Player News

Date: Team: Pos:

Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes that Ryan Merritt is facing an uphill battle to make the Indians' 25-man roster.

Merritt is out of options, so Cleveland would risk losing the 26-year-old left-hander to another club without receiving compensation if he's not in uniform on Opening Day. Still, because the Indians appear to have a full rotation and a bullpen that doesn't appear to have much -- if any -- room either, he could be left out of the mix. Merritt has pitched well at times and could serve as insurance if an injury takes place, but he also could be a trade candidate near the end of spring training for a team looking for a back-end starter.
Feb 21 - 10:41 PM

Angels placed RHP Alex Meyer on the 60-day disabled list with a right shoulder injury.

The move clears a 40-man roster space for outfielder Jabari Blash, whom the Angels acquired on Wednesday in a trade with the Yankees. Meyer underwent labrum surgery on his right shoulder last September and will reportedly be sidelined until at least the beginning of the 2019 season.
Feb 21 - 8:00 PM

Angels acquired OF Jabari Blash from the Yankees for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

Blash was recently designated for assignment by the Yankees in order to make room for Brandon Drury, who was acquired from the Diamondbacks in a three-team trade on Tuesday. The 28-year-old outfielder has a career .200/.323/.336 batting line at the major league level, but his power from the right side could allow him to be a bench bat for the Angels in 2018.
Feb 21 - 7:54 PM

Cubs manager Joe Maddon told reporters on Wednesday that Javier Baez will have to show a better approach at the plate to earn more playing time.

"[Baez] is at that point now (that) to get those 500 to 600 plate appearances, (he needs to) organize (his) strike zone, accept walks and use the whole field," Maddon said Wednesday. "That would be the next level for him." Baez is still just 25 years old, but his grand total of 64 walks in 1,267 plate appearances speaks to his lack of patience at the plate. He oozes talent, but if he's ever going to reach his ceiling, there has to be a reason for pitchers to throw him more strikes. If he does eventually find that groove, look out.
Feb 21 - 7:45 PM

Rangers signed RHP Jesse Chavez to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that Chavez will make $1 million in base salary, and it will increase to $1.5 million if he's added to the active roster. Heyman also notes that Chavez can earn another $1 million if he reaches a specific number of starts, and the deal also comes with $500,000 in potential relief incentives. Chavez registered a 5.35 ERA in 38 appearances (21 starts) with the Angels last year, tallying 119 strikeouts in his 138 innings. He provides value because of his swingman ability, but he's been much more effective pitching out of the bullpen. Long relief is likely going to be his role with the Rangers when all is said and done.
Feb 21 - 7:04 PM

Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston reports that hold-up in J.D. Martinez's contract being finalized is related to logistics in reviewing medical reports.

There was a belief that Martinez would have his deal with the Red Sox officially announced on Wednesday, but Drellich says that finalization will likely come Thursday, at the earliest. Because the Red Sox's medical team is Boston-based and there are often specialists involved in these physical exams -- particularly on contracts as large as Martinez's -- there is understandably a longer wait for everything to get sorted out. Drellich also cautions there are no issues anticipated with the examination(s), so there's no reason to panic. Martinez, 30, has agreed to a five-year $110 million contract with the Red Sox that contains opt outs after the second and third years.
Feb 21 - 6:55 PM

Bo Schultz (elbow) is getting close to throwing live batting practice.

Schultz missed all of 2017 after undergoing Tommy John surgery last March. The Pirates signed him to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training in January. He owns a career 4.54 ERA in 51 career major league appearances, though he did post a promising 3.56 ERA in 31 appearances for Toronto in 2015. If the 32-year-old right-hander can work back to full health, he has an outside chance of joining the Pirates' bullpen at some point in 2018.
Feb 21 - 6:12 PM

Alex Wilson will start the Tigers' exhibition opener against Florida Southern College on Thursday.

Wilson will throw no more than two innings in the game. The 31-year-old right-hander is attempting to win a spot in the Detroit rotation after spending virtually all of his career coming out of the bullpen for the Red Sox and Tigers. As is the case with all starters, he'll be stretched out more and more as the spring rolls along.
Source: MLive.com
Feb 21 - 5:33 PM

Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe notes that the Red Sox's signing of Eduardo Nunez means Blake Swihart will no longer get looks at second and third base.

Boston has its answer again for the super-utility role, and Brock Holt can also serve in that capacity as well. Swihart, 25, will see action in the outfield and at first base this spring, and of course will draw some starts behind the plate. Whether or not he makes the Opening Day roster will likely depend on Boston's decision to carry either three catchers or two. If Swihart can show the kind of offensive promise he flashed just a few years ago, he will make that decision more difficult.
Feb 21 - 5:13 PM

MLB.com's Mark Bowman confirms that Johan Camargo is expected to be the Braves' everyday third baseman to start the year.

The 24-year-old had a solid first season with the Braves, slashing .299/.331/.452 with 21 doubles in 82 games. There has been speculation that Atlanta could be players for free agent Mike Moustakas, but Camargo showed enough with the bat last year along with solid defense to earn his spot at the hot corner. He could be a fantasy sleeper if some of those doubles turn into homers this summer.
Feb 21 - 4:20 PM

Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston reports that Joe Kelly is "A-OK" after being hit in the shin by a ball during live batting practice on Wednesday morning.

Kelly underwent an X-ray to confirm that there was no damage, and indeed no issues were revealed. The 29-year-old right-hander is expected to be a key part of the Boston bullpen this season in a mid-relief or setup role.
Feb 21 - 4:09 PM

Twins GM Thad Levine noted this week that Miguel Sano brought a "generous carriage" into spring training.

In other not-as-kind words, the 24-year-old slugger put on extra weight this winter while mostly incapacitated due to a lingering stress reaction in his left shin. The injury led to Sano missing a number of weeks down the stretch last season along with the Twins' big American League Wild Card Game matchup against the Yankees. There were already concerns about Sano's conditioning level in 2017 and he is still awaiting word on MLB's investigation into a sexual assault claim against him. He may be facing a suspension to open the 2018 regular season. Perhaps he could use that time off to get in better shape.
Feb 21 - 3:26 PM

Brandon Guyer underwent an MRI on his surgically-repaired left wrist on Wednesday.

Guyer needed a procedure to repair the extensor tendon in his wrist last October and then tweaked it during one of the Indians' first spring training workouts on Tuesday. The team should know more about his short-term and long-term outlook by Thursday. Guyer projects to work in a right-field platoon this year in Cleveland, but it seems his status for Opening Day may now be in question.
Feb 21 - 2:35 PM

MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez reports that the Rays have agreed to a one-year contract with free agent outfielder Carlos Gomez.

The one-year deal -- which is pending a physical -- will come with a $4 million guarantee, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Gomez struggled to attract significant interest on the open market this winter despite posting an .802 OPS with 17 home runs and 13 stolen bases in 105 games last season with the Rangers. He battled hamstring, shoulder, and ankle ailments throughout the year, but with better health this could be a nice bounceback situation for both Gomez and the rebuilding Rays. The 32-year-old will play a corner outfield spot, with defensive maestro Kevin Kiermaier sticking in center field.
Feb 21 - 1:33 PM

Indians signed RHP Carlos Torres to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Torres, 35, posted a pedestrian 4.21 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, and 56/33 K/BB ratio over 72 2/3 innings of relief last season with the Brewers. He seems doubtful to crack the Indians' deep and talented bullpen out of camp this spring.
Feb 21 - 1:06 PM


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