April 15th


Shohei Ohtani –  Nearing Return

After a successful Tommy John surgery, two way phenom Ohtani is nearing his return to a major league lineup. He had a successful checkup yesterday, clearing him to begin swinging a bat. Once that starts, he will advance quickly. The Angels really need him back in the lineup as they have had Trout out of the lineup lately, and Justin Upton is still recovering. 


David Robertson – Injury

Closer David Robertson is the latest to hit the IL yesterday. He is suffering from soreness in his pitching elbow, which is no small thing. This is very well the first thing before a chain of lots of very bad things: most notably, Tommy John surgery. Robertson is in his first year of a two year contract worth $23MM. 


Francisco Lindor – Starting Rehab

Superstar Fransisco Lindor is heading to AAA Columbus to begin some rehab games. Obviously the Indians offense, and defense, has taken a hit without Lindor, but it has just been quite abysmal. Lindor will help, of course, but he can’t pick up all the slack. Kipnis has returned to the lineup as well, hopefully these two players can bring the offense back up if the Indians are looking to keep the AL Central crown. 


Notes

  • RHP Mike Folty of the Braves is set to only make one more rehab start before joining the big league rotation, the Braves really need it
  • Chris Iannetta to the IL with a strained lat, Rockies select Drew Butera from AAA
  • Jonny Venters hits the IL with a strained calf
  • Tyler Skaggs has landed on the IL with a left ankle sprain

PITCH OF THE DAY

I love seeing Darvish back on here, the Cubs desperately needed him back, and now he is pitching great again. Just look at this slider: unhittable ⬆️



Business of Baseball – No-trade Clause

Definition

A no-trade clause is a contractual clause that allows players to veto trades to certain teams. No-trade clauses are often worked into contract extensions and free-agent contracts as a perk for the players signing such deals.

Some contracts include partial no-trade clauses, which allow a player to block trades to a specified list of teams. In the case of a partial no-trade clause, the player that agrees to such a clause will sometimes be allowed to update on a yearly basis the teams to which he cannot be traded without his consent. In other instances, teams will concede to a full no-trade clause that allows the player in question to block a trade to all 29 other teams.

Beyond that, a player that has accumulated 10 years of Major League service time and has spent the past five consecutive seasons of that service time with one team gains the right — termed 10-and-5 rights — to veto a trade to any team.

Examples

Per the terms of his contract extension signed in 2011 — which spans the 2016-20 seasons — Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun was given the ability to block trades to 23 of the 29 other Major League teams. On the other end of the spectrum, Twins right-hander Ricky Nolasco agreed to a very limited no-trade protection as part of his four-year, $49 million contract with Minnesota. As of December 2015, Nolasco was reportedly able to veto trades to just three teams.

The Reds’ Brandon Phillips reportedly invoked his 10-and-5 rights two separate times between the 2015 and 2016 seasons, blocking trades that would have sent him to the D-backs and to the Nationals.

The Nationals had interest in trading for Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon in July 2015, but Papelbon had a no-trade provision in his contract that allowed him to block a deal to 17 clubs — including Washington. Papelbon also had a vesting option for 2016 in his contract with Philadelphia that would be exercised if he finished 48 games. As a means of enticing the right-hander to waive the no-trade clause, the Nationals offered to exercise that vesting option in advance, and Papelbon agreed to a slightly reduced rate of $11 million as a compromise. With those roadblocks worked out, the Nationals traded Minor League right-hander Nick Pivetta to the Phillies in exchange for Papelbon to complete the deal.


Pitch of the Day Curtesy of @PitchingNinja

Business of Baseball Curtesy of MLB.com

Header Photo Curtesy of ESPN.com

April 14th


Sean Newcomb – Demoted

After back to back seasons as a competent major league starter, Sean Newcomb is now facing himself back in AAA to work on his control. Always having good stuff, he has always seem to lack some control. In 2019 so far, he has really lost the strike zone. Walking more than striking out, it seems that the Braves are now looking to give his spot in the rotation to newly recalled Touki Toussaint while Sean works on his control in the minors. 

David Freitas – Traded

On a rather quiet Sunday, the Brewers and Mariners swapped players. Veteran catcher David Freitas has been acquired by the Brewers for a minor’s pitcher Sal Biasi. While rather interesting because he looks to be blocked on the surface, with Manny Pina, and starter Yasmani Grandal already in the majors, with Jacob Nottingham already on the 40-man, Freitas looks to be the fourth string catcher.

Notes 

  • Mike Trout will return to the lineup on Monday 
  • Jeremy Jeffress will return to the roster on Monday
  • Matt Moore will undergo knee surgery and will be shut down for 6-8 weeks

PITCH OF THE DAY

In honor of his complete game, one hitter with 9 Ks – Check out this nasty curveball by German Marquez



Business of Baseball – No-trade Clause

Definition

A no-trade clause is a contractual clause that allows players to veto trades to certain teams. No-trade clauses are often worked into contract extensions and free-agent contracts as a perk for the players signing such deals.

Some contracts include partial no-trade clauses, which allow a player to block trades to a specified list of teams. In the case of a partial no-trade clause, the player that agrees to such a clause will sometimes be allowed to update on a yearly basis the teams to which he cannot be traded without his consent. In other instances, teams will concede to a full no-trade clause that allows the player in question to block a trade to all 29 other teams.

Beyond that, a player that has accumulated 10 years of Major League service time and has spent the past five consecutive seasons of that service time with one team gains the right — termed 10-and-5 rights — to veto a trade to any team.

Examples

Per the terms of his contract extension signed in 2011 — which spans the 2016-20 seasons — Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun was given the ability to block trades to 23 of the 29 other Major League teams. On the other end of the spectrum, Twins right-hander Ricky Nolasco agreed to a very limited no-trade protection as part of his four-year, $49 million contract with Minnesota. As of December 2015, Nolasco was reportedly able to veto trades to just three teams.

The Reds’ Brandon Phillips reportedly invoked his 10-and-5 rights two separate times between the 2015 and 2016 seasons, blocking trades that would have sent him to the D-backs and to the Nationals.

The Nationals had interest in trading for Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon in July 2015, but Papelbon had a no-trade provision in his contract that allowed him to block a deal to 17 clubs — including Washington. Papelbon also had a vesting option for 2016 in his contract with Philadelphia that would be exercised if he finished 48 games. As a means of enticing the right-hander to waive the no-trade clause, the Nationals offered to exercise that vesting option in advance, and Papelbon agreed to a slightly reduced rate of $11 million as a compromise. With those roadblocks worked out, the Nationals traded Minor League right-hander Nick Pivetta to the Phillies in exchange for Papelbon to complete the deal.


Pitch of the Day Curtesy of @PitchingNinja

Business of Baseball Curtesy of MLB.com

Header Photo Curtesy of Chicago Tribune

April 1st


Mike Trout –  Announces Retirement

In a surprising turn of events, Mike Trout has announced his retirement after 9 seasons in the bigs, paving his way to 2 MVPs, 7 All Star appearances, and a Rookie of the Year award. He will conclude his no doubt hall of fame career with a .307/.417/.573 slash line. Congrats to Mike Trout on a successful career.


Miguel Andujar – Injury

Yesterday the Yankees announced a labrum tear in Andujar’s shoulder. He will be shut down for two weeks, but season ending surgery is not off the table. With Didi still not expected to come back until the middle of the season, and Giancarlo Stanton hitting the IL with a bicep strain the Yankees have really taken a hit with their injury bug. 


Hunter Greene – Injury

Top pitching prospect and top draft pick Hunter Greene will undergo the needle on his elbow sidelining him all of 2019 and probably much of 2020. While only 19 years old, this is a huge setback to one who has turned so many heads. Greene has always been known for, and probably drafted for, his heater which reaches over 100 mph regularly. 


Giancarlo Stanton – Injury

The Yankees have placed Stanton on the IL with a bicep strain. Prospect Clint Frasier has been called up to take his place. Manager Aaron Boone told the media that Stanton could be out considerable time, as he is shut down for at least 10 days, and then will begin a rehab process. The goal they have set for him to return in by the end of the month. 


Daniel Murphy – Injury

After some speculation the past few days about a finger injury to Murphy, the Rockies have indeed placed Daniel on the IL. A fractured left index finger will sideline the infielder for at least “several weeks” writes Nick Groke of The Athletic. There is also some worries that the finger could have some tendon or ligament damage. 


Xander Bogaerts – Extended

The Red Sox announced an extension with their star shortstop Xander Bogaerts. Six years and $120 MM with an opt out after year 3, he will earn $20 each year, with some incentives based on award finishes. The second extension the Red Sox have given since the conclusion of 2018, the Red Sox are looking to keep their core players before several of them all hit free agency about the same time. Jackie Bradley Jr. looks to maybe be the next one as Mookie has said he wants to test free agency. 


Notes 

  • Jokes on you! Mike Trout isn’t retiring! April Fools lol 

PITCH OF THE DAY

Cardinal’s Jordan Hicks vs Pirates’ Corey Dickerson



Business of Baseball – Competitive Balance Tax

Definition

Each year, clubs that exceed a predetermined payroll threshold are subject to a Competitive Balance Tax — which is commonly referred to as a “luxury tax.” Those who carry payrolls above that threshold are taxed on each dollar above the threshold, with the tax rate increasing based on the number of consecutive years a club has exceeded the threshold.

The threshold was $189 million from 2014-16, but the following increases were put in place per the 2017-21 Collective Bargaining Agreement:

2017: $195 million*

2018: $197 million

2019: $206 million

2020: $208 million

2021: $210 million

*For 2017 only, clubs that exceed the threshold shall pay the average between what their luxury tax would be under the 2017-21 Collective Bargaining Agreement rules and what it would have been per the previous CBA.

A club exceeding the Competitive Balance Tax threshold for the first time must pay a 20 percent tax on all overages. A club exceeding the threshold for a second consecutive season will see that figure rise to 30 percent, and three or more straight seasons of exceeding the threshold comes with a 50 percent luxury tax. If a club dips below the luxury tax threshold for a season, the penalty level is reset. So, a club that exceeds the threshold for two straight seasons but then drops below that level would be back at 20 percent the next time it exceeds the threshold.

Clubs that exceed the threshold by $20 million to $40 million are also subject to a 12 percent surtax. Meanwhile, those who exceed it by more than $40 million are taxed at a 42.5 percent rate the first time and a 45 percent rate if they exceed it by more than $40 million again the following year(s).

Beginning in 2018, clubs that are $40 million or more above the threshold shall have their highest selection in the next Rule 4 Draft moved back 10 places unless the pick falls in the top six. In that case, the team will have its second-highest selection moved back 10 places instead.

History of the rule

The 2012-16 Collective Bargaining Agreement required clubs to pay a 17.5 percent luxury tax for first-time overages. Clubs that exceeded the threshold for two, three and four consecutive years were taxed at 30, 40 and 50 percent rates, respectively.

Example

In 2013, the Los Angeles Dodgers exceeded the Competitive Balance Tax threshold with a payroll well over $200 million in total. The Dodgers also exceeded the luxury tax threshold in 2014, 2015 and 2016, incurring progressively steeper penalties each year as a result.


Pitch of the Day Curtesy of @PitchingNinja

Business of Baseball Curtesy of MLB.com

Header Photo Curtesy of Halo Hangout

March 29th


Justin Upton – Injury

Friday news broke that Angels LF Justin Upton will miss 8-12 weeks with turf toe. While he has been resting the past few days from it, after further inspcection he will need several months for it to heal. This is the longest I’ve heard of taking for healing turf toe; so hopefully this does not take the full 12 weeks to heal. The Halos really need that middle of the order bat with Ohtani still not back in the lineup. 


Corey Knebel – Injury

Another injury, I always hate typing these blurbs when they are on injuries. Closer/ Relief Ace Corey Knebel will now miss all of 2019 and most of 2020 with Tommy John surgery. It was reported that he went to multiple doctors to ensure there was nothing else they could do to fix his elbow without having to go full blown TJ. Agreeing to $5.125MM this year makes for potentially the same salary next year in arbitration; meaning that would be really expensive for (maybe) less than half a years worth of a recovering TJ patient: They could non-tender Knebel next year. With Kimbrel and Keuchel out there, that money could easily be re-invested in the free agents. Rumor has it that the Brewers are in talks with Kimbrel, and with this news regarding Knebel, it makes even more sense. 


Notes 

  • Dipoto of the Mariners has acquired Tom Murphy from the Giants. 
  • Mason Williams signed minor’s deal with Orioles, will report to AAA
  • Cameron Maybin finds another team with the Indians. Minor’s deal



Business of Baseball – Competitive Balance Draft picks

Competitive Balance Draft picks were implemented in the 2012-16 Collective Bargaining Agreement to create an additional way for small-market and low-revenue clubs to add talent to their organizations. The process to assign picks was amended in the 2017-21 Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The 10 lowest-revenue clubs and the clubs from the 10 smallest markets are eligible to receive a Competitive Balance pick (fewer than 20 clubs are in the mix each year, as some clubs qualify under both criteria). All eligible teams are assigned a pick, either in Competitive Balance Round A or Round B. Round A falls between the first and second rounds of the Rule 4 draft, while Round B comes between the second and third.

Under the 2017-21 CBA, six clubs will be awarded picks in Round A based on a formula that considers winning percentage and revenue. Those six teams will pick in Round A in 2017, 2019 and 2021. The remaining teams — estimated to be between six and eight — will pick in Round B in those years. The groups of teams, which will not change for the duration of the 2017-21 CBA, will switch picking in Round A and B in alternating years based on their initial assignment of round in 2017.

Clubs drafting in the Competitive Balance Rounds also receive more international bonus pool money than the minimum of $4.75 million. Those drafting in Competitive Balance Round A will receive $5.25 million, while those in Competitive Balance Round B will get $5.75 million.

Unlike other Draft picks, Competitive Balance Draft picks can be traded. However, they cannot be dealt simply in exchange for cash, and can be traded only by the club to which it was awarded. In other words, the picks may be traded no more than once.

History of the rule

Under the 2012-16 Collective Bargaining Agreement, the 10 lowest-revenue clubs and the clubs from the 10 smallest markets were entered into a lottery. The first six clubs selected in the lottery received a Draft selection in Competitive Balance Round A, while the next six clubs selected received a pick in Competitive Balance Round B.

Example

On June 1, 2014, the Marlins traded their Competitive Balance Round A selection to the Pirates in exchange for right-hander Bryan Morris. The Pirates received the 39th pick in the Draft that followed just days later.


Business of Baseball Curtesy of MLB.com

Header Photo Curtesy of LA Times

SPECIAL COOKIE – MIKE TROUT

Today the Angels agree to the largest contract in American sports history by total dollars given to a player, and in average annual value. Mike Trout will be given $430 Million over the next 12 years. This new contract will supersede the final two years of his current contract. Mike Trout is easily the best player of this generation, and could easily wind up as one the best to play the game period. There were several tweets I would like to present to show how monumental this contract is:


Header Photo Curtesy of USA Today

March 12th


Shohei Ohtani – Raise

2-way phenom Shohei Ohtani gets a raise to play in his second season here in America. Originally signed for much cheaper than he would have in free agency (because he is so young), he will now make $650K instead of the MLB minimum at $555K. Its is not a lot but it is more than the MVP candidate Alex Bregman got ($640,500).

Sammy Solis – Minor League Deal

Today the Padres announced a minor league deal with lefty reliever Sammy Solis. After mysteriously being released by the nationals, it came to light that it was all in good faith. Nationals manager Dave Martinez told reporters that he knew that he was not making the opening day roster this year, and wanted to give him a chance to make another squad. The Padres have a deep bullpen this year, but it is still possible to make their team.

Francis Martes – Suspended

Right hander Francis Martes has been found positive to have banned substance Clomiphene in his system. He will be suspended 80 games. MLB Trade Rumors has a great writeup of his profile:

[Martes was considered one of baseball’s premier pitching prospects prior to the 2017 season, landing inside the top 40 on the pre-2017 rankings from Baseball America, MLB.com, ESPN and Baseball Prospectus. His stock has dropped since that time, however, as Martes pitched to an ERA well north of 5.00 in both Triple-A and the Majors in ’17 before logging a 6.75 ERA in four Triple-A starts last season. The arm injury that ultimately necessitated his Tommy John procedure limited Martes to just 19 2/3 innings in 2018.] – Steve Adams, MLB TR




Stat of the Day – Ballpark Factor

Ballpark factor, at its most basic, takes the runs scored by Team X (and its competitors) in Team X’s home ballpark and divides the figure by the runs scored by Team X and its competitors in Team X’s road contests. Often times, that number will be ever-so-slightly adjusted if a team doesn’t play the same opponents at home as on the road.

For example: In 2018, 849 runs were scored at Coors Field, and 676 runs were scored in Rockies games away from Coors Field. Coors Field had a park factor of 1.271, when looking at runs scored.

The same exercise can be done with other stats, such as home runs, triples, doubles, etc.

Why it’s useful: Park factor is a great way of determining the extent to which a stadium favors hitters or pitchers. It isn’t affected by the teams or players involved, because those teams and players are also playing games in other stadiums. It simply compares how easy it is to score, from one ballpark to another.

Stat of the Day Curtesy of MLB.com

Header Photo Curtesy of ESPN.com

March 6


Jose Leclerc – Extension

In what some could say the steal of the offseason, the Rangers have extended closer Jose Leclerc to a four year deal. The four year pact will only be worth $14.75MM, and the Rangers have two option years of $6MM in 2023 and $6.25MM in 2024. This contract is the definition of “team friendly.” Leclerc had a breakout season in 2018 having a minuscule 1.56 ERA (1.9 FIP) over 57.2 IP. If he can keep that up, it could be the deal of the century: Kimbrel (who had almost double the ERA in 2018,  but has the history) is reportedly asking for more than that per year, but admittedly has the history behind him.

Steven Wright – Suspended for PEDs

Red Sox knuckleballer has been suspended 80 games, without pay, for testing positive for a growth hormone (GHRP-2). While in his press conference today, he bluntly told the media that he did not knowingly take it; once he heard of the failed test, he appealed it. He then went on to say that he does not have any evidence that he did not take it. Wright had be rehabbing from a knee surgery that limited him to only 53 innings in 2018. Wright has had some great numbers while in Boston. In 2016, Wright had a 3.33 ERA as a starter and some where talking about him starting the All-Star game.

Bryce Harper – Potential Tampering

[Bryce Harper just launched his tenure as the Phillies’ biggest star, but he’s already considering how to use his gravitational pull to the team’s advantage. In an interview yesterday with Philadelphia SportsRadio 94WIP, Harper made clear he intends to help the Phils land another big fish in free agency:

“If you don’t think I’m gonna call Mike Trout to come to Philly in 2020, you’re crazy.”

That comment was sufficient to spur the Angels to raise the matter with Major League Baseball, Maria Torres of the Los Angeles Times reports. The league has been in touch with both teams and is looking into the matter, per ESPN.com’s Jeff Passan (Twitter link). Unsurprisingly, “significant discipline” is not anticipated.] – Jeff Todd, MLBTR

CC Sabathia – Not Ready

Yankee manager Aaron Boone told the media today that CC Sabathia will not be ready for the start of the season. Bryan Hoch of MLB.com had this quote:

“He had his second ’pen that went well [on Wednesday],” Boone said of Sabathia, who got a late start to Spring Training following offseason knee surgery and an angioplasty. “I certainly don’t expect him for the start of the season. It may be a couple of weeks in, if everything keeps going according to plan.”




Stat of the Day – Game Score

[Game Score measures a pitcher’s performance in any given game started. Introduced by Bill James in the 1980s and updated by fellow sabermetrician Tom Tango in 2014, Game Score is presented as a figure between 0-100 — except for extreme outliers — and usually falls between 40-70.

A Game Score of 50 is considered “average,” while a Game Score of 40 is deemed to be “replacement level.” Game Scores in the 80s and 90s are widely regarded as impressive, and scores of at least 100 are exceptionally rare. Using Tango’s formula, which is the version displayed on MLB.com, only nine of the 4,858 games started in 2015 resulted in Game Scores of 100-plus.

A Game Score is derived by factoring the quality (based on runs, hits, HR, walks, strikeouts) and quantity (innings) of a starting pitcher’s performance] – MLB.com

TLDR: Game score is a great way to have a quick glance at a starter’s performance to see how well he did. Using it: 40 is not great, 70 is a great start.

Stat of the Day curtesy of MLB.com

Header Photo Curtesy of Sportsnet

February 23rd

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Craig Kimbrel – Rumor

There have been some contradicting rumors surrounding Kimbrel today. At first there was a tweet by Jim Bowden of The Athletic that stated that Kimbrel’s price was not coming down and that he might consider sitting out a year to get that deal. Just two hours after that tweet came out, Ken Rosenthal of the same company said that he had talked to David Meter (Kimbrel’s agent) and the rumor of him potentially sitting out a year is “utterly false”. Kimbrel has yet to sign a deal and spring training games have already begun.

 

Bryce Harper – Update

According to several Jon Heyman tweets, Harper had meetings with two teams on Saturday, but apparently they got somewhere with the Phillies. Sources say that they will be finalizing a 10-year deal with him on Monday. With Spring Training games already started, I’m sure they want Bryce to get to know his new teammates soon.

 

Hanley Ramirez – Minor League Deal

The Indians have agreed to a minor league deal, pending a physical, with free-agent first baseman Hanley Ramirez, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports.

Cleveland’s the first team for the 35-year-old Ramirez since Boston unceremoniously released him last June 1. Ramirez drew little reported interest after the Red Sox cut ties with him, owing to back-to-back seasons of subpar production at the plate and an inability to add value in the field or on the base paths. Formerly a superstar with the Marlins and a quality player with the Dodgers, Ramirez combined to hit a meager .245/.318/.421 (91 wRC+) with 29 home runs and minus-0.7 fWAR in 748 plate appearances from 2017-18.

 

Jose Martinez – Signed for 2 Years

Jose Martinez is used to being the odd man out in St. Louis, where his inability to play defense has limited his starting opportunities with the Cardinals. Despite effectively serving as a walking trade rumor for most of the last seven months, Martinez remains with the Cardinals — and on Saturday he received a pay bump after agreeing to a two-year deal worth more than $3 million” – CBS Sports

 

 

Jose Iglesias – Minor League Deal

Jose Iglesias has joined the Reds on a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. He could earn $2.5MM if he makes the roster, plus another $1MM based on games played!

“Iglesias, 29, is one of the game’s premier defenders at shortstop and actually had an improved year at the plate in 2018, hitting .269/.310/.389 in 464 plate appearances — good for both a 90 OPS+ and wRC+ (essentially indicating that his bat was about 10 percent worse than that of a league-average hitter after adjusting for his home park and league). For a player with his defensive prowess, that level of offense is more than acceptable, which is why both Fangraphs (2.5) and Baseball-Reference (2.2) both felt that Iglesias was worth more than two wins above replacement last season.” – Steve Adams, MLBTR

 

Kaleb Cowart – Re Claimed by Angels

“The Angels have claimed RHP/IF/OF Kaleb Cowart from the Tigers, per a team release. The 26-year-old Cowart has spent his entire playing career with Los Angeles, but was claimed by both the Mariners and the Tigers earlier this offseason. Right-hander J.C. Ramirez has been placed on the 60-day DL to make room for Cowart on the 40-man roster.

The former first-rounder has worked all over the diamond in his four big-league stints with Los Angeles, appearing at 3B, 2B, SS, 1B, and LF in 2018 alone. Now, like Seattle and Detroit before it, the club has plans to try him as a two-way player.” – Ty Bradley, MLBTR

 

MLB Trade Rumors Minor Roundup: Click HERE


 

Stat of the Day – UZR

UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) is an advanced defensive metric that uses play-by-play data recorded by Baseball Info Solutions (BIS) to estimate each fielder’s defensive contribution in theoretical runs above or below an average fielder at his position in that player’s league and year. Thus, a SS with a UZR of zero is exactly average as compared to a SS in the same year and in the same league. If his UZR is plus, he is above average, and if it is minus, he is below average.

It is similar to offensive linear weights, where each event is assigned a number of runs, or fraction of a run, which is equal to the average value of that event as compared to a generic PA, generally for that year and for that league. With UZR and offensive linear weights a player gets credit for the theoretical value of an event (for UZR, those events are turning a batted ball into an out, allowing a batted ball to drop for a hit, making an error – or a fielder’s choice – that allows the batter to reach base, or making an error that allows a base runner to advance one or more bases) rather than what actually transpired during or subsequent to that event, in terms of any scoring on that play, base runner advances, etc., and regardless of the score or inning of the game.

 

Stat of the Day Curtesy by FanGraphs

Header Photo Curtesy by NBC Sports

February 8th

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Photo Credit – Let’s Go Tribe

TOP NEWS:

Francisco Lindor

All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor of the Cleveland Indianswill likely miss the start of the season with a strained right calf. Lindor, one of baseball’s best all-around players, sustained the injury recently while working out in Orlando, Florida. He was checked Wednesday at the Cleveland Clinic by Dr. Mark Schickendantz, who confirmed a moderate sprain. – ESPN

Rule Changes

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said today at the owners’ meetings that the league is not interested in considering certain union-proposed changes in advance of the 2019 season, as Ronald Blum of the AP reports. In particular, Manfred indicated he is not open to the introduction of the designated hitter to the National League.It emerged recently that MLB and the MLB Players Association were exchanging proposals on a variety of significant potential rules changes. – MLBTR

MINOR NEWS

Daniel Hudson

The Angels have added a former Dodgers reliever to their bullpen with less than a week to go before pitchers and catchers are due to report to Arizona for spring training. Daniel Hudson agreed to a minor league contract with the team on Friday, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Times. If he makes the team, Hudson would earn $1.5 million next season, according to the person, who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. – LA Times

Adam Rosales

The Twins have agreed to a minor league contract with veteran infielder Adam Rosales, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today. The Hilliard Sports Management client has a $1MM base salary on the contract and another $250K worth of incentives available to him. He can also opt out of the deal on March 19 if he hasn’t been added to the MLB roster. Rosales spent the 2018 season with the division-rival Indians, playing the bulk of the year with their Triple-A affiliate in Columbus, where he hit .239/.313/.445.  An 11-year veteran, Rosales is a career .226/.291/.365 hitter with at least 580 innings of experience at all four infield positions and a brief bit of work in left field as well. – MLBTR

Matt Joyce

Free-agent outfielder Matt Joyce announced this morning, via Twitter, that he’s agreed to sign with the Indians. Joyce’s contract comes with a $1.25MM base salary if he makes the roster, and he can earn an additional $500K based on his number of plate appearances, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (Twitter link). The 34-year-old Joyce will join Cleveland in search of a rebound campaign after struggling through a down season with the A’s in 2018. Last year, in the second season of a two-year deal worth $10MM, Joyce hit just .208/.322/.353 with seven home runs and nine doubles in 246 plate appearances across 83 games. Back troubles hampered him along the way, as he spent nearly two months of the summer on the disabled list due to a lumbar strain. – MLBTR

February 6th

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MAJOR NEWS:

Jeremy Hellickson

The Washington Nationals have resigned Jeremey Hellickson to a $1.3MM deal with escalators up to $4MM. Hellickson gets a $200K bonus for every other start from his 3rd to 21st, and $300K for every start between his 25th and 30th, should he reach those. Hellickson had a rather average season for D.C. in 2018 posting a 4.22 FIP over 91.1 IP computing to a 1.2 fWAR. Hellickson did post a career high in GB% at 45.9%. After the Patrick Corbin signing it looks as though Hellickson will slide into the 4 or 5 spot in the rotation: depending on how you view Anibal Sanchez.

NEWEST RUMORS

Bryce Harper

A new team enters the mix! Farhan Zaidai (GM) of the Giants sees some new value (or fallen cost) of Bryce Harper. Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports tweeting the meeting between the two. Pavlovic also mentioned owner Larry Baer and Manager Bruce Bochy attended said meeting. Zaidi is known in the industry for his skill in finding value in players.

J.T. Realmuto

As the third day in a row that Realmuto has made the site, now the Phillies are in on him. As Scott Lauber has reported, the Marlins want to deal him in the very near future. The Marlins are demanding top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez in any deal. Hopefully we see a deal very soon.

MINOR NEWS

Carlos Ramirez

After the Cubs have released their non roster invitees today, one notable name that wasn’t known was Carlos Ramirez. Ramirez who has worked with the Blue Jays in 2017 and the first half of 2018, and spent the last half of the year with Athletics, has his known command issues, but still worked to a 3.27 ERA. Which could be on the conservative side considering a 5.56 FIP.

Tom Koehler

The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed Tom Koehler to a minor league pact today. It will not include an invite to Major League Spring Training. The lack of the invite is more of a reflection of his current injury status as he underwent shoulder surgery in July. While there still isn’t an anticipated return date, they still believe he could contribute to the majors this year as he has a club option for 2020 as well as $250K in incentives if he reaches certain milestones.

Tim Collins has signed a minor league deal with the Twins

Justin Nicolino signed a minor league deal with the Twins

Nick Franklin has an agreement to the Pirates for a minor league deal.

Ty Kelly will be heading to the Angels on a minor league pact.