February 2021 - Baseball Wiretap

Royals, Hunter Dozier Agree To Four-Year, $25M Extension

Feb 28, 2021 1:43 PM

Third baseman Hunter Dozier and the Kansas City Royals are in agreement on a four-year, $25 million contract extension that includes a fifth-year option for $10 million, sources told ESPN.

The deal buys out two potential free-agent years for the 29-year-old and starts this season.

ESPN.com

Tags: Kansas City Royals, Terms Agreement

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Corey Seager In Contract Year: 'Focus Is Right Now'

Feb 26, 2021 7:55 AM

Corey Seager is entering the last year of his contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but said Thursday that his focus in 2021 and winning another World Series.

"The focus is right now," Seager said. "We've preached this for a long time now that it's day to day. We're showing up and we're doing everything we can to be ready today, and once the game starts, trying to win a game that day. It's no thinking other than that."

Signing Seager to a long-term deal could be problematic for the Dodgers, who enter Spring Training with roughly $254 million committed to the roster.

Juan Toribio/MLB

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

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Jarred Kelenic: Mariners Are Punishing Me For Not Signing Extension

Feb 26, 2021 7:52 AM

Top prospect Jarred Kelenic believes the Seattle Mariners have been punishing him for not signing a club-friendly contract extension.

"It was communicated to Jarred that had he signed that contract, he would have debuted last year," said Brodie Scoffield, who represents Kelenic, told USA Today. "It was made crystal clear to Jarred -- then and now -- that his decision not to call him up is based on service time.

"There's no question that if he signed that contract, he would have been in the big leagues."

Kelenic, 21, was a first-round pick of the New York Mets in 2018 out of high school. He was then traded to the Mariners in the Robinson Cano/Edwin Diaz deal.

He played 117 games in 2019 between Class A, Class A-Advanced and Double-A, hitting .291/.364/.540 with 31 doubles, five triples, 23 homers, 68 RBI, 80 runs and 20 steals.

USA Today Sports

Tags: Seattle Mariners, Misc Rumor

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Bryce Harper Calls NL East Baseball's 'Best Division'

Feb 26, 2021 7:45 AM

Bryce Harper sees the National League East as the toughest division in baseball.

"I think this is the best division in baseball; I don't think that's even a question," Harper said. "We have five teams ... that are really good. I think this is going to be a juggernaut of a division."

The Philadelphia Phillies finished in third place last season, four games under .500.

Jesse Rogers/ESPN

Tags: Philadelphia Phillies, Misc Rumor

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Twins' Top Prospect Royce Lewis Out For 2021 Season

Feb 25, 2021 8:01 AM

Royce Lewis, considered the Minnesota Twins' top prospect, has a torn ACL in his right knee that will sideline him for the 2021 season.

Twins president of baseball operations Derek Falvey said Lewis was diagnosed with the injury during physical exams upon reporting to spring training. The 21-year-old, the first overall pick in the 2017 amateur draft, will have reconstructive surgery Friday in Minnesota.

Lewis told the team he first noticed discomfort in the knee after lateral running drills this month as part of his training regimen.

ESPN

Tags: Minnesota Twins, Injury, Misc Rumor

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Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Feels Stronger, Quicker After Weight Loss

Feb 25, 2021 7:58 AM

After arriving out of shape at summer camp in 2020, Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. worked aggressively on his conditioning this offseason, and said he has lost 42 pounds since last July.

"I came to spring training out of shape for a couple of years," Guerrero said through a translator. "One day at my house in the Dominican I just sat down and thought about all this. I decided right then that I was going to get ready, I was going to prepare myself, I was going to work very hard for this year. I did, because my main focus is just to be ready and help the team win."

Guerrero said he now feels stronger, quicker, and more resilient.

"I worked very hard on my legs because I really wanted to trust my legs," he said. "Before, I wasn't getting to ground balls. Sometimes at the plate I couldn't stay back enough on the ball.

"I feel quicker in all aspects of my game right now," Guerrero added. "Running the bases I feel great. Before I would feel a lot of fatigue after taking ground balls. Now I can take 50, 60 ground balls and I'm feeling good."

Associated Press

Tags: Toronto Blue Jays, Misc Rumor

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Shohei Ohtani Hits 97 MPH During Live Batting Practice

Feb 25, 2021 7:54 AM

Shohei Ohtani said he topped out at 97 mph while throwing live batting practice on Wednesday, an encouraging development for the Los Angeles Angels.

Ohtani hasn't pitched regularly since the start of the 2018 season.

The 26-year-old made his highly anticipated return from Tommy John surgery during the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season, but he lasted two starts -- recording only five outs -- before straining the flexor pronator mass near his surgically repaired elbow. Ohtani only played as a hitter after that.

Alden Gonzalez/ESPN

Tags: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Misc Rumor

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Shane Bieber Ready To 'Dive Into' Contract Talks With Indians

Feb 25, 2021 7:51 AM

Shane Bieber hopes to discuss a new contract with the Cleveland Indians as soon as this spring.

The 25-year-old led baseball in wins, ERA and strikeouts during the shortened 2020 season.

"It's absolutely something I'd be open to," Bieber said of a long-term deal. "In terms of conversations, it really hasn't happened yet, so that's something I'd love to dive into and hopefully that will be reciprocated as well."

Chris Antonetti, the team's president of baseball operations, wouldn't comment specifically on any planned talks with Bieber while hinting that Cleveland might be able to do something with him in the not-too-distant future.

"We've found it most constructive not to talk about individual circumstances with particular players," he said. "Setting that aside, obviously, Shane represents all the things we would want our players to be, both on the field, the teammate he is, the way he prepares, the way he competes.

"We are hopeful that Shane will be here for a really long time to come."

Bieber is likely to earn about $575,000 this season.

Associated Press

Tags: Cleveland Indians, Free Agent Rumor, Misc Rumor

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Jose Abreu Tests Positive For COVID-19

Feb 25, 2021 7:45 AM

Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu has tested positive for COVID-19 and will be away from the club for the next several days.

Rick Hahn said Wednesday that Abreu, the reigning American League MVP, is "completely asymptomatic" and "frustrated."

Hahn said that Abreu believes he "contracted a mild case" of the coronavirus last month, a belief that is "reinforced by the presence of COVID antibodies in additional testing."

"Other than being frustrated, Jose feels great and, like the rest of us, is looking forward to when he rejoins the club in the not too distant future," Hahn said.

ESPN

Tags: Chicago White Sox, All-Star, Misc Rumor

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Aaron Judge 'Playing A Little Smarter' To Stay On Field

Feb 24, 2021 7:52 AM

Aaron Judge has struggled to remain healthy since the start of the 2018 season, something he's focused on this offseason.

"Over the years, you learn to work a little smarter, not harder," Judge said. "If I get a better first read, a better first step, that might help me not to have to crash into a wall. With my big body, 275 [pounds] diving over 162 games, it does a lot of wear and tear. It comes back to just playing a little bit smarter."

Since the start of the 2018 season, Judge has played in 242 of a possible 384 regular-season games for the New York Yankees.

"Last year I thought I was coming in healthy, but I played a whole [2019] postseason and worked out all offseason with a broken rib and a punctured lung," Judge said. "I’m excited to come in feeling great. Being 6’7” and 275 [pounds] is a little different than 5-foot-6 Brett Gardner and 150 pounds. We’ve got to do things a little bit different."

Bryan Hoch/MLB

Tags: New York Yankees, Misc Rumor

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Bryce Harper: Phillies Making 'Win-Now' Moves

Todd Zolecki/MLB

Giants, Scott Kazmir Agree Upon Minor League Deal

Buster Olney/ESPN

Gerrit Cole: MLB's Service-Time Problem Blatant, 'Tired'

Marly Rivera/ESPN

Taijuan Walker Switches Number Due To Mr. Met

Associated Press

Shin-Soo Choo Heads To KBO For 2021 Season

Paul Casella/MLB

Yoenis Cespedes To Hold Showcase For Teams On March 2

Ken Rosenthal/The Athletic

Carlos Correa Open To Long-Term Deal, If Done Before Season Starts

Associated Press

Diamondbacks, Tyler Clippard Agree Upon One-Year Deal

ESPN

Fernando Tatis, Jr.: 'I Want The Statue On One Team'

Associated Press

Francisco Lindor: 'Too Early' To Talk New Deal With Mets

Jesse Rogers/ESPN

M's President Kevin Mather Resigns After Comments

ESPN.com

Jake Lamb Agrees To Deal With Braves

Mark Bowman/MLB

Mariners President Admits To Service-Time Manipulation

Mike Axisa/CBS Sports

Clayton Kershaw 'Absolutely' Considering Return To Dodgers

Alden Gonzalez/ESPN

Chaim Bloom: Red Sox Have Talent To Bounce Back

ESPN

Ian Desmond Opts Out Of 2021 Season

ESPN

Giants, Aaron Sanchez Agree To One-Year, $4M Deal

ESPN.com

Yankees, Brett Gardner Agree To One-Year, $4M Deal

ESPN.com

Slowed By COVID-19, Shane Bieber Not At Camp With Indians

Associated Press

Dodgers Open With Highest Season-Wins Betting Total Since 1999

David Purdum/ESPN