MLB Player News
Will Swanner received an invitation to spring training Thursday.
Swanner spent 2015 with Double-A New Britain and showed off his power with 17 home runs. Although the invitation is promising, he'll likely start the season in the minors to develop more.
Brandon Belt and the San Francisco Giants agreed to a one-year, $6.2 million contract, avoiding arbitration, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The deal goes just a bit in favor of the Giants, as it falls a bit short of the $6.4 million midpoint. The 27-year-old bounced back nicely last season with a .280 batting average, an .834 OPS, and 18 home runs. Now that his contract situation is out of the way, Belt can return to being a solid fantasy option at first base, assuming he can replicate his 2015 numbers.
Jonathan Mota signed a minor league contract with the Chicago Cubs , according to Baseball America.
The 28-year-old will return for his 12th season in the Cubs' organization, providing defensive versatility but little else. Mota saw time at six different positions for Triple-A Iowa last year but hit .252/.297/.346 with two steals in 252 plate appearances. He has hit .266/.302/.392 in parts of five seasons at the Triple-A level.
Jesus Guzman received an invitation to big league spring training Friday.
One of the older non-roster invitees to Chicago Cubs spring training, Guzman also has a fair amount of MLB experience under his belt, but hasn't played ball since 2014. The veteran will look to make his mark during spring training, but it would likely take a lot for him to make the club out of spring training.
Freddie Freeman (wrist) took 30 "dry swings" and hit 25 balls off a tee Thursday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. "Nice to finally swing a bat with no pain after seven months," Freeman said.
Freeman's wrist problems date back to about June of 2015, so you'll want to track his health carefully during the walk-up months to the fresh season. He also has to deal with a mediocre Atlanta supporting cast; the Atlanta Braves could easily have the worst offense in the National League.
Lucas Duda agreed to a one-year, $6.275 million contract with the New York Mets on Friday, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports.
Duda posted another consistent season in 2015, notching 27 home runs over 471 at-bats while hitting .244/.352/.486. While there's a chance he won't have Yoenis Cespedes in the middle of the order with him again in 2016, there's no reason to believe the 29-year-old won't post another solid campaign in 2016.
Tommy Medica was outrighted to Triple-A New Orleans on Thursday, but he still holds an invite to the Miami Marlins ' major league spring training, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports.
After going unclaimed on waivers, Medica will join the Marlins' Triple-A affiliate in New Orleans but he will have a chance to make the big league club out of spring training. Medica has put his best foot forward in previous spring training stints with the Padres and very nearly made their Opening Day roster a year ago, so he could be a sleeper to keep an eye on once camp opens.
Manager Pete Mackanin said Ryan Howard, who platooned with Ruf at first base toward the end of last season, will need to show improvement against left handed pitchers this spring to avoid entering the season with the same arrangement, CSN Philadelphia reports.
Howard hit just .130 with a .418 OPS and 40 strikeouts against lefties last season. It seems unlikely that Howard will finally overcome his difficulties with lefties this spring. A more likely scenario has Howard opening the season in a platoon with Darin Ruf , who hit .371 with 8 home runs and a 1.107 OPS against lefties last season. Ruf could also earn at-bats against right handed pitching if Howard struggles or if the team decides to bench him more as he heads toward free agency after the 2016 season.
Manager Pete Mackanin said Ryan Howard (knee) will be platooned at first base if he does not show signs of improvement against left handed pitchers this spring, CSN Philadelphia reports.
Howard hit just .130 with a .418 OPS and 40 strikeouts against lefties last season. It seems unlikely that Howard will finally overcome his difficulties with lefties this spring. A more likely scenario has Howard opening the season in a platoon with Darin Ruf. That would continue the approach Mackanin took starting last August. Ruf hit .371 with 8 home runs and a 1.107 OPS against lefties last season.
Dominic Smith (oblique) received a spring training invite from the New York Mets , Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports.
Smith, whose Arizona Fall League campaign was cut short due to an oblique injury, was the 2015 Florida State League MVP. He slashed .305/.354/.417 with six homers and 79 RBI in 118 games to earn the honor. Smith's power production is the main question about his game, but he showed some signs of breaking out last year and the belief is that he should end up as a 15-20 home run hitter at a minimum.