Slowly but surely -- definitely the former, somewhat the latter -- we’re beginning to see a low boil on the Hot Stove. That being said, it’s been more talk than action, but late Sunday night, word came of another move, and once again it involves a starting pitching.
First reported by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Royals have reached agreement with free-agent left-hander Mike Minor. It’s reportedly a two-year deal, and will be completed upon his passing a physical. It will be a return to Kansas City for the hurler, as he spent 2017 with the Royals and rectified his career with a 2.55 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and strong 88/22 K/BB ratio over 77 2/3 innings in 65 appearances.
Minor, 32, spent last year with the Rangers and Athletics; coming over to Oakland in a deadline deal. He wasn’t particularly effective in the truncated season with a 5.56 ERA in 12 appearances and 56 2/3 innings and a 1.24 WHIP. Those numbers are not aesthetically pleasing, but there’s a few things to keep in mind, starting with the small sample size. He still missed bats with 62 strikeouts in those 56 2/3 frames, and he allowed just a .248 average on the year.
It’s also important to remember how good Minor was in 2019. The southpaw posted a 3.59 ERA, struck out 200 hitters against 68 walks and was able to make 32 starts and fire 208 1/3 innings. With Kansas City giving him multiple years -- financial terms are not yet known as of Monday evening -- it seems likely that he should be a member of the rotation, and he should pitch at or near the top of the rotation.
With Kansas City giving him multiple years -- financial terms are not yet known as of Monday evening -- it seems likely that he should be a member of the rotation, and he should pitch at or near the top of the rotation. The negative for Minor from a fantasy perspective is that his velocity was down last summer -- although that’s true for a good number of hurlers, and you have to wonder how much of that had to do with the short ramp-up -- and that he’s going to play for a team that isn’t likely to give him a ton of winnings situations. The Royals went 26-34 despite only playing games against the AL and NL Central, and barring significant improvement, they likely are among the worst teams in baseball in 2021. Still, he’s a good bounceback candidate, and if he’s the pitcher he was in 2019 or a semblance of it, he can help in most formats.
The Royals remained busy on Monday, as they signed Michael Taylor to a one-year deal. The 29-year-old will get $1.75 million, and there’s another million possible in incentives. The 29-year-old struggled with the bat in 99 plate appearances, hitting just .196/.253/.424. There’s a power/speed combination that is obviously intriguing if he can hit enough to use it -- and he’s still a strong defender -- but he just hasn’t gotten on at a high enough clip to be a regular. He’ll get a chance to be one with Kansas City this spring, but he’s a wait-and-see player in terms of fantasy in 2021. If that.
Bryant unlikely to be traded before arbitration deadline
The deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players is Wednesday. One of the better players who is eligible for said contracts is Kris Bryant, and he’s been the subject of plenty of rumors already this offseason; from trades all the way to non-tenders. In regards to the former, it sounds like that’s not going to be taking place.
At least not anytime soon. Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports that Bryant is unlikely to be traded before Wednesday’s 8 pm deadline. The former MVP struggled in 2020, and he’s going to get a raise on the $12.9 million he was paid in 2020; with estimates ranging from $18 to $19 million for the 28-year-old. There have been rumblings that the Cubs may not be interested in being heavy spenders, and Bryant was not good in 2020 with a .644 OPS. That’s over a sample of just 34 games, however, and in 2019 he hit .282/.382/.521 with 31 homers.
His pending free agency will make the return pretty light, but assuming Bryant is dealt, it would be foolish -- at least in the person writing this article’s opinion -- to make a decision based on a sample size of about a month. Bryant still has the talent to be a strong option.
Blue Jays, Mets showing interest in Springer
George Springer is thought of as the top free-agent bat on the market, and for good reason. Unsurprisingly, there’s already a market established for the long-time Astros, with a few teams showing interest.
In fact, according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet, the Blue Jays have taken it to another level. Dividi hears that Toronto and Springer have “progressed beyond just talking” about an agreement. What exactly that means is up to debate, but, it sure sounds like they’re serious. Toronto seems serious about improving a talented -- but young, and a bit unproven -- lineup, and the 31-year-old could do just that. He hit .265/.359/.540 with 14 homers in 2020, and that’s despite a dreadful start to the shortened campaign. Andy Martino of SNY also notes that the Mets have interest in Springer, and in either lineup -- or any lineup -- he’d be a major upgrade that can help in several categories.
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Marlins add Cimber to bullpen
Middle relievers need love, too. On Tuesday, the Marlins got a pretty good one when they traded for Adam Cimber, giving up cash considerations to acquire him from Cleveland. Cimber was designated the previous week to clear a 40-man spot when they needed to clear a 40-man roster spot for Jordan Humphreys, who was claimed off waivers. The 30-year-old owns a 3.89 ERA in 136 1/3 innings, and he should be able to earn a spot in the Miami bullpen this spring. There won’t be fantasy value in mixed leagues unless he’s the closer, but in NL-only formats that offer holds or deep rosters, there might be some use.
Quick Hits: Andy Martino of SNY.tv reports that the Mets are after James McCann "more" than J.T. Realmuto at the moment … Howie Kendrick intends to play next season, reports Britt Ghiroli of The Athletic … Chris Young has removed his name from consideration for the Mets' general manager job, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Young, MLB’s senior VP of on-field operations, cited family reasons for dropping out … Tommy Pham has sued San Diego area strip club Pacers Showgirls International after suffering "catastrophic injuries" as a result of being stabbed in the club's parking lot during an incident last month … Kohei Arihara has been posted by the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters … Craig Mish of Sportsgrid reports that "several" major league teams are interested in Dan Straily, including the Reds, Giants and Angels … According to the Mexican newspaper PorEsto, Randy Arozarena has been released after a 48-hour hold and will not face charges for a domestic incident involving his daughter and his daughter's mother … Robbie Erlin has agreed to a one-year contract with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters of Japan’s Pacific League, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic … Hensley Meulens will not be brought back as the Mets' bench coach in 2021.