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MLB Trade Rumors and News: McCullers gets an extension

The Astros successfully extended Lance McCullers before the start of the 2021 season.

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MLB: Washington Nationals at Houston Astros Rhona Wise-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 shared? Hit us up at @mlbdailydish on Twitter or @MLBDailyDish on Instagram.

  • While it doesn’t look super promising that the Astros are going to be able to lock up Carlos Correa and already lost George Springer to free agency, they did get some good news yesterday as they were able to lock up Lance McCullers with a five year extension. It isn’t the marquee extension/signing they probably need to prolong their competitive window, but hey....progress.
  • Opening Day is right around the corner and we are already well on our way to knowing who is going to be taking the mound for most of the teams around the league. Our own Andersen Pickard put together a piece chronicling who will be each team’s starter the first day of the season.
  • Right-hander Zac Gallen was the Diamondbacks’ ace in 2020, but it appears they won’t have him to begin 2021, as he’s been diagnosed with a hairline stress fracture in his right lateral forearm. He’ll continue playing catch, but it’s doubtful that he’ll be ready to take the mound again by Opening Day.
  • Rockies left-hander Kyle Freeland exited his start Tuesday with a left shoulder strain — obviously a concern for a pitcher who is likely the most reliable starter in the organization.
  • After signing a one-year deal with Toronto over the offseason, former All-Star reliever Kirby Yates may never get a chance to pitch in a Blue Jays uniform. GM Ross Atkins told media members Tuesday that Yates is likely to undergo Tommy John surgery, which would knock him out for the entire 2021 season.
  • As if the Yates injury wasn’t troubling enough for the Blue Jays, they may also be without their biggest offseason addition on Opening Day, as outfielder George Springer suffered a Grade 2 oblique strain, leaving his status uncertain for the beginning of the season.
  • We love a good comeback story here at MLB Daily Dish. Brent Honeywell was once considered one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball, but injuries cost him most of the last 3.5 years. Fortunately, the four surgeries he had on his elbow did not deter him and he made his 2021 spring debut Monday. It was successful on all fronts.
  • The Royals and Salvador Perez have agreed to a monster contract extension. The deal will keep Perez in Kansas City for four more years to the tune of $82M. Slashing a career .269/.300/.449, the 30-year old was a cornerstone of the team’s 2015 World Series run. The extension also comes less than two years after Perez had Tommy John surgery and missed the entire 2019 season. Despite that, the Royals seem to have no intention of letting the franchise icon leave any time soon.
  • The Mets have made an initial extension offer to both shortstop Francisco Lindor and to right fielder Michael Conforto, reports SNY’s Andy Martino. While neither player is even close to agreeing to terms with the team, Conforto told reporters that negotiations were ongoing and ideally he’d like for them to be finished up before Opening Day. The initial offer to Lindor was just below $300M, while Conforto’s details are unknown. The 28-year old homegrown Met is set to hit the free agent market this winter, so it’s no wonder the team wants to put this deal together before the 2021 season even starts.
  • It looks like that the Blue Jays are going to have to start their season without their stud pitching prospect, Nate Pearson, as he re-aggravated an existing groin issue. It does sound like he is improving at least.
  • Lefty swingman Roenis Elías, who joined the Mariners for a third stint this offseason after missing the entire 2020 season with a flexor strain, will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the entire 2021 campaign. Elías was in camp as a non-roster invitee, so the Mariners have offered him a two-year minor league deal so he can rehab in the Seattle organization.
  • In their flurry of a rebuild, the Orioles have finalized a deal with free agent infielder Maikel Franco. While Franco, a former top prospect with the Phillies, didn’t live up to the hype in Philadelphia, he redeemed himself last season in Kansas City, playing in all 60 games and slashing .278/.321/.457. If Franco keeps up his improvement at the plate, not only would he be an affordable power hitter for Baltimore, but his trade value come the deadline would skyrocket.
  • A few seasons ago, MLB tested out some new rules in the minor leagues that ended up being used in the major leagues, including the extra inning rule where a runner started each extra inning on second base. Now, it looks like MLB is eyeing some other changes with new rules getting tested out in the minors during the 2021 season. Such changes include an automated strike zone, limits on the shift, limits on pickoff moves, and changes to the physical bases designed to lead to less slipping and less collisions on the basepaths.
  • Joey Votto has been a cornerstone of the Reds organization basically ever since he took the field. He also has been known as been one of the most blunt and transparent players in the league regarding how he feels. That transparency, as it turns out, extends to his health as he gave the go ahead for the team to let the world know that he tested positive for COVID-19 and will be out for a little while as a result.
  • Yankees reliever Zack Britton will miss the beginning of the season, as he’ll undergo arthroscopic surgery to remove a bone spur from his pitching elbow and be out for at least a month. That’s a major loss for the Bronx Bombers, as the two-time All-Star had a stellar 1.89 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP with eight saves in 20 games last season.
  • Cardinals right-hander Miles Mikolas, who missed the entire 2020 season after having surgery to repair a flexor tendon, will begin the regular season on the injured list as his shoulder soreness persists. Luckily for the Cardinals, their starting pitching depth is rather solid even if Mikolas is sidelined for an extended period.
  • The Astros have signed Jake Odorizzi to a two-year deal. It’s shocking that it’s taken a team this long to swipe the 30-year old off of the market. 2020 was a rough year for Odorizzi, who was slammed by injuries from all angles. However, he’s still the proud owner of a combined 3.88 ERA from 2014-2019. The Astros stayed on the conservative side this offseason, only making a major move to bring back Michael Brantley after he opted for free agency, so maybe giving the starter $30M was the plan all along.
  • There was some hope that the COVID-19 pandemic would calm down quickly enough that the Triple-A season could begin at the same time as the major league season. That hope has now dried up, and minor leaguers with a chance of contributing in the big leagues at the outset of the season will be assigned to an alternate site, just like during the 2020 season. There’s hope that the Triple-A season might begin in May, but everything remains in question until teams feel comfortable transporting minor leaguers — in particular, those who might be promoted to the big leagues — on commerical flights.
  • The Kansas City Royals and Hunter Dozier have settled on a four-year extension. The deal will give Dozier a $25M guarantee with a $10M option for 2025. But it doesn’t end there — if he maxes out all his bonuses and incentives, he’s look at a ceiling of $49M. The 29-year old was some time away from reaching free agency, not hitting the open market until after the 2023 season. In 2019, the third baseman slashed .279/.348/.522 with 26 home runs over 586 plate appearances. The curt and strange 2020 season saw a vastly different Dozier, hitting .228/.344/.392, however he was diagnosed with COVID-19 in July, no doubt effecting his power at the plate even after recovery. With Maikel Franco back on the free agency market, Dozier will remain at third base rather than being bounced around from first to the corner infield.
  • In perhaps the most off-the-wall signing of the offseason, the Giants have signed 37-year-old left-hander Scott Kazmir to a minor league deal with an invite to major league spring training. The three-time All-Star hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2016, though he made spring training appearances in 2017-18 and pitched in independent ball last summer. He’s already made one spectacular comeback, signing with the Indians in 2013 after a year in independent ball and proceeding to put together a trio of strong seasons with Cleveland, Oakland, and Houston before struggling with the Dodgers in 2016. A return to form certainly seems unlikely at this stage of his career, but it’d be an unbelievable story if he can pull it off.
  • One day after video came to light of him insulting numerous members of the Mariners organization in a Zoom meeting with a local rotary club, Seattle president and CEO Kevin Mather announced his resignation. Now the Mariners begin the process of smoothing over the damage he caused by taking shots at several players who will be essential to Seattle’s future success.
  • Bad news is hitting Phillies’ camp just days into Spring Training. J.T. Realmuto has suffered a broken thumb catching a live bullpen session, and his odds of being ready for Opening Day remain uncertain. Not what you really want to hear about the guy you just signed to a five-year, $115.5M deal.
  • The Mets are adding more depth to their rotation and have signed Taijuan Walker. After missing nearly two years post-Tommy John surgery, the journeyman made his return to the mound last year, posting an impressive 2.70 ERA in his time split between the Mariners and the Blue Jays.
  • While the Padres have been one of the most aggressive teams in baseball this offseason, one thing that was not expected was a reworked deal with their young star, Fernando Tatis Jr. One of the things that gave San Diego the financial flexibility they had was having guys like Tatis Jr. on cheap early contracts. However, the Padres surprised, well, everyone last week by signing Fernando to a 14 year, $340 million contract extension.
  • The Tim Tebow sideshow officially came to an end as he retired from professional baseball. Sure, his career in baseball was probably largely a marketing scheme concocted by his agents to further build his brand after playing football didn’t work out, but he was better than a lot of us thought he would be and he also brought much needed revenue to teams throughout minor league baseball.
  • The Dodgers brought back alleged super spreader Justin Turner on a two-year deal. The 36-year old is still a valuable asset to the Dodgers, slashing .307/.400/.460 over 175 plate appearances last year and a firecracker postseason performance that included two homers. Don’t forget, this is the same Justin Turner that the Mets non-tendered. Just making sure you remember. The deal is expected to be in the $35M range.
  • The Red Sox, Mets, and Royals got together on a three team trade that ultimately resulted in Andrew Benintendi, who has two years of team control left, heading to Kansas City. A lot of the shine has worn off of Benintendi as he hasn’t been the impact bat the Red Sox hoped he would be and he was hurt for much of last season, but he should at least make the Royals a little bit better. The Red Sox and Mets are both getting prospects in return with Khalil Lee (who is headed to the Mets from the Royals) headlining the group.
  • MLB and the MLBPA have agreed to health and safety protocols for the 2021 season. Returning for a second season — ostensibly because they’ll keep players at the ballpark for shorter periods of time — are the runner-on-second rule in extra innings and seven-inning doubleheaders.
  • Now we can all forget about the dog and pony show for a totally average player, because Trevor Bauer has signed a three-year, $102 million deal with Dodgers. Ah, to have a career 3.90 ERA and get a massive, unprecedented contract.
  • The Braves have signed Marcell Ozuna to four-year deal. The 30-year old will make $64M over those four years, with the potential to reach $80M with a fifth year option. After last season’s temporary introduction of the DH to the National League (we love short season chaos) the two-time All Star found himself at a career crossroads: spending less time at his defensive position and more games in that DH role. He also slashed .338/.431/.636 during said short season chaos. While the NL is likely ridding itself of the DH this season, this could be Atlanta’s way of preparing just in case it returns, and if nothing else having a power hitter with a good eye in the batter’s box is a great sign three weeks before spring training kicks off.
  • 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 as the Angels launched an investigation into his lewd behavior.