Kyle Schwarber is now a member of the Washington Nationals, in no small part because of Nats manager Dave Martinez, per ESPN. Schwarber, of course, won a World Series with Martinez as his bench coach in Chicago. In fact, Martinez was the Cubs bench coach for the first three years of Schwarber’s career. Said Schwarber, per ESPN, “I love [Martinez] to death. I’m so excited to play for this guy. He only wants to win.” Washington hopes Martinez can help Schwarber recapture some of the magic that made him a star in Chicago. Schwarber will also reunite with Starlin Castro, with whom he played as a rookie on the 2015 Cubs. Elsewhere…
- Royals Assistant General Managers Scott Sharp and Jin Wong remain active in reaching out to agents about potential free agents, writes MLB.com’s Jason Beck. The Royals have been one of the more proactive teams in the Majors so far this winter, coming to terms with Mike Minor, Greg Holland, Michael A. Taylor, and Carlos Santana to Major League deals, all before the new year. The Royals are still potentially on the lookout for a left-handed bat, notes Beck. With just about $87MM in payroll commitments, the Royals have just a couple million before matching last year’s payroll. It wasn’t long ago, however, that Kansas City ran up payrolls over the century mark, so it’s possible they could extend yet another Major League contract, should the right deal fall their way.
- Ryan O’Hearn, Franchy Cordero, and Nicky Lopez are the only pure left-handed bats on the roster, and only the latter has a guaranteed spot as a regular player. Adalberto Mondesi and Carlos Santana are switch-hitters who will be in the lineup every day, but both have traditionally fared better hitting from the right side. In terms of their targets, Beck also notes that the Royals are growing comfortable with Hunter Dozier as the regular third baseman. All that in mind, a lefty corner outfielder would fit nicely onto the roster. Should they not find a bat at an appropriate price point, however, the Royals are believers in the long-term ability of Khalil Lee, who is a candidate for playing time in 2021.
- Red Sox prospect Bradley Blalock was a 32nd round draft choice in 2019, but after adding 10 pounds and roughly six miles per hour to his fastball, the 20-year-old right-hander will enter 2021 as a player to watch, per Alex Speier of Baseball America. Blalock is more-or-less just beginning his professional career, having signed out of high school for $250K in July of 2019. The Georgia native made just four appearances in rookie ball, giving up five earned runs on five hits and four walks while striking out four over 6 2/3 innings. Elsewhere in the system, the prospect gurus at MLB.com name Nick Yorke as a player who could rise quickly through Boston’s system, writing, “The California prep product has the sweet right-handed swing, bat speed, pitch recognition and discipline to potentially become a .300 hitter with 20 homers per season.” Yorke was the No. 17 overall selection of the 2020 draft.