February 2018 - Baseball Wiretap

MLBPA Files Grievance Against Four Teams Over Lack Of Spending

Feb 28, 2018 7:32 AM

The Major League Baseball Players' Association is upset over the lack of spending this offseason and has taken the step of filing a grievance against the Oakland Athletics, Miami Marlins, Pittsburgh Pirates and Tampa Bay Rays alleging they failed to spend their revenue sharing money.

"Teams are required to spend their revenue-sharing money to improve the on-field product, according to terms of the collective bargaining agreement, though not necessarily on their major-league payroll," writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.

Major League Baseball responded with a statement to the Times, saying: "We have received the grievance and believe it has no merit."

The MLBPA raised similar concerns back in 2010. That led to the Marlins signing Josh Johnson to a four-year extension worth $38 million.

Mike Axisa/CBS Sports

Tags: Miami Marlins, Oakland Athletics, Pittsburgh Pirates, Tampa Bay Rays, Free Agent Rumor, Misc Rumor

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Jon Lester To Start For Cubs On Opening Day

Feb 28, 2018 7:25 AM

Jon Lester will take the mound for the Chicago Cubs on Opening Day for the third time in four seasons.

"Pretty cool," Lester said of Joe Maddon's decision. "Anytime the manager picks you to do that it's a huge honor. I'm excited. It's probably the earliest I've ever been told."

Lester spent time on the disabled list last year and fell short of 200 innings and compiled a 4.33 ERA. He blamed most of it on Chicago's expending so much energy on winning the World Series in 2016.

"Last year was 'Hey, we need to slow down, we need to be ready more or less for May than April,'" he stated. "For a few of us, that put us behind the eight ball. I don't think we realized that until the end of the year."

Jesse Rogers/ESPN

Tags: Chicago Cubs, Misc Rumor

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Eric Hosmer Gifts Third Base Coach With Rolex For Giving Up No. 30

Feb 28, 2018 7:20 AM

Eric Hosmer has given Glenn Hoffman a Rolex watch as a token of his appreciation after the San Diego Padres third base coach gave up his No. 30 jersey to the club's new slugger.

Hosmer wore No. 35 with the Kansas City Royals, but the Padres retired that number for Hall of Famer Randy Jones. Hosmer wanted to wear No. 30 as a tribute to his late Royals teammate Yordano Ventura, who died in a car crash in the Dominican Republic in January 2017.

"Like I said to Hoffy, it was extremely meaningful for me," Hosmer said. "So I wanted to get a nice gesture for him. It's an unwritten rule throughout the league that if a veteran guy comes and asks for a number and somebody has it, you do something like that for him."

Hoffman has since switched to jersey No. 26.

"I bet there were a lot of coaches who were mad they didn't have '30' after that," Hosmer said, laughing.

Jerry Crasnick/ESPN

Tags: San Diego Padres, Misc Rumor

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Shohei Ohtani Won't Feel Like Major Leaguer Until Opening Day

Feb 28, 2018 7:14 AM

Shohei Ohtani has played in three of the Los Angeles Angels' last four exhibition games, but the two-way player won't consider himself a Major Leaguer until Opening Day.

"I really won't feel like a major leaguer until Opening Day," he said.

The Angels are using the spring to figure out his unique schedule as a pitcher and hitter.

Dan Mullen/ESPN

Tags: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Misc Rumor

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Tim Lincecum Agrees To Deal With Rangers

Feb 28, 2018 7:05 AM

The Texas Rangers have agreed to a deal with Tim Lincecum, a source has confirmed.

Lincecum, 33, last pitched in the Major Leagues for the Los Angeles Angels in 2016. He went 2-6 with a 9.16 ERA in nine starts.

The right-hander was the National League Cy Young winner in both 2008 and 2009 as a member of the San Francisco Giants.

ESPN

Tags: Texas Rangers, Free Agent Rumor, Misc Rumor, Signing, Terms Agreement

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Rays Nearing New TV Deal Worth $1 Billion

Feb 27, 2018 7:55 AM

The Tampa Bay Rays and FOX Sports Net are nearing a long-term extension to continue their broadcasting partnership.

The payout is expected to increase to around $50 million in 2019 under the new deal. Over the 15-year life of the deal, which would run through the 2033 season, FOX would pay, on average, around $82 million per year, according to sources.

That value plays out to over $1 billion as part of the new agreement.

R.J. Anderson/CBS Sports

Tags: Tampa Bay Rays, Misc Rumor

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Aaron Judge Won't Be 100 Percent Until Opening Day

Feb 27, 2018 7:45 AM

Aaron Judge still isn't feeling 100 percent since his offseason shoulder surgery and doesn't expect to be feeling fully back until Opening Day.

Judge will appear in his first spring training game on Wednesday.

"It's a work in progress until Opening Day," Judge said.

The New York Yankees open the season at the Toronto Blue Jays on March 29.

The club announced in November that the procedure Judge had in Los Angeles involved a "loose-body removal and cartilage clean-up." They also anticipated Judge's recovery time would be complete in advance of the start of spring training.

Coley Harvey/ESPN

Tags: New York Yankees, Injury, Misc Rumor

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Angels Continue To Evaluate Shohei Ohtani's Workload

Feb 27, 2018 7:41 AM

The Los Angeles Angels are working hard to help Shohei Ohtani maintain the rhythm, timing and mechanics of his swing, even when his batting practice is limited by his pitching schedule.

"I think he's a different animal," pitching coach Eric Hinske said. "We have to wait and see with him. We haven't seen him (hit) in game action. We haven't seen the day after he starts in August, either. I think we're all just anxious to see his talent on the field."

The Angels continue to evaluate Ohtani what type of workload, at both his jobs, that he can handle. Billy Eppler has said they are using objective metrics and tests to evaluate Ohtani's condition. Mike Scioscia wouldn't elaborate on what type of tests they are running on Ohtani.

"I don't know it's anything that isn't happening with other players," Scioscia said. "With some of the advancements in training methods and evaluation, I think all thee players benefit from it, and Shohei is one of those guys."

Jeff Fletcher/Orange County Register

Tags: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Misc Rumor

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Russell Wilson Hits Six Home Runs In Batting Practice

Feb 27, 2018 7:33 AM

Russell Wilson reported to the New York Yankees' spring training facility for the first time on Monday.

Wilson will be spending the next five days with the Yankees after a trade last week that sent his rights from the Texas Rangers to New York.

The Seattle Seahawks quarterback took batting practice with Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Greg Bird.

Unofficially, Stanton paced the group with 15 total home runs, while Judge had 10 and Bird had eight. Wilson got on the home run leaderboard, too, eclipsing Sanchez by one with six long balls.

"This is what I've known my whole life," Wilson said. "Now, I couldn't just step on a basketball court. I wouldn't be good at basketball, but baseball, it's like riding a bike once you get back out there for me. It's not an easy sport, though. It's very, very difficult."

Coley Harvey/ESPN

Tags: New York Yankees, Misc Rumor

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Dodgers Maintaining 'Open Dialogue' With Clayton Kershaw

Feb 26, 2018 8:31 AM

Clayton Kershaw can become a free agent for the first time in his career at the conclusion of this fall's World Series.

Kershaw's seven-year, $215 million contract includes an opt-clause that can be exercised after the 2018 season.

The Dodgers are already expecting Kershaw to opt out and hit the market and they've had an "open dialogue" with the left-hander regarding the situation.

Andy McCullough/L.A. Times

Tags: Los Angeles Dodgers, Free Agent Rumor, Misc Rumor

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Jose Bautista 'Keenly Interested' In Playing For Rays
Jose Bautista remains unsigned, but has interest in signing with the Rays.

Mike Axisa/CBS Sports

Alex Cobb, Lance Lynn 'Aren't Really In Play' For Yankees
The Yankees have been looking to add depth to their rotation all offseason, but they aren't expected to jump on any of the top remaining starters.

Mike Axisa/CBS Sports

Red Sox To Finally Introduce J.D. Martinez
It took a long time for the two sides to come to terms on a five-year, $110 million deal and another week for the Red Sox to review the results of J.D. Martinez's physical.

R.J. Anderson/CBS Sports

Free-Agent Ben Revere Agrees To Join Reds
Ben Revere hit .275 and had 21 stolen bases for the Angels last season.

ESPN.com

Matt Belisle Signs Minor League Deal With Indians
Matt Belisle would receive a $1.5M one-year deal if added to the 40-man roster.

ESPN.com

Will Middlebrooks Suffers Broken Leg
The Phillies have announced that Will Middlebrooks suffered a broken left leg during Saturday's spring training game.

ESPN.com

Twins, Logan Morrison Agree To One-Year, $6.5M Deal
Logan Morrison hit .246, with 38 homers and 85 RBIs last season with the Rays.

ESPN.com

Shohei Ohtani Struggles With Command In Spring Debut
Shohei Ohtani threw 31 pitchers, with only 17 of them strikes against the Brewers on Saturday.

ESPN.com

Tigers, Francisco Liriano Agree To One-Year, $4M Deal
The Tigers have not decided whether Francisco Liriano will start or pitch out of the bullpen this season.

ESPN.com

Red Sox Still Examining J.D. Martinez's Physical
The Red Sox aren't ready to formally introduce J.D. Martinez as their newest addition.

Ken Powtak/MLB

Rangers Viewed As Favorites To Sign Julio Pablo Martinez
The 21-year-old outfielder is expected to command a bonus just south of $3 million.

Jesse Sanchez/MLB

Athletics-Mariners Will Open 2019 Season In Tokyo
It would be the 15th game overseas in Major League history and Oakland's third in 12 years.

Kevin Skiver/CBS Sports

Carlos Correa Thinks He Can 'Do Better' In 2018
Carlos Correa has been one of baseball's best shortstops, but he believes he can "do better" this coming season.

Associated Press

Angels Lower Right-Field Wall At Angel Stadium By 10 Feet
There is expected to be an increase in home runs to right-center at Angels Stadium this season.

Matt Snyder/CBS Sports

Rays Sign Carlos Gomez To One-Year, $4M Deal
He had a .255 batting average with 17 home runs and 51 RBIs last season.

ESPN

Cameron Maybin Signs One-Year Deal With Marlins
Cameron Maybin has played for six teams in the last decade.

ESPN

Astros Prospect Forrest Whitley Suspended 50 Games
Forrest Whitley, one of the game's top pitching prospects, has been suspended 50 games for a violation of minor league baseball's drug program.

Buster Olney/ESPN

Phillies, Jake Arrieta Discussing Potential Deal
The Phillies and Jake Arrieta "are having dialogue" about a potential contract, according to a report.

MLB

Steven Souza Goes To Arizona In Three-Team Deal With Yankees, Rays
The Yankees have acquired Brandon Drury in a three-team deal that saw Steven Souza land with the Diamondbacks.

ESPN

David Price Gave Recruiting Pitch For J.D. Martinez To Join Red Sox
David Price spoke with J.D. Martinez prior to the slugger signing with the Red Sox to give him information about the club.

Scott Lauber/ESPN