The MLB Daily Dish is a daily feature we’re running here at MLBDD that rounds up roster-impacting news, rumors, and analysis. Have feedback or have something that should be the shared? Hit us up at @mlbdailydish on Twitter or @MLBDailyDish on Instagram.
- Many a moon ago (so, like, a few months ago) a rumor swirled around that the San Francisco Giants had heightened interest in former Dodgers outfielder and current national treasure, Yasiel Puig. Well, in our wildest baseball dreams it appears that may be coming to fruition now. Cuban baseball writer Francys Romero is reporting that a deal with the Giants is almost done.
Sources: Yasiel Puig is very close to sign with San Francisco Giants, a source tells me. The contract amount is unknown, but would have a one-year option.— Francys Romero (@FrancysRomero10) April 26, 2020
Both sides, Puig and Giants are waiting for MLB to clarify the return date of baseball to make the official agreement. pic.twitter.com/I6f7xWT7go
Puig nor the Giants have released any formal comments regarding this alleged contract, so take all of this with, like, half of a grain of salt. Given the freeze MLB has put on transactions, we may not have an official statement on this until baseball resumes, and your guess is as good as mine on that. He’d certainly add some fun and enjoyable baseball during a tough rebuild for the Giants, plus a solid bat to their lineup. And now, like everything else these days...we wait.
- The MLBPA’s negations for May are melting away like cotton candy in the rain. It’s time for the union to walk away from the 2020 season.
- We have been waiting a long time to see the results of MLB’s investigation into the Red Sox mainly because that investigation (regardless of the results) has been the only holdup in seeing what punishment Alex Cora was going to receive for his misdeeds with the Astros. Well, we got our answer yesterday as Cora received just a one year ban and Boston additionally lost a 2nd round pick and had a replay operator get a one year timeout as a well. To say that that punishment is underwhelming is a pretty big understatement.
- On MLB service time and being caught ‘in-the-middle’.
- MLB and Minor League Baseball are reportedly close to an agreement that would cause 42 minor-league teams to lose their big-league affiliations. While there are perhaps a few positives to be taken from this deal — every club will have the same number of minor-league affiliates, travel will be more efficient, and minor-leaguers will get paid more — it’s extremely rough news for employees and fans in the affected markets and the players whose dreams will be crushed as more than 1,000 jobs are eliminated.
- You won’t have to look hard to find strong feelings about Alex Rodriguez. From his repeated PED usage to the alleged artist rendering of him as a centaur that he had commissioned, ARod is nothing if not a controversial figure in the game of baseball who has been at least trying to rehab that image of late with his broadcast work. Now, it looks like he and his fiancee Jennifer Lopez are trying to gather together the funds and investors so that they can buy the Mets.
- While it is probably safe to say that all of the MLB players and executives are going to be just fine financially despite the impact that the COVID-19 outbreak has had on the sport, the same couldn’t be said about the hourly and seasonal employees who were relying on games to be played to provide for themselves and their families. That is why it has been heartening to see stories that more and more teams are committing to pay these employees through at least the first few months of the season if not longer despite the fact that no games are being played.
- After undergoing Tommy John surgery last September, Adam Warren’s baseball suitors weren’t exactly beating down his door for a contract. However, he was able to snag a deal with a team he’s already very familiar with: the Yankees. The reliever has worked out a two-year minor league contract with the club, reports George A. King III of the New York Post. He would already be spending 2020 recovering from surgery, so the added time given the current situation only strengthens his case for a good comeback in 2021.
- The recent agreement that MLB and the MLBPA reached regarding how the 2020 season would be handled in the wake of the pandemic that is sweeping across the globe gave some hope that the two sides could get past their numerous differences to make not only the 2020 season work, but also potentially avoid a work stoppage once the CBA expires. However, those hopes hit a pretty significant snag, as it is pretty clear from Ken Rosenthal’s reporting that the two sides have very different takes on whether or not the money that had been guaranteed to players in that agreement was still guaranteed if there were no fans in the stadiums when games resumed.
- 10,000 members of the MLB community ranging from team employees to concession workers and ushers to players and their families will participate in the United States’ first and largest COVID-19 antibody study, as The Athletic’s Molly Knight reported last week. The study will not have any effect on whether or how quickly the 2020 MLB season begins, but it will assist the medical community in discovering how much COVID-19 has spread in the US and how many individuals have built up the antibodies that make them immune to the virus.
- Dr. Anthony Fauci outlines how sports could return this summer and someone give this man a raise immediately.
- Add “home improvement project” to Joe Kelly’s isolation check list. Watch here as the pitcher briefly forgets how throwing a baseball works, sub sequentially breaking one of his windows. At least he’s getting all the bad pitches out of his system?
- In what could be a positive sign for the chances of the 2020 MLB season taking place, Arizona governor Doug Ducey says he’s “open-minded” to the idea of hosting some or all MLB games at empty spring training ballparks in the Phoenix area, provided that it’s safe to do so.
- Yankees co-owner Hank Steinbrenner passed away earlier this month at age 63 after an extended illness. Hank had stepped back from the spotlight in the past decade or so after initially serving as the face of the ownership group when his father, George, fell ill last decade. His brother, Hal Steinbrenner, has been more front-facing in recent years and will lead the team moving forward.
- MLB has committed to paying league employees through at least the end of May, with Rob Manfred and other senior staff members taking major pay cuts for 2020.
- Pirates reliever Nick Burdi could be poised for a comeback if this season ever kicks off, Mike Perzak of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. Burdi suffered a devastating injury mid-game last April when, immediately after delivering a pitch, he collapsed to the mound in pain. An MRI determined the pitcher had strains in his bicep tendon and flexor and eventually needed surgery for neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome. As Perzak reports, the 27-year old’s fastball has come back with a vengeance, and he could be a solid anchor for Pittsburgh’s bullpen if the season begins any time soon. While his health is a delicate thing, it’s unclear yet if this rehabbed success could linger into 2021 if we don’t see baseball this year.
- Josh Hamilton’s fall from grace and subsequent redemption have been covered heavily over the years. His drug abuse and nearly leaving baseball altogether only to return and claim the AL MVP award and be one of the league’s more feared hitters was a lovely success story. However, since then, Hamilton has fallen on some other setbacks in his life, and now he finds himself facing some serious charges involving assaulting his eldest daughter.
- Here’s something heartwarming: 30 MLB players are participating in MLB The Show tournament that benefits charity.
- Due to, well, *gestures at everything*, MLB is considering realigning into Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues for 2020 season. It walks back a little of the original plan to play exclusively in Arizona, which would certainly help in the crowding department of trying to have all 30 teams, their players, staff, and etc all crammed into a “bubble” of containment and safety. But even with the added tweaks, it still begs the question: is it practical?
- With the prospect of players and ballpark personnel potentially being cooped up in hotels for months on end, the reported plan to begin the season in empty Arizona stadiums has obviously provoked a multitude of reactions. While some players surveyed by The Athletic’s Andy McCullough expressed concern about the idea, there appears to be a lot more enthusiasm from players and coaches than many fans and media members expected.
- The world didn’t need more bad news, but unfortunately that didn’t stop it from happening as we lost Hall of Famer Al Kaline. “Mr. Tiger” was 85 years old and leaves behind not only an impressive legacy from his 22-season Hall of Fame career, but also a reputation as a humble and wonderful man who represented the Tigers with grace over his many years. He will be missed.
- Need some additional drama to add to this pandemic situation? According to a report from Zach Buchanan of The Athletic, three minority owners of the Diamondbacks have joined forces to sue Ken Kendrick, the team’s managing general partner. The suit stems from a letter Kendrick sent owners that instructed anyone with less than one percent of the team either increase their shares of the franchise or sell them back to the team at a price that will be determined by an appraiser. While Kendrick feels this ultimatum was fair and square, this trio of owners are saying this act of backing them into the corner was illegal. Cue soap opera music.
- There is a lot of potential weirdness surrounding the current COVID-19 situation and what the loss of regular season games or even the whole season could mean for various players and team employees. However, one such area of weirdness has already been ironed out as it has been reported that even if the 2020 season doesn’t happen, the punishments handed down to the Astros’ Jeff Luhnow and AJ Hinch will be considered served. This was likely to be a necessary move given how the league is planning on handling MLB service time, even though it doesn’t necessarily feel great.
- Thanks to the upheaval of amateur baseball caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the MLB Draft will be dramatically shorter for at least the next two seasons — and if that’s a sign of things to come, it could be a really bad thing for the sport.
- While he hasn’t yet written an official report on the matter, Rob Manfred says the investigation into the Red Sox sign-stealing scandal is finished.
- At this point, no one really knows if there will be a 2020 MLB season. But if there is, Noah Syndergaard won’t be part of it. The Mets right-hander recently underwent Tommy John surgery.
- Shin-Soo Choo is pledging $190K to help Rangers minor league players.
- There has been and will continue to be not-so-great news surrounding the spread of the coronavirus for the next several weeks and even months. However, there are also going to be reminders that human beings, in the face of a crisis and/or when shown people in need, can be really, really good, too. Pittsburgh Pirates players, for example, got together on their own to buy 400 pizzas from a couple local pizzerias and had them delivered to area hospital staff. Good on them.
- Let’s all take a moment to be disappointed, but not surprised: Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale underwent Tommy John surgery. This comes after a 2019 that started out promising for the ace. A five-year, $145M extension was how Sale started off the season, but rough starts followed by elbow inflammation ended his venture prematurely. Props to him on picking the right timing though, considering there might not even be a season to miss.
- MLB has announced a financial support plan for minor-league players amid (it’s a buzzword so get used to it) the COVID-19 outbreak. But don’t let this incredible testament to peer pressure and public outcry distract you from the fact that writer for The Athletic and angel of baseball Emily Waldon was the first and biggest advocate for minor league players once this crisis hit.