Recent MLB Player News

Rockies' Ian Desmond says he'll play mostly left field in 2018

Colorado Rockies outfielder Ian Desmond says that he expects to play mostly left field in 2018.

What It Means:

"I will be ready to play first base if they need me to," Desmond said on Sunday, "but right now, from what I understand it’s going to be mostly left field." Desmond only started 22 games at first base in 2017, so this isn't a big surprise with the Rockies looking to Ryan McMahon to be the main first baseman this season.

Desmond averaged 8.9 FanDuel points per game in 2017.

Jason Vargas passes physical, new deal with Mets is official

New York Mets starting pitcher Jason Vargas passed his physical, and his two-year, $16 million contract with a club option for 2020 is official.

What It Means:

Vargas started out hot last season, but he quickly fell off a cliff in the second half, with a 6.38 ERA over his final 15 starts. The Mets are hoping he can reclaim some of that first half magic in the back half of their rotation.

Vargas averaged 27.0 FanDuel points per game this season.

Report: Yasmani Grandal could be Dodgers' primary catcher in 2018

Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal "appears positioned as the primary backstop" this season according to Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times.

What It Means:

Austin Barnes and Grandal are battling it out for catching duties, but manager Dave Roberts said on Friday that Grandal "obviously had more opportunities, more at-bats, more playing time [in 2017]— and I see that again." Barnes should still see plenty of time in the lineup. He appeared in 102 games in 2017 with 262 plate appearances and 49 starts behind the plate compared to Grandal, who started 113 games at catcher last year for LA.

Grandal averaged 8.2 FanDuel points per game in 2017.

Eduardo Nunez passes Red Sox physical, officially under contract

The Boston Red Sox have officially signed infielder Eduardo Nunez to a one-year, $4 million contract, with a $4 million player option for 2019.

What It Means:

The Red Sox have the option to buy Nunez out of his player option for $2 million in 2019, but he could also gain an additional $2 million if he hits some incentives. Nunez should be the Sox' full time second baseman until Dustin Pedroia (knee) returns from injury. After that, Nunez should be used as a super utility man off the bench.

Nunez averaged 10.8 FanDuel points per game in 2017.

Source: Jon Heyman

Rays designate Corey Dickerson for assignment

The Tampa Bay Rays have designated outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment.

What It Means:

After the team acquired C.J. Cron from the Angels, they needed to make room on the 40-man roster, and Dickerson was the guy to get shown the door. However, he should not be out of a job long, as multiple teams are already rumored to have interest.

Dickerson averaged 9.9 FanDuel points per game in 2017.

Angels send C.J. Cron to Rays for player to be named later

The Tampa Bay Rays have acquired first baseman C.J. Cron from the Los Angeles Angels for a player to be named later.

What It Means:

The Rays also designated Corey Dickerson for assignment to make room for Cron. The Angels and Cron had just come to an agreement on a $2.3 million contract in arbitration, but with Luis Valbuena and Albert Pujols under contract, Cron wasn't getting much run for the Angels at first base. He should get some more playing time at first in the new-look Rays lineup.

Cron averaged 8.8 FanDuel points per game in 2017 for the Angels.

Rays trade Jake Odorizzi to Twins in exchange for Jermaine Palacios

The Tampa Bay Rays have traded starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi to the Minnesota Twins in exchange for shortstop prospect Jermaine Palacios according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.

What It Means:

The Twins were in need of some starting pitching this offseason, and they didn't have to give up much to get it. Palacios wasn't a very highly ranked prospect in the Twins' system, so it's a nice low-risk high-reward move to get an innings-eating pitcher with a career 3.83 ERA.

Odorizzi averaged 25.6 FanDuel points per game in 2017 for the Rays.

Padres reportedly reach deal with free agent Eric Hosmer

The San Diego Padres have agreed to a deal with free agent first baseman Eric Hosmer, according to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

What It Means:

Hosmer reportedly had deals with Kansas City and San Diego on the table for weeks, but it looks like the Padres decided to up their offer to lock in their new first baseman. Reports from different writers have the deal worth eight years with an opt-out after five, and according to Scott Miller of Bleacher Report, the deal is worth $144 million. Wil Myers will probably move to the outfield with this signing.

Hosmer is coming off a 2017 season where he averaged 11.0 FanDuel points per game.

Source: Kevin Acee

Cleveland signs Rajai Davis to a minor league contract

The Cleveland Indians have signed outfielder Rajai Davis to a minor league contract with a non-roster invite to spring training.

What It Means:

Davis will compete for a roster spot as a reserve outfielder in spring training. Last season, he hit .235/.293/.348 with 29 stolen bases over 366 plate appearances for the Oakland Athletics and Boston Red Sox.

Entering his age-37 season, Davis only posted a .279 wOBA in 2017, but is still a threat on the base paths if he can make Cleveland's roster.

Rangers will not sign Seung Hwan Oh

The Texas Rangers reportedly had a contract agreement in place with Seung Hwan Oh last week, but they have decided not to sign the free agent pitcher.

What It Means:

Last week, Oh and the Rangers reportedly agreed to a one-year, $2.75 million contract with a $4.5 million club option for 2019, but the deal is off. Texas reportedly didn't like something they saw in Oh's physical. He will remain a free agent and try to sign with another team.

In 2017, Oh posted a 4.10 ERA with 54 strikeouts over 59 1/3 innings for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Giants sign Tony Watson to three-year deal

The San Francisco Giants have signed pitcher Tony Watson to a three-year, $7 million contract.

What It Means:

The left-hander will bolster the Giants bullpen while reportedly remaining under the luxury tax. In 2017, Watson posted a 3.38 ERA and 1.38 WHIP with 53 strikeouts in 66 1/3 innings for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates.

Watson saw his strikeout rate drop to 18.2% in 2017 -- the lowest mark of his career -- but only allowed a 22.5% hard-hit rate.

Rangers sign Edinson Volquez to two-year minor league deal

The Texas Rangers have signed pitcher Edinson Volquez to a two-year minor league contract.

What It Means:

Volquez is expected to miss the 2018 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery last summer. Last season, Volquez posted a 4.19 ERA and 1.42 WHIP over 17 starts for the Miami Marlins. He also threw a no-hitter against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Volquez compiled a 5.19 SIERA and 13.4% walk rate in 2017, indicating his 4.19 ERA may have been on the lucky side.

Twins sign Anibal Sanchez to one-year deal

The Minnesota Twins have signed free agent pitcher Anibal Sanchez on a one-year, $2.5 million contract.

What It Means:

Sanchez can also earn another $2.5 million in incentives. He's coming off a rough season with the Detroit Tigers, compiling a 6.41 ERA and 1.59 WHIP over 105 1/3 innings.

Sanchez had a reasonable 4.16 SIERA, 21.6% strikeout rate, and 6.0% walk rate in 2017, but also allowed a poor 37.4% hard-hit rate. Across the last three seasons with the Tigers, he's only put together a 5.67 ERA.

Source: Jon Heyman

Mets reportedly agree to deal with Jason Vargas

Per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, the New York Mets have agreed to terms with free agent pitcher Jason Vargas.

What It Means:

The deal is pending a physical and is for two years, $16 million, with a club option for 2020. After spending four straight seasons with the Royals, Vargas should slide into the five-spot as the only southpaw in the Mets' rotation.

In 2017, Vargas went 18-11 with a 4.16 ERA and 4.67 FIP in 32 starts and 179 2/3 innings.

Rockies' Gerardo Parra (hands) undergoes surgery to remove hamate bone

According to Rockies.com's Thomas Harding, Colorado Rockies outfielder Gerardo Parra underwent surgery last week to remove the hamate bone from his right hand.

What It Means:

Parra has said that he expects to return around March 10th. That would be a fairly aggressive timetable, but if he's able to be back then he'd have no trouble getting in enough time to be ready for Opening Day on March 29th. At this time, the 30-year-old seems likely to start in right field in 2018.

Over 115 games, Parra tallied 10 home runs, 71 RBI and 56 runs while slashing .309/.341/.452 a season ago.

Blue Jays sign Jaime Garcia to one-year, $8 million contract

The Toronto Blue Jays have signed pitcher Jaime Garcia to a one-year, $8 million contract with a club option for 2019.

What It Means:

Garcia bounced around as a starter between three different clubs last year, finishing the season with a 4.41 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, and 129 strikeouts over 157 innings. He's expected to round out the Blue Jays rotation.

Garcia produced a 4.54 SIERA last season, suggesting we probably shouldn't expect any major improvements in his 2018 ERA, but he did maintain a strong 54.8% ground-ball rate.

Indians' Danny Salazar (shoulder inflammation) 'a couple weeks behind'

Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Danny Salazar "experienced an onset of right shoulder rotator cuff inflammation in mid-January," according to a press release from the Indians.

What It Means:

Per the release, Salazar started throwing again and is "progressing well," but remains "a couple weeks behind" the other Indians pitchers at camp this spring. This creates some doubt about whether or not the 28-year-old right-hander will be ready by Opening Day.

Salazar twirled a 4.28 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 33.0 strikeout percentage, and 10.0 walk percentage with a 5-6 record (19 starts) across 103 innings last season.

Orioles sign Andrew Cashner to a two-year, $16 million contract

The Baltimore Orioles have signed free agent pitcher Andrew Cashner to a two-year, $16 million contract, according to Roch Kubatko of MASN.

What It Means:

Cashner will join an Orioles rotation that lacks much depth entering the season. In 2017, Cashner logged 166 2/3 innings over 28 starts for the Texas Rangers, while compiling a 3.40 ERA and 1.32 WHIP with 86 strikeouts.

Cashner had a solid ERA last season, but a 5.52 SIERA, 12.2% strikeout rate, and 9.1% walk rate doesn't bode well for a repeat in 2018.

Mariners' Ryon Healy down 4-6 weeks following hand surgery

Seattle Mariners infielder Ryon Healy is expected to miss 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery Thursday to remove a bone spur from his right hand.

What It Means:

It's possible that Healy returns for the tail end of spring training but he's likely going to open the season on the Mariners' disabled list. The 26-year-old was acquired from the Oakland Athletics in November.

Healy slashed .271/.302/.451 with 25 home runs, 66 runs scored, and 78 RBI across 605 plate appearances last season.

Yankees' Aaron Judge says left shoulder 'right on schedule'

New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge said Wednesday in Yankees camp that his surgically-repaired left shoulder "feels good, feels right on schedule."

What It Means:

Judge underwent a relatively minor procedure on his shoulder in November but there's no concern about his availability for Opening Day.

Judge slashed .284/.422/.627 with 52 home runs, 128 runs scored, 114 RBI, and 9 steals across 678 plate appearances last season.

Source: Bryan Hoch

Mariners' Ryon Healy undergoing tests for hand injury

Seattle Mariners infielder Ryon Healy is undergoing tests for a hand injury.

What It Means:

Healy has been dealing with a lingering hand issue since the beginning of offseason work and the Mariners are awaiting further information on the extent of the injury. The 26-year-old was acquired from the Oakland Athletics in November.

Healy slashed .271/.302/.451 with 25 home runs, 66 runs scored, and 78 RBI across 605 plate appearances last season.

Jeurys Familia expected to get 'majority of saves' for Mets

New York Mets reliever Jeurys Familia "will probably get the majority of the saves," pitching coach Dave Eiland said at spring training on Wednesday.

What It Means:

New Mets manager Mickey Callaway had previously suggested the club would utilize a committee approach in the ninth inning, but it sounds like Familia is the man to own.

The 28-year-old right-hander recorded a 4.38 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 22.5 strikeout percentage, and 13.5 walk percentage while converting 6-of-7 saves across 24 2/3 innings.

Charlie Blackmon may be moved to middle of Rockies' order this season

Colorado Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon could be moved to the middle of the order this season, manager Bud Black said.

What It Means:

Blackmon has been the leadoff man for 716-of-725 career plate appearances, but after he hit a career-high 37 home runs last season, the Rockies want to experiment with their rotation a bit. The 31-year-old outfielder will hit in the heart of the order in Cactus League games, with David Dahl, Raimel Tapia, and Ian Desmond all viewed as potential replacements for leadoff duties.

In addition to the 37 taters, Blackmon slashed .331/.399/.601 with 137 runs scored, 104 RBI, and 14 steals. across 725 plate appearances.

Chase Utley re-signs with the Dodgers on a 2-year deal

The Los Angeles Dodgers and second baseman Chase Utley have agreed to a two-year deal, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

What It Means:

The 39-year-old Utley earned the multi-year deal because of his clubhouse presence and ability to play multiple infield positions. He is expected to remain in a utility man/pinch hitter role, earning starts spelling Logan Forsythe at second and Cody Bellinger at first.

Utley batted .236 with a .316 wOBA, 8 home runs, 6 steals, and 43 runs scored in 353 plate appearances in 2017.

Nats' Adam Eaton (knee) cleared for spring training, hopes to be ready Opening Day

Washington Nationals outfielder Adam Eaton (knee) has been cleared to participate in spring training.

What It Means:

Eaton completely tore his ACL on April 28 but progressed far enough in the offseason that he is ready to play in spring training, possibly in a limited fashion. The Nats have already pegged the outfielder as their leadoff man, and without any setbacks, he should be ready for Opening Day.

The 29-year-old was off to a hot start in 2017, batting .297 with a .367 wOBA and 24 runs scored in 107 plate appearances (23 games) before the knee injury.

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