Both the Yankees and Indians got bad news on trusted front-of-the-rotation arms Tuesday.
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- The Indians were already relying heavily on their rotation coming into the season thanks to a signifcantly weakened lineup and bullpen, and that became the case even more when Francisco Lindor and Jason Kipnis went down with injuries. Thus, it was a devastating development when Cleveland announced that its best starter thus far, Mike Clevinger, will be completely shut down from baseball activities for at least 6-8 weeks as he recovers from an upper back strain.
- Most Yankees fans’ expectations for Luis Severino had already been lowered substantially after he was shut down with a shoulder injury during spring training. They dropped down another notch on Tuesday, as the team announced that the 24-year-old starter won’t start throwing again for at least six more weeks due to a new injury — a Grade 2 lat strain.
- Our own Andersen Pickard writes that MLB’s decision to shorten mid-inning breaks could have serious consequences for the league from a business standpoint.
- Yasiel Puig tried to fight the entire Pirates team during a bench-clearing brawl over the weekend, and it looked like something straight out of the Louvre. Unfortunately for everyone’s favorite bat-licking outfielder, he received a two-game suspension on Tuesday as punishment for the scuffle. Pirates starter Chris Archer received a five-game ban, while Reds manager David Bell was suspended for one game.
The Orioles have signed Dan Straily to major-league contract, our Andersen Pickard reports. The 32-year-old was released by Miami at the end of spring training. At this point, it looks like the Orioles are going to need all the help they can muster, and a veteran presence in the starting rotation can’t hurt.
- The Braves reached a deal with their 21-year-old franchise cornerstone that could keep him Atlanta for the next decade, announcing a new eight-year, $100 million contract for Ronald Acuna Jr. that contains two club options. If the Earth is still spinning by that point and the Braves pick up both of those options, he has the chance to remain in ATL through the 2028 season. So now that Acuña is a Brave for the long haul, how will Atlanta build around him?
- The Rockies locked up a key member of their rotation for the long term, signing German Marquez to a new five-year deal that will pay him $43 million from this season through 2023. The contract includes a club option for 2024 that becomes a mutual option if he finishes among the top three in Cy Young voting multiple times.
- Randal Grichuk became arguably the most unlikely player yet to receive a lucrative long-term extension this spring, agreeing to a new five-year, $52 million deal with the Blue Jays.
- In hopes of fixing their absolute mess of an outfield situation, the Giants acquired Kevin Pillar from Toronto in exchange for a three-player package that included recently-DFA’d infielder Alen Hanson and reliever Derek Law plus pitching prospect Juan De Paula.
- The Yankees are currently the walking wounded, as they found out that not only will Giancarlo Stanton miss time with a biceps injury, but that Miguel Andujar is sidelined with a shoulder injury and could have to undergo season-ending surgery.
- The Reds also got some bad news, as Hunter Greene, one of their top prospects, found out he is going to need Tommy John surgery after experiencing a setback during his rehab. Why can’t we have nice things?
- Oh, did you think just because baseball was back that these mega contracts were done for now? Think again. The Red Sox and Xander Bogaerts have agreed to a seven-year, $132 million contract. Can you say yowza, but also kiss free agency goodbye at the same time?
- The season couldn’t begin without some form of heartbreak: the Brewers’ Corey Knebel will undergo Tommy John surgery, missing the entire season and then some. In the distance, you can hear the sound of Craig Kimbrel running to Milwaukee.
- Just before the Blue Jays and Athletics began their seasons, Toronto dealt first baseman Kendry Morales to Oakland. Morales will fill in at first for Matt Olson, who is recovering from surgery on his broken right hand.
- Despite the fact that recent rumors suggested the Mets and Jacob deGrom were at somewhat of an impasse in contract negotiations, New York ended up reaching an agreement on an extension with the 2018 NL Cy Young winner. He’ll receive $137.5 million over the length of the deal, which runs from 2019-23 with a club option for ‘24. That’s good news for Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen — DeGrom’s former agent — who said last summerthat the team should either extend his then-client or trade him.
- On the same day that DeGrom signed, the Cubs agreed to a lucrative long-term deal with their own lanky right-hander. Kyle Hendricks’ new deal is a bit complicated in its structure — it guarantees him $55.5 million from 2020-23, includes a vesting option for 2024 based on 2020 NL Cy Young voting, and maxes out at $79.8 million with that option and the available incentives. Hendricks joins Yu Darvish as one of two Cubs starters now locked up through the 2023 season.
- The Astros took part in Extension Palooza 2019, adding two years and $66 million onto Justin Verlander’s current deal. RIP Free Agency?
- Blake Snell had himself quite the 2018 season on his way to his first Cy Young Award with the Rays. As a result, he wasn’t particularly happy when Tampa didn’t give him much of a raise, at least at first, for the 2019 season. He is likely to be a bit happier now that he signed a five-year, $50 million extension with the team.
- Not to be outdone, the Cardinals have wasted no time in making sure the newly-acquired Paul Goldschmidt doesn’t go anywhere for a while, as he also signed a five-year extension. Goldschmidt’s situation isn’t quite the same as many of these young stars signing extensions given that he is 31 and was on the last year of his deal, but the sheer number of extensions we have seen lately is fascinating.
- Highly-touted outfield prospect Eloy Jimenez and the White Sox have agreed to a six-year, $43 million contract extension that contains two club options.
- Adam Ottavino is still nearly unhittable, perhaps due to the fact that he’s so obsessed with baseball he rented out an empty storefront in Harlem to perfect his mechanics and/or he’s a wizard.
- Even though Trout received nearly half a billion dollars and will end up as the most highly-compensated athlete in the history of pro sports, our Stephen Tolbert argues that the contract is still a steal for the Angels.
- The pay of minor leaguers has been a hot topic of late with the reporting by Emily Waldon of The Athletic plus the Blue Jays proactively increasing what they pay their minor leaguers. Now, it looks like MLB is looking at finding ways to increase MiLB pay in recent discussions. Long overdue given how many players have had to live on basically nothing, but a welcome development nonetheless.
- Not only is MLB implementing some rule changes over the next couple of years, but they are also workshopping other changes in the independent Atlantic League to see how things work or don’t work. Our own Stephen Tolbert took a look at these potential changes to see what impacts they could have on games.
- While it seems like a clear-cut, no-brainer deal for almost any team in need of a pitcher, Stephen Tolbert breaks down the tricky part about signing Dallas Keuchel.
- Let’s take a moment to be shocked and surprised: MLB’s revised roster rules could end up punishing the players. That’s thanks to a new limit on pitchers — while it’s yet to be confirmed, multiple reports have stated that come 2020, teams will only be allowed to carry 13 pitchers on their big-league roster — and a significant reduction on September call-ups.