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Around the Horn: News & Notes 2/17

Welcome in! Thank you for reading today. I appreciate your time in reading about everything that happened in the last week around the MLB. The news comes out every Wednesday for now until we get into spring training, and we may need to increase as we get into the spring. I recently had my "Why I Love Baseball" piece published with Authenticity Mags if you missed it. You can check that out here. Also, I will be publishing my future and present series, which was a huge hit last season, and my top fantasy baseball targets at each position. Today, we got league news, free agent signings, rumors and notes, trade announcements and rumors, injury updates, and prospect buzz. To check out last week's news, click here.

League News:

-The MLB announced the realignment or reimagining of the Minors. There will be two AAA divisions and three divisions for each AA, High-A, and Low-A levels. Each team's four affiliates were offered a 10-year pact and all accepted. The leagues have not yet been named. They are called AAA East/West, AA Central, Northeast, South, High-A Central, East, West, Low-A East Southeast, and West.

-Right-hander Jared Hughes has announced his retirement after 10 Major League seasons. "I've hung up my cleats. It was time," the 35-year-old Hughes said on his Instagram page, joking that "they were worn out from all the sprinting." He ends his career with a 61.3% groundball rate over 541.1IP to go along with a 2.96ERA/3.79SIERA.

-14yr vet and Future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw is entering the final season of his 3yr $93mil deal. Kershaw is still only 33yo the possibility stands for another short-term big-money deal. "I'll just say, I don't know," Kershaw told Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times. "I have no idea. I do know that I still love it, and I have a blast." The Dodgers and Kershaw haven't spoken about an extension, and he said the following on wanting a new deal "I don't know. Honestly, I wish I had an answer." The left-hander said his goals are simply to earn "my teammates' respect, and I just want to pitch well as long as I can. So all that other stuff will take care of itself."

Free Agent Signings:

-The LA Dodgers got their man back. 3B Justin Turner re-signed with the Dodgers on a 2yr $34mil deal, with a team option of $14mil for a 3rd year.

--The Brewers made a similar offer to Turner and had a 3yr offer on the table with a lower annual average.

-The LA Dodgers avoided arbitration with C Austin Barnes by agreeing to a 2yr $4.3mil deal.

-The Oakland A's re-signed RHRP Yusmeiro Petit to a 1yr deal worth $2.55mil with $450K in incentives. Petit is the A's workhorses out of the pen as he has a 2.73ERA over 197.2IP, 154 appearances between 2018-19 and 26 in 2020.

-The Oakland A's singed RHRP Sergio Romo to a 1yr $2.25mil deal. The 30yo posted a 4.05ERA/3.82SIERA over 20IP with the Twins in 2020. Romo should slot in nicely in front of Jake Diekman as a setup-man for the A's.

-The Chicago Cubs signed RHP Jake Arrieta to a 1yr $6mil deal, with $1mil in incentives. Arrieta is coming off a 3yr deal with the Phillies that saw him pitch to a 4.36ERA/4.57SIERA over 352.2IP.

-The Chicago Cubs signed OF Jake Marisnick to a 1yr $1.5mil deal, mutual option for 2022, and $500K in incentives for 2021. The 30yo was only able to appear in 16 games last season due to injuries, but in that time, he hit .333/.353/.604 in 34PA. Over the last four seasons, .234/.297/.441. Against lefties, he owns a .247/.313/.443.

-The Mariners signed LHP James Paxton to a 1yr $8.5mil deal with incentives that could reach $10mil on the deal. Paxton is back in Seattle after spending 2019-20 seasons with the Yankees. Paxton was only able to throw 20.1IP with a 6.64ERA/4.37FIP/3.88SIERA and a 28.9%K rate. The move all but cement that the Mariners will run out a 6-man rotation with Gonzalez, Kikuchi, Sheffield, Flexen, Dunn, and now Paxton in the mix somewhere towards the top.

--The Mets offered $6mil in guarantees.

-The Mariners signed RHRP Ken Giles to a 2yr deal. Giles will miss all of 2021 after undergoing Tommy John's surgery on Oct. 1st. If all goes well in recovery, he should be an excellent option in 2022. Going back to 2019, he had a 1.87ERA/2.49SIERA over 53IP.

-The Tampa Bay Rays signed RHP Collin McHugh to a 1yr $1.8mil deal. McHugh brings in a lifetime of 3.95ERA over 800.2IP as both a starter and reliever.

-The Tampa Bay Rays also signed LHP Rich Hill to a 1yr $2.5mil deal. The 41yo has posted a 2.93ERA/3.57SIERA over 503IP since 2015. He pitched in 38.2IP in 2020 with the Twins but averaged less than 5IP in each of his eight starts.

-The Boston Red Sox signed UTL Marwin Gonzalez to a 1yr $3mil deal with $1mil in incentives. Coming off a 2yr deal with the Twins, which saw him play all over the diamond except for CF, C, P, he hit .248/.311/.387 in 662PA.

-The Red Sox and RHRP Hirokazu Sawamura agreed on a 2yr $3mil deal with incentives. The soon to be 33yo posted a 6.08ERA over 13.2IP to start 2020 before a trade, which he then had a 1.71ERA over 21IP. He has a 97MPH fastball, low-90s splitter, and slider.

-The SF Giants signed RHP Aaron Sanchez to a 1yr deal worth $4mil and $2.5 in incentives. Since his all-star season in 2016 with the Blue Jays, he has a 5.29ERA/5.12FIP over 55starts and 272.1IP. Sanchez wants a rotation spot, and his 47.8% groundball rate might get him such.

-The NY Yankees signed RHRP Justin Wilson to a 1yr deal. The 33yo returns to the Bronx after spending time with the Tigers, Cubs, and Mets since 2015 with the Yankees. Wilson has been an effective reliever as he owns a 3.27ERA/3.54SIERA over 429.1IP

-The NY Mets signed OF Kevin Pillar to a 1yr $3.6mil deal with a $2.9mil player option with no buyout OR $6.4mil club option with a $1.4mil buyout. The 32yo Pillar is best known for his world-class defense in CF. Last season he posted a .288/.336/.462 slash in 223PA and will provide excellent depth for the Mets.

-The Minnesota Twins signed RHP Matt Shoemaker to a 1yr $2mil deal. The 34yo was only able to throw 28.2IP in 2019(ACL) and 2020(shoulder inflammation), and in 2020 he had a 4.71ERA/4.35SIERA and career-high 92.1MPH fastball velo.

-The Milwaukee Brewers re-signed LHP Brett Anderson to a 1yr, $2.5mil deal. The 33yo threw 176IP of 3.89ERA ball with the A's in 2019. With the Brewers in 2020, he made ten starts with a 4.21ERA/4.40SIERA with a 57.7% groundball rate over 47IP.

-The Arizona Diamondbacks signed INF Asdrubal Cabrera to a 1yr $1.75mil deal with $1.05mil in incentives. In 2020 he hit .242/.305/.447 in 213PA. The 35yo switch-hitter owns a career .268/.330/.426 line over 7046PA.

-The Pittsburg Pirates signed LHP Tyler Anderson to 1yr $2.5mil deal. The 31yo appeared in 13 games with the Giants in 2021, posting a 4.37ERA/5.69SIERA over 59.2IP. The SIERA was the 2nd worst among all pitchers, with at least 50IP in 2020.

-The Padres signed RHRP Mark Melancon to a deal. The 36yo is a former All-Star closer. After a 2019 trade to the Braves, he posted 22 saves, 26.3%K rate, 6.2%BB rate over 43.2IP.

-The Tigers signed OF Nomar Mazara(25) to a 1yr $1.75mil with incentives. From 2017-19 with the Rangers, he hit .259/.320/.440 with 59HR over 1621PA. In 2020 he was miserable for the White Sox as he hit .228/.295/.294 in 149PA.

-The Phillies signed UTL Brad Miller to a 1yr $3-3.5mil deal. The 31yo Miller gives the team an excellent depth piece. With the Cardinals in 2020, he slashed .232/.357/.451 in 171PA. Over the past three seasons, he owns a .247/.329/.468.

-The Blue Jays signed RHRP David Phelps to a 1yr $1.75mil deal with $750K via incentives. Phelps looked great in his first 13IP with the Brewers before a trade to the Phillies had him give up 11R in 7.2IP. He did, however, post a career-high 36.5%K rate and career-low 5.9%BB rate.

-The deal is all but official; the Texas Rangers are nearing a deal with LHP Hyeon-Jong Yang. The deal is assumed to be a minor league deal worth $1.3 deal with an invite to camp. The 32yo was posted seven seasons ago, and the Rangers were the top bid then. In 2020 Yang posted a 4.70ERA over 172.1IP. Yang is a former KBO MVP; from 2013-19 posted a 3.35ERA over 1200IP.

Free Agent Rumors:

-No huge rumors to talk about today.

Free Agent Notes:

-Despite rumors, the Yankees and OF Brett Gardner have had ZERO contract talk since Halloween of 2020.

-The NY Mets are talking to RHRP Trevor Rosenthal

Official Trades:

The Redsox, Royals, Mets pulled off a 3-team on 2/10. The Red Sox acquired OF Franchy Cordero(Royals), RHP Josh Winckowski(Mets), and 3 PTBNL. The Royals acquired OF Andrew Benintendi(Red Sox), and the Mets acquired OF Khalil Lee(Royals). The Red Sox are getting the 26yo Cordero, who has only taken 315PA at the MLB level due to injuries, and a potential 4/5 starter in Winckowski who has yet to crack the upper minors. The Royals are getting a once budding start in Benintendi, whose injuries have slowed. The Royals hope he can return to form at the plate and rebound from his foot speed decline. The Mets may have made off the best in the deal with Lee, who had 53SB at the AA level in 2019 but has some development left as a hitter.

-The Texas Rangers acquired RHP Josh Sborz from the Dodgers for RHP Jhan Zambrano. The 27yo Sborz lost his roster spot to Trevor Bauer. He saw action in 2019-20 in 13.1IP pitching to a 6.08ERA/5.14SIERA. The 19yo Zambrano tossed 60IP with a 2.55ERA and 52:16 K-BB in the DSL in 2019.

-The Milwaukee Brewers acquired OF Derek Fisher from the Blue Jays for cash and a PTBNL. Fisher is now with his 3rd organization in his career. He hasn't had much success between the Astros and Jays since 2019. He posted a 1.94/.286/.376 line with 17HR in 458PA over the last two seasons.

-The Miami Marlins acquired RHRP Dylan Floro from the LA Dodgers in exchange for LHP Alex Vesia and a PTBNL. The 30yo Floro has pitched to a 3.10ERA/3.68SIERA over 98.2IP with the Dodger since 2018. He also isn't due for free agency until after the 2023 season. Vesia made his MLB debut in 2020, giving up 9ER, 7H, 7BB, 5K in 4.1IP. Vesia is only 24yo and carries a 1.62ERA in 100IP in the minors.

-The Oakland A's acquired LHP Adam Kolarek and OF Cody Thomas from the LA Dodgers for INF Sheldon Neuse and RHP Gus Varland. Kolarek comes in and fills a massive void in pen. The 32yo Kolarek is a ground ball specialist and dominates lefty hitters. He has a 3.07ERA in recent seasons with a 63.3% ground ball rate. He is also controllable for four more seasons. The 26yo Neuse is a primary 3B but can also play 2B and has a pair of minor league options still. He debuted in 2019, hitting a .250/.295/.304 slash over 61PA. The 26yo Thomas has an MLB-ready bat and can play both corners OF positions. The 24yo Varland has 64.1IP in the MiLB level. With 26.1IP at the A level in 2019 with a 2.39ERA/4.00FIP.

-The St. Louis Cardinals acquired C Ali Sanchez from the NY Mets in exchange for cash. Sanchez made his MLB debut in 2020; however, he only had 10PA, which he went 1-9 in. He split 2019 between AA/AAA, and he slashed .261/.326/.322. Over six MiLB seasons, he has slashed .259/.317/.331 in 1484PA.

Trade Rumors:

-The Mets have resumed talks on a potential Kris Bryant trade as of 2/11. They have also called on Reds Eugenio Suarez.

--HOWEVER, Jed Hoyer(Cubs president of baseball operations) told reporters in a Zoom call; Hoyer emphasized that he is not engaged in any active trade conversations and has not had recent trade talks. "By and large, I would expect this is what our team will look like," Hoyer added (link via Gordon Wittenmyer of NBC Sports Chicago).

Injury Updates:

-RHRP David Robertson held his showcase on 2/11; the 35yo should find himself a deal rather quickly with his long track record of success. The Yankees, Mets, and Cubs were all in attendance

-RHP Chaz Roe threw a bullpen for interested teams over valentines day weekend. The Red Sox were in attendance. Roe threw 9.1IP in 2020. However, the track record over three seasons with the Rays he pitched to a 3.54ERA/3.73SIERA in 1119.1IP.

Prospect Buzz:

Stay tuned for the yearly previews that will feature every prospect you should be watching through spring training!

Thanks for reading today; I am so grateful for your time reading. I also want to thank my partners over at Repp Sports for RAZE Energy. Thanks to this clean and sufficient energy, I can have the intense focus to deliver content to you guys consistently. Click here to save 15% right now with the code "BALL BOY" at check out.

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