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Around the Horn: News & Notes 12/4

Updated: Dec 20, 2020

What is going on ball, boys, and girls? Welcome into todays 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.

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Leauge News:

-We saw the Tender/Non Tender deadline come and go. I will have a full workup on the players who have tendered a contract or not up for you to browse here. Also, as we come to spring training, I will start to release all the 2021 previews. Each preview includes two teams- 1AL and 1NL from the same region(East, West, Central). Stay tuned!

-The BBWAA Writers- released the Hall of Fame ballot released on 11/16. In case you missed my full breakdown of each player on the ballot, you can check that out here. I posted an update in Wednesday news, and you can see that here.

-The NY Yankees and the MLB had a lawsuit filed against them by the Staten Island Yankees. The statement from the Staten Island club, "The New York Yankees announced on November 7, 2020, that the Staten Island Yankees were no longer part of the Yankees minor league affiliation structure, even though the Yankees had made repeated assurances we would always be a minor league partner." The Staten Island clubs looks to be facing the same fate as many other MiLB teams due to the effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic, which has caused a "radical restructuring." "Staten Island is under the impression the Yankees want them to become an "unaffiliated" team, which the minors club doesn't believe would make for "a sustainable business entity." As such, Staten Island is stopping operations, and the team has "filed a lawsuit against the New York Yankees and Major League Baseball to hold those entities accountable for false promises."

=The Oakland A's have named Mark Kotsay their 3rd base coach for the 2021 season. The position is his 3rd coaching position with the A's as we started as their bench coach and was most recently their quality control coach.

-The Phillies are moving into second interviews with Josh Byrnes, Michael Hill, Thad Levine are the top options. The Phillies are looking for a front office executive who can assume baseball and then hire a GM of their own.

-The Cleveland Indians are still considering a name change. However, don't expect a specific decision for a name change to come any time soon. Check back in 2021.

-The Pioneer League has been designated a "Partner League" of the MLB. The move transforms the former Rookie Advanced League into an independent league. "All eight Pioneer League teams -- the Billings Mustangs, Grand Junction Rockies, Great Falls Voyagers, Idaho Falls Chukars, Missoula PaddleHeads, Ogden Raptors, Northern Colorado Owlz, and Rocky Mountain Vibes -- will transfer to the new format and maintain their current branding, though the Owlz will relocate as they've played in Orem, Utah, since 2005. The season will feature a 92-game regular-season schedule, beginning in late May and ending in early September. MLB announced that it would initially fund the Pioneer League's operating expenses, provide scouting technology to all eight ballparks, and create a player transfer procedure to MLB organizations."

Free Agent Signings:

-With the non-tender deadline coming to a close on Wednesday, take a look back at all the signings that did or didn't happen here.

-The Texas Rangers have agreed to an MLB deal with RHP Joe Gatto; Gatto has never pitched above AA. The club also signed OF Scott Heineman, who was non-tendered on Wednesday, was signed to an MLB deal. In 182PA at the AAA level, he slashed .340/.412/.558 in 2019. However, in 139PA at the MLB level, he has slashed a dismal .183/.259/.331.

-OF Domingo Santana is signings with Japans Yakult's Swallows. The Indians declined his 2021 option. Santana will hope to join many others in reviving their careers in the NPB.

-The opposite of a signing- The Orioles announced Thursday 12/3 that right-hander Thomas Eshelman cleared waivers and rejected an outright assignment in favor of the free agency. In 2020 Eshleman posted 0.6WAR with a 3-1W/L with a 3.89ERA/5.76FIP over 34.2IP in 3starts. The 26yo showed he could be a decent 4/5 starter for a team.

Free Agent Rumors:

-I need you all to get to know the name, Oscar Colas. The next best two-way player since Ohtani. He could be even better. The 22yo should be available when the international signing pool opens on January 15. Colas does, however, only own 3.1IP professional has in Series Nacional(Cubas top league). Colas can play 1B, LF, RF, and as a hitter in 273PA between 2018-19, he slashed a .305/.381/487.

-Just as expected, the actual markets for Free Agents started to develop as we have seen the SF Giants and Toronto Blue Jays emerge as the two top teams targeting Free Agent Marcell Ozuna. Ozuna was great in 2020, with the Braves posting a slash line .338/.431/.636 with 18HR and 56RBI in 267PA. Finishing 6th in the MVP vote and winning a Silver Slugger award. The 30yo should command a big deal on the open market.

-The Reds "love" Didi Gregorius. The Reds were mentioned in my last Around the Horn as being in the market for starting a shortstop. They are open to free agents and or trading for Francisco Lindor/Trevor Story.

-The Mets and Free Agent Catcher James McCann are in "active talks." As of December 3 but the two sides are not close to a deal yet.

-Miami Marlins GM Kim g said the bullpen in the Marlins top priority this winter. With the Marlins declining Brandon Kintzlers option, non-tendering Ryne Stanek. The late-inning mix right now will be a mix of Adam Cimber, Yimi Garcia, and Richard Bleier. The club needs experienced vets to pitch in between that trio.

=The NY Yankees have shown interest and been in contact with free-agent OF Michael Brantley. Brantley is a great hitter, coming off a season that saw him slash .300/.364/.476 over 187PA with 5HR. I like the Yankees fit because of their need for a lefty bat to add balance to the heavy righty lineup. The Yankees also need OF depth because of lingering health concerns with Stanton and Judge. It's hard to see the fit and give Brantley adequate playing time if all are healthy. But that hasn't happened in a couple of years.

-The Red Sox are showing interest in free-agent OF Eddie Rosario. Rosario was non-tendered by the Twins coming off a down 2020. Rosario would be an excellent fit for the Red Sox because of the Red Sox's need in LF. The age of Rosario(29) and now the

-The NBP Ham Fighters have posted CF Haruki Nishikawa for MLB teams to bid on for the next 30 days. The 28yo slots in the top 2/3 of CF available on the market after George Springer. In 2020 he posted a .296/.419/.388 slash. The OBP is the most impressive stat to me because he is a threat when he is on-base. He went 37/42 on steal attempts. Since 2017 he has posted a .291/.397/.401 over 2433PA with an 87.8% rate of success when stealing. Nishikawa will be an excellent lefty/4th OF option for whoever he signs with. I can see the Rays, Mariners, Orioles, Royals, Pirates as the most likely fits for the OF.

We have a trade:

-The LA Angels have acquired SS Jose Iglesias from the Baltimore Orioles. In 2020 he posted a 1.2WAR with a .373/.400/.556 in 150PA and played in 39G

-The LA Dodgers have acquired RHP Corey Knebel from the Brewers for a PTBNL or Cash. Knebel struggled after coming back from TJ to post a 6.08ERA 15-8K-BB Ratio in 13.1IP. Between 2017-18 for the Brewers, he had a 2.54ERA/2.74FIP with 55sv over 131.1IP. If Knebel can return to form, the Dodgers got a steal in the 29yo.

-The Colorado Rockies have acquired LHP Yoan Aybar from the Red Sox in exchange for INF Christian Koss. Aybar is 23yo; a converted OF can reach triple digits on the mound. In his MiLB work between Single-A and High-A has posted a 4.61ERA with an 11.1K/9 over 56.2IP. Koss is turning 23, and he hasn't progressed past rookie ball yet in his career. In his lone MiLB season in 2019, he posted a .332/.447/.605 over 238PA.

Trade Rumors:

-Marlins 1B Jesus Aguilar has drawn interest from many clubs. If the DH is apart of the NL, the market will open up for the Marlins to trade Aguilar. In 2020 he posted a 0.4WAR with 8HR and a slash of .277/.325/.457 in 188PA.

-Phillies INF Jean Segura's name has been floated in trade talks. Segura is a career .284/.327/.407 hitter and can play 2B/SS/3B. The Blue Jays have talked to the Phillies about the INF. The move looks to be one that could be to make room for SS Didi Gregorius or another big name trade target/free agent.

=Yankees RHP Adam Ottavino has been coming up in trade speculation. Given the age(35) and the dismal 2020(5.89ERA/3.52FIP over 18.1IP). He did post a 12.27K/9. I don't think Ottavino is going anywhere and will finish the final year of his contract and career with the Yankees.

-"Per Rockies general manager Jeff Bridrich, 'there's nothing to discuss' when it comes to Arenado and his communication in recent months? Holy smokes, talk about stirring the pot with a few choice words." Arenado wants to play for a competitive team, and that's not the Rockies, and the superstar 3B wants out. It is only a matter of time.

Injury News:

-No significant player injury updates to talk about today.

Prospect Buzz:

-The reason that the Twins were willing to part ways with Eddie Rosario is because of Brent Rooker. Rooker made his MLB debut in 2020 but then broke his forearm. Before the injury in 19AB, he slashed .316/.381/.579. The sample size was small for the 26yo, but the talent is there.

Thank you guys for being with me today. I hope you are enjoying the blog today. Please stay tuned through the winter; we have more Around the Horn, Yearly Reviews, Ball Boy Talk, and of course, the Podcast. Don't forget to share with a friend and until next time Ball boys & girls.

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