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MLB trade rumors and news: Blue Jays sign George Springer and Kirby Yates

After being hyped up as a potential big spender all offseason, Toronto finally makes a couple big additions.

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Houston Astros v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images

he 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.

  • The Blue Jays have been hyped up as a team to watch all offseason, and they finally delivered on Tuesday, signing star outfielder George Springer to a six-year, $150 million contract and former All-Star closer Kirby Yates to a one-year deal. While the Jays’ rotation depth is still somewhat questionable, they now look like a rather serious playoff contender heading into 2021.
  • The Angels will try to rehab José Quintana — who was once one of the majors’ best starting pitchers but has struggled in recent seasons — signing the left-hander to a one-year, $8 million deal on Tuesday.
  • We’ve lost far too many baseball legends over the last year. Seven Hall of Famers passed away in 2020, and after Tommy Lasorda passed earlier this month, we lost another all-time great on Tuesday as Don Sutton passed away at the age of 75. Sutton pitched in the majors for 23 seasons, winning 324 games while posting a 3.26 ERA and striking out 3,574 — a total that ranks seventh in major-league history. He went on to have a legendary second act, spending 30 years as a broadcaster, mostly for the Braves. He’ll be sorely missed.
  • Leave it to the Mets to take a personnel move that was largely applauded and still manage to screw it up. The Mets hired Jared Porter to work under the returning Sandy Alderson to help rebuild what has been a franchise decimated by meddling and financial issues of their previous owners, the Wilpons. However, it was revealed Monday night that Porter sent dozens of unsolicited texts to a reporter in 2016, including very explicit ones. It got so bad that the reporter ended up leaving the country and deciding to work in a different industry. That is a bad, bad look. The Mets decided by Tuesday morning to fire Porter, and Alderson announced that he’ll run the team without a general manager in 2021.
  • Jon Lester is in the twilight of his career, so where he signed for 2021 wasn’t as big a source of intrigue as it was a few years ago. However, it is always good to know what the baseball landscape looks like and what teams are trying to do, and Lester and the Nationals worked out a deal for 2021 with a mutual option on Monday. That Nationals roster, in particular their rotation, is getting old fast...
  • The Padres have been incredibly fun to watch both on the field in 2020 as well as this offseason. You would have thought that the team was pleased to get two pitchers the caliber of Blake Snell and Yu Darvish in the same offseason, but they didn’t stop there as San Diego traded a bunch of prospects in a three team deal that allowed them to acquire Joe Musgrove from the Pirates to further solidify their rotation. That NL West race is going to be a VERY interesting one.
  • The Cubs have signed veteran starter Shelby Miller to a minor-league deal, according to MLB’s Mark Feinsand. He’ll earn $875K if he makes it to Chicago’s big league roster. The 30-year old has had a rough past two seasons, posting an 8.59 ERA last season over 44 innings pitched and striking out 30. The deal is a safe one for Chicago, with a low-risk, high-reward scenario if they can get Miller to even a fraction of his All-Star form without breaking the bank.
  • The Yankees have officially stopped dragging their feet and are finalizing a 6-year deal with DJ LeMahieu. That contract will run the team $90M to keep the second baseman. In his two years with the team, the 32-year old has slashed .336/.386/.536 with 129 RBI and was a major fan favorite. Before being brought back by the Yankees, the All-Star was in serious talks with multiple teams, including the Blue Jays and Mets.
  • Brian Cashman is at it again, and New York is adding a slew of new faces. The Yankees have agreed to a deal with Corey Kluber. The two-time Cy Young Award winner will help round out a very flat back end of New York’s rotation. The one-year, $11M deal will hopefully see a much healthier Kluber than the one who dealt with a linger shoulder issue last season.
  • It is pretty clear that sleeping on the White Sox is a bad idea as, after a surprisingly good 2020 season thanks to oodles of young talent, they are very much on the rise in the AL Central. Their bullpen got a big boost as the White Sox opened their wallets in a big way to sign closer Liam Hendriks to a three year, $54 million deal. It is an open question as to why the White Sox felt compelled to give that much money in this market to a reliever, but it is obvious that they are not messing around in trying to try and bring a title to Chi-Town.
  • Ever since Steve Cohen bought the Mets from the Wilpons, fans have been waiting for the team to make the big splash that Cohen had promised. They did just that as they pulled off a huge trade with the Indians to acquire Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco. It doesn’t sound like the Mets are done, either.
  • The Yankees acquired Greg Allen, who had recently been DFAed, from the Padres. Allen, who is very strong defensively in the outfield and...less strong offensively, didn’t have a spot with the Padres as they continue their roster overhaul, so we will see how the Yankees utilize him with all of the big bats in their outfield.
  • Blake Treinen went from being perhaps the best reliever in the majors and receiving Cy Young votes in 2018 to struggling and getting non-tendered by the A’s in 2019. Last year, the Dodgers took a $10 million gamble on the former All-Star reliever, and it paid off in a big way as he bounced back and helped them win their first World Series in 32 years. LA brought him back for more, signing the right-hander to a two-year deal worth a guaranteed $17.5 million, with an $8 million club option or $1.5 million buyout for 2023.
  • Outfielder Robbie Grossman, a switch-hitter with a penchant for drawing walks, had a career year in 2020, hitting .241/.344/.482 with eight homers in 192 plate appearances. He was rewarded for that shortened-season success, agreeing to a two-year, $10 million deal with the Tigers that includes incentives based on playing time. It’s the first multi-year signing the Tigers have made since the beginning of the 2016 season.
  • As MLB looks to increase social distancing in spring training this year (and perhaps boost the chances of minor-league teams beginning the season with fans in the stands), minor-leaguers slated to begin the season in any level besides Triple-A will wait to report to camp until after major-leaguers and Triple-A players have departed. Under that timeline, the Double-A and A-ball seasons likely won’t begin until May at the earliest.
  • Yasiel Puig was all set to join the Atlanta Braves last season before a COVID-19 diagnosis derailed that deal and ultimately derailed his entire 2020 season. However, not playing last season doesn’t seem to be detouring teams too much, as several teams including the Yankees, Red Sox, and Astros are looking at signing him.
  • In the time of COVID-19, nothing is written in stone. However, it looks like this season is pacing to start on time, The Athletic’s Evan Drellich reports. MLB and the MLBPA have both announced their plans to stick to the original CBA, which includes a start to spring training that is on track to have a regularly scheduled Opening Day. Of course, this is music to the ears of so many, but could very well be a pipe dream depending on how the number of cases are progressing and if the vaccine has become available to the general public yet. Even if the season runs the full 162 games, it’s highly unlikely that we’ll see jam packed stadiums, much to the chagrin of team owners.
  • MLB is adding extra pressure and stress to the already stretched-thin MiLB, demanding teams sign nondisclosure and indemnification agreements.
  • The Phillies need to rebuild their bullpen in the worst way this offseason after their relief corps posted a dreadful 7.06 ERA in 2020, and they took an initial stab at doing so by acquiring lefty José Alvarado in a three-way deal with the Rays and Dodgers. Alvarado, a flamethrowing 25-year-old, was one of the best relievers in baseball for Tampa in 2018, posting a 2.39 ERA and 1.11 WHIP over 70 relief appearances. Since then, however, he has a 5.08 ERA and 1.82 WHIP over 44 games, dealing with oblique, elbow, and shoulder injuries over that span. Lefty relief prospect Garrett Cleavinger heads from Philly to LA, while first base prospect Dillon Paulson and a player to be named later are headed to the Rays.
  • If you weren’t already convinced that the Padres were going to be a force to contend with in 2021, you probably are now after a frantic 24-36 hours from San Diego. After swinging a deal for Blake Snell late on a Sunday night they swung a deal to land Yu Darvish from the Cubsless than 24 hours later in a move that has reshaped the NL Central and NL West division races. The West looks like it could be really tough race between the Dodgers and Padres while the Central looks... well, like a division that no one wants to really try and win.
  • In addition to their forays into the trade market, the Padres also made a splash on the international market as they landed the top South Korean bat on the market, Ha-seong Kim. The acquisition of Kim does lead to some roster/playing time questions, but the good kind where the team has a lot of good bats to choose from.
  • The Padres have acquired southpaw Blake Snell from Rays. In exchange for the 28-year old, San Diego will be sending a prospect laden package of Luis Patiño, Cole Wilcox, Francisco Mejía and Blake Hunt to Tampa Bay. Patiño is the Padres No. 3 prospect, as well as the No. 23 prospect in the MLB Pipeline.
  • The Pirates have traded Josh Bell to the Nationals. This was a great opportunity for the Nationals, a low-risk/high-reward deal that could put some spark back into the team. After a season that stands as the second biggest disaster in Washington in 2020, the Nationals are in flux with their main core of players. Adding a veteran slugger presence for the price of mid-level pitching is the right direction for the Nationals. Eddy Yean and Wil Crowe, the pitching prospects of mention, will be heading to Pittsburgh as the other half of this deal.
  • The White Sox have signed 23-year-old outfielder Yoelqui Céspedes, a Cuban defector who is the half-brother of longtime major-leaguer Yoenis Céspedes, to a deal with a bonus of near $2 million, reports’s Jesse Sanchez. Céspedes is ranked as the top international prospect in the world by MLB Pipeline.
  • Howie Kendrick never really formed into a full-fledged star in baseball, but he was highly valued around the league as an important supporting piece on competing teams. Towards the end of his career, the Dodgers and Nationals sought him out with the Nationals getting the biggest reward thanks to a strong postseason performance from Kendrick that helped Washington clinch a World Series title. Kendrick recently decided to retire from baseball after 15 seasons. While the shortened season gave Howie a bit of pause as to whether he truly wanted to hang up his cleats, it sounds like sticking with his initial impulse was the correct one. Enjoy retirement, Howie... you have earned it.
  • The Rays had themselves quite the run in 2020 all the way to the World Series and they are bringing back a familiar face from that run as Mike Zunino is returning on a one year deal with an option for 2022. Zunino’s option will depend on how much playing time he ends up getting next year and, given that he had a pretty bad 2020 season, that is very much up in the air. However, Zunino does have power upside at the plate and the Rays are very light on catching options at the moment, but for $3 million...they could probably do worse.
  • The Giants continued to make sneaky interesting signings when they signed Anthony DeSclafani to a one year deal. For $6 million, the Giants get a pitcher who has had a lot of promise, but has been hampered by injuries and the fact that he has had to play in the Reds’ home ballpark/band box. 2020 was a down year for him, so this is the Giants buying low on a guy that could turn into an asset if they can keep him healthy and get him back to the form he had a few years ago.
  • At least a few MLB owners believe the start of next year’s spring training should be delayed until after players and team personnel receive the COVID-19 vaccine, per USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale. It should be interesting to see how heated this debate gets between ownership and players, who almost certainly will see this stance as another ploy by the league to cut salaries for a second straight season.
  • Cleveland’s professional baseball club has been moving towards a complete rebranding for quite a while now. After ditching its retro logo designs that were less than enlightened as well as getting rid of the Chief Wahoo mascot in recent years, the team has now made the move to remove ‘Indians’ from their name altogether. Interestingly, there is no word yet as to what the new team name will be, so its probably best to reserve total judgment until we know what we are going to be calling the team.
  • The Mets have signed catcher James McCann to a four-year deal. The Mets are looking to ride the offensive wave that McCann rode in on last season: a healthy slash line of .289/.360/.536 over 111 plate appearances. He’ll be the new starting catcher for the Mets, and hopefully for their sake can provide some much needed consistency behind the plate.
  • The Phillies have hired Dave Dombrowski as president of baseball operations, letting the league know that they’re still here to compete. It will be interesting to see what Dombrowski will do with a team that is already running on empty when it comes to top prospects.
  • One of the more under the radar baseball stories from 2020 has been the lack of an agreement between MiLB and MLB regarding the relationship between the two as well as which teams were actually going to be a part of the league’s talent development pipeline. We already knew that there was going to be a culling and some of that was previewed with the composition of some independent leagues and the draft league including some former minor league affiliates. However, the league finally sent invitations out to 119 minor league clubs which, when it is all said and done, will be a significant reduction in minor league teams over what we saw in 2019.
  • The Royals have been the most active team on the free agent market so far this offseason, re-signing reliever Greg Holland while also signing outfielder Michael A. Taylor, lefty Mike Minor, and first baseman Carlos Santana, who inked a two-year, $17 million deal with Kansas City. Santana, who turns 35 in April, has spent 10 of his 11 major-league seasons with the Indians and has tortured the Royals over the years, posting a .953 OPS in 663 plate appearances against Kansas City with a 1.077 OPS in 334 PAs at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals will hope Santana can recreate that same magic now that The K is his home ballpark.
  • 28-year-old right-hander Matt Wisler was largely considered a failed prospect heading into the 2020 season, but after altering his approach, scrapping his curveball and changeup and switching to throwing almost exclusively sliders, Wisler had a breakout season out of the Twins’ bullpen, posting a 1.07 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP over 25.1 innings. Minnesota obviously didn’t believe it was worth the cost to see if he could sustain his success, as they non-tendered him, but he quickly found a new home, signing a one-year, $1.15 million deal with the Giants.
  • While we did see some roster moves ahead of the non-tender deadline that we have already noted, the deadline itself is where we see the bulk of moves made and yesterday was no exception. While the non-tender deadline wasn’t quite as severe as some thought it would be, there was still a whole bunch of new free agents added to the pool. Our own Andersen Pickard put together a tracker with notes on both all of the guys non-tendered as well as those who did, in fact, end up getting tendered deals who were in limbo.
  • The Rangers announced that former catcher and Gold Glove third baseman Isiah Kiner-Falefa will take over as their starting shortstop in 2021. Elvis Andrus, the team’s starting shortstop for the last 12 seasons, will transition to a utility infielder role.
  • While young starters Max Fried and Ian Anderson showed great hope for the future, one could argue that the Braves’ downfall in 2020 was the inconsistency in their rotation. They’ve made multiple moves to boost their starting pitching in 2021, first signing Drew Smyly to a one-year, $11 million deal, then bringing back old friend Charlie Morton on a one-year, $15 million contract. While Smyly and Morton both carry some level of risk, it’s hard to go wrong with one-year contracts, and if Smyly and Morton are at their best, the Braves’ rotation could return to being one of the strengths of the team next season.
  • There has been quite a bit of re-arranging across the league in terms of the leaderships of various front offices. That trend continued when the Brewers promoted Matt Arnold, who had served as the team’s assistant general manager, to the posts of senior vice president and general manager. Arnold had been a candidate for several top jobs around the league and the Brewers made sure that he wasn’t going anywhere for the foreseeable future.
  • Mets second baseman Robinson Canó tested positive for a banned substance for the second time and has been suspended for the entire 2021 season as a result. His subsequent silence on the matter has been, well, deafening and telling.