Around the Horn: News & Notes 4/7

One week in the books for the 2021 season. It has been fun to have baseball back! I have loved every moment so far. Welcome into regular season Around the Horn with Ball Boy Blog. We will keep up on the news for the regular season on the league news, free agent signings, call ups/send downs and injuries, and COVID-19 related news.

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ALL-STAR GAME:

-The All-Star game and MLB draft are being moved out of Atlanta, Ga. In a statement from commissioner Rob Manfred, "I have decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year's All-Star Game and MLB Draft. Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box. In 2020, MLB became the first professional sports league to join the non-partisan Civic Alliance to help build a future in which everyone participates in shaping the United States. We proudly used our platform to encourage baseball fans and communities throughout our country to perform their civic duty and actively participate in the voting process. Fair access to voting continues to have our game's unwavering support.

-The Braves issued their statement on the matter:

"The Atlanta Braves are deeply disappointed by the decision of Major League Baseball to move its' 2021 All-Star Game.

"This was neither our decision nor our recommendation, and we are saddened that the fans will not be able to see this event in our city. The Braves organization will continue to stress the importance of equal voting opportunities, and we had hoped our city could use this event as a platform to enhance the discussion. Our city has always been known as an uniter in divided times, and we will miss the opportunity to address issues that are important to our community.

Unfortunately, businesses, employees, and fans in Georgia are the victims of this decision. We will continue to support the community legacy projects which have been planned and are in process."

ALL-STAR GAME UPDATE:

-The Rockies Coors Field will host this year's All-Star Game!

DRAFT:

-Major League Baseball has settled on a 20-round draft for the 2021 season, J.J. Cooper of Baseball America reports. That outcome has long seemed likely, as the minimum number of rounds is required in the 2020 agreement between MLB and the MLBPA. While it's a step up from last year's five-round event, the 20-round length still clocks in at half the length of the standard 40-round draft. For starters, it's been known for months that the event will be moved back to July. Major League Baseball also announced back in November the formation of the MLB Draft League. This six-team showcase league will offer some of the country's top amateurs the opportunity to compete against one another in the weeks leading up to the draft. There's also been talk of an NFL-style combine of sorts, which would give clubs more up-to-date medical information on potential draftees. Pushing the draft back until after the College World Series and state high school tournament completions also avoids injury risk for top talent after the draft.

League News:

-Oakland A's manager Bob Melvin is in the last season of his contract with the A's. The contract does hold a club option for 2022. "His option at this point is more a function of what he wants to do rather than what we want," Forst said Wednesday, per Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle. "He's earned that right. So that will be the conversation we have going forward." Melvin, however, wants to stay in Oakland. The Bay Area native said Friday (via Kawahara): "I have no desire to go anywhere else. I'm perfectly happy here, and my bosses have taken good care of me here. So that's where I stand on it." I doubt Melvin goes anywhere, especially with the record of 767-689 entering 2020.

-The Mets engaged in preliminary extension talks with ace Jacob deGrom during Spring Training, reports Andy Martino of SNY. Martino adds that discussions did not get very far and are not expected to continue during the regular season.

-The Blue Jaus signed GM Ross Atkins to a 5-year extension on 4/7.

Roster Moves:

-Ahead of yesterdays Nationals opener. Jon Lester, Alex Avila, Kyle Schwarber, Josh Harrison, Yan Gomes, Patrick Corbin, Brad Hand, Jordy Mercer, and Josh Bell are delayed due to protocols and were placed on the COVID-IL. The team added Sam Clay, Tres Barrera, Luis Garcia, Yadiel Hernandez, Kyle McGowin, Ryne Harper, Carter Kieboom, Jonathan Lucroy, and Cody Wilson roster. The Nationals and Braves will play the season's first doubleheader today.

-The Angels put RHP Ty Buttrey on the restricted list after choosing not to report to the alternate site after being optioned. Likely, he won't pitch at all this season, if ever again.

Callup/Sent down/ cut:

The Mariners recalled OF Braden Bishop and RHP Ljay Newsome from their alternate training site to fill James Paxton and Jake Fraley's roster spots.

-The White Sox recalled INF Danny Mendick was recalled from the alternate site to fill Tim Anderson's roster spot.

-The Twins selected LHP Brandon Waddell from the alternate site to fill Brent Rooker's roster spot.

-The Padres called up INF/OF Brian O'Grady to fill Tatis' roster spot on 4/6.

-The Brewers selected Brad Boxberger to fill the open roster spot left by Orlando Arcia. RHP Justin Topa was transferred to the 60-day IL.

-The Rays recalled INF Kevin Padlo to fill Kiermair's spot on the active roster.

-The Orioles activated RHP Shawn Armstrong from the IL, recalled OF Ryan McKenna, and optioned RHP Cole Sulser on 4/5.

-The Athletics recalled LHP AJ Puk after placing UTL Chad Pinder on the IL.

-The Marlins called up RHP Nick Neidert and RHP Jordan Holloway to fill RHP Elieser Hernandez and 1B/OF Garrett Coopers spots on the active roster.

-The Dodgers called up RHP Dennis Santana from the alternate site to fill Tony Gonsolin's spot on the active roster.

-The Pirates selected the contract of INF Wilmer Difo. To make room for Difo, RHRP Tyler Bashlor was DFA'd. RHP Kyle Crick was added back to the roster, Wil Crowe was optioned to the alternate site.

-The Blue Jays selected LHP Tommy Milone's contract and optioned RHRP Joel Payamps to the alternate site. While Kirby Yates was transferred to the 60-day IL. C Reese McGuire and INF Breyvic Valera both cleared waivers and were assigned to the alternate site.

-The Diamondbacks are promoting SS Geraldo Perdomo to the MLB as of 4/3. Nick Ahmed's knee pain is forcing the promotion as he will head to the IL.

-The Braves recalled INF Johan Camargo on 4/3 after placing INF Ehire Adrianza on the IL.

-Tigers OF Christin Steward cleared waivers and was assigned to the alternate site on 4/6.

-Royals C Meibrys Viloria, RHP Scott Blewett cleared waivers and were assigned to the alternate site on 4/6.

-Rockies RHRP Jairo Diaz cleared waivers and was assigned to the alternate site on 4/5.

-Cubs INF Ildemaro Vargas cleared waivers and was assigned to the alternate site on 4/1.

-Phillies LHP Kyle Dohy cleared waivers and was outrighted to the alternate site on 4/1.

-Reds RHP Edgar Garcia cleared waivers and was outrighted to the alternate site on 4/3.

Free Agent Signings:

-The Angels inked 2B David Fletcher to a 5yr contract. The deal begins this season and runs through 2025. The deal is worth $26mil and will lock Fletcher up until he is 31yo.

-The Rockies signed RHP Jhoulys Chacin to a Major League contract.

-The Nationals re-signed 1B/OF Yasmany Tomas and LHRP TJ McFarland to minor league deals on 4/5.

-The Marlins signed LHP Brandon Leibrandt to a minor league deal on 4/5.

-The Yankees signed LHP Mike Montgomery to a minor league deal on 4/5.

-The Nationals signed C Jonathan Lucroy to a minor league deal on 4/3.

-The Braves signed INF Yolmer Sanchez, RHP Carl Edwards Jr., LHP Jesse Biddle to minor league deals; each was sent to the alternate site, and OF Phillip Ervin, who cleared waivers.

-The Rays claimed C Deivy Grullon off waivers from the Reds on 4/6.

-The Giants claimed OF Skye Bolt from the A's on 4/5.

-The Red claimed C Beau Taylor off of waivers from the Indians on 4/3. He will report to the alternate site.

Free Agent Rumors:

-Anibal Sanchez has drawn interest from multiple teams and could sign this week. The Nationals are among the teams interested. I can also see a good fit with the Astros, Marlins, and Yankees.

-RHP Brad Peacock is healthy after shoulder surgery in October of last year. He held a showcase on 4/2. I would expect the Astros, Mariners, Red Sox to be interested.

Trades:

-The Yankees acquired SS/3B Rougned Odor from the Rangers in exchange for two prospects. The Rangers will pay out the remaining 2yr- $27mil on Odor's deal. The move provides the Yankees quality depth in the 27yo Odor. Odor also is a lefty hitter that's pull-happy that will fit well with the Yankee's short porch. The Yankees will only pay Odor $570,500 during each of the next two seasons.

-The Braves acquired SS Orlando Arcia from the Brewers in exchange for RHRP Patrick Weigel and RHRP Chad Sobotka. Arcia is off to a 1-11 start at the plate this season. However, last season he slashed .260/.317/.416 in 189PA. The Brewers return included the Braves #9 prospect Weigel who threw 79IP between AA/AAA in 2019 with a 2.73ERA. Sobotka, 27yo, throws a mean fastball of 96MPH and has a career 28.8%K rate through 47IP at the MLB level.

-The Padres acquired RHP James Norwood from the Cubs in exchange for RHP prospect Dauris Valdez. Norwood was optioned to the SD alternate site. Norwood owns a 4.50ERA in 22IP with 21K-14BB since 2018. According to Pipeline's scouting report, the move is a little better on the Cubs side as they got the Padres #25 prospect who owns a 65-grade fastball that "routinely hits triple-digits" according to Pipeline's scouting report, and he also possesses a plus slider and a solid changeup as a third pitch.

-The Pirates acquired RHP Kyle Keller from the Angels for cash considerations. RHP Edgar Santana was DFA'd. Keller owns a 4.15ERA over 13IP, with a 12K-10BB over the last two seasons between Miami and LA.

Trade Rumors:

New Injuries:

-The curse of the cover. Padres SS left the game on 4/5 with what was diagnosed as a left shoulder subluxation. Fernando Tatis Jr. underwent an MRI on 4/6, and he was placed on the 10-day IL, and the club is "cautiously optimistic" that he won't miss too much time. He did suffer a "slight labrum tear."

-White Sox SS Tim Anderson was removed from the game on 4/4 due to a hamstring injury after slipping on 1B. He underwent an MRI on 4/5. He is unlikely to place until tomorrow, 4/7. He was placed on the 10-day IL retroactive to 4/5.

-The Mariners placed LHP James Paxton(forearm strain) and OF Jake Fraley(hamstring strain) on the 10-day IL on 4/7.

-Orioles placed OF Austin Hayes on the 10-day IL on 4/5 with a right hamstring strain.

-Diamondbacks RHRP Joakin Soria left the game on 4/4 due to a possible calf strain. It isn't known the full extent of the injury.

-The Dodgers placed RHP Tony Gonsolin on the 10-day IL with inflammation in his throwing shoulder. The move is retroactive to 4/1.

-Braves RHRP Chris Martin left the game on 4/4 due to an undisclosed finger injury.

-Astros OF Michael Brantley left the game on 4/3 after being HBP on the right wrist. X-rays were negative. He should return sometime this week.

-Marlins RHP Elieser Hernandez left his start on 4/3 due to "inflammation in his right biceps tendon." He was placed on the 10-day IL on 4/5.

-Pirates 3B Ke'Bryan Hayes left the came on 4/3 due to left wrist discomfort. He was placed on the 10-day IL on 4/4.

-Royals 3B Hunter Dozier's hand is swollen, but the team doesn't think he will miss enough time to warrant a roster move. The swelling has gone down. However, he is still dealing with some discomfort. He went through fielding drills on 4/5.

-Twins 3B Josh Donaldson doubled in his first AB of the new season. He was then pulled due to right hamstring tightness.

-A's RHRP Trevor Rosenthal is dealing with "fatigue" in his shoulder. Manager Bob Melvin said he isn't sure how much time he will miss. Fellow Athletic UTL Chad Pinder was placed on the 10-day IL on 4/5 with a left knee sprain. UPDATE 4/7- Rosenthal could require thoracic outlet surgery to address the injury, which would come with a 12+ week recovery timetable.

Injury Updates:

-Blue Jays CF George Springer took live batting practice Tuesday 4/6 and is on track to make his Blue Jays debut on 4/8.

-The Red Sox LHP Eduardo Rodriguez will make his first start since 2019 on Thursday, 4/8. After being sidelined with a "dead arm" late in camp, it looks like E-Rod is ready to go.

-The Rays will be without RHRP Chaz Roe for about 12 weeks. Roe was placed on the 60-day IL with a should strain. The Rays also placed OF Kevin Kiermaier on the 10-day IL due to a left quad strain.

-The Padres are expecting to have CF Trent Grisham back in CF starting 4/9. C Austin Nola is expected to begin taking BP at the alternate site as he recovers from a fractured left middle finger.

-The Twins placed OF/1B Brent Rooker on the 10-day IL with a neck on 4/7. RHP Edwar Colina was transferred to the 60-day IL.

-Athletics C Sean Murphy returned to game action on 4/5 after being hit in the hand on a wild pitch on 4/2.

-Yankees manager Aaron Boone updated Luke Voit's status; the team targets a mid-May return to action for the slugger.

-The Braves placed INF Ehire Adrianza on the IL on 4/3 for personal reasons. He will have to go through COVID-19 protocols before returning to the team.

-The Giants updated us on many players- Jaylin Davis will be out 4-6 weeks with knee tendinitis. John Brebbia and Tyler Beede are both throwing 2x a week bullpens as they recover from TJ surgery. Dedniel Nunez is scheduled to begin his rehab from TJ this week. Alex Wood is throwing sim games as he works back from a lower back strain. RHP Silvino Brancho is still about 7-10 days away from getting back on the mound as well.

-Marlins RHP Sixto Sanchez underwent an MRI on 4/2. The results on the 4/3 showed mild inflammation in the back of his shoulder, and he will rest. There is no timetable for a return.

-Nationals pitching prospect Mason Denaburg underwent TJ early last week. He was the club 1st round pick in 2018.

COVID News:

-1B/OF Garrett Cooper of the Marlins was placed on the 10-day COVID-related IL. His absence is due to an adverse reaction to his 2nd dose of the vaccine.

-We are not off to a strong start with COVID and baseball being impacted. Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo tells reporters that the fourth suspected positive has indeed been confirmed (Twitter links via Jesse Dougherty and Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post). The organization currently has ten individuals in quarantine: the four positive cases and six (five players, one staff member) impacted by contact tracing.

Thanks for reading today! One love, blessings!

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