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Around the Horn: News and Notes 11/20

Updated: Dec 20, 2020

What is going on ball, boys, and girls? Welcome into today's Around the Horn. We have some news to cover today, including Leauge news, free agent signings and rumors, trades and trade rumors, injury news, and prospect news. If you missed the last Around the Horn, that's okay; check that out right now here:

Leauge News:

-The Hall of Fame ballot was released on 11/16. In case you missed my full break down of each player on the ballot, you can check that out here:

-In other HoF next, Barry Bonds and Rodger Clemens are on 24/28 ballots. I hope that it is finally the year for them.

-It's not baseball news, but it is important to note here. ESPN released a recent survey of fans of multiple sports if they would attend 2021 without a vaccine. 2/3 of the people surveyed said they would not participate in indoor sporting events. While 58% said no to outdoor sporting events.

-The DUI charges against White Sox manager Tony La Russa are not being dropped. The story is still developing, and the White Sox have not taken action yet.

--In non-injury news but a player who will be out all of 2021. Robinson Cano 2B for the NY Mets will miss the season after a positive PED test. The news broke early 11/18. The positive test is the 2nd in Cano's career. Cano will be forced to forfeit his entire $24 in salary for 2021. The now 38yo was suspended for 80 games back in 2018 for his first positive test. I would say that Cano's career is over. The quote from Sandy Alderson, "We were extremely disappointed to be informed about Robinson's suspension for violating Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. The violation is very unfortunate for him, the organization, our fans, and the sport. The Mets fully support MLB's efforts toward eliminating performance-enhancing substances from the game."

-An interesting perspective on the Cano suspension is now, his case for the HoF is dead. Cano is off the books, and his salary opens many avenues for the Met's to possibly make a bigger splash in free agency. It also opens up the path for 2B Chase Utley to make it into the Hall of Fame.

-The Cano story keeps developing, and as of 11/18, the Met's have no heard from Cano regarding the suspension. I hope that he doesn't pull a Manny Ramirez and call it a career for his sake at even having a chance at the HoF.

-Just when I thought the Cubs were about to keep the band together and always be contenders going into 2021, I was wrong. President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein is stepping down, and Executive VP/General Manager Jed Hoyer will assume duties as President of Baseball Operations. Epstein leaving gives the Cubs $10Mil to redistribute to other areas of the team. Hoyer has his work cut out for him- with Baez, Bryant, Rizzo, and Schwarber set free agents to come to the end of 2021. The Cubs also have a bottom ten farm system and not a lot of cap space. Hoyer may be inheriting a similar situation that Epstein left the Red Sox. The key players in the 07 World Series team were aging or go; the Red Sox became champions again in 2013 but didn't make another trip to the playoffs between 2010-2015. Epstein said he would not pursue another baseball front-office job at this time. The feel right now is that Epstein will form an ownership group because why would he want to do the same position 3rd? The next big move for Epstein might be huge!

-With Rob Manfred's contract set to expire at the end of the 2024 season, Owners are all running short-tempered with the Commissioner. If all 30 owners vote and rid the MLB of Manfred, Epstein, who is only 46 currently, could be the most logical fit. It will be ever so interesting to see where Epstein is, come this time next year as he is taking 2021 off to focus on family and his non-profit.

-More on the Cubs, rival execs, and front office staff from other teams hope the Cubs are gearing up for a "Heavy Restart." I feel this is news is a while in the making. I expected this after the last off=season when I analyzed the Cubs payroll for 2021, and especially going into 2022, they weren't and still won't be able to afford their current club. Time to keep a detailed eye on all the Cubs and any moves they make.

-LA Angels owner Arte Moreno said the payroll would not decrease in 2021. He didn't say that the club will increase payroll in 2021, but the time is now to spend for the Angels with the top division opening up.

-The LA Dodgers President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman was named Executive of the Year. All 30 MLB teams vote prior to this award's postseason, a well-deserved recognition from his peers.

-The Red Sox have named Will Venable their bench coach.

Free Agent Signings:

-If you have missed it, there have only been a few free-agent signings so far: Blue Jays & SP Robbie Ray, Padres & SP Mike Clevinger, Braves & P's Josh Tomlin and Drew Smyly. While SP Marcus Stroman(Mets) and Kevin Gausman(Giants) accepted their Qualifying offers.

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Free Agent Rumors:

-The Mets are looking to talent to the already talented trio of deGrom, Syndergaard, Stroman. The Mets show interest in Korey Kluber, Charlie Morton, and Mike Minor, among other SP with track records of success.

-The SF Giants have shown interest and have spoken to SP Jake Odorizzi. With Smyly being signed by the Braves and Jeff Samardzija finally off the books and the roster. The Giants need some rotation help. The Blue Jays, Met's, and Twins are also in talks with the SP.

-Free-agent slugger DH Nelson Cruz is unlikely to sign until there is more clarity if there will be a Universal DH in 2021.

Trade Rumors:

-The most significant trade rumor that isn't a rumor is from Cubs. "In conversations with other teams, the Cubs are signaling there will be significant turnover on the roster, with a willingness to move almost any veteran—as well as just about anyone from the core group of position players who won the 2016 World Series." This group includes SS Javier Baez, 3B Kris Bryant, and 1B Anthony Rizzo. Baez is a free agent and in the mega SS class of 2022, so a move will be logical as the Cubs will look to shed payroll ahead of the next offseason.

-Those dang Dodgers, they trade for Mookie Betts and sing him to a career deal. Now the Dodgers are engaging in trading for a guy who is already on one of those deals. 3B Nolan Arenado. If the price is right and the Rockies get a return even close to what they want, Arenado could be playing for the Dodgers for years to come. The Dodgers need a 3B, now that Justin Turner is a free-agent.

-With the emergence of Devin Williams, the Brewers are "open" to moving Josh Hader this off-season. With the Brewers on the edge of contention, I do not think the move is logical if the Brewers want to stay competitive.

Injury News:

-Padres SP Mike Clevinger will miss all of 2021 after signing his 2yr contract and will undergo his 2nd career Tommy John surgery.

-Dodgers star OF Cody Bellinger will miss two-plus months after surgery to repair should he dislocated in NLCS Game 7. Bellinger will be on track to playing in the spring and hopefully be good by opening day come April, barring any setbacks.

-Not an injury, but Aroldis Chapman had his three-game suspension reduced down to 2 games for throwing near Ray's Mike Brosseau's head.

Prospect Buzz:

-The Yankees and C Gary Sanchez. Sanchez isn't a prospect but does have his share of performance issues. The Yankees came out and said they want to "fix" him instead of giving upon him. Sanchez has shown the high upside for the Yankees, and if they can "fix" him, then that's a win for both sides.

-You ever heard of Ray's SS Wander Franco? If you haven't, shocking as he is one of, if not already, the 2nd best player on the Ray's after Randy A. The SS is very similar to Frenando Tatis Jr in play styles, power, and ability. I am very excited to Franco play next season with the Rays.

Thank you for reading today; I hope you enjoy the news. Please come on over to Facebook and help me get my Great-Great-Grandfather Fay Young into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Read the full post here:

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