Here’s an early morning look around the American League…
- Even after losing right-hander Domingo German to an 81-game suspension for a violation of the league’s domestic violence policy, the Yankees “remain open to trading” lefty J.A. Happ, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post writes. The Yankees were of the belief German would serve a significant suspension all along, so the league’s decision hasn’t affected their plans regarding Happ. The big question continues to be whether they’ll be able to find a taker for Happ, who’s 37 years old, coming off a poor season and due $17MM in 2020. Happ also has a $17MM option for 2021 that will vest if he amasses 165 innings or totals 27 starts this year. He posted back-to-back 30-start seasons from 2018-19.
- The Nationals reeled in the top reliever left in free agency on Thursday, agreeing to a three-year, $24MM contract with righty Will Harris. The 35-year-old entered free agency off a long and fruitful run in Houston, but Harris explained to Mark Berman of Fox 26 that the Astros “were eliminated pretty early on in the process” because they weren’t prepared to approach his asking price. “They weren’t in that ballpark, no. They had kind of admitted to me they would’ve liked to have done more, but they weren’t able to.” Harris is now the latest key Astro to leave last season’s AL pennant-winning club, joining Gerrit Cole and Wade Miley. Robinson Chirinos could be the next to go.
- In another of Thursday’s major news items, the White Sox locked up center field prospect Luis Robert to a six-year, $50MM guarantee. The two sides began negotiations back in September, and those talks gained steam at last month’s Winter Meetings, according to general manager Rick Hahn (via Scott Merkin of MLB.com). Now that Robert’s long-term future is settled, there’s no reason for the White Sox to worry about his service time, so it appears likely he’ll crack their roster out of camp. Robert’s fully confident that will happen. “I’m 100 percent convinced I’m going to be on the Opening Day roster,” the 22-year-old said.