Forum: Baseball Forum - Post your picks or discuss anything related to betting MLB here.

Thread: Cnotes 2021 Major League Baseball Transactions, News, Notes, Picks Etc. !!

  1. #1 Cnotes 2021 Major League Baseball Transactions, News, Notes, Picks Etc. !! 
    RX Semi-God
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Las Vegas
    Posts
    96,224
    MLB Transactions
    Tuesday, February 16, 2021


    TEAM PLAYER TRANSACTION
    team logo



    ATL
    Dansby Swanson Signed ( 2021)(loses arbitration)
    team logo
    BOS
    Jeffrey Springs Designated for Assignment
    team logo
    CIN
    Cam Bedrosian Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    LAD
    Matt Davidson Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    MIL
    Travis Shaw Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    MIN
    Ian Hamilton Outrighted to Minors
    team logo
    NYM
    Brad Brach Released
    team logo
    NYM
    Corey Oswalt Outrighted to Minors
    team logo
    OAK
    Mike Fiers Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
    team logo
    PHI
    Jeff Mathis Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    SF
    Nick Tropeano Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    TEX
    Jimmy Herget Designated for Assignment
    team logo
    TEX
    Josh Sborz Traded From Los Angeles (for RHP Jhan Zambrano)
    team logo
    WAS
    Ramon Flores Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    WAS
    Humberto Arteaga Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    WAS
    T.J. McFarland Signed to a Minor League Contract


    Monday, February 15, 2021
    TEAM PLAYER TRANSACTION
    team logo



    ATL
    Jason Kipnis Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    CLE
    Blake Parker Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    COL
    C.J. Cron Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    MIL
    Derek Fisher Traded From Toronto (for future considerations)
    team logo
    NYY
    Robinson Chirinos Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    PHI
    Travis Jankowski Signed to a Minor League Contract


    Sunday, February 14, 2021
    TEAM PLAYER TRANSACTION
    team logo



    ATL
    Jeremy Walker Cleared Waivers and Became a Free Agent
    team logo
    LAD
    Austin Barnes Signed ( 2021)(avoids arbitration)
    team logo
    MIL
    Brad Boxberger Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    NYM
    Tommy Hunter Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    NYM
    Jared Hughes Retired
    team logo
    NYM
    Mike Montgomery Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    NYY
    Ben Heller Cleared Waivers and Became a Free Agent
    team logo
    TOR
    Shun Yamaguchi Cleared Waivers and Became a Free Agent


    Saturday, February 13, 2021
    TEAM PLAYER TRANSACTION
    team logo



    ATL
    Mike Soroka Signed ( 2021)(wins arbitration)
    team logo
    BAL
    Matt Harvey Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    NYY
    Jay Bruce Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    STL
    Jack Flaherty Signed ( 2021)(wins arbitration)
    team logo
    STL
    Matt Szczur Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    TB
    Ryan Yarbrough Signed ( 2021)(loses arbitration)


    Friday, February 12, 2021
    TEAM PLAYER TRANSACTION
    team logo



    ARI
    Taylor Guilbeau Outrighted to Minors
    team logo
    ATL
    Jeremy Walker Released
    team logo
    ATL
    Travis Demeritte Acquired Off Waivers From Detroit
    team logo
    BOS
    Martin Perez Signed as Free Agent ( 2021; Opt 2022)(one-year contract)
    team logo
    BOS
    Chris Mazza Designated for Assignment
    team logo
    CHC
    Jose Lobaton Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    DET
    Pedro Payano Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    DET
    John Schreiber Designated for Assignment
    team logo
    DET
    Nomar Mazara Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
    team logo
    LAA
    Dillon Peters Outrighted to Minors
    team logo
    LAD
    Sheldon Neuse Traded From Oakland (for LHP Adam Kolarek, four-player deal)
    team logo
    LAD
    Alex Vesia Traded From Miami (with RHP Kyle Hurt for RHP Dylan Floro)
    team logo
    MIA
    Dylan Floro Traded From Los Angeles (for LHP Alex Vesia and RHP Kyle Hurt)
    team logo
    MIN
    Brandon Waddell Outrighted to Minors
    team logo
    MIN
    Alex Colome Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
    team logo
    MIN
    Ian Hamilton Designated for Assignment
    team logo
    NYY
    Ben Heller Released
    team logo
    OAK
    Adam Kolarek Traded From Los Angeles (for INF Sheldon Neuse, four-player deal)
    team logo
    STL
    Ali Sanchez Traded From NY Mets (for cash considerations)
    team logo
    TEX
    Hyun-jong Yang Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    TEX
    Brock Holt Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    TEX
    Adolis Garcia Outrighted to Minors
    team logo
    TEX
    John Hicks Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    TOR
    Shun Yamaguchi Released
    team logo
    TOR
    Joe Panik Signed to a Minor League Contract


    Thursday, February 11, 2021
    TEAM PLAYER TRANSACTION
    team logo

    BOS
    Chris Herrmann Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    CHW
    Mike Wright Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    CHW
    Marco Hernandez Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    CHW
    Jonathan Lucroy Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    CHW
    Matt Reynolds Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    CIN
    Shane Carle Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    CLE
    Billy Hamilton Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    CLE
    Ben Gamel Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    COL
    Greg Bird Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    LAA
    Jon Jay Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    LAD
    Trevor Bauer Signed as Free Agent ( 2021-2023)(three-year contract)
    team logo
    LAD
    Josh Sborz Designated for Assignment
    team logo
    MIL
    David Freitas Released
    team logo
    MIL
    David Freitas Signed to Play in Korea (Kiwoom Heroes)
    team logo
    MIN
    Kyle Garlick Acquired Off Waivers From Atlanta
    team logo
    MIN
    Brandon Waddell Designated for Assignment
    team logo
    NYM
    Jonathan Villar Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
    team logo
    NYM
    Brad Brach Designated for Assignment
    team logo
    PHI
    Didi Gregorius Signed as Free Agent ( 2021-2022)(two-year contract)
    team logo
    PHI
    Matt Moore Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
    team logo
    PIT
    Brian Goodwin Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    PIT
    Tony Wolters Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    SF
    Luis Alexander Basabe Outrighted to Minors
    team logo
    TB
    Brian Moran Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    TOR
    David Phelps Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
    team logo
    TOR
    Derek Fisher Designated for Assignment


    Wednesday, February 10, 2021
    TEAM PLAYER TRANSACTION
    team logo



    ATL
    Nate Jones Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    BOS
    Franchy Cordero Traded From Kansas City (for OF Andrew Benintendi, 3-team deal)
    team logo
    CIN
    Braden Shipley Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    CIN
    Max Schrock Acquired Off Waivers From Chi. Cubs
    team logo
    DET
    Renato Nunez Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    KC
    Andrew Benintendi Traded From Boston (for OF Franchy Cordero, three-team deal)
    team logo
    LAD
    Walker Buehler Signed ( 2021-2022)(two-year contract, avoids arbitration)
    team logo
    NYM
    Khalil Lee Traded From Kansas City (three-team, six-player deal)
    team logo
    NYM
    Corey Oswalt Designated for Assignment
    team logo
    NYM
    Albert Almora Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
    team logo
    NYM
    Ali Sanchez Designated for Assignment
    team logo
    NYY
    Ben Heller Designated for Assignment
    team logo
    NYY
    Darren O'Day Signed as Free Agent ( 2021; Opt 2022)(one-year contract)
    team logo
    OAK
    Jed Lowrie Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    PHI
    Matt Joyce Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    PHI
    Brandon Kintzler Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    SEA
    JT Chargois Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    STL
    Johan Quezada Traded From Philadelphia (for cash considerations)
    team logo
    TB
    Joey Krehbiel Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    TEX
    Adolis Garcia Designated for Assignment
    team logo
    TEX
    Mike Foltynewicz Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
    team logo
    TOR
    Shun Yamaguchi Designated for Assignment
    team logo
    TOR
    Joel Payamps Acquired Off Waivers From Boston


    Tuesday, February 9, 2021
    TEAM PLAYER TRANSACTION
    team logo



    CIN
    Dee Gordon Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    DET
    Greg Garcia Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    HOU
    Steve Cishek Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    LAA
    Phil Gosselin Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    MIL
    Jordan Zimmermann Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    STL
    Yadier Molina Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
    team logo
    TB
    Chris Archer Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)




    Monday, February 8, 2021
    TEAM PLAYER TRANSACTION
    team logo



    CHW
    Emilio Vargas Outrighted to Minors
    team logo
    LAA
    Aaron Slegers Traded From Tampa Bay (for future considerations)
    team logo
    LAA
    Shohei Ohtani Signed ( 2021-2022)(two-year contract, avoids arbitration)
    team logo
    LAA
    Dillon Peters Designated for Assignment
    team logo
    MIN
    Chandler Shepherd Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    MIN
    Andrew Albers Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    MIN
    Robin Leyer Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    MIN
    Keon Broxton Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    PHI
    Chase Anderson Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
    team logo
    SEA
    Yoshihisa Hirano Signed to Play in Japan (Orix Buffaloes)
    team logo
    SEA
    Taylor Guerrieri Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    TB
    Hunter Strickland Signed to a Minor League Contract


    Sunday, February 7, 2021
    TEAM PLAYER TRANSACTION
    team logo

    DET
    Erasmo Ramirez Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    LAA
    Juan Lagares Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    PIT
    Chasen Shreve Signed to a Minor League Contract


    Saturday, February 6, 2021
    TEAM PLAYER TRANSACTION
    team logo



    ARI
    Joakim Soria Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
    team logo
    ARI
    Taylor Guilbeau Designated for Assignment
    team logo
    CIN
    Sean Doolittle Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
    team logo
    HOU
    Carlos Correa Signed ( 2021)(avoids arbitration)
    team logo
    OAK
    Elvis Andrus Traded From Texas (for OF/DH Khris Davis, five-player deal)
    team logo
    OAK
    Aramis Garcia Traded From Texas (for OF/DH Khris Davis, five-player deal)
    team logo
    TEX
    Khris Davis Traded From Oakland (for SS Elvis Andrus, five-player deal)
    team logo
    TEX
    Jonah Heim Traded From Oakland (for SS Elvis Andrus, five-player deal)


    Friday, February 5, 2021
    TEAM PLAYER TRANSACTION
    team logo



    ATL
    Kyle Garlick Designated for Assignment
    team logo
    ATL
    Marcell Ozuna Signed as Free Agent ( 2021-2024; Opt 2025)(four-year contract)
    team logo
    BAL
    Anthony Santander Signed ( 2021)(loses arbitration)
    team logo
    CHC
    Max Schrock Designated for Assignment
    team logo
    CHC
    Joc Pederson Signed as Free Agent ( 2021; Opt 2022)(one-year contract)
    team logo
    CHC
    Andrew Chafin Signed as Free Agent ( 2021; Opt 2022)(one-year contract)
    team logo
    CHC
    Sergio Alcantara Acquired Off Waivers From Detroit
    team logo
    CHC
    Trevor Williams Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
    team logo
    DET
    Travis Demeritte Designated for Assignment
    team logo
    DET
    Jonathan Schoop Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
    team logo
    MIL
    Kolten Wong Signed as Free Agent ( 2021-2022)(two-year contract)
    team logo
    MIN
    Nelson Cruz Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
    team logo
    MIN
    Ian Hamilton Acquired Off Waivers From Philadelphia
    team logo
    NYM
    J.D. Davis Signed ( 2021)(loses arbitration)
    team logo
    TB
    Ji-Man Choi Signed ( 2021)(wins arbitration)
    team logo
    WAS
    Jordy Mercer Signed to a Minor League Contract


    Thursday, February 4, 2021
    TEAM PLAYER TRANSACTION
    team logo



    BAL
    Seth Mejias-Brean Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    CHC
    Joe Biagini Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    CHC
    Rex Brothers Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    CLE
    Mike Freeman Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    CLE
    Eddie Rosario Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
    team logo
    LAA
    Dexter Fowler Traded From St. Louis (for future considerations)
    team logo
    MIN
    Shaun Anderson Traded From San Francisco (for OF LaMonte Wade Jr.)
    team logo
    SF
    LaMonte Wade Traded From Minnesota (for RHP Shaun Anderson)
    team logo
    SF
    Tommy La Stella Signed as Free Agent ( 2021-2023)(three-year contract)
    team logo
    SF
    Luis Alexander Basabe Designated for Assignment


    Wednesday, February 3, 2021
    TEAM PLAYER TRANSACTION
    team logo



    BAL
    Felix Hernandez Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    BOS
    Joel Payamps Designated for Assignment
    team logo
    BOS
    Garrett Richards Signed as Free Agent ( 2021; Opt 2022)(one-year contract)
    team logo
    CIN
    Nicky Delmonico Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    CLE
    Heath Hembree Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    CLE
    Bryan Shaw Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    CLE
    D.J. Johnson Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    LAA
    Robel Garcia Acquired Off Waivers From NY Mets
    team logo
    SF
    Zack Littell Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    TEX
    Nick Vincent Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    WAS
    Gerardo Parra Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    WAS
    Alex Avila Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
    Reply With Quote  
     

  2. #2  
    RX Semi-God
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Las Vegas
    Posts
    96,224
    MLB spring training: 10 storylines to watch, including Francisco Lindor's extension and fans in the stands


    Here's what we'll be watching as the 2021 season approaches


    Spring training gets underway this week in Arizona and Florida, and that means some scene-setting in order. Specifically, what particular MLB storylines are worth your considered ruminations as pitchers and catchers report to camp? To be sure, many of the subplots about to be ticked off won't culminate during spring training, but the exhibition season may provide some hints as to how things might play out on that particular front.


    Really, this is a non-exhaustive list of storylines for the 2021 season, and Cactus and Grapefruit League activity merely marks the start of those stories. Throat-clearing? Finished. Actual content of note? Beginning now …


    1. The Mets and a Francisco Lindor extension
    The Mets under new owner Steve Cohen have been quite active this offseason -- ludicrously active by the franchise's Wilpon-era standards -- and their centerpiece addition is All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor, whom they acquired via trade with Cleveland. Lindor is a true difference-maker with the bat and the glove and on the bases, and he's also one of the most luminous personalities in the game today. He makes the Mets a better team on the field and a more alluring one off it.


    The rub, though, is that Lindor is entering his walk year, which means he'll be eligible for free agency not long after the 2021 World Series ends. Without question, the Mets would love to sign Lindor to a multi-year extension so that his stay in Queens spans much longer than a mere one season. For his part, Lindor has expressed a willingness to do just that. However, it's going to come at a significant cost, and the clock is already ticking.


    On that latter point, here's what Lindor at his introductory Mets press conference said about the timeline for signing an extension:


    "It gets to a point in spring training and it is time to enjoy the ride and focus on winning."


    The implication is that once Grapefruit League play gets going in earnest, the time for contract talk has passed. That, in turn, would mean that Lindor is almost certain to hit the market next winter. The Mets can't let that happen, and they need to be willing to pay Lindor something well north of $300 million in order to keep him in orange and blue (and occasionally black for some reason) for years to come. We may know the end of this particular story fairly soon.


    2. The Dodgers and their chances of repeating
    Not since the 1999-2000 has a team repeated as World Series champions. That happens to be the longest "repeat" drought in MLB history. The 2021 Dodgers, however, figure to have about as good a chance as you can have to win back-to-back titles. In the abbreviated 2020 season, they won at a .717 clip, which scales to a 116-win pace across the usual 162 games. They backed it up with a plus-136 run differential (a fairly absurd figure across just 60 games), and then in the postseason went 13-5 en route to winning the World Series for the first time since 1988.


    As for 2021, they've added to the fold Trevor Bauer, who was the top pitcher available on the free-agent market, and veteran lefty David Price will be new to the rotation after opting out of the 2020 season. The pitching depth is the envy of every other team, and they return almost every piece of an offense that led the majors in runs scored last season.


    The nature of baseball is such that you should always take the field over any one team when it comes to predicting who wins the World Series, but the mighty Dodgers are better positioned to repeat than any team in a very long time.


    3. Fans in the stands
    Because of the still ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, fans weren't permitted to attend MLB games last season until the very last rounds of the playoffs. This season, however, figures to occasion more of an atmosphere of normality in this regard. The plan right now is for fans to be in attendance at spring training games and regular season games, albeit in limited numbers and in accordance with local guidelines.


    Back in January, MLB distributed an internal memo on this matter that went a little something like this:


    "The Office of the Commissioner understands the need for clubs to plan for next season,'' the memo reads, "but MLB's policies ultimately will depend on the public health situation in the United States, which is difficult to predict this far in advance of the season. In particular, the current uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 vaccine production and distribution rates is preventing our experts from making predictions about the spring and summer with specificity. As such, MLB's guidance on fan attendance may change in the coming weeks as circumstances change, and may also be modified later as the season progresses and conditions improve. ...


    "Changes in government orders, particularly at the federal level, may necessitate changes to MLB's policies."


    MLB likely will be following the same formula it used during the World Series -- i.e., requiring fans to wear masks and selling tickets to "pods" of fans who will maintain social distance between other pods. Again, tickets will be sold in limited numbers, and it's hard to imagine that we'll see anything more than 20-25 percent capacity at any venue in the early weeks of the season. As noted, local regulations will be determinative in many regards.


    Obviously, as more and more people get vaccinated, it seems likely that attendance restrictions will be gradually loosened (assuming emerging COVID variants don't complicate matters). If herd immunity is indeed achieved by summer, which increasingly seems like a plausible goal, then you could see normal-ish attendance figures for the stretch drive and postseason. And wouldn't that be a welcome thing.


    4. The Astros and their uncertain villain status
    Speaking of fans in attendance, the Astros -- pursuant to the sign-stealing scandal that roiled baseball before COVID came along -- have yet to receive a truly vigorous booing by paying customers. Last season, no fans attended any regular season Astros games even as they advanced as far as the ALCS, so they've yet to hear about their transgressions in the typical manner.


    The passage of time tends to blunt righteous outrage, and many of the key villains -- A.J. Hinch, Alex Cora, Jeff Luhnow, Carlos Beltran, and others -- have moved on elsewhere. That said, the sight of holdover Astros hitters like Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, and Carlos Correa playing in front of fans on the road for the first time since the scandal was laid bare will surely conjure up some of those latent hostilities.


    So are the Astros still villains? Maybe we'll know more when they visit the Yankees for a three-game set that starts May 4. You'll recall that the Astros felled the Yankees in the perhaps tainted 2017 ALCS. Then they may be in for another round of robust heckling from the hoi polloi on Aug. 3 and 4 when they travel to L.A. for a pair against the Dodgers. You'll recall that the Astros defeated the Dodgers in seven games in the 2017 World Series. While Joe Kelly has already had his say, Dodger fans have not.


    5. The Blue Jays as AL East contenders
    To hear our hive mind tell it, the Yankees are the favorites in the AL East in 2021, and let's not forget that the Rays are the reigning AL champs. The Red Sox also figure to be at least vaguely relevant. So where does that leave the Blue Jays?


    Wherever it leaves them, they're to be taken seriously. They're coming off a resurgent 2020 season in which they finished four games above .500 and made the expanded postseason. That constitutes a huge leap over 2019, when they went 67-95. When a team makes such huge strides from season to season, you worry about en masse regression back to the mean -- Bill James termed it the "plexiglass principle."


    The Blue Jays, though, have attempted to preempt such nebulous laws by fortifying the roster with notable additions like George Springer, Marcus Semien, Kirby Yates, and Steven Matz. Those all move the needle, and that's especially the case once you consider that the Yankees and Rays at best held serve and shed some talent, respectively. It's also possible that the young to young-ish bats in the Toronto lineup will continue to enjoy skills growth. Maybe Toronto isn't the favorite in the division, but no one should be surprised if they wind up threatening 90 wins and making the postseason once again.


    6. The powerhouse Padres
    As noted above, the Dodgers by any measure look like the best team in MLB heading into the 2021 season. The NL West, as it turns out, may also house the second-best team in MLB. That would be the Padres.


    Last season, the Padres busted out in a big way, as they won at a .617 clip -- the best win percentage in franchise history -- and returned to the playoffs for the first time since 2006. That was largely because the impressive young talent base and targeted free agent additions gelled at the same time. Now those core contributors are back, and GM A.J. Preller has complemented them with a veritable offseason haul. This winter, the Padres have signed or traded for the likes of Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, Joe Musgrove, Mark Melancon, and Ha-seong Kim. All that for a roster that didn't seem to have many glaring needs.


    Yes, the Dodgers remain the favorites, but the Padres aren't far behind them in terms of roster strength. That means the NL West race could double as a fight to determine the best team in baseball in 2021.


    7. La Russa rides again
    The up-and-coming White Sox ended their postseason drought last year, and thanks largely to the fruits of the rebuild they're well positioned to contend for years to come. That's why it was a puzzling decision to part ways with manager Rick Renteria. More puzzling still was the decision -- likely made from on high -- to replace him with Tony La Russa.


    La Russa is a Hall of Fame manager, but he's also 76 years old and hasn't managed an MLB game in almost a decade. He'll become the third-oldest person ever to manage an MLB game, trailing just Connie Mack and Jack McKeon. No one doubts La Russa's smarts or his profoundly impressive dossier. What's doubted is whether he's a good fit for a roster that leans young and new school. It's a high-risk hire, particularly in light of La Russa's past legal issues.


    Spring training play should provide some insight into how La Russa will skipper his talented team in 2021, and it may give some insight into how well his charges respond to said skippering. For good or ill, the outcome of this unlikely pairing of team and manager will be compelling.


    8. Arenado's bat
    It's too much to say the NL Central will hinge on how well Nolan Arenado produces in his first season with the Cardinals, but it may be the biggest single X-factor in what still looks like a tight division (note: we said "tight," not "good").


    This is a bit of an unknown not because of Coors Field. Look, we have plenty of examples of Rockies hitters going on to thrive elsewhere, and DJ LeMahieu is just the most recent example. Yes, Arenado's home numbers will almost certainly decline now that he's no longer playing those home games at a mile above sea level, but playing home games in Coors Field also tends to mangle a hitter's road performance. Arenado in St. Louis will no longer have those concerns, which is why his performance in road games should improve. Call it a wash, basically, at least on a park-adjusted level.


    No, the concern is Arenado's declining batted ball metrics. Since 2018, Arenado's quality of contact measures such as average exit velocity, expected batting average, expected slugging percentage, and hard-hit rate have all trended in the wrong direction. It's easy enough to dismiss last season's disappointing outputs because of Arenado's early shoulder injury (in addition to, you know, playing a 60-game schedule in the midst of a pandemic). However, his issues with making good contact didn't begin last year. Those indicators can be telling when it comes to future performance, and Arenado will soon be into his thirties.


    None of this is to suggest that Arenado is in decline or that the Cardinals erred in acquiring him. He's still likely to be a quality hitter for some time, and that's to say nothing of his still excellent defense. Rather, it's fair to wonder whether Peak Arenado, at least at the plate, is gone for good. On that front, the 2021 season will be quite telling.


    9. The Angels' latest attempt to build a winner
    Once again, the annual consideration out in Orange County is whether the Angels have done enough to surround Mike Trout, still the best player in baseball, with a playoff-worthy supporting cast. Going into 2021, you can reframe it as whether the Angels have done enough to surround Trout and Anthony Rendon with a playoff-worthy supporting cast. The Angels haven't made the playoffs since 2014, and that's the only time they've advanced to the postseason during Trout's singular peak. For shame.


    Drill down a bit, and you'll find that this is largely a matter of the rotation. For the past half-decade plus the Angels have trotted out some of the worst heaps of starting pitchers in all of baseball, and no matter the brilliance of your legendary center fielder it's hard to win with a dead-weight rotation. So will 2021 be any different under first-year GM Perry Minasian? They've added Jose Quintana and Alex Cobb to the rotation, and they should at least be good for volume innings. There's also the possibly quixotic hope that Dylan Bundy truly leveled up in a sustainable way last season, and Andrew Heaney projects as a solid-average. Is that enough? It might be, but bear in mind that we're back to a 10-team playoff field for 2021. The sensible assumption is that Trout will once again be home by October, but it would be nice to be wrong about that one of these years.


    10. CBA tensions and run-up
    Insofar as off-the-field matters are concerned, the 2021 season is prelude to a potential labor war. That's because the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), which is the negotiated document that governs the working relationship between players and owners, is set to expire on Dec. 1. MLB has had an unprecedented run of labor peace, but that peace has become an uneasy one.


    Owners in the next round of CBA negotiations will no doubt want to come away with an expanded postseason while in exchange giving up as little as possible. The players, meantime, want to address their declining share of league revenues through structural means. To accomplish that, the players may need to address tanking, work to lessen the penalties of the luxury tax, win assurances against service time manipulation, and reconfigure the structure of free agency. Those are all very heavy lifts.


    Layer on top of that the tensions stemming from ownership's bad-faith posturing leading up to the 2020 and 2021 seasons, and it's entirely possible that we see MLB's first labor stoppage since 1994-95. That could take the form of a December lockout by owners, or the players could strike in an effort to win concessions from the league. Either way, the guess right now is that it'll be an ugly process.


    In the meantime, let's play some baseball.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  3. #3  
    RX Semi-God
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Las Vegas
    Posts
    96,224
    MLB free agency: A's agree to sign relievers Yusmeiro Petit and Sergio Romo


    Petit has had great success in the A's bullpen the past three seasons; Romo returns to the Bay Area



    he Oakland Athletics have agreed to sign free-agent reliever Yusmeiro Petit, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Rosenthal further reports that the A's have also signed Sergio Romo.


    Petit has enjoyed good success his last three years in Oakland and the A's lost late-inning relievers Joakim Soria and Liam Hendriks to free agency, so the reunion here made a ton of sense for both sides.


    In fact, with Hendriks taking his elite-level closing chops to Chicago, the door is open for a new closer.


    In 26 outings last season, Petit had a 1.66 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 17 strikeouts against five walks in 21 2/3 innings. In his three years in Oakland, he's pitched to a 2.73 ERA (154 ERA+) and 0.94 WHIP in 197 2/3 innings.


    Romo, 37, returns to the Bay Area, as the best years of his career came in San Francisco. Last season with the Twins, Romo had a 4.05 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 23 strikeouts in 20 innings.


    As noted, the A's need a new closer and one of these two could well be the guy. Petit only has six career saves, but has found success in high-leverage spots in his years with the club. Romo is a former All-Star closer and even had five saves last season. Lefty Jake Diekman and righty Lou Trivino figure to be the primary competition for the two in the fight to close.


    Though most big names are off the board, there are still several likely-helpful relievers left on the market. We ranked Petit the No. 56 free agent heading into the offseason. Of our top 60, the following relievers are left unsigned to this point: Trevor Rosenthal (38), Shane Greene (46), Tyler Clippard (58) and Tony Watson (59). Possible starter or reliever Trevor Cahill (53) is also available.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  4. #4  
    RX Semi-God
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Las Vegas
    Posts
    96,224
    Angels' Albert Pujols undecided about playing future beyond 2021 MLB season


    Pujols turned 41 last month and is entering the last season of his 10-year contract



    Los Angeles Angels slugger and future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols is entering the final season of his 10-year, $240 million contract. He turned 41 last month and his skills are greatly diminished. But, despite that, Pujols has not yet made any plans for his future beyond 2021. His baseball future remains undecided.


    Here's what Pujols told ESPN's Enrique Rojas:


    "Right now, I don't have a plan for the future," Pujols told ESPN Digital on Tuesday.


    "I have worked all winter to be ready from the first day of training. I will take this year day by day, without creating expectations. There are things that happen that you cannot control," said Pujols.


    "I will try not to think about the future, but what I can do now for this organization. My body will dictate what I should do later," he added.


    Pujols hit .224/.270/.395 during the abbreviated 2020 season and he owns a .242/.291/.406 batting line in more than 1,800 plate appearances over the last four seasons. That works out to an 87 OPS+, or 13 percent below league average. At his peak, he was one of the greatest hitters ever, though he hasn't been that player in several years now.


    Should he decide to continue playing, Pujols figures to have trouble finding a roster spot in 2022, even if the National League adopts the universal DH. It's been a half-decade since he was even a league average hitter, and he doesn't provide any defensive or baserunning value. Pujols is a clubhouse leader who mentors young players, but that's probably not enough to get signed.


    If this is Pujols' final year, it should feature some milestones. He needs 84 hits to pass Paul Molitor and take over sole possession of 10th place on the all-time list, and he needs 144 total bases to pass Willie Mays and move into sole possession of third place on the all-time list. He is currently fifth all-time in homers (662), third in RBI (2,100), and fifth in extra-base hits (1,347).
    Reply With Quote  
     

  5. #5  
    RX Semi-God
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Las Vegas
    Posts
    96,224
    Padres, Fernando Tatis Jr. agree to mammoth 14-year, $340 million contract extension, per reports


    The star shortstop has committed to a record-breaking long-term deal to stay in San Diego




    Fernando Tatis Jr. and the San Diego Padres have agreed to a record-breaking 14-year, $340 million long-term contract extension, Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune and Fansided's Robert Murray reports. The star shortstop's extension will include a full no-trade clause for all 14 years of the deal, according to Scott Miller.


    Tatis Jr., who's still just 22 years of age, has thrived throughout his young career. In 143 games across two seasons with San Diego, Tatis has batted .301/.374/.582 (154 OPS+) with 39 home runs and 27 stolen bases. That's exceptional production for any player, let alone a young shortstop. This past season, Tatis won a Silver Slugger and finished third in the NL MVP balloting. Tatis' performance to date is in keeping with his former status as the consensus top prospect in all of baseball, which is in part why the Padres are comfortable making such a large investment in him.


    Our own Mike Axisa recently pegged Tatis as a strong candidate for an extension. Here's what he wrote at the time:


    "The best benchmark at this service-time level is Alex Bregman, who signed a six-year extension worth $100.6 million with the Astros in March 2019. A six-year deal would buy out Tatis' four remaining years of team control plus two free agent years, and allow him to become a free agent at age 27. That contract values Bregman's free agent years at $30.5 million apiece. If we stick with that and turn the six-year deal into a 15-year deal, we're talking $375 million in guaranteed money. It's very possible Tatis could receive a $400 million extension in the not-too-distant future."


    As it turned out, Tatis basically hit that mark, albeit for 14 years instead of 15, hence the slightly lower overall value. Tatis' $340 million extension once finalized will become the largest in Padres' franchise history, breaking the record set by Tatis' fellow member of the left side of the infield Manny Machado ($300 million). It will also become the third-largest contract in MLB history in terms of total value behind just Mike Trout's and Mookie Betts' current deals. At 14 years, Tatis' extension is the longest contract, which breaks the record of 13 years shared by Giancarlo Stanton and Bryce Harper.


    Largest contracts in MLB history:


    1. Mike Trout, $426,500,000
    2. Mookie Betts, $365,000,000
    3. Fernando Tatis Jr., $340,000,000


    The Padres and general manager A.J. Preller now have one of the brightest young stars to hit MLB in a long time locked up for more than a decade. The deal also caps a highly successful offseason for Preller and the Padres. Prior to this reported agreement, the Padres most notably fortified the rotation with trades for had Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, and Joe Musgrove.


    Coming off a 2020 season in which they made the postseason and logged the highest win percentage in team history, the Padres are positioned to contend for years to come -- with Tatis, his star power, and his MVP upside helming those efforts every step of the way.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  6. #6  
    RX Semi-God
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Las Vegas
    Posts
    96,224
    MLB free agency: A's sign reliever Trevor Rosenthal to one-year, $11 million deal, per report


    Rosenthal looked like a top-notch closer last season


    After losing one of baseball's top closers to free agency earlier this offseason in Liam Hendriks, the Oakland Athletics appear to have found his replacement. The team has agreed to terms with free-agent reliever Trevor Rosenthal, reports Jon Heyman of MLB Network. The deal is reportedly for one year and $11 million.


    It's been quite the ride for the 30-year-old Rosenthal. He was an outstanding closer for the Cardinals in 2014-15, lost his job in 2016, got it back and was really settling into it in 2017, but then fell injured. After Tommy John surgery cost him the 2018 season. The 2019 season was a disaster as he pitched with both the Nationals and Tigers.


    Last season, however, Rosenthal re-established himself as a worthwhile closer. In stops with the Royals (14 appearances) and Padres (nine), he pitched to a 1.90 ERA and 0.85 WHIP with 38 strikeouts against eight walks in 23 2/3 innings. He saved 11 games in 12 chances.


    He was all over the Statcast leaderboards, inducing weak contact, getting swings-and-misses and lighting up the radar gun. it. It wasn't just the numbers. Rosenthal's stuff was electric and he looked the part. He was back and possibly better than ever, if we can get all cliché about it.


    Of course, there's the spotty and inconsistent history, so we'll need to see it for a full season. That's why Rosenthal got just the one season in free agency and it took this long.


    The A's recently added Sergio Romo and re-signed Yusmeiro Petit to help shore up their bullpen. Lou Trivino and lefty Jake Diekman also figure in the setup picture in front of Rosenthal, who surely was signed to be the full-time closer for manager Bob Melvin.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  7. #7  
    RX Semi-God
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Las Vegas
    Posts
    96,224
    Thursday, February 18, 2021
    TEAM PLAYER TRANSACTION
    team logo



    CHC
    Sergio Alcantara Designated for Assignment
    team logo
    CHC
    Brandon Workman Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
    team logo
    NYM
    Brian Dozier Retired
    team logo
    SD
    Fernando Tatis Signed ( 2021-2034)(14-year contract extension)


    Wednesday, February 17, 2021
    TEAM PLAYER TRANSACTION
    team logo



    BOS
    Kevin Plawecki Placed on 10-Day IL (COVID-19 injured list)
    team logo
    BOS
    Ronaldo Hernandez Traded From Tampa Bay (for RHP Chris Mazza, four-player deal)
    team logo
    CHC
    Pedro Strop Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    CHC
    Jake Arrieta Signed as Free Agent ( 2021; Opt 2022)(one-year contract)
    team logo
    CHC
    Cody Allen Retired
    team logo
    CHC
    Kyle Ryan Placed on 10-Day IL (COVID-19 injured list (positive test))
    team logo
    MIA
    John Curtiss Traded From Tampa Bay (for 1B Evan Edwards)
    team logo
    MIA
    Harold Ramirez Designated for Assignment
    team logo
    MIA
    Adam Duvall Signed as Free Agent ( 2021; Opt 2022)(one-year contract)
    team logo
    MIA
    Jeff Brigham Placed on 60-Day IL (Undisclosed injury)
    team logo
    MIN
    Brandon Waddell Outrighted to Minors
    team logo
    PHI
    Brad Miller Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
    team logo
    PHI
    Seranthony Dominguez Placed on 60-Day IL (Recovery from right elbow surgery)
    team logo
    PHI
    Tony Watson Signed to a Minor League Contract
    team logo
    PIT
    Jose Soriano Placed on 60-Day IL (Recovery from right elbow surgery)
    team logo
    PIT
    Tyler Anderson Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
    team logo
    SF
    John Brebbia Placed on 60-Day IL (Recovery from right elbow surgery)
    team logo
    SF
    Jake McGee Signed as Free Agent ( 2021-2022; Opt 2023)(two-year contract)
    team logo
    TB
    Rich Hill Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
    team logo
    TB
    Oliver Drake Signed as Free Agent ( 2021)(one-year contract)
    team logo
    TB
    Colin Poche Placed on 60-Day IL (Recovery from left elbow surgery)
    team logo
    TB
    Jalen Beeks Placed on 60-Day IL (Recovery from left elbow surgery)
    team logo
    TB
    Chris Mazza Traded From Boston (for C Ronaldo Hernandez, 4-player deal)
    team logo
    TB
    Jeffrey Springs Traded From Boston (for C Ronaldo Hernandez, 4-player deal)
    Reply With Quote  
     

  8. #8  
    RX Semi-God
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Las Vegas
    Posts
    96,224
    MLB spring training: Picking each team's most exciting non-roster invitee


    From top prospects to journeyman veterans, there are plenty of notable names to watch in camp


    Spring training has arrived. Camps across Arizona and Florida opened this week, and one week from Sunday, Cactus League and Grapefruit League play will begin. I can't wait. I am so ready for the offseason to be over.


    Spring training games are fun in their own way, mostly because they allow us to see players we usually don't get to see during the regular season. Top prospects, reclamation project veterans, and many other minor leaguers will rub elbows with the big-league team during exhibition games before heading to the minors in April.


    Over the last few days the 30 MLB clubs announced their non-roster invitees (NRIs) to spring training. Those are players who will be in big-league camp despite not being on the 40-man roster. Some NRIs are top prospects, some are journeymen veterans, and most are somewhere in between. The big-league coaching staff will get a look at all of them.


    As always, some NRIs are more interesting than others. Two years ago Yordan Alvarez and Pete Alonso both went from NRI to Rookie of the Year. Trevor Rosenthal went from NRI to closing games for a postseason team in 2020. Inevitably, a few NRIs will make an impact in 2021. And, inevitably, some will have a big spring and show it was all a fluke in April. That's baseball.


    With spring training arriving and exhibition games coming next week, this is as good a time as any to examine each team's most exciting NRI. As a reminder, all players on the 40-man roster will be in big league camp automatically, a list that includes top prospects like Luis Patino and Alex Kirilloff. Now here is each team's most exciting NRI.




    team logo
    Diamondbacks
    1B Seth Beer. The Diamondbacks have three of the most exciting outfield prospects in baseball in Corbin Carroll, Kristian Robinson, and Alek Thomas, but, sadly, none will be in big-league camp as an NRI. Lame, D-Backs. Lame. As a result, Arizona's NRI list is heavy on veterans, so Beer gets the nod here almost by default. The No. 28 pick in the 2018 draft came over in the Zack Greinke trade and is a three true outcomes type with a knack for elevating the ball from the left side of the plate. Beer just might be Arizona's first baseman of the future.


    team logo
    Braves
    SS Braden Shewmake. The No. 21 pick in the 2019 draft, Shewmake is a scout's favorite because he does everything well. He's improved his defense and gets the bat on the ball consistently, and he's a very smart and instinctual player. Shewmake lacks power, the most difficult tool to project in the juiced ball and launch angle era, but he does everything else is a very fun to watch. The Braves also brought defense-first catcher Shea Langeliers, the No. 9 pick in the 2019 draft, to camp as an NRI.


    team logo
    Orioles
    C Adley Rutschman. With all due respect to Felix Hernandez and Matt Harvey, who are trying to revive their careers, and Heston Kjerstad, the No. 2 pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, Rutschman is the easy call here. The No. 1 pick in the 2019 draft is one of the best prospects in the game and the future face of the Orioles franchise. He's a switch-hitter catcher who projects to hit for average and power, walk a ton, and play excellent defense. He's also lauded for his leadership skills. A potential franchise player, through and through. This should be his last spring training as an NRI. Rutschman will be a big leaguer before long.


    team logo
    Red Sox
    OF Jarren Duran. Really fun group of NRIs for the Red Sox. They brought their top two prospects, infielders Jeter Downs and Triston Casas, to camp, ditto shortstop and 2020 first-round pick Nick Yorke. Duran gets the call here following his MVP winning performance in winter ball in Puerto Rico. The former seventh-round pick reportedly made some adjustments geared toward elevating the ball more often at the alternate site last year, and that was after hitting .322/.376/.446 in the minors from 2018-19. Duran is a fast riser and not far from the big leagues.


    team logo
    Cubs
    RHP Brendon Little. Sorry, Cubs fans, but your team has the least-exciting group of NRIs in the game this spring. That's because many of their top prospects are already on the 40-man roster and will be in big-league camp automatically (Adbert Alzolay, Miguel Amaya, Brailyn Marquez, Christopher Morel, etc.), and others like 2020 first rounder Ed Howard and 2020 second rounder Burl Carraway did not get a camp invite. Little, the No. 27 pick in the 2017 draft, has a very nice curveball and it's not out of the question that he can pitch his way into a bullpen job.


    team logo
    White Sox
    1B Andrew Vaughn. Look at the White Sox roster and it is painfully obvious they are keeping a spot warm for Vaughn. They currently have Adam Engel and Eloy Jimenez penciled into left field and DH, and while Engel is a nice player, it feels like only a matter of time until Vaughn takes over at DH and pushes Jimenez back into left field. Vaughn, the No. 3 pick in the 2019 draft, has a devastating offensive skill set and was a career .374/.495/.688 hitter in college. Expect the ChiSox to turn him loose early in 2021, after a few weeks in the minors to get up to speed after the lost season (and/or manipulate service time).


    team logo
    Reds
    RHP Hunter Greene. The Reds brought infielder Jonathan India, the No. 5 pick in 2018, and lefty Nick Lodolo, the No. 7 pick in 2019, to camp as NRIs, but all eyes will be on Greene, the No. 2 pick in 2017. He completed his Tommy John surgery rehab last year and was at the alternate site -- Greene has not pitched in an official game since July 2018 -- and now it's time to get the show on the road. Greene has touched 100 mph when healthy and he is simply one of the most exciting prospects in the game. It'll be good to see him in games again.


    team logo
    Indians
    OF George Valera. Valera turned only 20 in November and will be one of the youngest players in a big-league camp this spring. He's raw but he has power -- Valera swatted eight homers in 46 games against mostly college-aged kids in the short season New York-Penn League in 2019 -- and the sort of whippy swing and bat-to-ball ability that point to huge offensive upside. Cleveland will have several of their top prospects in camp as NRIs this spring, including catcher Bo Naylor and infielders Brayan Rocchio and Tyler Freeman, though few prospects in the sport are as exciting as Valera. Get a look at him while you can, before he's reassigned to minor-league camp.


    team logo
    Rockies
    LHP Ryan Rolison. The Rockies opted not to invite 2019 first rounder Michael Toglia nor 2020 first rounder Zac Veen to big league camp, so Rolison, the No. 22 pick in 2018, is the guy here. He is the organization's top pitching prospect as a southpaw who succeeds with command and pitchability rather than overpowering stuff. The lost 2020 season threw a wrench into Rolison's development, but he could see the big leagues in 2021.


    team logo
    Tigers
    1B Spencer Torkelson. With all due respect to Riley Greene, the No. 5 pick in the 2019 draft and one of my favorite prospects in the minors, Torkelson is an easy call. The No. 1 pick in the 2020 draft has the look of a monstrous middle-of-the-order hitter, someone who hits for average and power and posts huge on-base percentages. The Tigers are loaded with young pitching (Matt Manning, Casey Mize, and Tarik Skubal, all of whom are on the 40-man roster), and now they're starting to add some position player talent in Torkelson and Greene. Torkelson could be up at some point in 2021. It would be an upset if he's not, really.


    team logo
    Astros
    C Korey Lee. The Astros have a pitching-heavy farm system and just about all their top arms are on the 40-man roster (Bryan Abreu, Luis Garcia, Forrest Whitley, etc.). Lee, the No. 32 pick in the 2019 draft, has power but hits the ball on the ground too often, and Houston is working with him to elevate the ball more. He's a good receiver and athletic enough to dabble at shortstop and in the outfield in college. This spring will be our first real chance to see Lee in games, and see how well he's progressing at the plate.


    team logo
    Royals
    SS Bobby Witt Jr. My heart wanted to go with Wade Davis, who is on a minor-league contract and looking to revive his career outside Coors Field, but I just can't do it. Not when a prospect as good as Witt is sitting right there. Witt, the No. 2 pick in the 2019 draft, is a tools freak who grades out as above-average across the board. He projects to hit for average and power, steal bases, and save runs in the field. Witt is a potential franchise cornerstone, someone whose game could look a lot like Trevor Story's at his peak. Top pitching prospects Jackson Kowar, Asa Lacy, and Daniel Lynch will all be in camp this year as well, giving Kansas City one of the most exciting groups of NRIs in the game.


    team logo
    Angels
    OF Jordyn Adams. The Angels had a thing for ultra-tools outfielders under former GM Billy Eppler, and Adams is next in line after Jo Adell. He's an electric athlete who was committed to play baseball and football at North Carolina, and he brings top of the line speed and big power potential to the table. Squint your eyes and you can see 30/30 potential with defense that approaches Gold Glove caliber. Adams is only 21 and he's yet to play above High Class-A, though he's one of those players you can't take your eyes off when he's on the field.


    team logo
    Dodgers
    RHP Josiah Gray. The Dodgers always have a fun collection of NRIs and this year's group includes three recent first rounders (righty Bobby Miller and infielders Kody Hoese and Michael Busch), though we're going with Gray here. Acquired from the Reds in the big Yasiel Puig/Alex Wood trade a few years ago, Gray broke out as a prospect in 2019 and now ranks among the most exciting young arms in the sport. He has a big fastball and a wipeout slider, and even Los Angeles' incredible rotation depth may not be enough to prevent him from making his MLB debut in 2021.


    team logo
    Marlins
    RHP Max Meyer. Very prospect-laden group of NRIs for the Marlins. They'll have three recent first-round pick outfielders in camp (JJ Bleday, Kameron Misner, Connor Scott) as well as Meyer, the No. 3 pick in the 2020 draft. He struck out 46 batters in 27 2/3 innings in college last spring and was the consensus most MLB-ready player in last year's draft class, though the Marlins opted not to call him up. Meyer has an upper-90s fastball and a wipeout Brad Lidge-esque slider. It is devastating. It's unlikely spring training will be the only time we see Meyer on the field with big leaguers in 2021.


    team logo
    Brewers
    OF Garrett Mitchell. For a team without a top-tier farm system, the Brewers sure will have a lot of fun prospects in camp this spring. Shortstop Brice Turang is a slash-and-dash speedster and lefty Ethan Small was the team's first-round pick in 2019. Mitchell gets the nod here because he's a freak athlete with tremendous speed and Gold Glove-caliber defensive tools, and he will put a mistake into orbit. Will he improve his approach enough for that power to play in games? Unclear, but the development process for the No. 20 pick in the 2020 draft begins as an NRI this spring.


    team logo
    Twins
    SS Royce Lewis. Lewis was the No. 1 pick in the 2017 draft and I feel like prospect fatigue is setting in. He hasn't had that huge breakout season yet and is merely a great prospect rather than a super-duper-elite prospect, though the athleticism and tools remain tantalizing. Lewis might wind up in center field long-term rather than shortstop. He's an exciting prospect wherever he lands and I'm looking forward to seeing him in camp this spring. It may not feel like it at this point, but Lewis is still only 21.


    team logo
    Mets
    RHP Matthew Allan. The Mets are bringing all their top prospects to spring training as NRIs, including catcher Francisco Alvarez, infielders Brett Baty and Ronny Mauricio, and 2020 first rounder Pete Crow-Armstrong. Allen is the club's top pitching prospect and he's the pick here thanks to his big fastball and hammer curveball. He is a certifiable pitching nerd who is into analytics and has a very advanced feel for his craft for a 19-year-old. Few things are an exciting as a high-end pitching prospect who knows what he's doing.


    team logo
    Yankees
    C Austin Wells. Alas, the Yankees did not bring uber-prospect Jasson Dominguez to camp, which is understandable seeing how he's a just-turned 18-year-old who has yet to play a professional game. They did, however, bring Wells, their 2020 first round pick, to spring training. He has some similarities to Kyle Schwarber as a power lefty bat who probably won't catch long-term, but could hit his way to the big leagues the year after being drafted. The Yankees tend to be conservative with their NRIs and the fact Wells will be in camp tells us they have big plans for him in 2021.


    team logo
    Athletics
    SS Nick Allen. Jed Lowrie! No, kidding, but Lowrie is in camp as an NRI and vying to have a third stint with the Athletics. Allen, meanwhile, is an undersized (listed at 5-foot-8 and 166 lbs.) bat control freak who checks every gritty and scrappy and gutty cliche box there is. Will he hit for enough power to keep pitchers honest? That's the big question. We almost certainly won't see Allen in the big leagues this year, but he will win over many fans during Cactus League play with his hard-nosed style.


    team logo
    Phillies
    SS Bryson Stott. I hoped the Phillies would bring Mick Abel, their 2020 first-round pick and one of the most exciting pitching prospects in the sport, to camp this year, but no luck. The 19-year-old will report to minor-league camp, which is where he belongs at this point in his career. Stott, the No. 14 pick in the 2019 draft, gets the nod here instead. He's one of those "do everything well but nothing exceptionally" players who draws rave reviews for his instincts and makeup. Just a solid, no nonsense ballplayer. Also, did you know Neftali Feliz is still pitching? He'll be in camp with the Phillies as an NRI.


    team logo
    Pirates
    RHP Quinn Priester. Not many prospects managed to improve their stock while at the alternate site in 2021, but Priester did it. His velocity jumped into the upper-90s and his curveball, which was always great, also stood out. Priester, the No. 18 pick in the 2019 draft, is a pitching nerd who used analytics to better himself and that's exciting. The Pirates are rebuilding and will have many of their best prospects in camp as NRIs, including outfielder Travis Swaggerty (No. 10 pick in 2018) and infielder Nick Gonzalez (No. 7 pick in 2020). Gonzalez hit .399/.502/.747 in his college career. True story.


    team logo
    Cardinals
    IF Nolan Gorman. Few prospects in the minors have as much power as Gorman. The problem? The No. 19 pick in the 2018 draft is a natural third baseman, and Nolan Arenado has the hot corner locked down in St. Louis long-term. No matter, Gorman recently approached the Cardinals about playing second base, and has been working out there in the early days of camp. You can hide a poor or inexperienced defender at second these days thanks to the shift and the fly ball/strikeout heavy nature of the game. Gorman at second base will be a #thingtowatch this spring. Shoutout to lefty Matthew Liberatore, the prospect the Cardinals received in the Randy Arozarena trade. He's another NRI to watch.


    team logo
    Padres
    SS CJ Abrams. Despite all their high-profile offseason trades, the Padres still have a dynamite farm system, and will bring top pitching prospect MacKenzie Gore and 2020 first rounder Robert Hassell to spring training as NRIs. Abrams, the No. 6 pick in the 2019 draft, is a WOW player with electric tools who projects to be a true impact player at the MLB level. Chances are he'll play center field long-term now that Fernando Tatis Jr. is signed through 2034. No matter where he plays, Abrams will add to San Diego's fun and exciting (and excellent) team. He's a must-watch player this spring.


    team logo
    Giants
    SS Marco Luciano. Had the 2020 minor-league season not been canceled, Luciano might've been in the conversation for the best prospect in baseball right now. He's that talented. The 19-year-old has Gary Sheffield-esque bat speed and there is an explosiveness to his game that is just not normal. Luciano is a special talent and the next great Giants superstar. He is still a few years away from the big leagues, however, so make sure you get a good look at him while you can this spring.


    team logo
    Mariners
    OF Jarred Kelenic. Tough, tough call here. Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez might be the two best outfield prospects in the game, and fortunately for Mariners fans, they won't have to pick between the two this spring. They can watch both. I'm going with Kelenic here because he's more of an all-around player who impacts the game at the plate, in the field, and on the bases. Rodriguez is more of a brute force masher, and hey, that's fun too. Whenever the Mariners return to the postseason, those two figure to lead the way.


    team logo
    Rays
    SS Wander Franco. Franco is the best prospect in baseball and maybe the best prospect the game has seen since Bryce Harper in 2012. He's a do-it-all wunderkind who is MLB ready or damn close to it despite not yet turning 20 and spending last year at the alternate site rather than playing in actual games. The Rays have the game's best farm system and there will be prospects galore in camp as NRIs (righty Shane Baz, infielders Greg Jones and Xavier Edwards, catchers Blake Hunt and Heriberto Hernandez, etc.), but Franco stands out from the pack. He is special and he will be in the big leagues soon.


    team logo
    Rangers
    3B Josh Jung. I am looking forward to seeing hard-throwing righties Cole Winn and Hans Crouse, but Jung has to be the call here. The No. 8 pick in the 2019 draft is starting to pull the ball, allowing him to tap into his natural power, giving him exciting offensive upside. Jung is a good defensive third baseman and there are rumblings the Rangers may have him work out at second base at some point. At either position, he figures to be a central figure on the next great Texas team.


    team logo
    Blue Jays
    IF Austin Martin. Martin was arguably the top prospect in the 2020 draft class and the Blue Jays were thrilled to get him with the No. 5 pick. They have him listed as an infielder on their roster, though his position is unsettled and he could wind up in center field long-term. Wherever he lands, he's going to hit. Martin has star-caliber offensive tools and it won't be long before he joins Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and George Springer in the lineup. Fellow top prospect Orelvis Martinez deserves a mention here. He just might be the long-term third baseman in Toronto.


    team logo
    Nationals
    RHP Jackson Rutledge. The Nationals have the consensus worst farm system in the sport -- that's easier to swallow when you're one year removed from a World Series title -- and Rutledge and Cade Cavalli, their last two first-round picks, stand out as the system's best. Both righties will be in camp as NRIs this spring and Rutledge gets the nod here because he is a 6-foot-8 monster with a 100-mph fastball and an analytics-friendly high-spin curveball. Washington is not shy about rushing prospects to the big leagues (see: Juan Soto jumping from Low Class-A to MLB in a matter of weeks) and you may see Rutledge in the show this year. You will see him in spring training though. That's for sure.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  9. #9  
    RX Semi-God
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Las Vegas
    Posts
    96,224
    Ranking MLB's top five rivalries heading into 2021 season: Dodgers-Padres, Yankees-Rays and more


    No, you won't find the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry at the top of these rankings


    We all know the list of the long-standing baseball rivalries. Those will never go away. There's always going to be something about the Dodgers-Giants, Cubs-Cardinals and, yes, the Yankees-Red Sox series that draws our eyeballs with a bit extra fervor (and we won't have much choice if we want to watch baseball on several Sunday nights). That does not, however, mean those are going to be the most intriguing series every single season. With that in mind, what are lining up to be the best rivalries in the 2021 version of Major League Baseball?


    The number of times the teams face each other head to head matter, of course, and so do playoff implications. Along the way, a good-spirited "hatred" of each other -- especially looping in the fan bases, so long as we can keep things civil -- goes a long way in making things more interesting.


    Here are my top five rivalries, ranked in order of intrigue, to watch for the 2021 season followed by five other areas of possibility.


    1. Dodgers-Padres
    Go West, people. This is where the good stuff resides. These two teams occupy the top two spots in my first version of power rankings. The Padres have made some serious noise the last few years, but they have not toppled the Final Boss (more on that here) in the defending champion Dodgers. We often say, rightfully so, that the Padres might be the most fun and/or exciting team to watch in baseball. Let's just not lose focus on just how fun the Dodgers are, though. Their championship and huge payroll don't negate the watchability, which is obscenely high.


    These two teams first play on April 16 in San Diego and meet in the final week of the season (Sept. 28-30). Their head-to-head matchups could very well decide the NL West (and hopefully they meet again in October).


    2. Rays-Yankees
    The Rays are the defending AL East and American League champions. The Yankees actually don't have a pennant since 2009 and that's an eternity the way that franchise and its fan base views things. That puts the Rays squarely in the way. The Little Guy is in the way of the should-be Big Guy. That's good theater.


    There's more, too.


    Last season, the Rays won eight of the 10 regular season games between these two teams. The Rays ended the Yankees' season in the ALDS, too, when Mike Brosseau took Aroldis Chapman deep in the eighth inning. In the ninth, Diego Castillo struck out Giancarlo Stanton and Luke Voit before Gio Urshela's lineout closed the door.


    On paper, the Yankees should be better while it looks like the Rays took a step back in the rotation. Games aren't played on paper, though. We actually get to watch them. These will be must-watch TV (or whatever device you watch these days).


    3. Braves-Mets
    It's a bit of an old-school rivalry that new Mets ownership seems to have jumpstarted for 2021. The Braves have won the NL East three straight seasons and were the second-best team in the NL last year. They appear primed for another deep playoff run, but the Mets would like a word on that. They already had a strong offense and an ace, but they beefed up this offseason by adding superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor along with starting pitchers Carlos Carrasco, Taijuan Walker and Marcus Stroman (he accepted a qualifying offer, but he had opted out in 2020). Noah Syndergaard will be back at some point from Tommy John surgery, too. There's great potential for a battle down to the wire here.


    4. Twins-White Sox
    A few projection systems have been a bit bearish on the White Sox, but Fangraphs has these two teams just one game apart, and that's about my thinking as well. I really like the White Sox to continue on last season's breakout and they are better in a few spots. The Twins aren't going anywhere, though, and are a decent bet to win their third-straight AL Central title. If they don't, the White Sox are the pick to take them down. The two teams don't face off in April or September, so there's a lot of head-to-head action in between.


    5. Dodgers-Braves
    This was a consideration to be ranked higher, but these two teams only square off six times out of the 162 in the regular season. Baseball gods willing, though, we'll get a rematch of the NLCS at some point in October. Remember, the Braves had a 2-0 series lead before the Dodgers scored 11 in the first inning in Game 3. Then the Braves blew things open in the sixth inning in Game 4 and took a 3-1 series lead, only to see the Dodgers win three straight with their backs against the wall. Game 7 was a beauty with Cody Bellinger's go-ahead bomb in the seventh proving to be the series winner. Both teams remain loaded and exciting.


    If those don't end up being the top five rivalries in the 2021 season, something from below likely will have emerged.


    The NL Central?
    The Pirates are an embarrassment, so disregard them. Otherwise, who knows how this is going to go? I feel like the Reds are a decent bet for fourth place, but it's possible they can top the Brewers and/or the Cubs. We've got the ol' Cardinals-Cubs rivalry. The Brewers have plenty of rivalry-level hatred built up against both of those teams, too. This is the worst division in baseball, but the chances of it being competitive are decent. Something good will arise.


    The AL West?
    Astros-A's seems a good bet here and it's possible there's still bad blood between Houston and sign-stealing whistleblower Mike Fiers. The Astros aren't quite the juggernaut they were a few years ago and the A's could be down as well. There's room for something else to brew here (an Angels breakout?).


    The Blue Jays vs. the top of AL East
    We've already discussed the Yankees and Rays competing and we've been knocked over the head plenty about the one rivalry we don't need to mention again. What about the Jays, though? They started to come into their own last season and look to be better this time around. Might we end the season talking about the great battles between the Yankees and Jays? Or Rays and Jays? Both? It's all possible.


    The rest of the NL East?
    We already talked about the Mets and Braves, but we can't discount the rest of what could be the most competitive division in baseball. The Nationals won the World Series in the last full season and have retooled things a bit. They still have three aces, too. The Phillies were very inconsistent last season but they have talent and there's no way their bullpen could possibly be worse. And what do the Marlins do for the encore to their upstart playoff run? There's potential for all kinds of East-on-East crime.


    Dodgers-Astros
    Is everyone over this? I know I am. The Dodgers should be, since they just won the 2020 World Series. Then again, two rings are better than one and 2017 definitely happened. Benches cleared last season when the two teams met. They play six times in 2021, too -- likely with some fans in the stands.
    Reply With Quote  
     

Posting Permissions
  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •