MLB Player News
Sean Nolin will compete for a rotation spot with the A's in 2016, CSN Bay Area's Joe Stiglich reports.
Sonny Gray and Rich Hill are the only two pitchers currently on Oakland's roster who seem like locks to be in the Opening Day rotation. Jesse Hahn (forearm) will need to show he is healthy, and there are performance questions with Kendall Graveman, Chris Bassitt and Aaron Brooks, so with a strong spring Nolin could find himself in the rotation when the A's break camp. Nolin has better pure stuff than Graveman (the other pitcher acquired from Toronto in the Josh Donaldson deal), and could end up being a solid No. 3 or No. 4 starter, especially in that ballpark.
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.
Pat Light battled issues with tipping pitches in 2015, WEEI.com reports.
Telegraphing pitches is fixable, so the organization recently added Light to the 40-man roster as his mid-to-high 90's fastball is far too intriguing to expose to the Rule 5 draft. Light, who will open the season at Triple-A Pawtucket, is currently pitching in the winter league for Caguas in Puerto Rico. He has a 2.25 ERA in 8.0 innings, having allowed two runs, six hits and three walks while striking out eight.
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.
Rusney Castillo projects to open 2016 as Boston's starting left fielder, MLB.com reports.
Manager John Farrell indicated Castillo will be in left with Mookie Betts in right, flanking Jackie Bradley in center. Castillo signed a record-breaking $72 million contract in August of 2014, but an oblique injury and Betts' emergence pushed him to Triple-A to start 2015. He eventually came up to hit just .252/.288/.359 in 80 games with the Boston Red Sox , with a .225/.263/.292 line in September. Chances are, Castillo will have to swing his way out of a bottom-third spot in the batting order.