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MLB trade rumors and news: Rays bring back Chris Archer, Reds nearing deal with Sean Doolittle

The hot stove is heating up a bit as spring training nears.

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MLB: Miami Marlins at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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.

  • Chris Archer was a two-time All-Star and one of baseball’s most exciting starting pitchers over six-plus seasons with the Rays. After missing all of last season following thoracic outlet syndrome surgery, he’ll try to rediscover that magic with Tampa in 2021, as he signed a one-year, $6.5 million deal with the Rays.
  • After a dreadful 2020 season that was torn apart by injuries, two-time All-Star reliever Sean Doolittle will try to rebuild his value this season in Cincinnati, as he’s nearing a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Reds.
  • A key member of the Bomba Squad is back for 2021, as the Twins brought back DH Nelson Cruz on a one-year, $13 million deal on Tuesday.
  • It looks like the 2021 season will start on time as scheduled and will not include many of the changes from last season, including the universal DH. MLB made a late offer to the player’s union to have a slightly shortened season and expanded playoffs while also instituting the universal DH. However, the players cited concerns over pitcher injuries (a lot of these guys have already ramped up) and issues over the schedule and financial considerations in rejecting that offer. Now, it looks like the plan is to start on time and report to spring training normally.
  • Former Mets manager and current (for the moment anyways) Angels pitching coach Mickey Callaway is under fire due to multiple accusations of lewd and indecent conduct for texts he sent to multiple female members of sports media in recent years. While investigations are ongoing, the initial information is pretty awful and it seems likely that, at the very least, his current employment with the Angels is in jeopardy. He was suspended Tuesday as the Angels launched an investigation into his lewd behavior.
  • The Cardinals have done what feels like the impossible and have acquired Nolan Arenado, yes the Nolan Arenado, from Rockies. In tandem with the deal, because it is also so insane, Colorado is giving the Cardinals $50M cash to take the slugger off of their hands.
  • The Phillies gave out the second-biggest contract of the offseason, bringing back J.T. Realmuto on a five-year, $115.5 million deal with a $23.1 million AAV, the largest ever for a catcher. With the Realmuto deal signaling that the Phillies are still firmly focused on trying to win, it’ll be interesting to see if they make any other big additions before spring training in an attempt to make a stronger push in an ultra-competitive NL East.
  • The Blue Jays continued their push to become a serious playoff threat once again by signing Marcus Semien to a one-year, $18 million deal. The Jays reportedly plan to move Semien, who played shortstop with the A’s, to second base while shifting Cavan Biggio to third and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to first, with Rowdy Tellez, Alejandro Kirk, and Randal Grichuk battling for the leftover at-bats at DH.
  • The Twins are betting on a bounce-back season from Andrelton Simmons, as they signed the four-time Gold Glover to a one-year, $10.5 million deal. Incumbent second baseman Jorge Polanco is expected to shift to second base, with incumbent second baseman Luis Arraez shifting to a utility role.
  • The Giants continue to make some interesting additions this offseason, the latest being the signing of infielder Tommy La Stella to a three-year deal. The righty-masher is a logical addition that took major advantage of platoons and experienced a major offensive turnaround in 2020.
  • In a not-too-surprising development, no players were elected to the Hall of Fame as the 2021 BBWAA voting was revealed. Perhaps more surprising was that Curt Schilling, never one to turn down an opportunity to make himself the center of attention, requested that he be removed from the ballot in his final year of eligibility next year.
  • Things have gotten pretty weird these days, there is no arguing that. However, when the Yankees and Red Sox make a trade of a player people have actually heard of? Well, that’s madness. Adam Ottavino had a really bad 2020 season, but the Red Sox are betting/hoping that that was a fluke as they traded with their arch-enemies the Yankees to acquire the veteran reliever’s services. As a reward for taking on his $9 million salary, they also received highly-regarded prospect Frank German.
  • Boston is not to be forgotten this offseason. The Red Sox have signed Enrique Hernandez to a two year deal. He’ll take over their notoriously open spot at second base to the tune of $14M. The 29-year-old brings a much needed breath of defensive stability to the team, with his strong arm and glove outweighing how inconsistent he can be at the plate.
  • The Yankees, not to be outdone by anyone, have started reinforcing their 40-man less than a month until pitchers and catchers report. New York has acquired Jameson Taillon from the Pirates for a package of prospects. Taillon made his debut in 2016 with Pittsburgh and has pitched for a career 3.67 ERA across 82 starts for the team.
  • Just when you think they’re in the clear, the Mets still manage to do Mets things. Brad Hand was all but signed to the team before he switched it up and signed with the Nationals, reports Jon Heyman of MLB Network. The southpaw will head to Washington for one-year, $10.5M, a figure reportedly not too far off from what New York was offering. His contract is free of option years or incentives, meaning that there’s a blatant time cap on Hand’s tenure in D.C. Despite being one of this most dominant closers in the league over the past five years, Cleveland paid Hand a $1M buyout after declining his $10M option. They weren’t so quick with cutting the check though, and they placed him on outright waivers in the hope another club would claim him and exercise the option, a move Mets club president Sandy Alderson said the Mets may have done if ownership was concrete by then. In his last two season with Cleveland, Hand has pitched a 2.78 ERA over 107 relief innings. No doubt he will bring back stability to Washington’s bullpen with the free agency departure of Sean Doolittle.
  • Michael Brantley had himself quite the day in terms of reporting on his free agency. Last Wednesday, it was widely reported that he had reached a three year deal with the Blue Jays which would have meant he was following George Springer to Toronto. However, that was fairly quickly walked back and a couple hours later, it was announced that he was actually signing a two year deal with the Astros. Weird day.
  • The Blue Jays have been hyped up as a team to watch all offseason, and they finally delivered last week, 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.
  • 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 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 the next 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. 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Cubs less 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.