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: https://www.theballboyblog.com/post/around-the-horn-news-and-notes-11-20.
FYI: There will not be a new post until probably next Monday as I will be taking the time with loved ones and enjoying it and not being on a computer more than needed. Guys, it is almost Thanksgiving, and that means it's family time. Make sure you are there for your next gathering. Do not drink and drive and buckle up. Go over to #notasponser https://www.nhtsa.gov/campaign/drive-sober to inform yourself and your loved ones this holiday season. Be safe; some people love you.
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BREAKING NEWS as of 11/24
Rays OF/DH Randy Arozarena has been detained in Mexico's Yucatan state after allegedly attempting to take his daughter from her mother. The allegations also include domestic violence. The news is not good for Arozarena as we have seen sports take on harsh punishments for Domestic Violence. More details to come as the story develops!
-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
-1B/DH Yonder Alonso announced his retirement on IG on 11/20. Alonso over 3773PA had 100HR and a .259/.332/.404 slash line.
-The Cubs have given President Jed Hoyer a 5-yr extension through 2025. Hoyer is set to see the change and rebuild from start to finish for the Cubs.
-The Mets will not be hiring a president. Sandy Alderson says the organization will focus "exclusively on the GM position." Alderson also says the team has not contacted Theo Epstein.
-The 2021 Field of Dreams game has been scheduled for August 12 between the White Sox and Yankees. The Yankees and Mets will also play on the 20th Anniversary of 9/11 in New York.
Free Agent Signings
The Mets signed RHP Sam McWilliams was signed to a$750K 1yr deal. The 25yo has not made his MLB debut yet; the 6'7" P only has pitched 44IP with an 8.18ERA. Over a total of 535IP in his MiLB service, he owns a 3.85ERA with a 7.0K/9.
-The Atlanta Braves make yet another splash! The Braves have signed SP Charlie Morton to a 1yr-$15mil deal. Morton became a free agent after Tampa Bay declined his $15mil option. In 2020 Morton pitched 38IP with a 4.47ERA/3.45FIP with 42K. The 37yo vet was great in the Post Season as he went 3-1 and helped seal the Ray's trip to the World Series. The Braves keep getting better as their 2020 rotation will be Max Fried, Mike Soroka, Charlie Morton, Drew Smyly, and Ian Anderson.
--After the signing of Braves, GM Anthopoulos said, "we had an extremely short list of guys we would consider, basically two to three. These were the two guys that were at the top of our list."
-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. At the same time, SP Marcus Stroman(Mets) and Kevin Gausman(Giants) accepted their Qualifying offers.
Free Agent Rumors
-The Toronto Blue Jay's are wanting to make a splash in Free Agency, and why not? Coming off a playoff berth, a 2nd-year coach, a young core, what stops this team? I will tell you nothing at all. Playing in the tough NL East makes a lot of sense to me that the Jays are pursuing FA's at a "breakneck pace". The targets include DJ LeMahieu, Justin Turner, Michael Brantley, JT Realmuto. From the shortlist here, I like the fit of LeMahieu because of the AL East connection and dominance. I like Brantley's fit because of the need for help in the DH and the corner OF spots. I feel the Jay's are just getting started and are building off their playoff appearance.
-The Blue Jays have also shown strong Ha-Seong Kim the Korean SS. I love the move here especially for Jay's as they could use Kim at SS and move Bichette to 2B or 3B and Biggio around the INF as well. Vlad Jr. will be given every shot to remain the everyday 3B but the connections to 3B say otherwise. Kim would also be a long-term building block for the Jay's as well. Kim's window for negotiations opens on Nov. 26th.
-The Braves are also expected to make a multi-year offer to their FA slugger Marcell Ozuna
-The LA Angels have shown interest in LHP J.A. Happ. No surprise here as Perry Minasian worked in the Blue Jays front office when they acquired the lefty.
-The Washington Nationals have shown continued interest in Free Agent INF DJ LeMahieu. It is worth noting that the club pursued him 2-years ago in free agency. The Mets, Yankees, and Blue Jays are also targeting the 2B
-INF Tetsuto Yamada, who was expected to be posted for MLB teams to sign, was offered a 7year-$43 mil contract to stay with the Tokyo Swallows.
-RHP Spencer Patton is drawing early interest from a few teams, including the Rangers, who are "tracking the market."Patton last appeared in the MLB in 2016 with the Cubs when he had 21.1IP with a 5.48ERA/5.02FIP with a 9.3K/9 and 5.9BB/9. Patton has played four seasons with the Yokohama Bay Stars, pitching 205.2IP with a 3.68ERA with a 10.6K/9 and 3.7BB/9. The 32 may be able to be this year's Pierces Johnson, who came back to the MLB after pitching in Japan as he notched a 2.70/3.14FIP in 20IP with the Padres.
-The Red Sox are showing interesting in SP J.A. Happ. The 38yo has thrown more innings at Fenway Park than any park that wasn't his home park in his career. In that 66.2IP, he holds a 2.57ERA
-The Braves are showing "strong interest" in P Charlie Morton. The Rays declined Charlie Morton's option earlier this offseason. You can see the full post of players who got their options dropped here. I love the fit for "Clutch" Charlie Morton with the Braves. With Tomlin and Smyly added already this off-season, I would be ecstatic if the Braves added Morton. I added this on 11/23
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-The Tampa Bay Rays DFA'd OF- Hunter Renfroe and Brian O'Grady on 11/20. The Ray's have ten days to trade, out-right them to AAA if they clear waivers, or release them.
No trades to talk about this week...technically. The Hiroshima Toyo Carp gave the D-Backs $500K to sign 1B Kevin Cron to a 1year deal. The Carp also signed Dovydas Neverauskas. (1st Lithuanian born player in MLB History) from the Pirates as well.
-The Washington Nationals sure did miss Anthony Rendon in 2020. Have no fear Nat's fan, the team is eyeing Kris Bryant Cubs 3B. Bryant is a former NL ROY and NL MVP. Bryant is among "numerous hitters' they're currently considering.
- The Red Sox could also be in play for Bryant as they did discuss a trade for the former MVP 3B over the summer.
-With the OF trio of Reddick, Springer, Brantley, all Free Agents. The Astros are coming to a crossroads. Their All-Star SS Carlos Correra is part of the superclass of 2021 SS's. Houston is "floating" the SS in trade talks before he reaches free agency next year. I have seen this coming since last season. The Astros had too many free-agents and not enough money to keep them all in-house. The AL-West is wide open after the always good Oakland A's and the Astro's are trending down. The Astro's cant keeps free agents, as we had seen because Springer, before he even got the QO, came out and said he wasn't going back.
-We have seen the Dodgers come out, as reported, to try and trade for Rockies 3, B Nolan Arenado. Arenado has an opt-out after 2021, a no-trade clause, the Rockies want talent in return and $$ to help relieve that contact.
-The Rays have told several teams they would consider moving their Cy Young pitcher Blake Snell. Snell is going into his age 28 seasons. Snell is due to $38mil over the next three seasons while he finishes up a five-year deal. Come 2024; he will be an unrestricted free agent. Snell still has his best years ahead of him and should be a hot target on the market going through this winter. With his salary being $10mil, $12mil, $16mil, the low budget Rays will undoubtedly look to unload the lefty. The Seattle Mariners are the most logical landing spot for Snell; the Mariners need an Ace, the AL West is open, and it's time to strike, and Snell is a Shoreline, Wa native.
-The Cincinnati Reds are in a weird place as a team, and I think they are only a few pieces away from true contention. The team is "gauging what they might get in return" for All-Star P Sonny Gray. Gray is owed $10Mil in 2021 and $10.2Mil in 2022 with a $12mil club option for Grays age 33 seasons in 2023. These are the tail end of prime years for pitchers unless you are Max Scherzer or Justin Verlander.
-3B Nolan Arenado looks to be past the shoulder injury that ended his season. A recent video on Twitter of him in the cage looks like Nolan being Nolan.
-it feels like Chris Davis, 1B/DH of the Baltimore Orioles, has been absent from baseball and hurt for years. Well, he hasn't; he has been playing and just bad. Davis came out in an interview with the Baltimore Sun that he is open to mechanical changes to salvage the end of tenure. Davis is entering his age 35 season, and he may finally be answering the call from Father time.
But I do have a couple of names for you to get to know. Josh Hejka, RHP in the Mets organization in 12IP with the Brooklyn Cyclones, had 14K and 3ER to give him a 2.25ERA. You may know Hejka from the 2019 college World Series where he pitched a 152-pitch gem with 1ER over 9.2IP; he then pitched one inning just two days later.
-The Rangers 3B Josh Jung. He was the 8th overall pick in the 2019 draft. In 179PA at Low-A ball, he slashed .287/.363/.398. Jung is the long-term option for the Rangers despite Isiah Kiner-Falefa winning the Gold Glove; he figures to be moved to 2B or SS and Andrus/Odor losing their starting job this spring to these two.
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