MLB Player News

  • Maikel Franco 3B | PHI

    Phillies' Maikel Franco: Focused on conditioning this offseason

    Franco said he spent the offseason focusing on his conditioning, Ryan Lawrence of the Philly Voice reports. "I've lost five to seven pounds right now," Franco said. "I feel better. I feel great. My body is in good shape right now."

    Every year before spring training there are stories of athletes claiming they are in the best shape of their life. Improved conditioning does not necessarily equate to improved performance on the field, but it is good to see Franco, who is entering his third season, focused on making improvements to try to become a better player. Franco had a solid first half last season, hitting .269 with 18 homers, but he slumped after the All-Star break and finished with an OPS more than 100 points lower than in 2015. The Phillies have added some additional offensive firepower this offseason in Michael Saunders and Howie Kendrick, which will help take some pressure off of Franco. He has the talent to reach 30 homers this season if he puts everything together.

  • Tommy Joseph 1B | PHI

    Phillies' Tommy Joseph: Fully recovered from wrist injury

    Joseph is fully recovered from the wrist tendinitis that forced him to cut his stint in the Dominican winter league short this offseason, Jim Salisbury of CSN Philadelphia reports.

    Joseph remains on track to open this season as the Phillies' regular first baseman. He said his goal this season is to improve his on-base percentage after he posted a .308 on-base percentage last season while splitting time at first base with Ryan Howard. He already showed some signs of improvement last season when he walked at a 3.7 percent clip in the first half, but improved that to 8.6 percent while also cutting his strikeout rate from 24.7 percent to 18.9 percent after the All-Star break. He has 30-plus homer upside this season with everyday playing time.

  • Phillies' Michael Saunders: Finalizes deal with Phillies

    The Phillies officially announced the signing of Saunders to a one-year deal with a club option for 2018 on Thursday, Corey Seidman of CSN Philadelphia reports.

    Saunders will earn $9 million this season and the club option for 2018 is worth $11 million with escalators that could push the total value to $14 million. He will start in right field for the Phillies this season and will be trade bait this summer if the team is not in playoff contention. Severino Gonzalez was designated for assignment to make room for Saunders on the Phillies' roster.

  • Luis Valbuena 3B | HOU

    Angels' Luis Valbuena: Agrees to multi-year deal with Angels

    Valbuena and the Angels are in agreement on a two-year deal with a club option, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports.

    There's no word yet on the terms of the deal, but Valbuena figures to get rewarded for his surprise season in 2016 in which he hit a strong .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs in 342 plate appearances. It's worth noting that Valbuena was forced to undergo season-ending hamstring surgery in August, but all reports indicate he should be ready for spring training. Valbuena could end up all over the infield with the Angels, given that first and third base already have C.J. Cron and Yunel Escobar and that the 31-year-old probably doesn't have the range to regularly field second base anymore.

  • Josh Johnson SS | WAS

    Josh Johnson: Retiring from baseball

    Johnson plans to retire from baseball rather than pursue a minor league opportunity with the Giants, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports.

    Johnson's career will go down as a large what-if, an arm with a significant amount of both talent and ailments. The 32-year-old won an ERA title back in 2010 with the Marlins and had established himself as one of the league's best young pitchers, but an unrelenting series of injuries led to him throwing his final major league pitch in 2013. Now, after undergoing a third Tommy John surgery, Johnson is hanging up the cleats.

  • Mark Trumbo RF | BAL

    Orioles' Mark Trumbo: Agrees to deal with Orioles

    Trumbo agreed to a three-year deal, pending a physical, with the Orioles on Thursday, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports.

    Per Bob Nightengale of the USA Today, the deal is expected to be worth $35-40 million. Trumbo had one of the best showings of his career in 2016 as he knocked 47 home runs and recorded 108 RBI. Although the deal is contingent upon Trumbo passing a physical, the slugger will look to bring his powerful bat back to the Baltimore lineup and split time between right field and the DH spot in 2017.

  • Tyson Ross SP | TEX

    Rangers' Tyson Ross: Not expected to be ready Opening Day

    Ross (shoulder) isn't expected to be ready for Opening Day of the 2017 season, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.

    There's been little talk as to a potential return for Ross, who underwent thoracic outlet syndrome surgery in October. However, the Rangers have now said that they don't expect him to be healthy for Opening Day, as they're being cautious with the 29-year-old righty. A more specific timeframe for his return should become available after he has the chance to workout at spring training.

  • Blake Parker RP | LAA

    Angels' Blake Parker: Designated for assignment Thursday

    Parker was designated for assignment by the Angels on Thursday.

    The Angels decision to designate Parker for assignment was made to make room on their 40-man roster for the newly-acquired Juan Graterol. Parker struggled on the mound during limited time in the 2016 season, as he allowed nine runs over just 17.1 innings (17 games) with the Mariners and Yankees.

  • Matt Shoemaker SP | LAA

    Angels' Matt Shoemaker: Cleared for normal pitching activity

    Shoemaker (head) has been cleared for normal pitching activity after doing full workouts this offseason, Jason Beck of MLB.com reports.

    Shoemaker missed the end of the 2016 season after he was hit by a line drive in early September, which resulted in a small skull fracture. He was on a roll at the time, posting a 2.83 ERA in the 130.1 innings leading up to the injury. He'll look to build on that success in spring training, where it appears he'll be a full go.

  • Josh Bell 1B | PIT

    Pirates' Josh Bell: Reports to camp 23 pounds lighter

    Bell reported to minicamp at 225 pounds, down from 248 at the beginning of spring training last season, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.

    Bell credited yoga for his weight loss. The 24-year-old hit .273 in 152 plate appearances last season, splitting time between first base and the outfield, though the focus seems to be on using him at first this season. Defense has always been one thing that has been a knock on Bell, but the Pirates will hope his participation in yoga and weight loss will increase his ability in the field, which could result in more consistent playing time.