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MLB Trade Rumors and News: Pujols signs with Dodgers after being DFA’d by Angels

Guess whose back back back, back again-gain-gain.

Los Angeles Angels v Seattle Mariners Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

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.

  • The Dodgers will sign veteran slugger Albert Pujols to a major league deal, less than a month after he was designated for assignment and released by the Angels. For a moment there was a rumor floating around that the 41-year old would sign with the Cardinals so he could retire. But he must have some fuel left in the tank, although the .198/.250/.372 slash line for this season would beg to differ.
  • The Angels have acquired Hunter Strickland from Tampa Bay for a player to be named later or cash considerations. Strickland will be a welcome addition to an Angels bullpen that has been run dry. He’s also started this season like a firecracker, posting a 1.69 ERA with 16 strikeouts in 16 innings. Coming from a competitor like Tampa Bay, it will be interesting to see what Strickland does in Los Angeles—both on and off the mound.
  • Hot take alert: Marcus Stroman is thriving through continued tinkering. Cross your fingers, Mets fans.
  • Remember when the league and MLBPA got in a very public back and forth that resulted in MLBPA essentially calling the league’s bluff and calling for a shortened slate of games with the idea that the players were going to file a grievance? Do you remember that Manfred tried to one-up that by saying no season was going to happen at all unless the players waived the right to file a grievance? That was fun...and that grievance has arrived as MLBPA formally accused the league of negotiating in bad faith on the terms of the 2020 season.
  • The Mariners’ former president Kevin Mather caused all sorts of havoc this past offseason when, among other things, he said that because their top prospect Jarred Kelenic declined to sign a long-term extension with the Mariners, that he was not going to start the 2021 season with the team in order to manipulate his service time. Well, that whole episode did not end well for Mather, but it didn’t stop the team from doing just that as both Jarred Kelenic AND Logan Gilbert got called up to the majors. We are sure it was because they “weren’t ready yet” and needed a handful of minor league games to become major leaguers.
  • The Braves’ Mike Soroka has had a rough road back to health over the last year or so. After rupturing his Achilles’ tendon early in the 2020 season, his rehab was delay this spring by soreness in his shoulder and his return was pushed back to June of this year. Now, the Braves got even worse news as Soroka has been feeling discomfort in his repaired Achilles and is going to have to undergo exploratory surgery.
  • While things on the health and safety front have gone largely well for the sport of baseball in 2021, we have been getting semi-regular reminders that COVID-19 is still a thing and it can most assuredly impact the games being played. Case in point: on Tuesday, it was announced that the Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr. and Wil Myers both tested positive for the virus. For a team very much in the playoff picture, another stint without their best player is most definitely less than ideal. Fortunately, Tatis Jr. appears to be asymptomatic for the moment which does portend well for him bouncing right back.
  • It wouldn’t be a baseball season without a Mets pitching injury and for the Mets, this was the worst guy to get hurt. Despite a clean MRI earlier in the week, the team had to put the best pitcher in baseball, Jacob deGrom, on the IL due to an issue with his right side. No word yet how long he may be out.
  • The Braves are signing reliever Shane Greene to a one-year deal, reports Jon Heyman of MLB Network. While the contract is in the $1.5M range, it will likely end up at $1.1M after being prorated based on how much of the season is behind us. The 32-year old has been with the Braves since the 2019 trade deadline, throwing 52 1/3 innings of 3.27 ERA/3.87 FIP in his time with the Braves. He hit free agency at the end of last year and it certainly a welcome familiar face for a Braves bullpen that’s been less than reliable so far this season.
  • The Twins have had a bit of a rough patch of late and the news got worse on Thursday. Not only is Alex Kirilloff dealing with a wrist injury that landed him on the injured list, but their best player this season left the game early on Thursday. While it isn’t exactly a surprise that Byron Buxton is dealing with another ailment, it is still a bummer given how well he has played that he hobbled off the field with a hip strain.
  • The big news of the day was undoubtedly when the Angels announced that Albert Pujols, a future first ballot Hall of Famer who is owed a LOT of money this season, was released by the Angels. LA was set to decrease Pujols’ playing time and Pujols was not enthusiastic about that idea to say the least, so the move allows him to look for work elsewhere.
  • Tuesday was a monumental night for baseball, as affiliated minor league teams returned to action for the first time since September 2019. While the return of the minors doesn’t mean that the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us, it’s a sign that things are getting closer to normal, and it represents an avenue for hundreds of players, coaches, and broadcasters to achieve their dreams. Rays prospect Wander Franco, the top prospect in baseball according to both Baseball America and MLB Pipeline, had a stellar Triple-A debut, going 3 for 5 with a triple and two RBI.
  • Concerning news for the Brewers: Christian Yelich returned to the injured list Tuesday, just one day after being activated due to lingering back pain. Manager Craig Counsell says the Brewers and Yelich are searching for answers as the 2018 NL MVP continues to suffer through pain despite receiving a clean MRI.
  • Its never great news when a player ends up on the ground after attempting to run to first, but the news was particularly bad for Luis Robert and the Chicago White Sox. The young star was diagnosed with a torn hip flexor and won’t even be able to begin baseball activities for 12-16 weeks, which very much puts his season in jeopardy. That White Sox outfield is looking awfully thin these days.
  • The Dodgers have their own injury problems. Dustin May left his most recent start in the second inning and on Monday, it was announced that he is going to have to undergo Tommy John surgery which will put him out until at least some time next season. It’s silly how much depth that Dodgers roster has, but they can’t really afford to lose too much more talent on the pitching side.
  • The Braves have placed Travis d’Arnaud on the 60-day injured list after undergoing a pretty rough sprain to his thumb that could be more serious than initially posed. William Contreras, the young 2015 international signee, will take d’Arnaud’s spot behind the plate.
  • In some disturbing news, MLB has placed Roberto Alomar on the ineligible list, while the Blue Jays severed all of their ties with Hall of Famer. His name will be removed from the team’s “Level of Excellence” and his banner at Rogers Centre will be taken down following an investigation of sexual misconduct against him. He is now the only Hall of Famer on the ineligible list.
  • The Brewers have hit a rough speed bump early in their season, placing Corbin Burnes on the injured list. While it wasn’t immediately revealed what sent the early NY Cy Young front runner to the IL, that eludes to the fact that this stint is COVID-19 related. If that is the case, we hope it’s nothing serious with long-term effects. The 26-year-old is currently rocking a 1.53 ERA with 49 strikeouts over 29.1 innings, so missing Burnes in the rotation for an extended period of time could really do a number on the Brewers.
  • The Rays got some reinforcements for their pitching staff last week as Shane McClanahan, who was added to the team’s postseason roster during their World Series run in 2020 and had yet to make his regular season debut, was called up to the big leagues.
  • We had our first major leaguer-for-major leaguer trade of the 2021 season last week, as the Giants acquired outfielder Mike Tauchman from the Yankees in exchange for lefty reliever Wandy Peralta and a player to be named later. Tauchman has been buried on the Yankees’ depth chart this season but had a .353 OBP during his three-year tenure in New York and is an interesting addition to the Giants’ mix-and-match outfield group. Peralta, meanwhile, had a career season with San Francisco last year, and while he’s been inconsistent to start 2021, he provides some left-handed depth to the Yankees’ bullpen as they await the return of Zack Britton.
  • The Rockies have been poorly run for a while now, with general manager Jeff Bridich at the forefront of that mismanagement. They somehow made their relationship with their best player, Nolan Arenado, so bad that they had to trade him away and throw in a bunch of cash in order to do so. Well, Bridich’s time finally came as he and the team decided to mutually part ways last week.
  • The Astros have signed Martin Maldonado to a one-year extension, reports Mark Feinsand of The catcher is guaranteed $5M for the one-year deal with a $5M vesting option for 2023. It’s a low-risk, high-reward move for the Astros that at least buys them another year to find a replacement for Maldonado if need be.
  • Neil Walker never made an All-Star team or won a World Series, but he had a very admirable 12-year major league career, playing seven seasons for his hometown Pittsburgh Pirates, winning a Silver Slugger Award in 2014, and making over $50 million along the way. Walker announced his retirement after going unsigned all offseason. He finished his career playing in 18 games for the Phillies last summer.
  • The Nationals have placed Stephen Strasburg on the 10-day injured list. A recent MRI has shown inflammation in his right shoulder after a start last Tuesday that raised some eyebrows. He’s currently 0-1 with a 6.30 ERA over his first two starts this season.
  • Since being a highly heralded pitching prospect who was drafted #3 overall, Carlos Rodon has had to overcome several severe injuries and the label as a “bust” in his career whether it was fair or not. For at least one night, though, Rodon showed everyone what he was capable of as he threw a no-hitter (and nearly a perfect game if not for a 9th inning HBP) against the Indians.
  • A’s reliever Trevor Rosenthal underwent thoracic outlet surgery, Martin Gallegos of 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, 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 previously designated for assignment, 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 in exchange for relievers Patrick Weigel and Chad Sobotka. Arcia will initially report to Atlanta’s alternate training site.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.