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Ben Revere to Angels: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

The Los Angeles Angels have added free agent Ben Revere to their outfield mix for 2017.  

ESPN’s Buster Olney and the Los Angeles TimesMike DiGiovanna reported Revere’s agreement with the Angels. Olney wrote Revere’s deal is for one year and $4 million.

The Angels will be hoping Revere is due for a bounce-back season in 2017. The 28-year-old never got going last season with the Washington Nationals, suffering an oblique injury on Opening Day that kept him out until May 6. He wound up losing his starting spot to Trea Turner in the second half. 

Revere’s performance when he did play was lacking. He hit just .217/.260/.300 in 103 games with an OPS more than 100 points below his career mark (.662), per

Despite his own numbers, Revere never caused problems for the Nationals. He told Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post in August that winning was all he focused on:

I don’t want to be the teammate pouting and everything. I want to do everything I can to be a good teammate, help him out in the outfield and feeling good at the plate. The main thing now for me to do is just anything I can to help this team win a championship. Get to the playoffs, win a championship. There will be some times when they may need me. If that case comes, I got to be ready.

The poor offensive numbers caused Revere’s stock to plummet heading into free agency, though there are reasons to believe he can be successful for the Angels in 2017. 

Age isn’t a problem for Revere, who is among the youngest free agents this offseason with other outfielders like Yoenis Cespedes and Dexter Fowler over the age of 30. He is just one year removed from posting a .306/.342/.377 slash line in 152 games for the Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays

Revere does have to prove his injury woes are a thing of the past. He’s only reached the 150-game mark twice in six full MLB seasons. 

The Angels can plug Revere into a corner spot with Mike Trout entrenched in center, as he has played all three positions in his career. His ability to get on base and set the table for run producers like Trout, C.J. Cron and Kole Calhoun in the middle of the lineup gives Los Angeles’ lineup more depth. 

There are plenty of questions for Revere to answer on this contract, but a successful season for the Angels would give him a chance to rebuild his value and hit free agency next winter at the age of 29. It’s a smart short-term investment for both the player and team. 

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MLB Trade Rumors: Analyzing Buzz on Brian Dozier, Charlie Blackmon and More

Holiday shopping isn’t limited to citizens, as all 30 Major League Baseball teams continue to scour the market to find trades that will benefit them in 2017 and beyond. 

Just as all of us are doing deep research on whether The Last Guardian or Final Fantasy XV is the better holiday video-game release to purchase, front offices are vigorously debating the best way to approach things with a free-agent investment or deal will make the most impact. 

For the purposes of this discussion, let’s operate under the assumption deals will be the order of the day because they are often more interesting to dissect since two teams, in theory, stand to benefit from a trade. 


Dodgers Opening Path to Dozier

No team best exemplifies the fickle nature of offseason dealing than the Los Angeles Dodgers, who may be changing their tune about one of their best prospects in an effort to upgrade the MLB roster. 

Per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the Dodgers are now showing a “willingness” to include right-handed pitcher Jose De Leon in a trade for Minnesota Twins second baseman Brian Dozier. 

This report comes two days after ESPN’s Doug Padilla reported the Dodgers were reluctant to build a package around De Leon for Dozier. 

De Leon was rated as the No. 33 prospect in baseball by last season, with this glowing scouting report:

De Leon’s stuff significantly improved in pro ball after he upgraded his conditioning and mechanics. He works at 92-94 mph and can reach 96 mph with his fastball, which has riding life. De Leon’s changeup progressed so much in 2015 that it has become his best secondary pitch, and he also has a low-80s slider that’s effective.

De Leon made a brief appearance in the big leagues last season, posting a 6.35 ERA with 15 strikeouts and seven walks in 17 innings. 

Considering how bad the Twins pitching staff was in 2016, including getting the sixth-fewest innings (875.1) from their starters, it’s no wonder why they would be pursuing young, cost-controlled starters if they are going to deal Dozier. 

The Dodgers are in an interesting position, especially with their young pitchers. They are going to need a lot of depth since they will start 2017 with injury-prone starters Rich Hill, Scott Kazmir, Brandon McCarthy and Alex Wood penciled into the rotation behind Clayton Kershaw

But they are also not in a position to wait for those young starters, like De Leon, to develop in the big leagues with a roster capable of making a deep playoff run. The biggest hole among their position players is at second base, which is currently unoccupied with Chase Utley being a free agent. 

Dozier would certainly be an upgrade over anything the Dodgers got at the position in 2016. He won’t hit 42 home runs, which was 14 more than he ever hit in a season, again. But even if he reverts back to his 2014 form with a .242/.345/.416 slash line with 23 home runs, that’s a win for them because he’s eight years younger than Utley and under contract through 2018. 


Rockies’ Blackmon Plan

The Colorado Rockies have had one of the most interesting offseasons to date, though not in ways that make them strong playoff contenders.

Ian Desmond had a fantastic first half in 2016 before reverting back to his 2015 self with a .237/.283/.347 line after the All-Star break, yet the Rockies decided to guarantee him five years and give up the No. 11 draft pick to do so. 

The Rockies followed that up by signing 31-year-old reliever Mike Dunn, who has a 3.54 career ERA and 1.37 WHIP, to a three-year deal that was announced on Thursday. 

One potential move that seemed like a foregone conclusion for the Rockies was a trade involving Charlie Blackmon, though that doesn’t seem likely given what they are asking in return. 

Per ESPN’s Jayson Stark, rival teams are less sure about Blackmon getting dealt because they will only do it if they receive “an Adam Eaton type deal.”

The Washington Nationals acquired Eaton from the Chicago White Sox for Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning. 

In case you are wondering what kind of package that is, ranked Giolito as the No. 3 prospect in baseball, Lopez as the No. 38 prospect and Dunning was Washington’s No. 6 prospect. 

There are two key differences between Eaton and Blackmon, which make a comparable deal seem unlikely. The first—and most obvious—is contract status.

Eaton will make a total of $38.4 million on his current deal that runs through 2021, per Spotrac. Blackmon has just two more years of team control before he can become a free agent. 

The other major difference is Blackmon has played his entire career in Colorado, which has played a substantial role inflating his numbers since his MLB debut in 2011.

If teams could guarantee they were getting the Coors Field version of Blackmon, then his two years of control wouldn’t be as big of an issue in giving up a huge return. But Colorado has a knack for inflating numbers for pedestrian hitters, which is why the Rockies shouldn’t overplay their hand. 


Rays House of Pitchers

The Tampa Bay Rays are constantly exploring ways to improve their roster, mostly out of necessity because there is always a very-limited amount of money they can spend on talent, which is why rumblings of them dealing a starter have basically been non-stop for a year. 

Passan reported on Dec. 6 the Rays were “almost certain to deal a starter,” with Drew Smyly and Alex Cobb generating strong interest. 

However, there’s likely a reason nearly two weeks have passed with no deals involving Rays pitchers. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported on Dec. 10 they are “are seeking massive returns on just about everybody asked about.”

It’s certainly a reasonable position for the Rays to take. The starting-pitching market for free agents is dreadful, with Hill being the best available option before he re-signed with the Dodgers. 

Smyly is coming off a down year in 2016 with a 4.88 ERA in 175.1 innings, but he’s a left-hander under team control for two more seasons and has a 3.74 career ERA with 552 strikeouts in 570.1 innings since 2012. 

Cobb is a more interesting case because last year doesn’t really count. He returned on September 2 after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2014, so his 8.59 ERA in 22 innings comes with a huge asterisk. 

In 2013-14, Cobb was terrific with a 2.82 ERA with 283 strikeouts and just 262 hits allowed in 309.2 innings. He only has one more year of control left, leaving the Rays between a rock and a hard place.

On one hand, moving Cobb now could net a better return since a team acquiring him would receive a full year of starts from him. And on the chance his elbow flares up on him again, the Rays don’t have to worry about it. 

On the other hand, supposing Cobb puts together a strong first half, he could end up being one of the most attractive trade chips in July and get several contenders seeking another starter in a bidding war. 

It’s not an ideal situation for the Rays to be in, but they have proven in the past with players like Matt Moore they won’t hesitate to make a deal when they get an offer to their liking. 

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MLB Rumors: Analyzing Trade Buzz on Brian Dozier, Sonny Gray and More

The big story coming into Major League Baseball’s offseason was how teams would play the trade market, because this year’s crop of free agents wasn’t particularly impressive

This has already played out in a huge way with the Chicago White Sox officially entering rebuilding mode by trading Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox and Adam Eaton to the Washington Nationals in the span of 24 hours. 

Despite those moves, there are still deals to be made. It always comes down to finding one team willing to pay the price another team has established. The Red Sox and Nationals have aggressive general managers with teams in win-now mode. 

Few teams operate like that for various reasons, but the allure of winning a championship now or getting key pieces to do it in the future makes for interesting points of discussion. 


Dozier Still on Dodgers’ Radar

The Los Angeles Dodgers answered their two biggest free-agent question marks with Ken Gurnick of reporting Kenley Jansen agreed to a five-year, $80 million deal and Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reporting third baseman Justin Turner agreed to a four-year, $64 million deal. 

Those deals, while certainly notable, also represent the Dodgers’ status quo. They have been part of postseason heartbreaks each of the previous two years against the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs. 

Now, the real test for Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman will be to find missing pieces to get his team over that hump and into the World Series for the first time since 1988. 

Per’s Doug Padilla, the Dodgers are still showing interest in trading for Minnesota Twins second baseman Brian Dozier. 

However, Padilla did note a potential deal for Dozier would likely require the Dodgers to part with star pitching prospect Jose De Leon and that they “are reluctant to part with” him. 

Second base remains an alarming black hole for the Dodgers right now. Chase Utley was a good platoon player in 2016, hitting .273/.343/.425 against right-handed pitching and just .154/.206/.264 against lefties.

Utley’s not a long-term solution. He turns 38 on Friday but might end up being the default solution for the team if it can’t figure out a possible trade. 

It makes sense for the Twins to try trading Dozier now when his value is never going to be higher. He’s coming off a career year in which he hit 42 home runs and signed for a total of $15 million through 2018, per

The Dodgers learned last year how valuable depth is after tying a dubious MLB record with 27 players spending time on the disabled list.

It becomes harder to make a trade, which will likely require at least two high-quality assets going back to Minnesota in return, but the Dodgers have been so close to the World Series over the last four years. At some point, being overaggressive to upgrade a position of desperate need makes sense. 

Friedman is not one to overreact to what’s happening with teams around him, though I never would have expected him to give a reliever five years on a contract before Jansen proved me wrong. 


Gray’s Limited Market

Any hopes the Oakland Athletics might have had about building a blockbuster trade package around starting pitcher Sonny Gray appear to be dashed, at least so far this offseason. 

Per Rosenthal, Gray is generating “little interest” from around the league. 

It’s certainly not hard to figure out why Gray’s market would be limited.

He spent time on the disabled list last season, making just 22 starts (his fewest in three full MLB seasons) and posted career-worst marks in ERA (5.69), WHIP (1.496), hits allowed per nine innings (10.2), home runs allowed per nine innings (1.4), strikeouts per nine innings (7.2), strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.24) and wins above replacement (-0.5), per

Despite those numbers, Gray figures to get a substantial raise in 2017, the first year he’s eligible for arbitration. Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors estimates the 27-year-old will make $3.7 million. 

Salary isn’t going to be an issue holding teams back from acquiring Gray. It’s just hard to figure out what kind of pitcher he will be moving forward. 

If the A’s tried to trade Gray last offseason, right after he finished third in the American League Cy Young voting, they could have asked for a package fairly close to what the White Sox received for Chris Sale because he’s under team control through 2019. 

Unfortunately, Gray doesn’t look the part of a No. 1 starter. He’s listed at 5’10” and 190 pounds on the A’s official website. Given his small stature, teams can look at his breakdown in 2016 as an indication the heavy workload from the previous two seasons caught up to him. 

The A’s don’t have to be in a rush to trade Gray, especially with his value at its lowest point. Keeping him to start 2017 while hoping he can re-establish himself as a top-of-the-rotation starter in order to trade him in July or next offseason makes sense for the franchise. 


The Bruce Dilemma

The New York Mets hoped when they acquired Jay Bruce in July that he would provide a similar spark to what they received from Yoenis Cespedes the previous year. 

Instead, Bruce floundered in 50 games with the Mets. He hit .219/.294/.391 in 169 at-bats with the team and is scheduled to earn $13 million in 2017, per Spotrac

The Mets are in a difficult spot right now with too many outfielders, particularly in corner spots, for too few spots. Bruce, Cespedes, Curtis Granderson and Michael Conforto are all in the mix. 

Per Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Mets would prefer to deal Bruce instead of Granderson. 

Marc Carig of Newsday noted the Mets were “optimistic” about their chances of finding a taker for Bruce at the winter meetings, only to leave Washington D.C. with the same logjam they had when they arrived. 

Given Bruce’s high salary and mediocre performance over the last three seasons, which has been worth a total of 0.2 FanGraphs‘ wins above replacement, the market won’t be clamoring for that kind of player. 

Cespedes will likely end up starting the year in center field, despite FanGraphs noting he cost the Mets seven runs in less than 500 innings at the position last season, because the team doesn’t have anyone else for the position. 

Juan Lagares is a tremendous defensive center fielder, but no team can support a .298 career-on base percentage from the position. 

Conforto needs to start playing regularly, or else the Mets run the risk of completely running off one of their best young players. Granderson is going to play because he’s a better option than Bruce at this point. 

It’s not a good situation the Mets have put themselves in, though they may not have a way out of it unless they decide to trade a player like Granderson or Conforto, both of whom will be more intriguing to teams in search of outfield help. 

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Odubel Herrera, Phillies Agree to New Contract: Latest Details, Reaction

Any thoughts the Philadelphia Phillies had about trading Odubel Herrera have likely gone away after the All-Star center fielder signed a contract extension with the team.

The Phillies announced the five-year extension Thursday.

Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported the contract will pay Herrera $30.5 million in guarantees and includes option years for 2022 and 2023.

There had been some speculation about the Phillies exploring trade options for Herrera this offseason. T.R. Sullivan of reported during the winter meetings the team “might be willing” to deal the 24-year-old. 

Herrera has been a pleasant surprise in two seasons with the Phillies. He was a Rule 5 draft pick in December 2014 after the Texas Rangers kept him off their 40-man roster because they didn’t have a spot available for him. 

With the Phillies embracing a full-scale rebuild, Herrera made the team’s Opening Day roster. He put together a solid debut season with a .297/.344/.418 slash line in 147 games. 

Herrera was even better in 2016, posting a .286/.361/.420 slash line with 15 home runs, 25 stolen bases and 4.2 wins above replacement, per He was named to the National League All-Star team for his efforts.’s Oliver Macklin noted Herrera’s eight wins above replacement in his first two seasons with the Phillies is the second-best mark in team history, trailing only Dick Allen’s 8.8 in 1964-65.

The Phillies’ commitment to Herrera is the latest sign this franchise is heading in the right direction. It’s going to take more time for the farm system, which ranked seventh coming into 2016, to release all of its treasures like shortstop J.P. Crawford and outfielder Nick Williams. 

Herrera is a key piece of the foundation in Philadelphia and will be part of the next great wave of Phillies baseball after signing a long-term extension with the franchise.

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Torii Hunter Jr. to Pursue Baseball Career with Angels: Latest Details, Reaction

Torii Hunter Jr. will be following in his father’s footsteps as a professional baseball player with the Los Angeles Angels. 

Hunter announced his intention to pursue an MLB career instead of returning to Notre Dame’s football team for a fifth year:

Hunter’s father, Torii, enjoyed a long and successful MLB career. In 19 seasons with the Angels, Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers, he won nine Gold Glove awards, played in five All-Star Games and captured two Silver Slugger awards. 

The Angels drafted Hunter in the 23rd round of June’s draft. Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia believes in Hunter’s athletic talents helping him to play baseball. 

“I’m excited,” Scioscia said, per’s Alden Gonzalez“This kid’s a great kid; he’s a great athlete. As good a football player as he is, I know he loves baseball. Hopefully he’ll get that chance.”

Hunter eventually signed with the Angels on June 29 but opted to keep his football career at Notre Dame going. As a redshirt senior in 2016, he had his most productive season with 38 receptions, 521 yards and three touchdowns. 

Hunter was previously drafted by the Tigers in the 36th round coming out of high school in 2013, when his father was playing for the team. He did play baseball part time at Notre Dame in 2015 and 2016. 

Odds are against Hunter turning into a big leaguer as a 23rd-round pick who hasn’t played baseball full time since high school, but his athleticism and bloodlines certainly make him capable of overcoming those hurdles in his way. 


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Derek Holland to White Sox: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Derek Holland will get a much-needed fresh start in 2017, as he signed a one-year deal with the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday.

The White Sox announced the signing after’s TR Sullivan was the first to report Holland’s decision, and Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News shared the length of the contract. 

Grant also reported the deal could be worth up to $8 million and provided some further context to the move:

Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported slightly different terms, tweeting that the contract is worth a base of $6 million with as much as $1 million in incentives.

The Texas Rangers declined their $11 million contract option on Holland in November, which made him a free agent and freed him up to sign with any team.

It wasn’t a surprise to see the Rangers move on from Holland after his struggles over the previous two seasons and inability to stay on the field since 2013. 

Holland has appeared in just 38 games over the previous three seasons, and his performance on the mound has been less than stellar with a 4.30 ERA in just 203 innings during that span. 

Grant wrote about some of the other issues that have plagued Holland during his injury-riddled run since 2014:

His average fastball velocity dropped to 91.7 mph in 2016 from 93.6 in 2013. The difference in speed between his secondary pitches is now just 5 mph where it once was 7.5 mph. It adds up to a recipe for guys being better able to identify pitches and being able to wait for mistakes with more assurance they will come. The Rangers wanted him to throw his changeup more in 2016 and the usage did grow, but at a microscopic level: Less than one percent.

Holland completed just 107.1 innings in 2016, going 7-9 with a 4.95 ERA and 1.41 WHIP.

At just 30 years old, Holland will have a chance to reinvent himself as a member of the White Sox. His career ERA of 4.35 ERA leaves something to be desired, but the veteran southpaw did manage to go 10-9 with a 3.42 ERA in 2013.

Given how much of a struggle it has been for Holland to take the mound every fifth day, he has a lot to prove next season if he hopes to continue his MLB career as a starting pitcher. He does get a clean slate and will have ample opportunity to prove there is more in the tank than he’s been able to show lately. 

Holland could provide great value as part of a weak free-agent class, and he will have a chance to become an important part of Chicago’s rotation after the team dealt Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox.

Although Holland figures to slot behind the likes of Jose Quintana, Carlos Rodon and James Shields, he gives the White Sox a veteran presence and depth at the back end of their pitching staff until youngsters Lucas Giolito (22) and Reynaldo Lopez (22) are ready to step up.

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Koji Uehara to Cubs: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

After four years with the Boston Red Sox, veteran reliever Koji Uehara has found a new home with the Chicago Cubs’s Jesse Rogers reported Wednesday that Uehara inked a one-year, $6 million deal with the defending World Series champs, and the Cubs later announced the news. 

Uehara is one of the most interesting relievers in Major League Baseball. He has performed at a high level for nearly a decade despite having a fastball that FanGraphs‘ stats show has never averaged more than 89.2 mph and dipped to a career-low 86.7 mph in 2016

The key to Uehara’s success is his split-finger fastball that drops off the table when he’s at his best, as Tim Britton of the Providence Journal wrote in 2014: “It was also the most effective his splitter has ever been, as opponents hit a beggarly .096 off the pitch in 2013. It induced a career-high whiff rate of 28 percent.”

Turning 41 last April, Uehara is starting to show signs he lacks the same type of dominance with that splitter. His 1.5 home runs allowed per nine innings tied the worst mark of his career (2011), per

The veteran also posted his highest ERA since 2009 with a 3.45 mark last season, but he still baffled hitters overall with his seventh consecutive season posting a WHIP lower than 1.00 and more than 10 strikeouts per nine innings, so the sky is hardly falling for the right-hander. 

The concern for Uehara is there’s such a small margin for error with his declining fastball velocity that at some point hitters will be able to tee off on the pitch, negating the effectiveness of his splitter, as right-handed hitters gave him fits last season. 

Until that point comes, though, Uehara is still one of the most consistent relievers in baseball and a terrific value because his age didn’t force the Cubs to break the bank.

While Chicago was unable to keep closer Aroldis Chapman in free agency, it acquired Wade Davis via trade and now boasts a potentially dominant late-inning trio with Uehara joining both Davis and Hector Rondon.

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MLB Rumors: Trade Buzz on Jose Quintana, Clay Buchholz and More

Despite a flurry of activity at the winter meetings, Major League Baseball’s offseason is far from over with all 30 teams still in search of ways to upgrade their rosters for a run at the World Series.

There are still a number of marquee free agents waiting to find the right deal for their liking, though the trade market has been the most active and engaging this winter. It’s unlikely another player of Chris Sale’s caliber will be dealt, but the well is still flush with water to fill those buckets. 

Trades have also become more of a necessity for fringe playoff contenders with impending free agents since the new collective bargaining agreement has reduced compensation for players who reject qualifying offers. 


Jose Quintana’s Steep Price 

No team has helped its future more this offseason than the Chicago White Sox, who have added top-tier prospects Lucas Giolito, Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech and Reynaldo Lopez to their farm system by trading Sale to the Boston Red Sox and Adam Eaton to the Washington Nationals. 

With the White Sox clearly in sell mode, their next big domino on the table is Jose Quintana. It certainly won’t be easy to pry him away from Chicago, as noted by Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle:

The Astros are among the teams that have discussed Quintana with the White Sox but to this point have found the asking price too high for their liking, industry sources said on Wednesday. Quintana is not of the caliber of Sale, arguably the best pitcher in the American League, but is under team control for four years as opposed to Sale’s three.

As for what exactly constitutes a steep price, Peter Gammons of reported what the White Sox were asking for:

Per, Francis Martes and Kyle Tucker are Houston’s top two prospects and both ranked among the top 50 prospects in 2016. Joe Musgrove is a 24-year-old right-hander who made his MLB debut last season, posting a 4.06 ERA in 62 innings. 

The 27-year-old Quintana isn’t quite in Sale’s category, but he isn’t far behind his now-former teammate in terms of production over the last three seasons. 

Because of Quintana’s performance and four years of team control, the White Sox are within their right to ask for a large return like they reportedly did from the Astros.

It doesn’t seem likely any team will match that price, but since Quintana isn’t going anywhere for a long time, the White Sox can wait out the market for at least another year in hopes of cashing in big. 


Key Sticking Point for Buchholz

With the Red Sox having seven candidates for five spots in the starting rotation next season, another trade wouldn’t be a bad idea for Boston’s always-aggressive general manager, Dave Dombrowski. 

Clay Buchholz is among those fringe starters on the roster who could be moved, though there is one major hurdle standing in the way, per B/R’s Scott Miller:

Another sticking point in discussions between the Red Sox and Miami Marlins about Buchholz was the return to Boston, per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

“The Marlins and Red Sox talked briefly about pitcher Clay Buchholz, who’s available, but Miami wasn’t interested in giving up right-handed pitching prospect Luis Castillo, according to a person with direct knowledge,” he wrote.

Buchholz had a disastrous 2016 season with the lowest strikeout rate of his career (6.01), highest walk rate (3.55) and home run rate (1.36), per FanGraphs.

The Red Sox know they can build a strong starting five with Sale, Rick Porcello, David Price and Eduardo Rodriguez in the top four spots and Steven Wright and Drew Pomeranz fighting over the final spot. 

Buchholz could fit in that group, but paying a No. 5 starter $13 million is hardly a wise use of resources, though the Red Sox are one of the few teams capable of withstanding that financial punch. 

Eventually, Dombrowski will have to make a move, but it will only make sense for another team to take Buchholz if the Red Sox kick in some money. 


Mariners’ Pitching Radar

The Seattle Mariners have been on the hunt for starting pitching all offseason. They did acquire Chris Heston from the San Francisco Giants during the winter meetings, but he’s hardly the answer to their questions. 

Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune (via the Kitsap Sun) reported the Mariners were aiming higher on the pitching market during the winter meetings:

The Mariners were linked to several trade candidates over the four days that comprised the winter meetings…

Those included:

Left-hander Scott Kazmir and right-hander Brandon McCarthy of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Both are coming off injury-interrupted seasons and sport significant guaranteed salaries over the next two years. Kazmir is owed $32 million, and McCarthy is owed $20 million. Any deal is likely to hinge on the Dodgers’ willingness to eat at least a portion of those salaries.

The Mariners are not used to having bigger questions in the starting rotation than offense, but after finishing sixth in runs scored last season, general manager Jerry Dipoto has to get creative with a payroll already at $114.8 million before factoring in arbitration-eligible players, per Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

Another reason for the Mariners to search for rotation options is because Felix Hernandez is no longer King Felix. According to FanGraphs, the 30-year-old has posted just 3.9 wins above replacement since 2015 and allowed a career-high 1.12 home runs per nine innings in 2016. 

They won’t be able to find an ace to occupy the spot Hernandez used to hold down, but high-risk gambles like Kazmir, McCarthy or Pomeranz, whom Dutton also noted the Mariners were interested in, would help keep up with the rising Astros in the AL West. 

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Danny Espinosa to Angels: Latest Trade Details, Comments, Reaction

The Washington Nationals continued their busy week Saturday, trading infielder Danny Espinosa to the Los Angeles Angels. 

Baseball America’s Josh Norris first reported the news, which Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports confirmed.

The Angels officially announced the deal, which will bring Espinosa to Los Angeles in exchange for right-handed pitchers Austin Adams and Kyle McGowin.

Espinosa has not kept his unhappiness with the Nationals a secret. The team acquired outfielder Adam Eaton from the Chicago White Sox in a trade Wednesday, which will likely push Trea Turner to Espinosa’s normal position at shortstop.

With Daniel Murphy coming off an MVP-caliber season at second base, Espinosa became the odd man out in Washington.

Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post reported Espinosa expressed his frustration over the move by skipping the team’s Winterfest event, which features fan and player interactions.

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo left the door open for Espinosa’s return during the winter meetings, however.

“Well, it leaves us with a lot of options,” Rizzo said, per Castillo. “We have positional flexibility, or we continue to have positional flexibility and we will make those decisions down the road as we see fit.”

Andrelton Simmons, one of the best defensive players in Major League Baseball, already mans shortstop for the Angels.

Los Angeles is, however, desperate to find an option at second base. The Angels got a collective .235/.275/.345 slash line with 10 home runs from the position last season, per

Espinosa is an upgrade in the power department. He hit a career-high 24 home runs in 2016, though his .209 batting average marked the fourth time since 2011 that he’s failed to hit better than .240.

Despite those limitations, Espinosa addresses one of the biggest concerns for the Angels, and they didn’t have to give up anything of significant value to obtain him.

Adams is a 25-year-old who spent most of last season at Double-A, and he struck out 61 in 41.1 innings against younger competition. McGowin was rocked in Triple-A, posting a 6.11 ERA in 22 starts with 144 hits allowed and 46 walks in 116.1 innings.

Espinosa got what he wanted, for the most part, as the Angels will likely give him every opportunity to play each day. His ability to hit for power projects well in a lineup that features Mike Trout, Cameron Maybin, Kole Calhoun, C.J. Cron and Albert Pujols.

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Pablo Sandoval Comments on Struggles with Red Sox, Weight and More

Lost in the shuffle of the Boston Red Sox‘s winter-meetings activity is the return of Pablo Sandoval to the lineup after he appeared in just three games last season.

Looking back on his lost 2016, Sandoval acknowledged in a joint interview with’s Scott Lauber and ESPN Deportes’ Marly Rivera that he started to take things for granted.

“My career had fallen into an abyss because I was so complacent with things that I had already accomplished,” Sandoval said. “I did not work hard in order to achieve more and to remain at the level of the player that I am and that I can be.”

Sandoval was able to squeeze a career’s worth of accomplishments into his first seven seasons with the San Francisco Giants. He was part of three World Series-winning teams in 2010, 2012 and 2014. He also earned a spot in two All-Star Games and was the World Series MVP in 2012.

His success did not translate to the American League when he signed with the Red Sox prior to the 2015 season, however. He hit .245/.292/.366 in 126 games during his first year with the team and lost the starting third base job to Travis Shaw in spring training ahead of the 2016 campaign.

His 2016 season ended before it began, as he had six at-bats over three games before being ruled out for the year with an ailing shoulder that required surgery in May.

“Things definitely happen for a reason,” Sandoval said. “[The surgery and rehab process] have helped revitalize that fire in me to win again.”

There is photographic evidence to suggest Sandoval is not just talking a big game, with Dan Roche of CBS Boston passing along this image from Alvaro Hernandez:

Sandoval touched on his new routine to get in better shape and keep the weight off:

I have been following a really strict routine that has taken a lot of dedication from my part. It has not been easy to wake up every single day at 6:30 in the morning to then head to the gym and start a full day of work. But you have to have that kind of dedication if you want to achieve the goals you have set for yourself.

Weight has been an issue for Sandoval throughout his career.

During an April appearance on Toucher and Rich (via Samer Kalaf of Deadspin), CSN New England’s Sean McAdam reported the Giants made special arrangements at hotels so he couldn’t order room service.

Looking ahead to 2017with the Red Sox among the favorites to win the World Series after securing the American League East title last year and adding Chris Sale to the starting rotation in a trade with the Chicago White SoxSandoval knows the task in front of him.

“I am not taking anything for granted,” Sandoval said. “I am here to work hard. I’m not thinking about the position or not. I am starting from scratch, and I am here to show what I can do on the field.”

In addition to extending his career by getting into better shape, Sandoval said the birth of his child earlier this year has also served as an inspiration:

Watching ‘Baby Panda’ grow up and that he gets the opportunity to see his father play in the majors for seven, eight more years, to get back to the success I had, that’s my motivation every day. The people that I surround myself with now and my family, they are the key to my success. This has been a life lesson.

Sandoval has been one of the most criticized and scrutinized players in Major League Baseball since signing with the Red Sox, which is one of the pitfalls of playing in one of the biggest baseball markets in the country.

Things fell apart for Sandoval in 2016, but the upside of rock-bottom is that it leaves nowhere to go except up. He’s taking the physical steps to be in position to contribute for the Red Sox next season.

The one big hurdle left for Sandoval to clear is mental, which won’t offer a definitive answer until the games start in April.

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