Player News

Date: Team: Pos:

Brandon Kintzler plans to potentially throw more offspeed pitches in 2017.

The spring training cliches are pouring in early this year. As Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com notes, only three pitchers threw their fastball more often than Kintzler in 2016. It didn't stop him from posting a 3.15 ERA in 54 appearances while saving 17 games. However, Kintzler isn't satisfied and cites his health as a reason why he plans to experiment with his repertoire. "Last year was my first year ever healthy in the Major Leagues," said Kintzler. "I've had some success but I never felt like I showed what I could do. And I could never practice much in the offseason, even offspeed. But now that I have that chance with a normal offseason, I feel like I have weapons instead of just my fastball." Kintzler will be the fallback for the closer role to start 2017 if Glen Perkins encounters setbacks from labrum surgery.
Jan 18 - 12:46 PM

Athletics designated RHP Zach Neal for assignment.

The move clears a spot for the newly-added Trevor Plouffe on the 40-man roster. Neal, 28, compiled a 4.24 ERA and 27/6 K/BB ratio over 70 innings in a swingman role last season. He posted a groundball rate of 53 percent. There's a chance he'll be scooped up on waivers.
Jan 18 - 12:23 PM

Athletics signed INF Trevor Plouffe to a one-year, $5.25 million contract.

According to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal, the deal includes plate appearance incentives worth $750,000 and there's a $250,000 assignment bonus if he's traded. The Twins cut ties with Plouffe back in November following an injury-plagued year where he batted .260/.303/.420 with 12 home runs and 47 RBI over 84 games. He figures to see most of his playing time at third base with Oakland, likely pushing Ryon Healy to designated hitter and first base duties.
Jan 18 - 12:08 PM

Indians signed LHP Kelvin De La Cruz to a minor league contract.

He'll report to minor league camp for spring training. De La Cruz, 28, began his professional career with the Indians, but he has spent the past two years in the Mexican League and independent ball. He's just a depth piece in his return to the organization.
Jan 18 - 12:02 PM

Pirates signed 1B/OF Joey Terdoslavich to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Terdoslavich, 28, spent most of 2016 with the Orioles' Double-A affiliate while batting .246/.349/.419 with 14 homers and 61 RBI over 109 games. He hasn't appeared in the majors since 2015 with the Braves and will likely function as organizational depth for Pittsburgh.
Jan 18 - 11:54 AM

Indians president Chris Antonetti said Wednesday that Michael Brantley (shoulder) has progressed to hitting off a tee.

Brantley was doing non-contact swings earlier this month, so he's continuing to make some encouraging strides. The 29-year-old underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder in November of 2015 and required two more surgeries last year while appearing in just 11 games. He remains a huge question mark moving forward, but it would be quite a boost to Cleveland's lineup if he can be anything close to his normal self again.
Jan 18 - 11:27 AM

Blue Jays re-signed OF Jose Bautista to a one-year, $18.5 million contract.

While it once looked like a long shot, Bautista is officially back in the fold. The 36-year-old slugger unexpectedly saw a limited market this offseason due to age, injury and defensive concerns, and draft pick compensation, so a return to Toronto makes the most sense under the circumstances. Per Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca, Bautista will make $18 million in 2017 while the 2018 mutual option is worth $17 million with a $500,000 buyout. The vesting option for 2019 is worth $20 million. If Bautista enjoys a strong 2017, he'll almost certainly try his luck in free agency again next offseason.
Jan 18 - 11:01 AM

Indians and OF Brandon Guyer avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $5 million contract with a club option for 2019.

Guyer will make $2 million in 2017 and $2.75 million in 2018 while the 2019 option is worth $3 million and carries a $250,000 buyout. The deal buys out his final two years of arbitration and the option could cover his first free agent year. Guyer, who turns 31 later this month, played well after being picked up by the Rays last season and batted .266/.372/.423 with nine homers and 32 RBI over 101 games on the year. This included a league-leading 31 hit-by-pitches. Guyer owns an .861 OPS against southpaws in his career and should continue to provide value in a part-time role.
Jan 18 - 10:38 AM

According to Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and Sirius XM, free agent reliever Greg Holland is "getting close to deciding on his next team."

Bowden hears from a source close to the player that Holland could maybe make a decision in the next seven days. The Nationals are a logical landing spot and Bowden hears that they continue to have interest, but they might not have enough room in their budget. Teams like the Rockies, Brewers, Reds, and Dodgers have also been mentioned as possibilities. Holland is said to be looking for a two-year deal with an opt-out after the first year. The 31-year-old missed the entire 2016 season while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, but he was one of the game's best relievers from 2011-2014.
Jan 18 - 10:22 AM

According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, Jose Bautista will be guaranteed $18.5 million in his new deal with the Blue Jays.

A previous report indicated that the deal was worth $18 million. Bautista is getting a one-year contract with a mutual option for 2018 and a vesting option for 2019, which could push the maximum value to $60 million. The deal is said to be done and an official announcement from the Blue Jays should come soon.
Jan 18 - 8:32 AM

The younger brother of Edinson Volquez has been stabbed to death in the Dominican Republic.

Brandy Volquez, 25, was reportedly involved in an early-morning fight Monday with two men at a barbershop in Santo Domingo. There is one person in police custody. It's yet another unspeakable family tragedy for Edinson, who lost his father hours before starting Game 1 of the 2015 World Series. "I will always remember you my brother. May God have you in his kingdom," the newly-signed Marlins right-hander wrote on his Instagram account Tuesday. "RIP one love."
Source: USA Today
Jan 17 - 7:54 PM

Diamondbacks signed OF Gregor Blanco to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Blanco struggled to find a good landing spot this winter after batting just .224/.309/.311 in 106 games last season with the Giants. Arizona's outfield depth chart is quite crowded, though Blanco does offer more defensive versatility than some of the other options. He'll fight for a backup job in Diamondbacks camp.
Jan 17 - 7:33 PM

Braves signed RHP Blaine Boyer to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

MLB.com beat reporter Mark Bowman says Boyer "has a good chance" to open the 2017 season as a member of the Atlanta bullpen. The veteran right-hander posted a 3.95 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, and 26/17 K/BB ratio over 66 innings with the Brewers in 2016.
Jan 17 - 6:33 PM

Aaron Nola (elbow) told reporters Tuesday that he will have no restrictions leading into spring training.

Nola was diagnosed last August with a low-grade sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow and a flexor sprain in his forearm, but he underwent platelet-rich plasma treatment in September and is already feeling close to 100 percent. The young right-hander makes for a high-risk, high-reward fantasy option for the 2017 season. He registered a 2.65 ERA over his first 12 starts last year before falling apart in the second half.
Jan 17 - 6:08 PM

Jeremy Hefner has retired from baseball.

The 30-year-old right-hander made the announcement Tuesday on his Facebook and Twitter accounts. Hefner posted a 5.25 ERA and 1.45 WHIP in 97 2/3 innings last season with the Triple-A affiliate of the Cardinals. He logged 50 career appearances at the major league level, all with the Mets.
Jan 17 - 5:53 PM



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