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- Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas will begin the season on the injured list after receiving a platelet-rich plasma injection to treat a flexor tendon issue in his right arm. With the 2018 All-Star sidelined, Carlos Martínez and Kwang-hyun Kim are the favorites to win St. Louis’ fourth and fifth starter spots.
- It is pretty much par for the course at this point that the Astros simply lack the self-awareness and competence to handle the public relations surrounding, well, just about anything. However, MLB’s mishandling of the Astros scandal highlights what has been a truly terrible offseason for commissioner Rob Manfred. The sad part: a lot of it is his fault.
- The Braves are coming off back-to-back division titles and have one of the most exciting young cores in the game of baseball. As a reward for their recent success, the Braves extended general manager Alex Anthopoulos, manager Brian Snitker, and the coaching staff.
- Rough news, Cleveland fans: Mike Clevinger will miss six to eight weeks as he recovers from knee surgery. I guess the bright side is that his left meniscus will be good as new. The not-so-bright side is that their pitching rotation, which has already taken a beating this offseason, is down its main man.
- Reese McGuire has shown a lot of promise at the plate early in his career with the Blue Jays. However, one must question his judgment a bit as he was arrested last week for indecent exposure in a public parking lot. There are very few justifications for such behavior that make it not sound bad, but the details of his actions and explanation are, well, weird.
- Cole Hamels signed a one-year, $18 million deal with the Braves to be a reliable source of quality innings for the young team. That deal is not off to the best of starts, as Hamels is dealing with shoulder discomfort. Even if the issue resolves itself in the next couple of weeks (which is not certain), it does not sound like he will be ready to start the season.
- On the eve of their first official spring training workout, the Red Sox finally settled on a manager for the 2020, naming bench coach and former Brewers manager Ron Roenicke as their interim manager. Roenicke went 342-331 over four-plus seasons in Boston, so it’ll be interesting to see if he can make himself an intriguing full-time candidate over his year as a fill-in.
- MLB players are not pleased with the anemic and insincere apology from the Astros. And can you blame them?
- Major League Baseball has been trying its best to reshape itself in a way to help it get back to its former glory and popularity on a number of fronts in recent years. Whether it was the exploration of pace of play changes to the ability to steal first base to an automated strike zone, the league has at least been willing to talk about proposals that, until now, have been basically off the table. Now, they are floating an idea to increase the number of playoff teams and letting the higher seeds choose their opponents in the in the first round. A significant portion of the internet seems to hate it, but hey....it is at least something to talk about.
- After the deal was held up for almost a week, Mookie Betts and David Price were finally dealt to the Dodgers, with the Twins altering their end of the bargain. While it was initially reported that Brusdar Graterol would go to Boston, he instead ended up going to Los Angeles. In addition to the pitching prospect, the Dodgers also received outfield prospect Luke Raley and the 67th pick in the 2020 draft. Talk about taking the money and running. Kenta Maeda will still head to the Twins, and the pot is a little sweeter now for the Red Sox, who still receive Alex Verdugo but also add catching prospect Connor Wong and infield phenom Jeter Downs. Yes, a guy named Jeter is now on the Red Sox. Cue the alternate universe theories.
- Some guys are just dealt more bad luck than others. Case in point: James Paxton. While healthy, he has shown the ability to be one of the better pitchers in the league...but he has never really shown the ability to consistently stay on the field. The veteran starter had to undergo surgery to remove a cyst on his spine and will miss the next three or four months.
- The Giants have signed versatile infielder and lefty masher Wilmer Flores to a two-year deal with an option for a third year. Flores is a lifetime .387/.439/.639 hitter in 132 plate appearances against the Giants, so they’ll be glad to have him on their side in 2020 and beyond.
- The Astros have been dealing with a mess of their own making this offseason. After snagging Dusty Baker to fill in as their skipper in the wake of the sign stealing scandal that rocked the entire league, the organization made the move to bring on former Rays executive James Click to be their new general manager for what is going to be a very important time in the franchise’s history.
- The Rays have acquired Manuel Margot and Logan Driscoll from Padres in exchange for Emilio Pagán. While Tampa Bay reinforces their strong hold in centerfield and adds some depth behind the plate, the Padres will strengthen what it already a solid bullpen. It feels like everyone is just finding what makes them a good team and mercilessly adding onto it in the hopes of never running out of such talent. This begs a very important question: are the Rays okay????
- The Mariners are having to look long-term for their playoff aspirations, but things appear to be going well for them on that front as they have some exciting young talent on the way. To prepare themselves down the road, they locked up their durable young lefty Marco Gonzales with a four-year contract extension.
- The Cubs’ brazen use of MLB’s service time rules in order to gain an extra year of control over Kris Bryant was about as obvious of a case of service time manipulation as a team can do without outright saying that they were holding him down in the minors for that purpose. As a result, a decision on Bryant’s grievance regarding the matter took longer than expected, but he still came out on the losing side.
- If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it: The Red Sox brought back veteran first baseman Mitch Moreland, signing him to his third short-term deal in four years. This contract, which guarantees Moreland $3 million, is a one-year pact but includes a club option for 2021.
- The Diamondbacks have acquired Starling Marte from the Pirates. In exchange for the two-time Gold Glover, Pittsburgh will be receiving infield prospect Liover Peguero, right-handed pitching prospect Brennan Malone, and international bonus pool space. The Diamondbacks, meanwhile, seem to be beyond determined this winter.
- The Reds have become another odd but not confusing force of nature this offseason. Their latest endeavor is signing Nick Castellanos to a four-year deal. This powerhouse at the plate is set to make $64M for his time in Cincy. He joins Mike Moustaskas, Shogo Akiyama, and Wade Miley on the list of guys you’ll spend 2020 repeating, “Oh right, he’s on the Reds now” about.
- Mitch Haniger’s breakout 2018 season now feels like it was a long time ago. After a 2019 season that was, by most accounts, disappointing and punctuated by a truly painful injury, Haniger was hoping that 2020 was going to be better. Unfortunately, an abdominal injury while working out is now leading to surgery and will keep him out for at least most of spring