As White Sox right-hander Reynaldo Lopez celebrates his 25th birthday today, let’s have a look at some items around the AL Central…
- Indians manager Terry Francona told reporters (including Cleveland.com’s Joe Noga) that Danny Salazar is “not going to be on pace where…we know when he comes to Spring Training, he’s not going to be competing to make our club.” Salazar missed all of 2018 dealing with shoulder problems, and underwent arthroscopic surgery to address the issue in early July. Francona didn’t entirely rule out the possibility of Salazar returning to the Tribe’s roster relatively early in the season, though the team certainly won’t rush the right-hander: “To force it with somebody doesn’t make a lot of sense.” Salazar and the Tribe agreed to an arbitration-avoiding $4.5MM salary for the 2019 season amidst some speculation that Cleveland could non-tender Salazar, though obviously the team still feels he is worth the risk as he continues to progress in his rehab. Francona had better news about Nick Goody, saying the right-hander is “on target to be with everybody else” in camp following a 2018 season that saw Goody pitch only 11 2/3 innings while battling elbow problems.
- Avisail Garcia “remains in the picture” for a potential return to the White Sox, MLB.com’s Scott Merkin writes, though not if the team makes a much bigger splash by signing Bryce Harper. Chicago non-tendered Garcia rather than pay him a projected $8.0MM arbitration salary in 2019. Garcia posted replacement-level production in three of his four full seasons with the Sox, seemingly breaking out with a 4.2 fWAR season in 2017 but then reverting to a 0.0 fWAR in 2018 while hitting .236/.281/.438 with 19 homers in 385 PA. Knee injuries could have contributed to this subpar performance, so there is hope that Garcia is a rebound candidate with better health.
- Twins catcher Jason Castro is on track for the start of Spring Training, The Athletic’s Dan Hayes (subscription required) writes in an update on the veteran backstop. 2018 was a lost season for Castro, who appeared in just 19 games before undergoing what ended up as a season-ending knee surgery in May, as Castro’s meniscus had to be fully repaired. The rehab process has proceeded as planned, according to Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey, and Castro should be in line for a normal spring. Castro is entering the final season of a three-year, $24.5MM contract with Minnesota.