With the calendar now flipped to February, here are three things we’ll be keeping an eye on around the baseball world today:
1. Jazz, Marlins waiting on arb decision:
The Marlins and center fielder Jazz Chisholm Jr. went to arbitration yesterday after Chisholm requested a salary of $2.9MM for the 2024 season while Miami countered with an offer of $2.625MM. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projected Chisholm for a $2.8MM salary back in October. Chisholm, who celebrates his 26th birthday today, is eligible for arbitration for the first time in his career on the heels of a decent platform season in 2023 that saw him slash .250/.304/.457 with 19 homers and 22 stolen bases in 97 games while converting from his previous role as a middle infielder to become a full-time center fielder. After a back injury limited him to 60 games in 2022, he was hampered by foot and oblique injuries in 2023.
Chisholm isn’t the first player to go to arbitration this year, as the first case heard was that of Orioles outfielder Austin Hays, who requested a $6.3MM salary against Baltimore’s $5.85MM offer. But a decision on Chisholm’s case is expected to be handed down as soon as today, while a ruling on Hays could take some time. As noted by the Associated Press, MLB’s arbitration panel isn’t likely to announce a ruling on Hays until other second-time eligible outfielders like Angels outfielder Taylor Ward and Astros utility player Mauricio Dubon have had either settled or gone through their hearings.
2. Rodriguez waiting on visa:
It’s been two weeks now since the Blue Jays and right-hander Yariel Rodriguez came together on a four-year, $32MM deal that would bring Rodriguez to the majors for the first time in his career. The deal still hasn’t been made official, however. As indicated by reporter Francys Romero, Rodriguez has not yet been able to secure a visa that would allow him to enter either Canada or the United States. While he’ll of course eventually need approval from both countries to play in the majors, Romero adds that Rodriguez will undergo a physical in whichever country first issues him a visa.
The 26-year-old didn’t pitch outside of the World Baseball Classic in 2023 as he worked to become eligible for MLB free agency, but he posted a dazzling 1.15 ERA in 56 relief appearances for the Chunichi Dragons of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball back in 2022. Assuming the physical goes well, the Jays will need to make a corresponding move to clear space for Rodriguez on their 40-man roster.
3. What’s next for the Padres?
San Diego reportedly landed left-handed relief arm Wandy Peralta on a four-year deal that comes with a trio of opt-outs yesterday. A corresponding move won’t be necessary for the Padres upon the deal becoming official, as the club’s 40-man roster currently stands at just 36. The agreement is the latest of several moves by the club to bolster its bullpen following the departure of closer Josh Hader, who signed with the Astros on a five-year deal last month. In addition to Peralta, San Diego has inked Yuki Matsui and Woo Suk Go to big league free agent deals so far this winter. It’s somewhat surprising to see the Padres continue focusing on relief depth, given their long-discussed budgetary restraints this winter and the number of needs elsewhere on the roster such as the outfield, the starting rotation, and their first base/DH mix. Will San Diego now turn its attention to other areas of the roster over the final two weeks before Spring Training begins?