Around the Horn: News & Notes 3/3

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.

BREAKING NEWS:

-Yankees manager Aaron Boone is taking a medical leave effective immediately. Boone will have surgery to receive a pacemaker. We wish Boone a quick and speedy recovery. The surgery is expected to take place 3/3 or 3/4.

League News:

-Were the Indians and Mets both aware of Mickey Callaway's behavior? "The Indians issued a statement in response to the report, saying (via Zack Meisel of The Athletic, on Twitter): "Our organization continues to actively cooperate with MLB on their investigation into Mickey Callaway. It is important we honor the confidentiality and integrity of that investigation. While we don't believe the reporting to date reflects who we are as an organization, we will not comment further on the specifics of the matter. We remain committed to creating an inclusive work environment where everyone, regardless of gender, can feel safe and comfortable at all times. We will let our actions – not just our words – reflect our commitment." Read Steve Adams workup on MLB Trade Rumors here

-The AAA season is still happening! However, it was scheduled to start April 6th that has been pushed back to May. The campaign will last into September if the season opens in May. There will be no MiLB playoffs at any level.

-The Atlanta Braves extended manager Brian Snitker through the 2023 season with a club option for 2024.

-The White Sox hired Todd Steverson as a special assistant to the exec VP Ken Williams; he spent 2014-19 as the team's hitting coach. He will focus on scouting in his new role.

-The Dodgers hired Dontrelle Willis as a special assistant in the player development department. Willis made the announcement himself via Twitter, joking, "Special assistant sounds dope even tho i don't know what it means."

-2x All-Star and 2015 World Series champ Kevin Herrera announced retirement on 2/26. He will go down as a vital member of the Royals team who helped revitalize baseball in KC. He ends his career with a 3.21ERA, 119H, 61SV, and 510K in 513.2IP.

Hype News:

-The Met's are expected to begin extension talks with Francisco Lindor and Michael Conforto, and possibly Noah Syndergaard.

-White Sox SS Tim Anderson said, "F*** it, we are the best team in the American League." Probably 2nd best, in all honesty, but we will give the White Sox some credit.

Roster Notes:

-Please go and check out Tim Dierkes's piece on MLB Trade Rumors on all the players who are out of options and guys who HAVE to make the opening day roster or go through waivers. Check it here

-Cardinals vet INF Matt Carpenter isn't giving up his starting spot even with Goldy at 1B, Arenado at 3B, and Edman excepted to be at 2B. He is still going to push for his spot as an everyday player.

-The Reds could not add an established SS into the mix, even though it was the team's primary off-season goal. Manager David Bell said the club is not considering 3B Eugenio Suarez. The team hasn't had "any serious discussions about it."

-The Blue Jays are planning on using Caven Biggio at 3B this season. With Vlad jr at 1B, Semien at 2B and Bichette at SS.

The Red Sox are expected to use Rule 5 pick, Garrett Whitlock, to open the season in the bullpen.

-White Sox manager Tony La Russa confirmed that RHP Michael Kopech would open the season working out of the bullpen.

-Orioles OF Cedric Mullins is giving up switch-hitting to bat lefty full-time. The move should help him earn a 4th OF spot.

Free Agent Signings:

-The KC Royals signed 3B Hunter Dozier to a 4yr $25mil guarantee with a $10mil option for 2025. If he reaches all bonuses, the deal could max out at $49mil. The Royals believe in the player they saw back in 2019 when he hit 26HR and a .279/.348/.552 slash in 586PA. He did have an awful 2020 in comparison with a .228/.344/.392 slash in 186PA.

-The Royals also signed OF Jarrod Dyson. Dyson is going back to where it all began when the Royals drafted him in the 50th round in 2006 and debuted in 2010. Since leaving the Royals in 2017 due to a trade to the Mariners, he owns a .226/.305/.309 slash in 1145PA with 80SB and 33DRS and a 22UZR. The 36yo will look to be a key bench piece for a young Royals team.

-The SF Giants signed LHRP Jose Alvarez to a deal. The 32yo has a career 3.59ERA/3.85SIERA in 340.2IP; he only threw 6.1IP in 2020 due to a groin injury.

-The Chicago Cubs re-signed RHP Ryan Tepera to a 1yr $800k deal. The deal can reach up to $1.75mil. Tepera did earn a single 10th place MVP vote after his season in Chicago. In 20.2IP, he had a 3.92ERA/3.34FIP with a career-high 34.8%k rate.

-The NY Mets signed C Caleb Joseph to a split contract. The deal puts him on the 40-man roster. The 34yo spent the 2020 season with the Blue Jays on the Taxi Squad. He did appear in 3 games and go for 1-8 with 1HR. He is a career .222/.270/.351 hitter in 1367PA. He has thrown out 31% of base stealers and is an above-average pitch framer.

Free Agent Rumors:

-OF Yoenis Cespedes held his showcase on 3/2 with the Yankees, White Sox, Brewers, Blue Jays, Tigers, Padres, Rays, Reds, Marlins, Cubs, and Braves were all in attendance. It is interesting to see mostly NL teams; Cespedes is likely slotted to be a DH as he hasn't played the field since 2018 and has four straight abbreviated seasons due to injury. When he is healthy, he owns a .273/.327/.497 slash in 3490PA with 165HR.

-The Astros appear to be officially out on Jackie Bradley Jr.

Free Agent Notes:

-RHP Jake Odorizzi is still out there on the open market and is the top available arm right now. The righty is looking for a 3yr pact worth $15mil AAV.

--The Phillies have most recently been linked to the righty

Official Trades:

-The Blue Jays acquired LHRP Travis Bergen from the Arizona D-Backs in exchange for cash considerations. He pitched in 19.2IP with the Giants in 2020 and 6.2IP with the D-backs in 2020. He owns 4.82ERA

-The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired OF Dustin Fowler from the Oakland A's in exchange for cash considerations. Fowler ranked as MLB's 88th best prospect in 2018 and rebounded in AAA that season with a .341/.364/.520 slash in 239PA. With the A's that same season, he hit .224/.256/.354 over 203PA. He played in AAA all 2019 and slashed .277/.333/.477 with 25HR, 12SB over 606PA.

-The LA Angels acquired INF Jack Mayfield from the Atlanta Braves for cash considerations. Mayfield(30) is a quality depth piece defensively as he grades above average at 2B, SS, and 3B. In 112 MLB PA, he holds a poor .268/.325/.472 slash. But in 1224PA in MiLB, he has a .268/.325/.472 slash.

Trade Rumors:

-The SD Padres have been linked to Brewer's closer Josh Hader in recent trade rumors.

Injury Updates:

-Washington Nationals SP Jon Lester will undergo surgery to remove a thyroid gland, he should be back in camp by 3/11 or so.

-Diamondbacks OF Kole Calhoun will undergo right knee surgery today(3/3) to repair a torn meniscus. Big blow to the D-Backs as he posted a .226/.338.526 slash with 16HR, .300ISO power in 228, and a 5.3UZR in RF.

-The Angels announced that pitcher Pack Naughton has a Grade 1 flexor pronator strain and will miss 3-5 weeks. RHP Gerardo Reyes left the game on 2/28 due to discomfort in his throwing elbow.

-The Yankees got a positive update on Clarke Schmidt, who may not miss the entire 3-4 weeks he was initially shut down for.

-Boston Red Sox LHP Eduardo Rodriguez will take the mound on Saturday, 2/27, pitching two innings in a simulated game.

-Brewers C Jacob Nottingham is not recovering from late-December thumb surgery as quickly as expected. He is still being limited to "small baseball activities," according to manager Craig Counsell. The team also had RHP Dylan File undergo surgery to repair a stress fracture in his throwing elbow. The young righty will be out of action until at least June.

-Nationals OF Gerardo Parra is about 70-80% recovered from the right knee surgery he had in the fall.

-Astros manager Dusty Baker and crew are looking forward to welcoming slugger Yordan Alvarez back this season. He will be limited to DH duties only after undergoing surgery on both knees.

-Oakland A's catcher Sean Murphy is recovering well from a collapsed lung and preventative surgery against further injury. He is feeling confident he will be ready for opening day.

-LA Dodgers superstar Cody Bellinger is "way ahead" of schedule in his recovery from shoulder surgery. He also said he is "100 percent" and will be a full go come opening day.

-Minnesota Twins 2017 #1 pick and #1 overall pick Royce Lewis tore his ACL on 2/24, underwent surgery on 2/26, and will miss the entire 2021 season.

-Reds RHP Brandon Bailey announced on 2/26 that he underwent his second Tommy John surgery. Hopefully, he can salvage his young career as he is only 26yo.

-Padres LHRP Jose Castillo left his sim game after six pitches on 3/2 due to forearm tightness. Castillo missed all of 2020 due to a teres major strain. While in 2019, he was limited to just .2IP due to a flexor strain and a torn ligament in his hand.

COVID Updates:

-Boston Red Sox catcher Kevin Plawecki returned to the field on 2/27

-Cubs Kyle Ryan returned to the field on 2/27

-Mets SP Carlos Carrasco received the COVID-19 vaccine due to his Leukemia put him at high risk.

-The Red Sox new OF Franchy Cordero was placed on the COVID IL, and he remains in the Dominican Republic. The team is hopeful he returns soon.

-White Sox MVP Jose Abreu tested positive and will away from the team for a little longer. Abreu is asymptomatic. He was cleared on 2/28 and should see game action late this week.

Prospect Buzz:

-The Twins have LHP Lewis Thorpe back in camp. He is mentally and physically healthy. He has all the tools to be a successful MLB starter, according to manager Rocco Baldelli. With the small sample size of 44IP between 2019-20, he has a 6.14ERA/4.77FIP and provides a quality depth option.

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