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MLB Trade Rumors and News: Mets trying to extend Lindor, MLB to relax protocols as vaccines administered

The Mets are trying to lock up Lindor while the rest of the league tries to get their rosters set.

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MLB: New York Mets at St. Louis Cardinals Jasen Vinlove-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.

  • No one can say that the Mets aren’t trying to become perennial contenders under new owner Steve Cohen. When the Mets traded for Francisco Lindor, it was clear that the ultimate goal was for him to play with the Mets for a long time. The Mets showed that they are willing to make a real push for that with a 10 year, $325 million contract offer to Lindor last night. The crazy thing is that it doesn’t sound like that Lindor is immediately interested in that deal.
  • The health and safety protocols that the league has put in place for the 2021 season have been a hot topic given that we are amidst a vaccine rollout that should, in theory, make existing out in the world much safer and easier. Yesterday, MLB sent out a memo to teams saying that if at least 85% of a team’s roster becomes vaccinated, that the health protocols they are operating under will be relaxed.
  • Remaking your bullpen a few days before the start of a season is not exactly ideal, but that is what the Angels are going. Last night, with 2021 season just a couple days away, the Angels signed Steve Cishek and Tony Watson to one year deals. That brings the total to four relievers in the last 48 hours or so that the team has added. Bold strategy to be sure.
  • Felix Hernandez has officially run out of time to make Baltimore’s Opening Day roster, thus opting out of his contract and setting out for free agency, reports MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. Hernandez suffered an elbow injury earlier this month, and there was speculation that he wouldn’t be healthy enough to take the hill every five days. The 34-year old would have earned a $1M salary if he was able to make it to Baltimore’s big league roster this season. King Felix is a far cry from his Cy Young years with the Mariners, recording an average 3.42 ERA and 2,524 strikeouts from 2005-2019. Who knows, with his very short time with the Orioles over, could he could back to the Mariners to finish off his career? Everyone loves an underdog.
  • The White Sox, fresh off an impressive run to the postseason last year, are primed to win the AL Central this year, but things just got a bit harder. It was announced yesterday that slugger Eloy Jimenez ruptured his pectoral tendon and will miss around 5-6 months of action as he recovers. While the White Sox do have a good number of quality bats in their lineup, Eloy’s injury is really going to put their depth to the test and place a lot of pressure on some young guys to perform.
  • One of the more exciting guys set to hit free agency after this season is shortstop Carlos Correa who, despite having trouble staying healthy in his career, would be one of the biggest names on the free agent market if he made it there. Yesterday, it was reported that the while Astros did offer an extension to him, Correa considered the offer so low that he now seems resigned to test the waters in free agency after the season.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • On the heels of a video coming 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.