MLB Player News
Fernando Rodney was taken out of a Caribbean Series game earlier this week as a precautionary measure after feeling some leg tightness, MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez reports.
This came a day after the San Diego Padres agreed to terms with Rodney to presumably get the first crack at closing for them this year. In three games this month for the Dominican Republic he has allowed three runs (one earned) and struck out five. There is no reason to believe the injury is anything serious, but it's worth noting as spring training approaches.
J.J. Hoover won his arbitration case and signed a one-year, $1.4 million contract with the Cincinnati Reds on Friday, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports.
The Reds were hoping to only pay Hoover $1.225 million, but the arbitrators ruled in favor of the pitcher. Now that his case is over, Hoover can get back to focusing on locking down the closer job for the Reds.
Ryan Butler has been suspended for 50 games following a second positive test for a drug of abuse, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
Butler is one of the San Diego Padres ' better pitching prospects, as he already reached the Double-A level in his second professional season. Butler moved up quickly thanks to his ability to keep the ball in the park (two home runs allowed in two years), but his progression will have to wait until his suspension is completed in late May.
Manager A.J. Preller indicated Thursday that Fernando Rodney continues to display velocity consistent with previous seasons, and appears to be the favorite for the closer job, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The 38-year-old reliever struggled in the role with the Mariners last season, but was eventually moved to the Cubs and finished the season strong (0.75 ERA, 1.00 WHIP with 15 strikeouts in 12 innings). Preller said there's been "nothing promised" to Rodney, indicating he'll still need to earn the job in spring training. However, it appears he'll enter camp in the driver's spot for the role, with Kevin Quackenbush considered the top alternate to serve in that capacity should Rodney fail to impress in spring training.
Jeurys Familia agreed to a one-year, $4.1 million deal with the New York Mets on Wednesday, avoiding arbitration, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports.
The 26-year-old righty took advantage of his opportunity as the Mets' closer last season, notching 43 saves to become the third-most prolific closer in baseball for the 2015 campaign. He'll enjoy a significant pay raise based on the merits of his impressive effort in 2015, going up to $4.1 million from $523,925. Familia figures to enter spring training with a strong hold on the closer's role.
Yoervis Medina was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday.
There was speculation that the return for former-first rounder Jesse Biddle was not just a player to be named later, and that speculation proved to be correct. Medina is the piece headed to Philadelphia, where he'll try to compete for a spot in the very youthful Phillies bullpen, although could very likely spend most of 2016 with Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
J.J. Hoover might be the front-runner to win the Cincinnati Reds ' open closer job, but he's not a sure-thing, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. "I'm going to wait and see," manager Bryan Price said. "I think he's certainly a front-runner for this opportunity, but I don't think I'm quite ready to be assigning roles for on the team just quite yet. We'll see what the final roster looks like coming out of spring training. He's absolutely in contention for the position."
Hoover's component stats didn't track along with his improved ERA in 2015, and skill set doesn't scream out lock-solid closer. Opportunity is the most important factor in evaluating potential closers, but ultimately Hoover will have to perform well enough to hold the job. Bid cautiously when it comes to Hoover.
George Kontos agreed to a one-year, $1.15 million contract with the San Francisco Giants on Monday to avoid arbitration, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports.
Kontos appeared to have his best season in 2015 with career-highs in ERA (2.33) and innings (73.1). Advanced statistics told a different story for the right-handed middle reliever, however, a low strikeout rate and high percentage of men left on base indicate that fantasy owners should be hesitant to expect similar results in 2016.
Jack Leathersich (shoulder) received an invitation to spring training Friday.
The left-hander spent 2015 with the Mets organization, even posting a 2.31 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 11.2 innings with the big club prior to having Tommy John surgery. He'll likely spend time in the minors once he recovers fully from the operation.
Luis Cruz received an invitation to spring training Friday.
The left-hander pitched with the Astros' Triple-A affiliate last season, posting a 4.27 ERA in 116 innings. Due to the more established options in the Chicago Cubs bullpen, he'll likely head back to the minors once the regular season begins.