Los Angeles Dodgers – MLB Trade Rumors 2020-02-26T06:28:06Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Jeff Todd <![CDATA[NL Notes: Kershaw, Martinez, Freeman, Farmer]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=191298 2020-02-25T03:17:41Z 2020-02-25T03:17:41Z Let’s take a look at the latest notes from the National League:

  • Dodgers great Clayton Kershaw was something of a surprise offseason Driveline Baseball student, Pedro Moura of The Athletic reports (subscription link). It’s by now common to hear of hurlers spending time at the renowned clinic, but the most accomplished pitcher of his generation? Kershaw says he was mostly intrigued by learning “how to create the most efficiency with your body, and how to create the most power with your body.” President of baseball ops Andrew Friedman calls it a testament to the superstar lefty’s curiosity. No doubt a devastating postseason exit played a role. It’ll be interesting to see how the effort translates as Kershaw attempts to continue to evolve as he ages. (Long-time division rival Mason Saunders prefers a somewhat different offseason regimen.)
  • The Cardinals seem hopeful that righty Carlos Martinez can return to being a quality rotation piece in 2020. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that the club still feels Martinez has exceptional talent. But it’s equally clear there’s still uncertainty. Manager Mike Shildt says Martinez is “out here giving himself a legitimate shot to compete” for a starting job, but notes that “what he does during the work and how he recovers between games that are going [to matter] as we start to ramp it up.” In other words, as Goold puts it, the organization believes Martinez must “embrace a more consistent between-start and pregame approach.” Whether Martinez can find his groove could make quite the difference in the Cards’ 2020 outlook, particularly with Miles Mikolas set to miss time.
  • We heard chatter about Freddie Freeman’s late-2019 elbow issues, but it seems the injury was a fair bit more debilitating than the Braves slugger let on. As Jeff Schultz of The Athletic reports (subscription link), Freeman dealt not only with pain, but with quite a lot of difficulties relating to his efforts to deal with the agonizing bone spurs in his joint. Schultz writes that the star first baseman relied heavily upon pain pills just to be able to play. But that came with other problems: “He had gotten into bad habits, cutting his swing short, because of the injury. The lack of sleep and accompanying stress made things worse.” The story speaks to Freeman’s determination, but it’s also a bit worrisome to read of his travails. Thankfully, it seems offseason surgery has eliminated the need for such drastic measures in 2020.
  • The Reds roster remains fun to watch even as Spring Training gets underway. The team placed some bat-first bets around the lineup but also installed Freddie Galvis at shortstop. He’s currently without a reserve complement, but the Reds are now looking to find one in a somewhat surprising place. As MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon writes, Kyle Farmer will be given a shot at adding reserve shortstop to his already lengthy list of responsibilities. The 29-year-old has plenty of amateur experience at the position and has spent a bit of time there as a pro, but he has primarily been tasked with playing behind the dish and at third base since being drafted. It seems the Reds are comfortable playing Farmer just about anywhere on the infield; he could be an interesting asset if he’s able to improve upon last year’s tepid offensive showing.
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Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Red Sox Notes: Weber, Verdugo, Moreland, JBJ]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=191291 2020-02-25T02:28:53Z 2020-02-25T02:28:53Z Just what are the Red Sox thinking by tying up a 40-man roster spot on righty Ryan Weber? Chad Jennings of The Athletic explores (subscription link). The club sees Weber as a clear candidate to take the fifth starter’s role or at least to serve as valuable depth. (He can still be optioned.) While his stuff isn’t eye-popping, it seems the org’s talent evaluators were wowed by Weber’s “command and execution.” And new chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom evidently hasn’t seen cause yet to disagree. Weber doesn’t throw hard and owns only a 5.04 ERA in 114 1/3 MLB innings over the past five seasons. It’ll be interesting to see whether the Sox can help him find a path to contributing value in 2020.

In other news out of Boston, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com rounds up a series of interesting stories on the Sox. We’ll take a brief look at those of particular hot stove relevance …

  • There’s some good news on the progress of recently acquired outfielder Alex Verdugo, but also some added questions. Bradford writes that the 23-year-old has made major strides just since camp opened — but also that he may miss a month or more of the regular season. “The fact it is taking this long is frustrating,” says Verdugo. “What keeps me positive is that all the players, the staff, the trainers, they all support me. They all want me to wait until I’m fully healthy and get back.” Verdugo spoke about the lingering back and related issues that have plagued him for some time now, saying that he had been on a “regular workout plan” from the Dodgers that (it now seems) may not have been the best approach.
  • Regardless whether this lengthy recovery process could’ve been shortened, it’s certainly disappointing that the Boston organization is dealing with this sort of uncertainty surrounding the key player acquired in exchange for Mookie Betts. And Verdugo’s potential also makes for a key component of the team’s 2020 outlook. Even without Betts, the club is certainly at least a plausible Wild Card contender. Fans feeling down about the situation may at least be buoyed somewhat to learn of Verdugo’s unabashed affinity for legend David Ortiz (Twitter link).
  • Returning veteran first baseman Mitch Moreland spoke of his most recent stint on the open market. While he again ended up inking with the Sox, it wasn’t an obvious outcome for much of the winter. Moreland, a Mississippi native, says he fielded interest from a number of other clubs, including some “really close to home that were enticing.” Ultimately, the Red Sox re-engaged — and Moreland says he was happy to work it out to remain in Boston. The Sox will be pleased if they get a repeat of Moreland’s 2019 output; he slashed .252/.328/.507 (112 wRC+) after putting up only league-average offensive output in his first two years with the club.
  • The free agent process can certainly have its twists and turns, but center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. sees it in a positive light. Bradley, who’ll hit the open market next winter, tells Bradford that he’s looking forward to having the ability “to finally make a choice for yourself.” There are ways in which nearing free agency can be stressful, he acknowledged, but that’s all a matter of perspective. For Bradley, there’s nothing but upside: “Why not be excited about it?” he queried.
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Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Latest On Dodgers’ Pitching Plans]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=191173 2020-02-23T02:12:56Z 2020-02-23T02:12:56Z The Dodgers have no shortage of options for their starting rotation. Even after trading Kenta Maeda to the Twins, Los Angeles has Walker Buehler, Clayton KershawDavid PriceAlex WoodJulio UríasDustin MayTony GonsolinRoss Stripling and Jimmy Nelson on the 40-man roster. So too is prospect Mitchell White, but he doesn’t figure to be in the mix out of the gate after posting a 6.50 ERA in 63.2 innings at Triple-A last year.

That’s plenty for manager Dave Roberts to work with, but he offered a bit of clarity on the situation today. Urías will open the season in the rotation, Roberts told reporters (including Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times). Gonsolin, it seems, will not be in that mix, Castillo adds. Roberts noted the 25-year-old has a chance to break camp with the club as a reliever, though.

A relief role is not in the cards for the club’s top pitching prospect. May is currently viewed as a starting pitcher only, Castillo relays. The 22-year-old thus seems likely to open the season in the rotation at Triple-A Oklahoma City, he adds.

None of this news is especially surprising, although it does shine some light on the situation. Gonsolin made six starts (and five relief appearances) for L.A. in 2019. The former ninth-rounder was effective in his 40 MLB innings, working to a 2.93 ERA with a 22.7% strikeout rate, 9.2% walk rate and 41.7% ground ball rate. Impressively, he compiled a 4.35 ERA/4.38 FIP in 41.1 innings in the hitter-friendly PCL. Baseball America’s #82 overall prospect, Gonsolin’s long-term future is presumably still as a starter. Given the Dodgers’ pitching depth, though, it seems his immediate path to big league innings is in relief.

That won’t be the case for Urías, who actually worked mostly out of the bullpen in 2019. His results (2.49 ERA, 26.1% strikeout rate, 8.3% walk rate, 38.7% ground ball rate) were even better than Gonsolin’s. That pen role was never expected to be permanent, though. Still just 23 and once the game’s consensus top pitching prospect, Urías’ 2019 innings were constrained a bit by health troubles. After logging nearly 80 innings last year, it seems he’s ready to shoulder a starter’s workload again.

May, too, served in a swing role in 2019 after making his MLB debut in August. BA’s #20 overall prospect, he showed well in his limited time in the show. He only made five starts at Triple-A before his promotion, though, and an early minor-league assignment, if indeed that comes to fruition, could help the club keep his innings in check as well.

If it weren’t clear already, Roberts has no problem deploying the pitching staff in a nontraditional manner. There’ll be ample innings to go around, and the club will surely rely on more than five of the names above to start games over the course of the year. If healthy, Buehler, Kershaw and Price seem like locks to take the ball every fifth day, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see a few different names penciled in behind them as the year progresses. That runoff should also aid a bullpen that is the closest thing the Dodgers have to a weakness. It’s an enviable situation for the NL West favorites.

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Connor Byrne <![CDATA[MLBTR Poll: Last Year’s Division Champs]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=191112 2020-02-22T05:17:11Z 2020-02-22T05:17:11Z Of the six teams that finished in first place in their divisions in 2018, three (the Red Sox, Indians and Brewers) failed to defend their crowns last season. Two (the Red Sox and Indians) didn’t even make the playoffs, so ruling your division one year doesn’t mean you’ll end up in the postseason the next. Last season, the Yankees, Astros and Twins finished atop their divisions in the American League, while the Braves, Dodgers and Cardinals were the top seeds in the NL. Among those six, who’s the most vulnerable going into the new season? Let’s review the offseasons they’ve had…

AL:

  • Astros: If you’ve paid any attention to baseball in the past several weeks, you know this offseason has been a catastrophe for the Astros. They got rid of general manager Jeff Luhnow and skipper A.J. Hinch as a result of a sign-stealing scandal that has rocked baseball, replacing them with James Click and Dusty Baker. The Astros are still loaded with talent, but they lost the great Gerrit Cole even before their sign-stealing shenanigans came to light. Now, there’s plenty of skepticism they’ll put together a fourth straight 100-win season after such a horrendous winter – one in which they were very quiet in free agency. What’s more, they’re stuck in a division with a legit challenger in Oakland and two improving clubs in the Angels and Rangers.
  • Yankees: New York took Cole from Houston, which has been the Wile E. Coyote to the Yankees’ Road Runner in recent postseasons. The Yankees looked as if they’d have a tremendous rotation with Cole, Luis Severino, James Paxton and Masahiro Tanaka as their top four, but health woes are already haunting the club yet again after an injury-riddled 2019. Severino, who barely pitched last season, is now facing a very worrisome situation with his forearm; meanwhile, Paxton will sit out until at least May or June as a result of back surgery. The Yankees are still laden with talent, and they remain capable of pulverizing the opposition with their offense, but some of the shine has come off since the Cole signing because of the Severino and Paxton situations. Fortunately for the Yankees, there may only be one team capable of standing up to them in the AL East – the Rays.
  • Twins: It was quite a winter for the Twins, who bolstered their rotation with the additions of Kenta Maeda, Homer Bailey and Rich Hill. They also retained Jake Odorizzi and Michael Pineda. Perhaps more importantly, they signed third baseman Josh Donaldson for four years and $92MM – the largest contract they’ve ever given out in free agency. So, a team that hit an all-time record 307 home runs in 2019 seems as if it’ll put a similarly scary offense on the field this year. The Twins could face more resistance in their division from the White Sox, who had an aggressive winter, though the Indians haven’t really bettered themselves. The Tigers have, but they’ll still struggle to win many games, while the Royals also figure to wind up among the game’s worst teams.

(Poll link for app users)

NL:

  • Dodgers: What do you get the team that won 106 games last season? How about Mookie Betts, who’s on the short list of the greatest players in the game? With Betts in tow, the Dodgers will enter 2020 as the overwhelming favorites to win their division for the eighth year in a row, but an improved Arizona club should at least offer a decent challenge. The Padres have also worked to get better since last season ended, but they don’t appear to be any match for the stacked Dodgers, while the Rockies and Giants look to be way behind.
  • Braves: Atlanta’s down Donaldson, but it was rather active in adding free agents. The team plucked the likes of Marcell Ozuna, Will Smith, Cole Hamels, Travis d’Arnaud and Chris Martin off the open market. Hamels is dealing with shoulder problems, however, and it’s unclear when he’ll be able to pitch in 2020.  Regardless, the Braves still have quite a bit of premier talent (Ronald Acuna Jr., Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies and Mike Soroka spring to mind), so it’s easy to envision them winning a third consecutive division title. At the same time, the reigning world champion Nationals, the Mets and Phillies are realistic contenders for the NL East championship.
  • Cardinals: Aside from the Reds, a 75-win outfit a year ago, it wasn’t really a busy offseason for any NL Central team. That includes the Cardinals, whose biggest addition was Korean left-hander Kwang-Hyun Kim (and they lost their No. 1 free agent, the aforementioned Ozuna). They’re now set to open 2020 without one of their best starters in Miles Mikolas, who just received a platelet-rich plasma injection. The good news for St. Louis is that there’s no apparent juggernaut in its division, as the Cubs and Brewers have either stayed roughly the same or gotten worse since last year ended.

(Poll link for app users)

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Steve Adams <![CDATA[Dodgers Plan To Use Graterol In Bullpen]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=191048 2020-02-21T12:42:19Z 2020-02-21T12:42:19Z
  • The Dodgers plan to utilize newly acquired flamethrower Brusdar Graterol as a reliever in 2020, writes Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times. That’s the same plan that the Twins had for the highly touted righty, making it all the more perplexing that the Red Sox claim to have backed away from the three-team iteration of the Mookie Betts blockbuster upon deciding that Graterol was best suited for the ’pen in the short-term. Dodgers skipper Dave Roberts tells Castillo that his understanding of Graterol’s medical review is that he’s “asymptomatic,” and the right-hander has impressed officials with his new club right out of the gate in camp. “A guy with his stuff, it’s just a different look for our bullpen,” pitching coach Mark Prior says. “The ability to bring that kind of raw power, impact into the game is only a good thing for us.” The state of limbo in which Graterol found himself after the Red Sox backed off the initial trade iteration wasn’t easy on the righty, who felt like he “had a weight on top of” him while awaiting resolution.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Dodgers Notes: Brusdar, Seager]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=191045 2020-02-21T07:29:45Z 2020-02-21T07:29:45Z Right-hander Brusdar Graterol was part of the first version of a three-team trade sending Mookie Betts from the Red Sox to the Dodgers. But the Red Sox backed out of acquiring Graterol, then with the Twins, in favor of a different package. The Red Sox were concerned that the flamethrowing 21-year-old wouldn’t project as a starter, and they had worries about his health, thereby causing them to back out of landing him. The Dodgers “didn’t disregard” the Red Sox’s reservations about Graterol, according to Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times, but they’re happy to have the 21-year-old after acquiring him from the Twins and Betts from the Red Sox in separate trades. “A guy with his stuff, it’s just a different look for our bullpen,” Dodgers pitching coach Mark Prior told Castillo. “The ability to bring that kind of raw power, impact into the game is only a good thing for us.” After a period of uncertainty, Graterol is relieved to know where he’ll be playing going forward. “I really felt like I had a weight on top of me,” Graterol said, “not knowing what to do with the situation.”

    • As with Graterol, Bryant and Arenado, Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager was a prominent part of trade rumors over the winter. But like Bryant and Arenado, he hasn’t gone anywhere. The former Rookie of the Year didn’t pay much attention to that speculation, however, as Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register relays. Seager said he was “not bothered, maybe surprised is a better word” by the fact that his name came up in trade talks. Now, barring a blockbuster shortstop acquisition for the Dodgers (Francisco Lindor, for example), they’ll go into the upcoming season with Seager as their starter at the spot. They’re still in better position than most teams there, as the 25-year-old Seager has been one of the game’s finest shortstops since he debuted in 2015.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Angels’ Arte Moreno On Joc Trade, Rotation, Eppler]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=190770 2020-02-18T06:59:05Z 2020-02-18T06:59:05Z The trade that would have sent Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson and Ross Stripling to the Angels for infielder Luis Rengifo and outfield prospect Andy Pages appears to be dead. A report last week indicated Angels owner Arte Moreno was the one who put the kibosh on it. Moreno confirmed Monday that he did shoot down the LA-LA trade, per Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, though he wasn’t willing to say why.

    “It wasn’t all impatience. There were other things,” Moreno said of the causes for the failed swap, which fell through as the Dodgers waited to acquire Mookie Betts and David Price from the Red Sox (that ended up happening). Now, according to Moreno,  the Angels have “moved on.”

    Had the Angels gotten Stripling, he’d have looked like one of their most talented starters on paper. The club entered the offseason needing rotation help, and it has added a couple durable veterans in Julio Teheran and Dylan Bundy. It looks as if the the Angels continue to need front-end aid, though, especially with Shohei Ohtani set to stay off the mound for at least the first month and a half of the season.

    The Halos did make a legitimate attempt to sign the No. 1 free agent available, right-handed ace Gerrit Cole, as they offered him $300MM over eight years back in December. But the Southern California native instead accepted the Yankees’ record-setting offer of nine years and $324MM. Moreno discussed the Angels’ Cole pursuit, indicating they simply couldn’t match the Yankees’ aggressiveness. “Walking in there and you knew, no matter what I bid, we’re going to get outbid,” he said. “We had a pretty big number out there.”

    With the season getting closer, it may now be too late for the Angels to land an impact starter. However, if all goes well into the summer and the Angels are contending, Moreno’s hopeful they’ll find one via trade. The team has “the financial flexibility” for such an addition, according to Moreno, who noted it’s seeking someone “who can substantially help us, not a No. 4 or No. 5.”

    General manager Billy Eppler may be tasked with finding that type of starter in a few months, but his future’s uncertain beyond 2020. The Angels exercised his option for this season late last year, though they haven’t made the playoffs since hiring Eppler before 2016, so he could be on shaky ground. It doesn’t seem they’re going to rush into an extension for him just yet. Rather, “As a group, we need to win,” said Moreno, who added, “I probably should fire myself” for the franchise’s recent performance.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Dodgers Outright Tyler White]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=190715 2020-02-17T22:17:50Z 2020-02-17T22:17:50Z The Dodgers outrighted first baseman Tyler White, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports on Twitter. He cleared waivers after recently being designated for assignment.

    White is slated to participate in MLB camp as a non-roster player. He’ll still have a shot at an Opening Day job, but that’ll likely only come to fruition if there’s an injury or unforeseen development involving a player ahead of him on the depth chart.

    The Dodgers obviously still think there’s some potential in the bat of the 29-year-old, as they carried him for a long stretch on the 40-man. But he’s far from a sure thing after a rough 2019 showing.

    White, who is out of options, had a mammoth 2018 season at both the MLB (143 wRC+) and Triple-A (166 wRC+) levels. But he limped to a .208/.308/.304 batting line in 279 plate appearances last year.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Dodgers Sign Terrance Gore To Minor League Deal]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=190695 2020-02-17T19:25:05Z 2020-02-17T19:00:12Z The Dodgers announced Monday that they’ve signed outfielder Terrance Gore to a minor league deal and invited him to Major League camp this spring.

    Gore, a client of the L. Warner Companies, seems to land on a postseason contender late every season one way or another. His blistering speed made him an ideal pinch-running specialist under the previous roster expansion rules, which allowed clubs to bring anyone on their 40-man roster to the Majors after Aug. 31. That’ll change in 2020, as September rosters will only grow to 28 players. However, the standard roster size will grow from 25 to 26 as well.

    The 28-year-old Gore is out of minor league options, so the Dodgers — who utilize every edge possible in creating roster flexibility — seem unlikely to carry him in the Majors for the bulk of the season. He could be a 27th or 28th man in September, however, and could even be a postseason option if they deem such a move necessary.

    Gore split the 2019 season between the Royals and Yankees organizations after Kansas City signed him to a surprising Major League contract last winter. Gore appeared in 37 games with the Royals but only came to the plate on 58 occasions. His lack of at-bats in the Majors is a testament to his typical role as a baserunning specialist; Gore has appeared in 100 regular-season games and another nine postseason contests but only come to the plate a combined 79 times. As a frequent pinch-runner, however, he’s swiped 45 bases (in 54 tries).

    While Gore’s speed is tantalizing, his lack of Triple-A production is glaring; in 181 games there, he’s managed only a .213/.307/.261 slash line.

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    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Carlos Correa Defends Jose Altuve’s MVP, Astros’ 2017 Title]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=190608 2020-02-16T14:54:48Z 2020-02-16T14:54:48Z As the Astros have bungled their apologies for the sign-stealing scandal that has dominated this offseason, Carlos Correa has perhaps been the organization’s most forthright member. In response to the most recent backlash around the game, Correa came out with a passionate defense of the organization- and teammate José Altuve in an interview with Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic.

    José Altuve was the one guy that didn’t use the trash can,” Correa told Rosenthal. “The few times that the trash can was banged was without his consent, and he would go inside the clubhouse and inside the dugout to whoever was banging the trash can and he would get (upset). He would get mad. He would say, ’I don’t want this. I can’t hit like this. Don’t you do that to me.’ He played the game clean.

    The reason José Altuve apologized to the media was for being part of the team and for not stopping it,” Correa continued. “But he’s not apologizing for using the trash can. He’s not apologizing for cheating because he did not cheat … José Altuve earned that MVP, and he’s been showing that for years.”

    Correa’s defense of Altuve came in response to Cody Bellinger, who sounded off on the scandal Friday. Bellinger argued the Astros “stole” the 2017 World Series from the Dodgers and that Altuve “stole an MVP from (Aaron) Judge.” Bellinger also referenced the unsubstantiated rumors that Astros’ hitters wore electronic buzzers the last few years, made famous by Altuve’s refusal to take off his shirt after his 2019 ALCS-clinching home run off Aroldis Chapman. The Astros have categorically denied using buzzers, and Correa doubled down on that yesterday.

    2019, nobody wore buzzers. That’s a lie,” Correa told Rosenthal. He continued, “(Altuve) hit that home run off Chapman fair and square. He was not wearing buzzers. That’s a story that a fake account on Twitter broke, and then people just got on that wagon and started talking about the buzzers. Like, no. Nobody thought about buzzers. Nobody was using buzzers.

    Instead, Correa gave a pair of explanations to Rosenthal for Altuve’s unwillingness to have his shirt ripped. First, he says, Altuve’s wife had previously told him not to remove his shirt on the field. Somewhat comically, Correa added that Altuve was embarrassed about a “horrible” unfinished collarbone tattoo he wished to keep hidden from public view.

    To be clear, Correa did not shy away from all criticism related to the scandal. He admitted to Rosenthal that hitters who used the trash can system in 2017 gained an improper, unfair advantage over opposing pitchers. (In that respect, he disagreed with Astros’ owner Jim Crane, whom Correa says “doesn’t know what kind of advantage we have…because, from afar, it looks hard“). Rather, his defense of the organization’s legacy lies in their postseason success.

    Correa argued that the club often struggled to decode signs from the center field camera during the postseason due to opposing teams’ improved countervailing efforts, citing numerous key hits he claims were unsupported by sign stealing. That not every hit was sign stealing-aided, even if true, isn’t enough to say definitively that the Astros would or wouldn’t have won the 2017 World Series without the scheme, though.

    Additionally, Correa pointed to the commissioner’s office finding no evidence the club continued the sign stealing efforts in 2019. Last year’s AL pennant, the shortstop argued, was “clean baseball all around.” Of course, some fans and opposing players will roll their eyes at that assertion; the organization has hardly earned the benefit of the doubt on this issue.

    Yet Correa’s most passionate defense seemed to be of Altuve, in particular. Clearing his double play partner’s name, it seems, was the main impetus for Correa’s interview with Rosenthal, which is worth reading in full.

    For what it’s worth, signstealingscandal.com, which attempted to log every trash can bang during Astros’ 2017 home games, recorded bangs on just 2.8% of pitches (24 bangs on 866 pitches) thrown to Altuve, never more than two in any particular game. These, again, were against Altuve’s wishes, according to Correa. That’s clearly not definitive proof Altuve didn’t participate in the scandal (and as both Correa and Altuve admitted, he deserves some blame for doing little to stop it). Nevertheless, it’s at least partially supportive of Altuve’s legacy and the legitimacy of his 2017 MVP.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Pederson, Stripling Discuss Nixed Angels Trade]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=190583 2020-02-16T01:58:44Z 2020-02-16T01:58:44Z Joc Pederson and Ross Stripling were all but officially headed from the Dodgers to the Angels in a trade that branched off from the original Dodgers/Red Sox/Twins three-team swap that would have sent Mookie Betts and David Price to Los Angeles.  While that initial three-team trade broke down and was revived as two separate deals, however, the Dodgers and Angels broke off the planned swap that would have sent Pederson, Stripling, and prospect Andy Pages to Anaheim for a package that included infield prospect Luis Rengifo.

    Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman kept Pederson and Stripling up to date as talks progressed, though since no trade developed, both players are still in Dodger blue.  The end result is a situation Pederson admitted was “a little awkward” as Spring Training begins, though he told media (including Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register) that he is “excited to be here, ready to win a World Series.”  Stripling concurred, saying that while the opportunity to be a full-time starting pitcher for the Angels was intriguing, he is happy to remain with what he described as “a first-class organization all the way through.”  As to almost being traded, Stripling “didn’t choose to take it personally,” noting “I understand the business side of it…we had a chance to get Mookie Betts and David Price. If that means getting rid of Ross Stripling, then that’s part of it.

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    George Miller <![CDATA[Phillies Acquire Kyle Garlick From Dodgers]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=190573 2020-02-15T21:29:14Z 2020-02-15T19:49:43Z The Phillies and Dodgers have agreed to a trade that will send outfielder Kyle Garlick to the Phillies, according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. In return, the Dodgers will receive minor league left-hander Tyler Gilbert. To clear a spot for Garlick on the 40-man roster, outfielder Nick Martini was designated for assignment.

    Garlick had been designated earlier this week. He got a brief taste of the Majors with the Dodgers in 2019, appearing in 30 games and slashing .250/.321/.521 with three home runs. It was a nice showing from the 28-year-old rookie, who will have to show that he can hang around in the big leagues after an impressive showing at Triple-A.

    With two minor league options remaining, Garlick could be a nice reserve option for the Phillies in the corner outfield. He’ll compete with the likes of Nick Williams, Roman Quinn, and Jay Bruce for bench at-bats. For what it’s worth, Garlick is the only true righty of that group (Quinn is a switch-hitter).

    Gilbert is a 26-year-old reliever who was the Phillies’ 6th-round pick in 2015. He spent all of last season at Triple-A, pitching 47 2/3 innings of 2.83-ERA baseball, striking out 46 batters. With the Dodgers’ crowded bullpen unit, he’s a long shot to genuinely contend for a roster spot, but he at least represents good depth, especially in case of injuries.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Dodgers Sign Kieran Lovegrove To Minor League Contract]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=190390 2020-02-14T05:58:48Z 2020-02-14T05:58:48Z
  • The Dodgers have added righty Kieran Lovegrove on a minors pact. The flamethrower from South Africa was a third-round pick of the Indians in 2012 who has since spent time with the Orioles and Giants. Lovegrove and the Giants had high hopes for one another when the team signed him in November 2018, but the union didn’t yield positive results. He ended up enduring a difficult season between the Giants’ Double-A club and the O’s High-A affiliate, thanks largely to control problems. Lovegrove posted ERAs in the 9.00 range with those clubs and combined for 24 walks (with 18 strikeouts) in just 26 innings.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Red Sox/Dodgers Notes: Betts, Friedman, Verdugo]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=190357 2020-02-13T23:53:35Z 2020-02-13T23:53:35Z The latest news from two coasts, as the Dodgers and Red Sox continue to adjust to new realities after the blockbuster trade that sent Mookie Betts and David Price to Chavez Ravine…

    • Talks between the Dodgers and Red Sox about Betts began to develop in late December, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman told Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times and other reporters, though Los Angeles first looked into acquiring Betts prior to last July’s trade deadline.  A late surge for the Sox (who had an 8-3 run during an 11-game between July 17 and 27) convinced them to keep Betts and make a push for the postseason.  Pondering about what a deadline Sox/Dodgers trade would’ve looked like is an interesting what-if, especially since Friedman would’ve been negotiating with a different person — Dave Dombrowski was still Boston’s president of baseball operations at the time, before being replaced by chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom (who used to work with Friedman in the Rays’ front office).
    • Unsurprisingly, the Dodgers don’t see Betts as just a one-year rental, as team president Stan Kasten told The Athletic’s Andy McCullough that pursuing a long-term extension with the outfielder was “certainly was part of our thinking [with the trade] — that that’s what we would like the outcome to be.”  Friedman concurred, saying “from our standpoint, I think he’s going to fall in love with the city, the fan support, the teammates, the facilities.  And we’re just trying to do everything we can to continue that and have our own guys want to stay.”  Keeping Betts would require a financial commitment that would far surpass anything Friedman has made since he joined the organization in 2015, though surely the baseball ops head and Dodgers ownership are aware of what it will cost the team to lock Betts up — in all likelihood a $400MM+ deal.  However, as McCullough notes, the Dodgers have seemingly laid the groundwork for big future expenditures with less than $45MM in guaranteed payroll commitments on the books following the 2021 season.  It remains a question as to whether Betts would be open to an extension, of course, given how he has so steadfastly expressed his desire to test the open market as a free agent.  Future contracts weren’t on Betts’ mind as he spoke with reporters, saying “I’m still trying to find a house and all those types of things. I’m not even really thinking about that.  I’m just focused on staying with 2020 and going from there.”
    • As to Betts’ projected replacement in the Red Sox outfield, Alex Verdugo might not be ready for Boston’s Opening Day lineup, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe reports.  Back and oblique problems sent Verdugo to the injured list on August 6 of last season, and he only appeared in one minor league game after that placement.  Speier writes that Verdugo’s back is still bothering him, though the Sox don’t see the injury as a long-term problem.  If Verdugo does miss time at the start of the season, it could be for precautionary reasons, as “a small number of games missed early in the year is better than a substantial stretch on the sideline if he is rushed into the lineup.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Pedro Baez Wins Arbitration Hearing Against Dodgers]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=190212 2020-02-12T20:05:15Z 2020-02-12T20:05:15Z Dodgers right-hander Pedro Baez won his arbitration hearing against the team, MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reports (via Twitter). Baez will be paid at the $4MM rate submitted by agent Kelvin Nova rather than the $3.5MM submitted by the team, as shown in MLBTR’s 2020 Arbitration Tracker.

    Baez, who’ll turn 32 in a month, has been one of the Dodgers’ most-frequently-used middle relief/setup pieces since debuting back in 2014. While the L.A. organization has had bullpen troubles in recent seasons, Baez’s overall results in that time and throughout his career have been steady. In 2019, he turned in 69 2/3 innings of 3.10 ERA/3.52 FIP ball with 8.9 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 and 0.78 HR/9.

    Baez, who notched a career-high 25 holds in ’19, has appeared in 52 or more games in each of the past five seasons — averaging 63 appearances and 63 innings along the way. He’s never posted an ERA higher than the 3.35 mark he recorded back in 2015, and his overall body of work has perhaps quietly been terrific. In 339 innings as a big leaguer, Baez has a 3.03 ERA with 356 strikeouts (9.5 K/9) against 113 walks (3.0 BB/9).

    This was Baez’s final trip through the arbitration process. As a player who currently possesses five-plus years of Major League service time, he’ll reach the free-agent market for the first time in his career next winter.

    The win for Baez and Nova finally puts the players on the board in this year’s arbitration proceedings. Prior to this hearing, teams had gone 4-for-4 in arbitration hearings. The Dodgers had previously beaten Joc Pederson, while the Twins (Jose Berrios), Braves (Shane Greene) and Rockies (Tony Wolters) had also come out ahead in their own cases.

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