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- The Red Sox have signed right-hander Tyler Danish to a minor league contract, Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors reports. The contract contains an invitation to Boston’s big league Spring Training camp. The RHP adds some extra depth to Boston’s rotation, while being a low-risk, high-reward. The 27-year old has sparsely seen time on a major league mound, making only 11 appearances between 2016-2018, pitching a 4.85 ERA over 13 innings. He did however strikeout 11 batters in those 13 innings, a promising glimmer of what the Red Sox hope is a diamond in the rough.
- Quick, everybody act surprised! MLB has postponed spring training games through March 5th, this news is shocking and absolutely no one anticipated this. Booooo, tomato tomato.
- There is finally closure for the family of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs. Eric Kay has been convicted for providing the drugs that caused death of Tyler Skaggs. The former Angels communications director will face a minimum 20-years in prison. May Tyler Skaggs rest in peace.
- Pitchers and catchers were supposed to report to spring training this week, but unfortunately the MLB lockout drags on. Now we have resorted to hoping that the face to face meeting between the two sides start happening with more frequency and urgency because we are getting to the point where spring training AND regular season games are threatened. Fortunately, it was announced yesterday that MLBPA and the league are going to meet today with the union set to make a proposal.
- Ryan Zimmerman, the only player from the inaugural Washington Nationals roster who still remained with the team — and, in fact, the only player from that team who was in the majors at all — announced his retirement on Tuesday. Zimmerman, 37, made his major league debut less than two months after becoming Washington’s first-ever draft pick in 2005, and he spent the entirety of his 17-year career in D.C. (though he opted out of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic). Zimmerman finishes his career as a two-time All-Star, two-time Silver Slugger, and 2019 World Series champ. In 1,799 career games, he posted a .277/.341/.475 slash line, and he finished his career on a strong note, hitting .243/.286/.471 with 14 homers over 110 games in a part-time role.
- Apparently it can get worse, folks. MLB asked for the ability to eliminate nearly 1,000 minor league jobs over the length of the next CBA in its latest proposal to players, per ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The union is expected to reject that offer, and any offer that involves more minor league jobs being eliminated after the league already drastically downsized the minors last winter.
- Here’s a scalding hot take for you bright and early on a winter morning: the universal DH is a win-win for teams and players.
- Trevor Bauer will not face criminal charges in the Los Angeles court system resulting from a sexual assault case that was opened last year. While the decision likely increases his chances of pitching at some point in 2022, MLB’s investigation of the incident remains open and is unlikely to be resolved before the end of the lockout.
- David Ortiz was the lone player elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the BBWAA. Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Curt Schilling, all of whom have hovered near the 75% induction threshold in recent years, did not receive the necessary voting total in their final year on the ballot, and now the only chance for any of them to be enshrined in Cooperstown is through a veterans committee.
- MLB has killed a deal that would have split the Rays’ time between Tampa Bay and Montreal.
- Amid a flurry of hirings and promotions, the Dodgers announced that they have promoted assistant GM/vice president Brandon Gomes to general manager. He’ll report to the president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and is the first person to hold the Dodgers’ GM title since Farhan Zaidi left for San Francisco after the 2018 season. The hiring of Gomes, who pitched for the Rays from 2011-15, continues a recent trend of MLB teams re-integrating former players into senior management roles. He joins Phillies GM Sam Fuld, Rangers GM Chris Young, Athletics VP of baseball operations Billy Beane, and Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto as former major leaguers who are now in front-facing executive roles.
- The Yankees have hired Rachel Balkovec as manager for their low-A team, the Tampa Tarpons, making her the first female skipper in affiliated professional baseball. The 34-year old has already made a massive name for herself in the baseball world, starting out as a strength and conditioning coach for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012. In 2016, she made the jump to the Houston Astros as Latin American strength and conditioning coordinator—a position she learned Spanish for. From there she moved on to become the strength and conditioning coach for Double-A Corpus Christi and has served as a hitting coach in the Yankees organization for the last three seasons.
- Apparently, Ron Manfred and MLB were none too happy when veteran reporter Ken Rosenthal was critical of Manfred during the 2020 season. Not only did they sideline Rosenthal from MLB Network broadcasts for months during that season, but the rift was apparently so large that they decided to not bring back Rosenthal at all for next season.
- When Fanatics came somewhat out of nowhere to snag the MLB license to make baseball cards out from under Topps, the writing was on the wall for the future of Topps as a company. Without the MLB license, Topps did not really have anything going for it except name recognition and that would not be able to compete with actual licensed cards. As a result, it was announced that Fanatics is buying Topps outright, which should make the transition much smoother and could preserve many of the Topps brands fans have grown to love.
- The Athletics have hired Mark Kotsay as the team’s latest manager. Kotsay played for the team from 2004-2007, diving into coaching after retiring in 2013. After spending some time as San Diego’s hitting coach, Kotsay took on the bench coach role for Oakland, following that up with positions as quality control coach and first base coach.
- The Mets have hired Buck Showalter as their new manager. The 65-year-old has a 1,551-1,517 career record, and will be taking his place in Queens for the next three years. He’ll be the Mets third manager in five years, and just like he was able to do in Baltimore, can hopefully bring some hope to a team whose has fighting chance potential.
- Six new members have been elected to the National Baseball Hall Of Fame, revealed by today’s special selection committee meetings. Cooperstown will now have new residents Bud Fowler, Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, Minnie Miñoso, Tony Oliva, and Buck O’Neil, who will be officially inducted on July 24 along with the players to be voted in by the standard writers’ ballot.
- In case you’re still confused about the logistics of the lockout, here’s your five minute breakdown on what’s going on.
- One of the easier types of deals to do when faced with a hard deadline like the expiration of the CBA is to bring back a player that was on your team last year. Without concerns about medicals or background checks, there are far fewer hurdles for the moves like the Dodgers bringing back Chris Taylor on a four year deal to overcome with a tight window.
- The Giants continued assembling their 2022 rotation, signing right-hander Alex Cobb to a two-year, $20 million deal with a club option for 2024. Cobb has largely struggled since leaving the Rays following the 2017 season, but he was pretty good over 18 starts for the Angels in 2021, throwing for a 3.76 ERA with 98 strikeouts and 33 walks in 93.1 innings. The Giants are betting on Cobb getting the same San Francisco boost that pitchers like Kevin Gausman, Drew Smyly, Anthony DeSclafani, and Alex Wood have received over the past two seasons.
- The Rangers have been arguably the most aggressive team in free agency this offseason. After already locking in Marcus Semien to a seven year deal among other moves, the Rangers got another high profile infielder as they signed Corey Seager to a massive 10 year, $325 million deal.
- Everyone has been waiting for months for the fate of Marcell Ozuna in the wake of the domestic violence charges against him. After a winding tale during the legal process that saw his charges downgraded and saw him enter a diversion program, the league finally weighed in as they gave him a 20 game retroactive suspension. He will not miss a game during the 2022 season.
- Normally, the reigning Cy Young award winner signing with a new team would be the headline for most baseball news cycles. That it wasn’t on Monday speaks volumes to how crazy it was on the transaction front. Robbie Ray does, in fact, have a new squad as the Mariners inked him to a five year, $115 million.
- The Rangers are close to signing Jon Gray to four-year deal. The 30-year old showcased some amazing breaking pitches before his success trailed off at the end of the 2021 season. But for the Rangers right now, any kind of pitching is good pitching.
- Kevin Gausman has agreed to a five-year, $110 million deal with Blue Jays. While Gausman struggled in the second half of last season, posting a concerning 4.42 ERA after the All-Star Break, he still finished sixth in Cy Young voting and was undoubtably the Giants’ ace at one point. We all go through rough patches, right?
- Marcus Semien has signed a seven-year deal with the Rangers. The star infielder put on quite the show last season, slashing .265/.334/.538 with 45 home runs. Now, the Rangers have locked him down until 2028 — the year he turns 38.
- The Twins signed Byron Buxton to a massive seven year, $100 million extension, because ‘tis the season for astronomical contracts. The Twins are rolling the dice on their homegrown talent — while Buxton is a powerhouse of a player, he is beyond injury prone. If Minnesota can keep him healthy for more than 90 games a season, their risk will be well worth it.
- The Rays and Wander Franco both took major gambles, agreeing to an 11-year extension with a club option for a 12th year that will pay Franco a guaranteed $182 million. If all goes right for the Rays, they’ll control a generational superstar through his age-33 season. They’re betting big on a player who has played in just 70 major league games, though, while Franco is sacrificing the possibility of signing a deal that could be twice as big in exchange for more financial certainty now.
- The Giants had themselves a busy day as they, at least partially, sought to get the band back together for next season. They were successful on a couple fronts as they inked starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani to a three-year deal and shortly after that, his fellow member of the Giants’ 2021 rotation, Alex Wood, joined him on a two-year deal.
- The candidates for the Comeback Players of the Year were fairly clear this season, and that is exactly how the awards played out as Buster Posey, who battled injuries in 2019 and didn’t play in 2020, and Trey Mancini, famously coming back from colon cancer to play at a high level, took home the Comeback Player of the Year awards in each league.
- Despite all of the drama surrounding the tenure of manager Alex Cora with regards to the sign stealing scandal that impacted both his time with the Astros and Red Sox, Boston seems very keen on keep the manager on that won them a World Series title AND helped them put together a surprising run this season deep into the playoffs as they went ahead and exercised their options on his deal for 2023 and 2024.
- Giants first baseman Brandon Belt was the only player in the majors to accept the one-year, $18.4 million qualifying offer from his previous club, and he’ll return to a San Francisco team that he helped propel to 107 wins in 2020.
- Justin Verlander rejected the qualifying offer, but he quickly re-upped with the Astros, agreeing to a one-year, $25 million deal with a $25 million player option for 2023. That’s an impressive commitment on the part of the Astros, who will bring back a future Hall of Famer but will gamble on an aging starter who has pitched in just one game over the past two seasons.
- The Mets tendered the one-year, $18.4 million qualifying offer to Noah Syndergaard, but instead of sticking with the club he’s spent his entire major league career with, the oft-injured starter opted to take on a new challenge and a slightly more lucrative deal, signing a one-year, $21 million deal with the Angels. After making just two appearances over the last two years, Syndergaard is gambling that he can stay healthy in 2022 and help turn around a franchise that has struggled badly at evaluating free agent pitchers in recent seasons.
- The Blue Jays turned some heads when they gave up highly-regarded prospects Simeon Woods-Richardson and Austin Martin to acquire starter José Berríos at the trade deadline this year, but now they’re in it for the long haul with the former Twins starter after signing him to a seven-year, $131 million extension.
- The Mets have pretty famously struggled to find someone to take their general manager job. After getting turned down by a number of candidates, New York offered the position to former Angels GM Billy Eppler, and he accepted the job.
- The Giants have extended Gabe Kapler’s contract through 2024. It makes sense for the Giants to keep the party going with Kapler; he’s taken a team that was seemingly short on talent in 2020 and transformed them into the most winning team in 2021 (107, to be exact).
- Starting in the 2022 season, all 30 teams will now be required to provide housing to all minor league players, ESPN.com’s Jeff Passan reports. Last month team owners held a vote on the subject that passed unanimously. The intricacies are still being worked out on if teams will be giving players stipends for housing or if they will provide it directly. Considering the conditions that an overwhelming amount of minor leaguers have been subject to, this is a welcome improvement to the quality of their lives.