP in 2020. In 2018-19 he posted a 4.01ERA with a 24.8K rate in 323.1IP. The deal will pay him $6mil in 2021, $5mil in 2022, and a $6.25mil player option for 2023. There is also a $6mil signing bonus and $12.5mill in performance escalators, bringing the buyout up from $3.25mil to $6.25mil.
-The Brewers signed OF Jackie Bradley Jr to a 2yr $24mil that contains a player option for $11mil in 2022. Bradley is expected to take over RF duties with Cain in CF and Yelich in LF. Since Bradley debut in 2013, he owns a .239/.321/.412 slash and is an excellent baserunner, and outstanding fielder with 53DRS, 36.5UZR over 7400inn played.
-The KC Royals reunited with OF Jarrod Dyson. Dyson was traded to the Mariners back in 2016 for Nate Karns since he has played with the White Sox, Diamondbacks, and Pirates. Looking back as recent as 2017 and since he slashed a .226/.305/.309 slash in 1145PA. In 2020 he slashed .180/.231/.180 in 66PA. However, the glove is still great with 33DRS and a 22UZR since 2017
Free Agent Rumors:
-Twins GM Derek Falvey had the following to say about RHP Jake Odorizzi in an interview with Brian Kenney on MLB Now on 3/4 "We look at our team as primarily put together here," Falvey candidly replied when asked about a reunion with Odorizzi. "We know Jake contributed exceptionally well for us over the last few seasons, and certainly we wish him well. For us, our focus is on the players who are internally in camp at this point. We feel really good about the pitching we have already."
-The market for Maikel Franco is heating up as of 3/6. The Orioles are the only reported team with interest. The Mets were also reported as a landing spot on 3/8.
Free Agent Notes:
-RHP Zack Godley threw for about 12 teams this week as he hopes to land a deal before the season.
-RHRP Roberto Osuna will hold a showcase for teams in the DR on March 12th. Osuna spent the off-season rehabbing an elbow injury that required Tommy John's surgery. With the Astros in 2019, he had 38SV. In his career, he has a 2.74ERA/2.76FIP in 315IP.
-Some other notable UNSIGNED free-agents: P Rick Porcello, P Cole Hamels, P Shane Greene, INF Maikel Franco, INF Jedd Gyorko, OF Yasiel Puig, DH Edwin Encarnacion, P Homer Bailey
-The Pirates acquired RHRP Duane Underwood Jr. from the Cubs in exchange for 1B Shendrick Apostel. The 26yo Underwood has thrown 36.1IP out of the Cubs pen over the past three seasons with a 5.20ERA with a 27.7%K rate and 7.7%BB rate. The 20yo Apostel hit .252/.381/.463 in the DSL between 2018-19.
-Yankees LHP Zack Britton will undergo arthroscopic elbow surgery to remove a bone chip in his left elbow. He will be shut down completely for six weeks and won't likely be back for another 3-4 months. Britton also lost 16 pounds while recovering from COVID-19.
-Brewers CF Lorenzo Cain strained his calf in BP on 3/3 and will miss 1-2 weeks. The injury is minor, and the team will be cautious in working Cain back in. There is a chance he won't be ready for opening day. Fellow Brewer INF/OF Mark Mathias will undergo an MRI today(3/10). INF Luis Urias is on his way back from a hamstring issue.
-Braves Sp Mike Soroka threw two innings in "simulated game conditions" on 3/7. Soroka is working his way back from a ruptured Achilles that ended his 2020 in August. There is speculation of a late April or early May return.
-Phillies C JT Realmuto had his hard cast removed on 3/5 and is in a splint as he works his way back from a fractured right thumb. It is still unclear if he will be ready for opening day. Fellow Phillie OF Adam Haseley will be out 4-6 weeks with a moderate ground strain.
-Astros 3B Alex Bregman tweaked his hamstring and is working back into activity slowly and cautiously. DH Yordan Alvarez hasn't seen game action either as he is being brought back slowly after season-ending surgery on both knees.
-Dodgers RHRP Joe Kelly is unlikely to be ready for opening as he is dealing with shoulder soreness. He has progressed to throwing bullpen sessions. He was on the IL for a month in 2020 with shoulder inflammation.
-Cardinals SP Miles Mikolas will throw a bullpen on Wednesday(today) that was scheduled for Sunday(3/7) due to a "creaky" shoulder. He is working back from surgery to repair the flexor tendon in his forearm. The injury caused him to miss all of 2020.
-Athletics INF Jed Lowrie has yet to see game action as 3/5 due to lingering trouble with his left knee. He hasn't been cleared for game action. Lowrie has only taken 8PA since leaving Oakland in 2018. Lowrie, as of 3/7, just needed to clear base-running activities with no setbacks, and he should debut on 3/9, which he did with no setbacks.
-Fellow Athletic C Sean Murphy is catching bullpens and hit soft-toss on 3/7. Murphy is moving along nicely in his rehab in his recovery from a collapsed lung and subsequent surgery.
-Another member of the A's popped up in injury news, RP Trevor Rosenthal, deals with a slight groin strain. The team believes the injury is minor. However, there is no timetable for Rosenthal to resume pitching.
-Yankees RHP Luis Severino is progressing well from his February 2020 Tommy John surgery. He has begun a long toss routine and soon should be able to throw off a mound.
-Royals SS Adalberto Mondesi made his spring debut on Friday, 3/5, as he works his way back from a foot injury.
-Tigers C Grayson Greiner suffered a broken nose in the Tigers game of 3/8. He will miss a week of action. The 28 should be ready for the opening day still if all goes to plan in his recovery.
-Mariners 2B Shed Long has inflammation in his right shin, Long underwent tibia surgery last September, and the injury is still hampering him.
-Mets RP Seth Lugo said he is on track in his recovery from February surgery on bone spurs in his right elbow. He should begin throwing in about six weeks and come back around May or so.
-Another Mets pitcher RHP Carlos Carrasco will pause his throwing regimen until next week. He is dealing with some soreness in his elbow.
-Fellow Met UTL Jose Martinez twisted his left knee after colliding with an ump during the spring game 3/7. The diagnosis as of the 8th is a torn meniscus that will require surgery. He will be out for about four months.
-Padres LHRP Jose Castillo will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the 2021 season. This marks a third season lost to injury for Castillo. Fellow Padres RHP Javy Guerra will miss at least 2-4 weeks with a Grade 1 UCL sprain. Another Padres pitcher, 25yo Jacob Nix, could require TJ surgery after sustaining another elbow injury.
-Blue Jays pitcher Nate Pearson has a Grade 1 right groin strain; the team expects the 24yo to return quickly.
-Cubs RHP Rowan Wick is recovering from an intercostal strain and likely will NOT be ready for opening day.
-White Sox 2B Nick Madrigal made his spring debut on Monday, 3/8. His first appearance since October Shoulder Surgery. Fellow White Sox C Yasmandi Grandal suffered a twisted right knee last week and is without a return date.
-Rockies RHP Antonio Senzatela has a right hamstring strain that will delay him by two starts, at least for the moment.
-Orioles 1B/DH Chris Davis is without a firm timeline to return from a lower back strain. The 35yo missed most of 2020 with knee problems and hip problems in 2019. Davis is owed $23mil in each of the next two seasons.
-Indians 3B Jose Ramirez and OF Franmil Reyes are both being held out of camp due to breaking health and safety protocols 3/7. The violation was the two dinings at a restaurant and hanging out while Reyes got a haircut on Friday, 3/5. Both have to test negative before returning to camp.
--Cubs RHRP Pedro Strop is also being held out of camp after being linked to Reyes.
-Reds 1B Joey Votto was placed on the COVID-19 IL after a positive test on 3/10.
-Red Sox OF Franchy Cordero was delayed in reporting to camp. However, he was arrived on Friday, 3/5, for an intake physical and began workouts. Cordero still has yet to join the team officially as of 3/8, which could push his availability for an opening day back. Teammate C Kevin Plawecki was removed from the COVID-19 IL on 3/7.
-Braves LHP Max Fried did not make his Friday 3/5 start due to suspected exposer to COVID-19. It doesn't seem like he will miss much time as of Friday and should still be inline to start opening day. Fried was cleared on 3/6 to return. Teammate Sean Newcomb is sidelined for now as well as of 3/6.
-Twins pitcher JA Happ reported to camp on 3/3 after nearly two weeks due to a positive COVID-19 test.
-Diamondbacks OF Tim Locastro tested positive for COVID-19 and is asymptomatic and will be out of action for at least the ten days from 3/3
-Red Sox RHP Bryan Mata was dealing with tricep soreness and underwent an MRI on 3/3. The club is determining the next steps for the 21yo and hopefully future rotation piece. Mata does have a slight tear in his UCL (3/6). He will avoid surgery for now but has no timetable for a return.
-Mariners OF Jarred Kelenic will miss about 7-10 days, if not longer, due to a Grade 2 strain to his left adductor muscle in his left knee. Kelenic is planning to be back on the field in seven days. However, the usual recovery is 3-6weeks.
-Astros RHP Forrest Whitley has been advised to undergo Tommy John surgery for his right UCL sprain. There is no decision as of 3/7, as he will seek a 2nd opinion.
-Rangers RHP Jonathan Hernandez will be shut down for the next four weeks as of 3/9. He has a low-grade sprain of his UCL. The 24yo was great in 2020 with a 2.90ERA/3.67SIERA in 31IP in 2020. He does have a 98.3MPH sinker as his favorite pitch.
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