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.
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- The Dodgers have placed Cody Bellinger on the injured list with a calf contusion. Depending on how his recovery timeline progresses, we could see the young phenom back on the field in a week’s time. Luke Raley was called up to take his roster spot.
- A rough way to start the season is for it to end nearly immediately. Angels outfielder Dexter Fowler has sustained a torn ACL and will undergo season ending surgery. He suffered the injury last Friday against the Blue Jays, hitting second base at an awkward angle. Los Angeles acquired the 35-year old from a deal with the Cardinals for a player to be named later, but it allowed St. Louis to dump most of Fowler’s $16.5M owed to him in the final year of his five year, $82.5M deal. His Cardinals career was marred by injuries too, and Fowler slashed a weak .233/.334/.408 for his time in St. Louis. However, the World Series champion isn’t considering retirement, he tells Jack Harris of the L.A. Times and plans to be back on the field next season.
- James Paxton had the opposite of an ideal start to the season, as Tommy John surgery recommended for the Mariners starter. He threw just 1.1 innings before leaving his season debut with an arm injury. If Paxton opted for the surgery, he’d return to the mound in mid-2022, also missing that season opener.
- Oh, it’s being said: Nelson Cruz gets better with age.
- MLB is inspecting some suspicious baseballs from Trevor Bauer’s start on Wednesday, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports. The alleged evidence from the game was noted to have “visible markings” seen and were described as “sticky”. If the league decided to punish the 30-year old, the MLB Player’s Union has come out and said that they would, “challenge discipline not covered under current rules.”
- It’s been a rough week for pitchers doing...anything. Trevor Rosenthal has undergone thoracic outlet surgery yesterday Thursday, Martin Gallegos of MLB.com reports. The 30-year old kicked off this season on the IL because of a shoulder problem. While the procedure is usually a 12-week recovery period, he will be re-evaluated in eight weeks. The closer spent this offseason hunting for a long-term deal that would hopefully keep him planted for a while. What he ended up with was a 1-year, $11M deal with the Athletics. After a monster comeback in 2020, pitching a 1.90 ERA over 23.2 innings pitched between the Royals and the Padres, this feels like a devastating blow for any sort of late-career renaissance. Fingers crossed for Oakland fans that he ends up back in the bullpen sooner than anticipated.
- The Yankees made a somewhat surprising addition on Tuesday, acquiring veteran infielder Rougned Odor from the Rangers in exchange for minor league outfielders Antonio Cabello and Josh Stowers. The Rangers are responsible for paying all but the league minimum to Odor, who they designated for assignment last week, and the Yankees will take a chance on a hitter who is capable of dominating right-handed pitching but has struggled to make contact in recent seasons.
- Orlando Arcia was widely considered one of the top prospects in baseball about five years ago, but he’s mostly been a disappointment since arriving in the big leagues. The Braves will see if they can turn his career around after acquiring the 26-year-old shortstop from the Brewers on Tuesday in exchange for relievers Patrick Weigel and Chad Sobotka. Arcia will initially report to Atlanta’s alternate training site.
- Fernando Tatis Jr. has quickly become one of the faces of the entire league which his play on the field. That play was rewarded this offseason with a massive contract extension, which makes the news from Monday night even more upsetting. On a swinging strike against the Giants, Tatis Jr. went down in a heap and it was announced that he had partially dislocated his shoulder. He underwent an MRI on Tuesday and was placed on the injured list, though surgery is not being recommended at this time.
- MLB has pulled the 2021 All-Star Game from Georgia due to new voting restrictions, and they’ll now host the Midsummer Classic at Denver’s Coors Field (we’re already excited for that Home Run Derby).
- Will Willy Adames ascend to new heights in 2021? Survey says: dear goodness, we sure hope so.
- The hotcake train is pulling into the station and it’s coming in hot: Bold predictions for the 2021 MLB season.
- The Angels have signed David Fletcher to a five-year, $26M extension, reports Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic. The second baseman slashed a career best .319/.376/.425 over 230 plate appearances last season. While he offers almost no power at the plate, he’s consistent and has a jarringly low strikeout rate. The extension will begin this season and extend through 2025. The 26-year-old wouldn’t have been arbitration eligible until after this season and wouldn’t not have hit free agency until after the 2024 season. There is also a club option and buyout of $8.5M and $1.5M, respectively.
- The Mets successfully retained Francisco Lindor with a huge 10 year, $341 million extension. This puts Lindor amongst the highest paid players in all of baseball and gives the Mets a cornerstone shortstop for the next decade. History has not been kind to long-term mega deals in baseball, so we will now see if Lindor can make such a deal worthwhile, especially in the latter years.
- The Nationals find themselves in a pickle yet again on Opening Day as it was reported that one player tested positive for COVID-19 and several others were deemed close contactswhich means they will be without some guys for at least a week. The team was unable to identify the specific players involved, but our guess is that will become readily apparent once we see their lineup on Opening Day.
- Former All-Star infielder Jake Lamb had a dreadful spring with the Braves was released even after earning a major league deal from Atlanta. Luckily for Lamb, the White Sox are simply in need of warm bodies after losing outfielder Eloy Jiménez for an extended period. Lamb signed a one-year deal with Chicago and is expected to get reps as the DH with Andrew Vaughn moving to left field.
- Two-time All-Star slugger Todd Frazier was unable to find a major league job elsewhere after being informed that he wouldn’t make the Pirates’ Opening Day roster and opting out of his minor league deal. Frazier returned to the Pirates organization on a new minor league contract, and one would think he’ll be one of the first players they turn to in the event of injury or poor performance after he posted a .996 OPS with three homers this spring.
- 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. Monday, 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 did. With the 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 they acquired in the last few days before the season opener. Bold strategy to be sure.
- Félix Hernández 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. Hernández suffered an elbow injury in March, 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 Félix 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 go 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 last week 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. 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 last week 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.
- 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 has 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. Yates underwent Tommy John surgery, knocking 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.
- Lefty swingman Roenis Elías, who joined the Mariners for a third stint this offseason after missing the entire 2020 season with a flexor strain, underwent 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.