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Monday, November 30, 2020

Mets not bringing back bench coach Hensley Meulens

While Luis Rojas survived the Mets’ ownership change, his top lieutenant will not be as fortunate.

An industry source confirmed Monday that Hensley Meulens, the Mets’ bench coach in 2020, will not return to the team next season, as first reported by USA Today.

The decision doesn’t come as a huge surprise, as the 53-year-old Meulens originally joined the Mets as Carlos Beltran s bench coach last offseason, only to see Beltran lose his job (for his involvement in the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal) before making it to even spring training.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 30, 2020 at 05:27 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: mets

Marlins trade for Cimber, designate Ureña

The Miami Marlins today acquired RHP Adam Cimber from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for cash considerations.

In his third Major League season, Cimber made 14 appearances for Cleveland in 2020, going 0-1 with a 3.97 ERA in 11.1 innings with only one home run allowed.

He pitched in a team-high 68 games for the Indians in 2019, going 6-3 with a 4.45 ERA in 56.2 innings….

In order to make room on the 40-man roster, RHP Jose Ureña was designated for assignment. Miami’s Opening Day starter in 2018 and 2019, Ureña pitched in six seasons with the Marlins and is 12th in franchise history with 406 strikeouts and 13th with 98 starts.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 30, 2020 at 05:16 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: adam cimber, jose urena, marlins

Royals ink Michael A.  Taylor to one-year contract

The Royals announced Monday that they’ve signed free-agent outfielder Michael A. Taylor.

A source told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand that Taylor’s contract is a one-year Major League deal worth $1.75 million, plus up to $1 million in incentives. The team hasn’t confirmed the terms of the contract.

Taylor, who spent his first seven big league seasons with the Nationals and was a part of their World Series-winning team in 2019, elected to become a free agent in October after clearing outright waivers.

The 29-year-old played in 38 games for Washington in 2020, hitting .196 with five home runs and 16 RBIs.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 30, 2020 at 04:12 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: michael taylor, royals

Bill James: The Biggest Problem With WAR

The player’s WAR can vary by 150%, based on 3 errors of 3% each.  THAT is the basic problem with WAR.  I mean, we argue about all kinds of things.  We argue about whether clutch data should be included in runs created estimates; we argue about whether the fielding estimates are consistent with external evidence, etc.  But the REAL problem is that:

1)    Estimates are never exactly right; they are always just estimates, and

2)    WAR uses an analytical system to process those estimates which has the potential to enormously magnify whatever inaccuracies are included.

In a WAR estimate, there are dozens and dozens of internal estimates—estimates of runs created, estimates of runs saved by fielding, estimates of the run value of a ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 30, 2020 at 01:29 PM | 41 comment(s)
  Beats: war

Felicity Huffman Plots Acting Return in ABC Baseball Comedy

Felicity Huffman is set to make her return to acting following her sentence in the college admissions bribery scandal.

The former Desperate Housewives star is set to lead an untitled comedy set in the world of minor league baseball at ABC. The project from ABC Signature, Kapital Entertainment and writer Becky Hartman Edwards (The Bold Type, The Baker and the Beauty) is inspired by the life of Susan Savage, the owner of the Sacramento River Cats, the Triple-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants…..

The ABC comedy, meanwhile, will also star Zack Gottsagen (The Peanut Butter Falcon). It centers on Huffman’s character, who inherits her husband’s beloved minor league baseball team after his sudden death. She navigates her new life with the ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 30, 2020 at 01:07 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: television

Pioneer League designated Partner League of MLB

Major League Baseball and the Pioneer League jointly announced today that the Pioneer League has been designated a “Partner League” of MLB. Starting in 2021, the Pioneer League will transition from affiliated status to an independent professional MLB Partner League that continues to provide high-quality baseball to the states of Idaho, Montana, Utah and Colorado. All eight members of the Pioneer League – the Billings Mustangs, the Grand Junction Rockies, the Great Falls Voyagers, the Idaho Falls Chukars, the Missoula Paddleheads, the Ogden Raptors, the Northern Colorado Owlz and the Rocky Mountain Vibes – will continue participating in the league and will maintain their existing team names and brands.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 30, 2020 at 12:25 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: pioneer league

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-30-2020

Washington Times, November 30, 1920:

The handling of Babe Ruth’s mail has forced a vexing problem upon the management of the Yankees. It isn’t good business to hire additional office help in this day of high prices, but the inrushing stream of letters, pamphlets, circulars, and postal cards almost forces it upon the Yankees. None of the fans seems to know Babe’s Cuban address, and all the communications continue to shower upon the Yankee office.

This seems like a decent problem to have.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 30, 2020 at 11:10 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Five teams to form ‘draft league’ as MLB’s consolidation of minor leagues nears conclusion

Five minor-league franchises that are losing their affiliation with Major League Baseball clubs will comprise a “draft league” for amateur players as part of MLB’s revamping of its player development systems, the league announced Monday.

Four of the franchises were part of the New-York Penn League, a short-season circuit that’s splintering after 81 years as its franchises either maintain affiliation, move up a level or make do with amateur baseball.

The latter outcome was confirmed Monday for the Mahoning Valley (Ohio) Scrappers, the State College (Pennsylvania) Spikes, the West Virginia Black Bears, and the Williamsport (Pennsylvania) Crosscutters. The Trenton (New Jersey) Thunder are dropping all the way from the Class AA ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 30, 2020 at 10:47 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: new york-penn league

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Royals sign left-handed pitcher Mike Minor to two-year deal

The Royals have signed left-handed pitcher Mike Minor, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports it is a two-year deal. Terms have not been disclosed and Rosenthal indicates the deal is pending a physical. Minor previously pitched for the Royals in 2017 as a reliever, after recovering from shoulder surgery. He had a 2.55 ERA in 77 2⁄3 relief innings, resurrecting his career.

Minor has gone on to re-establish himself as a starting pitcher since then, making the All-Star team and receiving Cy Young Award votes with the Rangers in 2019 when he finished with a 3.59 ERA as a 7.8 WAR pitcher, according to Baseball Reference. His numbers regressed last year and he had a 5.56 ERA with 62 strikeouts and 56 ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 29, 2020 at 11:49 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: mike minor, royals

A push to recognize the statistics of Black players from baseball’s era of apartheid

Major League Baseball is considering giving major-league status to six long-defunct Negro Leagues, where 35 Hall of Famers played during the sport’s segregated era.

“It’s the right thing to do,” said Scott Simkus, a former Chicago limousine driver who spent much of the last two decades helping build a statistical database of the Negro Leagues by tracking down and chronicling box scores of once-forgotten games. “It’s long overdue, but it would be righting a wrong. It would be giving the Negro Leaguers full citizenship as professionals.”

Not everyone agrees.

“Negro Leaguers should be compared against themselves,” said Larry Lester, a pioneer of Negro League studies and the chairman of the Society for American Baseball ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 29, 2020 at 10:23 PM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: negro leagues

Blue Jays have ‘progressed beyond just talking’ with George Springer?

George Springer is one of the most prominent of the many free agents the Blue Jays are reportedly exploring this offseason, but the Jays’ initial interest in Springer seems to be developing.  According to Sportsnet.ca’s Shi Davidi, the Jays have “progressed beyond just talking” with Springer, which would seem to indicate that Toronto has issued at least one offer to the former World Series MVP.

Such a step doesn’t necessarily indicate that a deal could be close, or even that Springer is the Blue Jays’ top free-agent target.  However, the Jays already made one early signing in bringing Robbie Ray back to the club on a one-year contract, and the wide net Toronto is seemingly casting over so many free agents could indicate that ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 29, 2020 at 11:44 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, george springer

Bob Miller, Phillies ‘Whiz Kid’, longtime Detroit Mercy baseball coach, dies at 94

Bob Miller, one of the former Philadelphia Phillies’ “Whiz Kids” who went on to be the longtime head coach of Detroit Mercy baseball, died on Saturday at the age of 94.

Miller coached the Titans from 1965-2001, leading to 25 winning seasons in 36 years, a 1965 NCAA tournament appearance and winning the first-ever Mid-Continent Conference title in 1997.

The three-sport star at Redford St. Mary’s was offered a basketball scholarship at University of Detroit, but was instead drafted into the Army in 1944. He joined Detroit’s baseball team in 1947, when he was discovered by a Phillies scout.

He went on to pitch 10 seasons in the majors and was second in National League Rookie of the Year voting in 1950. That year, he — along with former ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 29, 2020 at 10:32 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: obituaries

Is the Hall leaving out too many players?

You should have two takeaways from these:

1) The lowest points in the first nine decades or so of the 21st century came during the two World Wars, understandably so. Bob Feller, for example, missed all of 1942-44 in America’s service, while Ted Williams missed all of 1943-45. Dozens of Hall of Famers missed the primes of their careers serving, plus several more (including Williams again) in the Korean War. The talent level had a meaningful drop.

2) The last three decades have consistently had the lowest Hall of Famers-per-year numbers in history outside of those wars, and it’s not just because not all of those players are eligible yet.

Taken all together, it does appear we’re being too stringent with the recent decades. We’re not ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 29, 2020 at 10:27 AM | 36 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Sportsnet parts ways with Toronto Blue Jays broadcaster Mike Wilner in surprise move

In something of a surprise move, Sportsnet has parted ways with Mike Wilner, who spent over 20 years working with the Toronto Blue Jays and has been the team’s full-time play-by-play announcer since 2019. Wilner confirmed the decision on Twitter….

Born in Toronto, Wilner seemed destined to be the Blue Jays announcer one day. Following a stint with the University of Toronto, he made the rounds of various sports as a play-by-play announcer before working as a backup announcer and hosted the “Blue Jays Talk” pre- and post-game shows starting in 2002. Between 2014 and 2017, he would call select innings of some Blue Jays home games. In 2018, he took over calling duties for many of the Blue Jays games following the retirement of Jerry ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 28, 2020 at 03:58 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays

Report: Phillies can’t re-sign Realmuto due to massive financial losses

Philadelphia Phillies owner John Middleton recently said the club isn’t in a position to re-sign the catcher or any other big-ticket free agents due to suffering massive financial losses following the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign without fans, reports Bill Madden of the New York Daily News.

Madden originally reported Middleton citing the losses at nearly $2 billion.

Realmuto, who spent the past two seasons with the Phillies, is one of the top free agents available this offseason.

The news is unlikely to go over well with outfielder Bryce Harper, who has been clamoring for the Phillies to re-sign Realmuto for several months. Fans, meanwhile, recently showed their displeasure toward their club when the backstop was left out of a ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 28, 2020 at 01:24 PM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies

Mel Rojas Jr. Drawing Interest After MVP-Caliber KBO Season

The question is how Rojas’ KBO video game numbers would translate to MLB.  Rojas explained the difference in his interview with Koster: “Honestly, it’s harder to hit against Koreans than Americans sometimes. The average speed over here is 88-90 mph but it gets there quick and looks faster than it is. They’re very sneaky.”  Rojas hasn’t mashed at the level of Eric Thames, who peaked at a 216 wRC+ in KBO and landed a three-year, $16MM deal with the Brewers four years ago.  Thames has a 113 wRC+ in the Majors since returning, doing most of his damage against right-handed pitching.

When FanGraphs’ Dan Szymborski translated Rojas’ 2019 KBO season to its MLB equivalency, his .322/.381/.530 line in KBO became .266/.314/.448 in ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 28, 2020 at 01:19 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: kbo, korean league

Rogers Centre owner pauses plans for Toronto Blue Jays’ stadium amid pandemic

Rogers Communications Inc. says it was exploring the future of its Toronto stadium before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but the virus has caused it to put those plans on hold.

“Prior to the pandemic, we were exploring options for the stadium but through this year our primary focus has been keeping our customers connected and keeping our employees safe, so there is no update on the Rogers Centre to share at this time,” said the telecommunications company’s spokesperson Andrew Garas in a statement to The Canadian Press.

His remarks come after the Globe and Mail reported Friday that Rogers and Brookfield Asset Management Inc., were looking to tear down the stadium as part of a larger development project.

The two companies would build a new ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 28, 2020 at 01:18 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, rogers centre, skydome

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

What happened to Andrew Benintendi? And can he rebound from it?

It’s not that long ago the 2015 Red Sox first-rounder seemed like a certain bet for stardom. Baseball America ranked him the No. 1 prospect in the game entering 2017, with scouts falling out of their chairs over his skill set.

At that time, one American League evaluator envisioned him as a center fielder who would win multiple batting titles, an eight- to 10-time All-Star whom he ranked alongside Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, and Mookie Betts as one of the best minor leaguers he’d seen.

“He’s a once-in-a-decade hitter,” said the scout.

A National League evaluator gave Benintendi an “80” grade as a hitter on the 20-80 scouting scale, and suggested he would regularly deliver 70-80 extra-base hits a year. Such projections ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 25, 2020 at 06:03 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: andrew benintendi, red sox

Let’s Rethink the Playoffs

In the KBO, half of the league’s 10 teams make the postseason each year, albeit with a catch: Instead of the traditional postseason bracket that American audiences are familiar with, the KBO uses a step-ladder format, where the two lowest seeds meet first, the winner faces the next lowest seed, and the bracket continues in that manner until a champion is crowned. To see how it works in practice, let’s use this season’s KBO playoffs as an example.

To start things off, fourth seed LG was given a 1-0 series lead against fifth seed Kiwoom in a best of three, with the idea being to reward the fourth seed for their superior regular season performance. LG prevailed and were thus matched against third seed Doosan in another best-of-three ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 25, 2020 at 04:46 PM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: playoffs

Rockies, Reds Swap Jeff Hoffman For Robert Stephenson

In a challenge trade of sorts, the Rockies and Reds have agreed to swap a pair of former top pitching prospects. The two clubs agreed to a trade Wednesday sending right-hander Jeff Hoffman and minor league righty Case Williams from Colorado to Cincinnati in exchange for right-hander Robert Stephenson and minor league outfielder Jameson Hannah. The Reds have formally announced the swap.

Hoffman, 28 in January, was the ninth overall pick by the Blue Jays in the 2014 draft and went to the Rockies as the centerpiece of the blockbuster deadline swap that shipped Troy Tulowitzki to Toronto. The hope at the time of the deal was that the former East Carolina University ace could develop into a key front-of-the-rotation piece at the ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 25, 2020 at 02:34 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: jeff hoffman, reds, robert stephenson, rockies

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-25-2020

Chattanooga News, November 25, 1920:

Police today were investigating the death of an unidentified women beneath the wheels of an automobile, driven by Jesse Hassell, president of the Dallas Baseball club. Hassell faces a charge of criminal negligence, in causing the woman’s death.

This is the first time I’ve run across Jesse Hassell but I think he may be about to become a Dugout regular. I’ve found stories about him getting drunk and running over four people, having his wife throw acid all over him after she found him with another woman, buying the baseball stadium in Dallas while he was trying to sell the team, injuring two women when he drove into their car, having a restraining order preventing him from driving a car in Dallas County, ...

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Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 25, 2020 at 10:48 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

MLB During COVID-19 Behind The Scenes

Before the 2020 season began, New York Yankees reliever Adam Ottavino decided to document what was sure to be one of the most unusual years in MLB history.

Armed with a Leica M240, a trio of lenses and an iPhone, he snapped photos of his teammates and their often surreal surroundings, keeping an eye out for moments that highlighted the quirks, oddities and absurdities of playing professional baseball in the middle of a once-in-a-century pandemic.

Personally I thought this was really cool stuff.

Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: November 25, 2020 at 10:15 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: covid-19, photography, yankees

Brian Vikander on Steve Dalkowski and the 110-MPH Fastball

David Laurila: How hard did Steve Dalkowski throw?

Brian Vikander: “In my opinion, he threw over 110 mph. I base that on a couple of things. The first is that there’s not one individual — not one — who has ever come forward and said that he was not the hardest thrower, the biggest arm, in the history of baseball. You’ve got guys who saw ‘Rapid Robert’ Feller, Ryne Duren, Rex Barney, Nolan Ryan, Sandy Koufax…and everybody says it was Dalko. You can debate 2-10 in any fashion that you want, but he’s No. 1. Hall of Famers said it. Earl Weaver said it. Pat Gillick said it.”

Laurila: A lot of people reading this are going to think, “That’s anecdotal; where is the proof?” They’re going to doubt that Dalkowski ever ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 25, 2020 at 09:40 AM | 50 comment(s)
  Beats: steve dalkowski

Why everybody should vote Andy Pettitte into the Hall of Fame

To be clear: There’s a good case for Pettitte that doesn’t involve the decade in which he was born. Pettitte’s WAR—60 at Baseball-Reference, 68 at FanGraphs and 61 at Baseball Prospectus—is around the lower tier of inducted Hall of Famers and near the very top of the non-HOF tier, which makes his case the very definition of arguable. His FanGraphs WAR is higher than Tom Glavine’s or Roy Halladay’s (to compare him to contemporaries), and his Baseball-Reference WAR is about level with Juan Marichal and Don Drysdale (to compare him to his ancestors).

If his WAR gives us a reason not to discard him as a no, his postseason performance gives us the reason to elevate him to a yes. His postseason win probability added is sixth all time. ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 25, 2020 at 09:39 AM | 66 comment(s)
  Beats: andy pettitte, hall of fame

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Randy Arozarena filmed in domestic dispute over daughter in Mexico

Rays outfielder Randy Arozarena, whose recent historical postseason performance put him in a national spotlight, has reportedly been involved in a domestic dispute in Mexico.

A Mexican newspaper report indicates that Arozarena arrived at his ex-wife’s home to deliver gifts to his daughter, and then subsequently attempted to leave with the child without permission. The article also alleges that during the attempt, Arozarena assaulted his former father-in-law, and that legal charges are being filed.

According to the report, there was enough commotion caused by the altercation that neighbors arrived and were able to prevent Arozarena from leaving with the child, thwarting an alleged attempted-abduction.

Video of Arozarena attempting to ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 24, 2020 at 01:43 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: randy arozarena

Astros Gauging Trade Interest In Carlos Correa

The Astros are “floating” Carlos Correa’s name in trade talks with other teams, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports (subscription required).  This isn’t the first time that Correa has been mentioned as a possible trade candidate, though last year, then-general manager Jeff Luhnow shot down the possibility.

The root cause of Houston’s openness to a Correa trade remains the same — the team considers it “unlikely” that the shortstop will sign an extension before he hits free agency.  Correa is now only one season away from hitting the open market, as he is slated to be part of an elite group of shortstops headlining the 2021-22 free agent class.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 24, 2020 at 12:57 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: carlos correa

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-24-2020

Bismarck Tribune, November 24, 1920:

Jim (Hippo) Vaughn a pitcher for the Chicago cubs, was stabbed by his father-in-law at midnight during an argument at the Vaughn home [in Kenosha]. He is in a serious condition at the city hospital.

Hippo recovered and pitched in 1921, but he wasn’t the same and was out of the big leagues for good by July. I can’t seem to find out where on his body he was stabbed, so it’s tough to tell if the stabbing ended his career or if his career was ended by being an out-of-shape 33-year-old who had thrown 900 innings in the past three years.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 24, 2020 at 10:41 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Dominant KBO season by NC Dinos culminates in Korean Series title

The NC Dinos climbed to first place on May 13, the ninth day of the regular season in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), and they never came down again as they claimed their first-ever pennant.

And the Dinos were crowned the Korean Series champions on Tuesday, as their dominant year culminated in the franchise’s first KBO title. With a 4-2 win on Tuesday, they knocked off the defending champions Doosan Bears in six games.

During the regular season, the bats kept the Dinos in front, while their pitching overcame some early season bullpen woes and showcased promising young arms.

They led all teams with 888 runs scored in 144 games, during which they also hit a league-best 187 home runs. They were tops in team on-base percentage (.366) ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 24, 2020 at 09:58 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: korean baseball

Sources: Atlanta Braves, RHP Charlie Morton agree to 1-year, $15 million deal

Charlie Morton is in agreement on a one-year, $15 million deal with the Atlanta Braves, sources told ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Morton is headed back to the team that drafted him in 2002—and gets the same money that Tampa Bay turned down when it declined its club option last month.

Morton, who led the Rays to the World Series with a Game 7 victory over the Houston Astros in the ALCS, became a free agent after Tampa Bay declined a $15 million option for the 2021 season.

Morton doesn’t have any no-trade protection or incentive clauses built into his deal with the Braves, sources told ESPN’s Buster Olney.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 24, 2020 at 09:56 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, charlie morton

Monday, November 23, 2020

Rays open to trading ace Snell

According to multiple sources, the Rays have told other clubs that they’re open to the idea of trading Blake Snell, presenting a realistic possibility that a deal could be consummated this offseason.


A source noted that Tampa Bay is not actively shopping Snell, who has three years and $42 million remaining on his five-year, $50 million extension, but given the financial losses the Rays endured during the pandemic-impacted 2020 season, trading the 27-year-old represents the club’s best chance to create some much-needed flexibility.

Snell will earn $10.5 million in 2021, $12.5 million in 2022, and $16 million in 2023.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 23, 2020 at 06:49 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: rays

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