MLB Player News
Yasiel Puig will be investigated by the commissioner's office under MLB's new domestic violence policy after an incident at a Miami bar Wednesday night, the Los Angeles Times' Dylan Hernandez reports.
Nobody is pressing charges after Puig apparently got into a fist fight with a bouncer, so police consider the case closed. However, MLB still has the power to dole out punishment under the new policy. The domestic violence element stems from a TMZ report that bar employees got involved in the situation after Puig had a physical altercation with his sister. MLB has the power to hand out any punishment they deem necessary in these cases, so in theory Puig is in danger of being suspended for games in 2016.
J.A. Happ signed a three-year, $36 million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday, Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com reports.
Happ pitched for the Blue Jays during the 2014 season before splitting last season between the Mariners and the Pirates. He had some home run issues with the Blue Jays last time around, but a solid finish to the 2015 season has earned him another deal with his former club. He'll likely slot in at the back end of the Blue Jays' rotation in 2016.
Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell said Jackie Bradley will be the team's starting center fielder if he manages to hit consistently, WEEI.com reports.
Bradley re-established himself in Boston's outfield picture with a monster 27-game stretch from Aug. 7 to Sept. 7, but he finished the season hitting .138/.247/.263/.510 in the final 25 games. Those types of peaks and valleys are what Farrell is talking about. Bradley needs to minimize stretches of offensive futility.
Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell said having Hanley Ramirez (shoulder) play winter ball is not a sure thing, WEEI.com reports.
Farrell said Ramirez, like all the other players on the team, had some specific physical goals to achieve during the offseason, mentioning Ramirez's shoulder, some low-back pain, and getting to an optimum playing weight. The manager wants to be sure those issues have been addressed before the organization gives him the go-ahead to play. As evidence of Ramirez's slimmed-down physique, he posted this image on his Instagram account.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are looking for pitching coach Ray Searage to work his magic with Allen Webster , most likely as a right-handed arm out of the bullpen, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.
"If we can help him get back on track, he can help our team in a variety of roles," GM Neal Huntington said. The Pirates have spots available in both the rotation and bullpen, but Webster is out of minor league options, meaning he could be lost to waivers if he doesn't make the club out of spring training.
Jake Goebbert is expected to compete for a spot off the bench for Pittsburgh in 2016, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.
"He's a versatile left-handed hitter who does some things we like in the batter's box," GM Neal Huntington said. "He could compete to make our club as a bat off the bench." Goebbert could also see time as the left-handed part of a first base platoon, especially if Pedro Alvarez is dealt, but his best bet to make the team is as a backup first baseman/outfielder. He has three minor league options remaining, leaving Pittsburgh with the flexibility to start him at Triple-A if necessary.
Hanley Ramirez told ESPN Deportes that he plans to play winter ball for the Licey Tigers in the Dominican Republic, WEEI.com reports.
Ramirez, who will be moved from left field to first base in 2016, said he'll get a jump on the new position, but will mainly serve as a designated hitter for Licey. Meanwhile, Boston general manager Dave Dombrowski said there's no plan in place for Ramirez to play this winter and that the ESPN Deportes report is only a rumor.
Mookie Betts projects to open 2016 as Boston's starting right fielder, MLB.com reports.
The Boston Red Sox seemed pleased with Betts' progress in center last season, but Jackie Bradley is clearly the best defensive outfielder on the team. Bradley is expected to take over in center and push Betts to right, with Rusney Castillo set to start the year in left field. This news does not affect Betts' fantasy outlook for 2016, as his playing time and spot atop the order should be secure no matter where he plays in the outfield.
Bud Norris agreed to a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday.
The 30-year-old received a major-league contract but will take a steep pay cut after making $8.8 million last season. Norris was clobbered to the tune of a 7.06 ERA in 18 appearances (11 starts) for the Orioles last season before being released, and then pitched exclusively out of the bullpen after signing with the Padres in August. It's expected Norris will return to the rotation for the rebuilding Braves.
The Boston Red Sox are leaning toward going with Jackie Bradley as their primary center fielder in 2016, MLB.com reports.
Mookie Betts got better as the season progressed and proved to be a capable center fielder in 2015, but manager John Farrell rightfully acknowledged that Bradley "is the best defensive outfielder" on the team. Betts is expected to move to right, but of course, Bradley will need to continue to hit to maintain a starting role throughout the year. The 25-year-old surprised a lot of people in that regard last season, batting .249/.335/.498 with 10 homers in 74 games with Boston.