1. #1
    EmpireMaker
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    The 2019 Major League Baseball Player Chatter, News and Fantasy Thread.

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!




    WE ARE SO DAMN LUCKY!!!

    ALL THE BEST!!!

    LET'S CONTINUE TO MAKE THIS THE BEST THREAD ON SBR AND BEYOND...

    LET'S GO!!!



  2. #2
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    The Yankees have agreed to a deal with free-agent shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, pending a physical, Jeff Passan of ESPN reports. It’s expected to be worth the league minimum of $555K, Passan adds.

    The 34-year-old Tulowitzki will remain at shortstop with his new team, suggests Passan, who adds that the Yankees still haven’t ruled out signing free agent Manny Machado. Rather, they simply couldn’t pass up Tulowitzki on such an inexpensive salary. The Yankees were in position to land the five-time All-Star for a minimal fee because the AL East rival Blue Jays released him last month and ate the remaining two years and $38MM on his contract in the process.
    Tulowitzki was among the majors’ premier players with the Rockies from 2009-14, and he remained a solid contributor with the Blue Jays for two seasons after they acquired him in July 2015. Now, though, the oft-injured Tulowitzki is essentially coming off two lost seasons. He batted a career-worst .249/.300/.378 across 260 plate appearances and 66 games in 2017, which he missed most of on account of hamstring and ankle injuries. Tulowitzki then sat out all of 2018 because of bone spurs in both heels, and after the Blue Jays released him, general manager Ross Atkins called it “unlikely” Tulo would return in ’19 to play an “above-average” shortstop over a long season.
    While Atkins and the Blue Jays were no longer interested in dealing with Tulowitzki’s injury issues, the ex-superstar drew plenty of looks from other teams after they cut him. In addition to the Yankees, at least 10 other clubs were on hand to watch Tulowitzki work out on Dec. 18. At the time, Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports reported Tulowitzki wanted to sign someplace where he could receive regular at-bats at one position. It seems he’ll get his wish in New York, where he’s in line to fill in for injured shortstop Didi Gregorius, who underwent Tommy John surgery on his left elbow in October. He’s expected to return sometime during the summer.
    Gregorius is coming off his second straight season of at least 4.0 fWAR – a mark Tulowitzki hasn’t reached since 2014. Realistically, Tulowitzki won’t come close to replicating the production a healthy Gregorius would have put up in ’19. Nevertheless, for a low cost, the Yankees are gambling that Tulowitzki’s a higher-upside play than the other shortstops available in a weak free-agent crop (Machado excluded).

  3. #3
    jrgum3
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    Interesting that the Yanks signed Tulo to the league minimum and still might sign Machado. It’s win win for them as I think Tulo can still play and he didn’t cost them much.

  4. #4
    Chi_archie
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    Happy New Year!

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    koz-man
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    Happy New Year !!!
    Here's to a happy & prosperous new year..

  6. #6
    Otters27
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    Tulo to the Yankees. 2nd Base?

  7. #7
    BigSpoon
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    to EmpireMaker for creating the 2019 thread. HNY to all.

  8. #8
    batt33
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrgum3 View Post
    Interesting that the Yanks signed Tulo to the league minimum and still might sign Machado. It’s win win for them as I think Tulo can still play and he didn’t cost them much.
    Giants were looking at him, I was wondering how he was going to fit in.

  9. #9
    Cross
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    That’s dirt cheap for Tulo, wow.

  10. #10
    jrgum3
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    Yeah I'm not sure how he would fit in with the Giants as long as Crawford is there. Maybe he switches positions but with the Yanks he can fill in for Didi til he comes back or move over to 2nd maybe if they get Machado.

  11. #11
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    Bryce Harper and agent Scott Boras had a five-hour meeting with Nationals owner Ted Lerner on December 22, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports. Sources from within the team declined to confirm that such a meeting took place, which Janes describes as “a departure from their relative openness about their status with Harper this winter.” One possibility is that Lerner held the meeting without informing anyone else in the organization, which Janes notes “has happened before,” though it could be that the front office is keeping quiet on details either as a gamesmanship tactic (to drive up Harper’s price for other teams), or because an ardent pursuit of the free agent outfielder is underway.
    This is the latest twist in the perhaps-ongoing courtship between Harper and the Nats, as ESPN.com’s Jeff Passan reported earlier today that Harper had had “multiple” meetings with team representatives. Boras and Lerner have a longstanding professional relationship that has resulted in several high-profile Boras Corporation clients (i.e. Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer) sign extensions or free agent deals with Washington. Boras has also often bypassed general managers to negotiate directly with ownership in some particularly major contracts, and he has signaled this intent in regards to Harper’s market this offseason.
    Some more from around both the NL East and AL East…

    • There had already been some indication that the Mets weren’t expecting Yoenis Cespedes to play in 2019 as the outfielder recovers from a pair of heel surgeries, and special assistant Omar Minaya reiterated as much in an interview on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (hat tip to MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo). “If [Cespedes] gives us anything this year, that is great, we’re happy for that,” Minaya said. Cespedes’ first procedure in late July carried a rough timeline of eight-to-ten months before a return to baseball activities, and no update to that timetable was made after Cespedes underwent his second surgery in late October. Cespedes has long been plagued by a variety of lower-body injuries, and since signing a four-year, $110MM deal with the Mets prior to the 2017 season, the outfielder has played in just 119 games. As it stands, New York’s starting outfield consists of Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo in the corners, Juan Lagares in center field, and the newly-acquired Rajai Davis as the fourth outfielder. The Mets have been linked to other outfielders on the rumor mill, however, so it is quite possible more changes could come before Opening Day.
    • The Orioles have hired Koby Perez as the team’s new Senior Director of international scouting, as per a team press release. The 40-year-old Perez spent the last three seasons as the Indians’ director of Latin American scouting, his most recent stop in a career that has spanned 12 seasons and included roles as a crosschecker and scout with Cleveland, Philadelphia, and St. Louis (Perez and Orioles GM Mike Elias both worked as scouts in the Cardinals’ organization for two years). Under his new title, as per the press release, “Perez will oversee all aspects of the Orioles’ international scouting operations and management of the club’s bonus pool.” The Orioles have been notoriously indifferent to the international market for years, though this focus began to change even prior to Elias’ hiring, as Baltimore made a strong attempt to sign both the Mesa brothers and Sandy Gaston this fall. Going forward, it certainly seems as if the O’s will now be as aggressive and thorough in locating and signing international prospects as any club in the sport.
    • The Yankees’ signing of Troy Tulowitzki doesn’t mean the team is out on Manny Machado by any means, Joel Sherman of the New York Post opines as part of a seven-tweet thread (all linked here). That said, the Yankees wouldn’t publicize being out of the Machado sweepstakes anyway, as such a statement would violate Collective Bargaining Agreement rules about teams weighing in on free agents. It also makes strategic sense for the Yankees to at least appear to still be in on Machado, if for no other reason than to force rival teams to spend more to sign him. If Machado indeed doesn’t land in New York, Sherman feels the Yankees could address their infield needs by signing a player like Neil Walker or Adeiny Hechavarria to provide short-term help until Didi Gregorius is able to return. Sherman suggests that infield help could also be found as part of a Sonny Gray trade package.

  12. #12
    JMobile
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    Tulo just wanted to play baseball.

  13. #13
    Chi_archie
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    lets see what Tulo has left

  14. #14
    BigSpoon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chi_archie View Post
    lets see what Tulo has left
    Don't think he has much left tbh, never stayed healthy during his prime years and can't see him getting more durable in his mid 30's.

  15. #15
    batt33
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrgum3 View Post
    Yeah I'm not sure how he would fit in with the Giants as long as Crawford is there. Maybe he switches positions but with the Yanks he can fill in for Didi til he comes back or move over to 2nd maybe if they get Machado.
    I think they were looking to fill in behind panick at 2nd also...... But tulo wanted more playing time.....

  16. #16
    koz-man
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    Reliever David Robertson signs two-year deal with Phillies

    Free-agent reliever David Robertson has signed a two-year contract with the Philadelphia Phillies that includes a third-year club option, the team announced Thursday.


    Robertson will make $10 million in 2019 and $11 million in 2020, a source told ESPN. A $12 million option for 2021 includes a $2 million buyout.


    The 33-year-old is expected to slot into the back end of the Phillies' bullpen alongside Seranthony Dominguez, giving manager Gabe Kapler a pair of right-handers to call upon in the ninth inning.

    An 11-year veteran who has spent most of his career with the Yankees, Robertson went 8-3 with 5 saves and a 3.23 ERA in 69 relief appearances last season for a Yankees bullpen that was third in the American League with a 3.38 ERA. New York expects to add another reliever and has been in discussions with free agent Zach Britton, league sources told ESPN

  17. #17
    Cross
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    Phillies wanna spend that money.

  18. #18
    EmpireMaker
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    • Phillies right-hander Jerad Eickhoff, who made just three late-season appearances for the club in 2018 after battling wrist pain and numbness stemming from untreated carpal tunnel syndrome, is apparently feeling “100 percent” healthy this offseason after undergoing surgery on October 1, writes The Athletic’s Meghan Montemurro. During the moderately-invasive procedure, doctors found that Eickhoff’s palmaris longus tendon was reversed, a rare occurrence even in patients exhibiting symptoms of the ailment, and one that very likely had compounded his discomfort. With the pain-free outlook for 2019, the 28-year-old Eickhoff figures to be in the mix at the back end of a Philly rotation that currently includes Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez, and Zach Eflin. Acquired in the 2015 deal that sent Cole Hamels to Texas, Eickhoff is arguably the most accomplished of the bunch, having put together a career ERA south of four (3.91), though his fielding-independent metrics are a bit less propitious, and his stuff – a 90.8 MPH average career fastball that showed little signs of decline even in his supposed injury-hampered ’17 and ’18 seasons – clearly lags behind the rest.
    • Despite last summer’s near-ultimatum from current boss Brodie Van Wagenen to either extend or trade former client Jacob deGrom, the team has thus far held back from either. Though the former option remains a “priority,” per sources of the New York Post’s Mike Puma, the team has yet to even present an extension offer to the 30-year-old ace. The reigning Cy Young Award winner had a dream 2018, posting a minuscule 1.70 ERA/1.99 FIP on the way to 8.8 fWAR, the best season for a Mets starting pitcher since Dwight Gooden’s 1985 campaign. It’s unclear whether the Mets will be willing to pony up the necessary cash, which should be considerable, as the team has also co-ace Noah Syndergaard, four years deGrom’s junior, to consider, to say nothing of the huge payout guaranteed to Robinson Cano over the next five seasons.
    • Per The Athletic’s David O’Brien on Twitter, it doesn’t appear Miami’s asking price for catcher J.T. Realmuto has dropped much, if at all. Per O’Brien, “no new” discussions have taken place since December’s Winter Meetings, and Atlanta has “moved on” to other needs. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic writes that the Fish are still insisting on major-league pieces with three or more years of team control remaining for Realmuto, which has set off a veritable chain reaction of balking suitors around the league. It seems increasingly unlikely, at this point, that Miami will get what it desires for Realmuto, and the Fish could face stern brushback around the league if the catcher regresses his to offensive baseline from 2015-17 before next season’s trade deadline.

  19. #19
    jrgum3
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    Quote Originally Posted by batt33 View Post
    I think they were looking to fill in behind panick at 2nd also...... But tulo wanted more playing time.....
    Yeah he probably would have been a utility man with the Giants. He definitely will get more playing time with the Yankees.

  20. #20
    batt33
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    Jim Bowden, the ex-GM and current analyst for The Athletic, reports that the Nationals have upped their offer to Harper to “much more than $300 million.”

    Wow....

  21. #21
    koz-man
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    With the Yankees making their signing of Troy Tulowitzki official Friday, the team also announced it has made room for him on the 40-man roster by designating reliever A.J. Cole for assignment.

  22. #22
    koz-man
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    Rays eliminate upper-deck seating, reduce capacity to 25,000

    The Tampa Bay Rays, who ranked next to last in the majors in attendance last season, are eliminating all seating in the upper deck for 2019 in an effort to create a more "intimate" experience for fans at Tropicana Field.


    The Rays on Friday said they would add a premium seating section in the lower level but would no longer seat fans in the upper deck, which would reduce capacity at the stadium by more than 5,000 seats to approximately 25,000 to 26,000.


    That would be about 10,000 seats smaller than capacity at any other stadium in the major leagues.


    "These renovations mark our continued commitment to providing a first-rate fan experience at Tropicana Field," Rays president Matt Silverman said in a statement. "Together, in concert with the reduction in seating capacity, these investments will help create a more intimate, entertaining and appealing experience for our fans."

    The Rays averaged 14,258 fans last season, ranking ahead of only the Miami Marlins (10,013). It was a 7.9 percent decline for the Rays, who have ranked last in attendance in all but two seasons since 2012.

  23. #23
    Cross
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    So are Nationals just driving the price of Harper up or do they really want to pay him???

  24. #24
    jrgum3
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    I don't think there's any way Harper comes back to the Nationals. My money is on him landing in LA but we shall see.

  25. #25
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    • Reds right-hander Michael Lorenzen is now being represented by CAA, Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer tweets. Lorenzen changes his agency just a week before the deadline for players an teams to exchange arbitration figures. MLBTR’s Matt Swartz projects Lorenzen to earn $1.9MM next season as the righty goes through the arb process for the second time. The hard-throwing Lorenzen has been a workhorse out of the Reds’ bullpen the last two seasons, tossing several multi-inning performances and even three starts while racking up 164 innings. If the two sides can’t agree to a deal prior to the January 11 deadline, Lorenzen’s situation could make for an interesting hearing, given the increasing value of non-closer relievers in the sport and the arb process’ traditional importance on saves as a reliever’s key statistic.
    • Dodgers outfield prospect Alex Verdugo has switched his representation to the MVP Sports Group, Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown reports (via Twitter). Verdugo entered 2018 as a consensus top-40 prospect in the sport, and received a bit more big league playing time with the Dodgers, giving him 52 MLB games and 111 plate appearances over the last two seasons. There’s room for a larger role for Verdugo in 2019 with Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp now out of the picture in the L.A. outfield, though the 22-year-old has also been prominently mentioned in several trade rumors. The Tigers and Indians have both reportedly shown interest in Verdugo, though it’s probably safe to imagine that just about every club that talks trades with the Dodgers at least checks in on Verdugo’s availability.

  26. #26
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    Unlikely that Harper goes back with the Nats.

  27. #27
    BigSpoon
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    Quote Originally Posted by koz-man View Post
    Rays eliminate upper-deck seating, reduce capacity to 25,000

    The Tampa Bay Rays, who ranked next to last in the majors in attendance last season, are eliminating all seating in the upper deck for 2019 in an effort to create a more "intimate" experience for fans at Tropicana Field.


    The Rays on Friday said they would add a premium seating section in the lower level but would no longer seat fans in the upper deck, which would reduce capacity at the stadium by more than 5,000 seats to approximately 25,000 to 26,000.


    That would be about 10,000 seats smaller than capacity at any other stadium in the major leagues.


    "These renovations mark our continued commitment to providing a first-rate fan experience at Tropicana Field," Rays president Matt Silverman said in a statement. "Together, in concert with the reduction in seating capacity, these investments will help create a more intimate, entertaining and appealing experience for our fans."

    The Rays averaged 14,258 fans last season, ranking ahead of only the Miami Marlins (10,013). It was a 7.9 percent decline for the Rays, who have ranked last in attendance in all but two seasons since 2012.
    Just move both Florida teams already.

  28. #28
    koz-man
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigSpoon View Post
    Just move both Florida teams already.
    Right..thought same thing.

  29. #29
    Chi_archie
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    White Sox only trying to offer Harper 7 years

  30. #30
    JMobile
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chi_archie View Post
    White Sox only trying to offer Harper 7 years
    That's a long time contract.

    White Sox also want Machado.

  31. #31
    Cross
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    White Sox have some great youngsters to play around the talent.

  32. #32
    batt33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chi_archie View Post
    White Sox only trying to offer Harper 7 years
    7 years still seems like to much....

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by koz-man View Post
    Rays eliminate upper-deck seating, reduce capacity to 25,000

    The Tampa Bay Rays, who ranked next to last in the majors in attendance last season, are eliminating all seating in the upper deck for 2019 in an effort to create a more "intimate" experience for fans at Tropicana Field.


    The Rays on Friday said they would add a premium seating section in the lower level but would no longer seat fans in the upper deck, which would reduce capacity at the stadium by more than 5,000 seats to approximately 25,000 to 26,000.


    That would be about 10,000 seats smaller than capacity at any other stadium in the major leagues.


    "These renovations mark our continued commitment to providing a first-rate fan experience at Tropicana Field," Rays president Matt Silverman said in a statement. "Together, in concert with the reduction in seating capacity, these investments will help create a more intimate, entertaining and appealing experience for our fans."

    The Rays averaged 14,258 fans last season, ranking ahead of only the Miami Marlins (10,013). It was a 7.9 percent decline for the Rays, who have ranked last in attendance in all but two seasons since 2012.
    Dump of a park.

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  34. #34
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    Yanks bring back Britton on a 3 year deal

  35. #35
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    Of the pricey veterans the Red Sox reportedly considered trading last month, they “pushed” center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. harder than anyone else, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic hears (subscription required). However, the Red Sox couldn’t find a deal to their liking for JBJ, Rosenthal notes. The Diamondbacks were the only team publicly connected to Bradley around that time, though there were conflicting reports about whether they were truly interested in him. As of now, it seems the soon-to-be 29-year-old Bradley will once again man center in Boston in 2019, his second-last second of arbitration eligibility. Bradley will make a projected $7.9MM during the upcoming season.
    Here’s more from Rosenthal:

    • The report that free-agent catcher Yasmani Grandal rejected a four-year, $60MM proposal from the Mets earlier this winter is “essentially accurate,” Rosenthal writes. While the Mets didn’t submit a formal offer to Grandal, the two sides did discuss a deal in the $55MM to $60MM neighborhood, per Rosenthal, who adds the 30-year-old was aiming for a contract worth closer to $65MM. The Mets balked at Grandal’s request, though, and then signed the No. 2 catcher available, Wilson Ramos. There’s now “doubt” Grandal’s next contract will approach what the Mets were willing to give him, Rosenthal relays.
    • More from Rosenthal on the Mets, who – in need of starting depth – are considering left-hander Derek Holland and righty Josh Tomlin in free agency. Holland easily had the stronger year of the two in 2018, which figures to make him the more difficult hurler to sign. He should be able to net a major league contract this winter, whereas the Mets are hoping to land someone on a non-guaranteed pact, Rosenthal reports. With that in mind, Tomlin may be a more realistic option, as he endured a miserable 2018 with the Indians. However, the 34-year-old was successful at times from 2014-17 under ex-Tribe pitching coach and current Mets manager Mickey Callaway.
    • Before righty Anibal Sanchez signed a two-year, $19MM guarantee with the Nationals last month, the Athletics made him a three-year offer, according to Rosenthal. It’s unclear how much the A’s were willing to pay Sanchez, but Rosenthal points out that the proximity of Washington, D.C., to the the 34-year-old’s South Florida home helped tip the scale in the Nationals’ favor. Further, the Nats train in West Palm Beach, Fla., while the A’s are headquartered in Mesa, Ariz. Based on his bounce-back 2018 in Atlanta, Sanchez would’ve provided a much-needed upgrade in Oakland, which hasn’t improved its rotation this offseason.
    • Southpaw Dallas Keuchel stands as the most decorated starter remaining on the open market, but if the Astros had their way, he wouldn’t be available. The Astros offered Keuchel a five-year, $90MM extension early in the 2016 campaign, but he turned it down, according to Rosenthal. At that point, Keuchel was a 28-year-old coming off an AL Cy Young-winning season. Now 31, Keuchel hasn’t been quite as effective since his career-best campaign, though he remains an above-average starter and should rake in a high-paying multiyear deal before the offseason is out. Having made $22.35MM in salaries since he rejected the Astros’ offer, Keuchel will need to sign for $67.65MM as a free agent in order to match what Houston offered him, Rosenthal notes.

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