Spring training is underway and next weekend spring games begin. There are two exhibition games on the schedule next Friday (Rangers vs. Royals and Mariners vs. Padres), then full Cactus League and Grapefruit League play begins the following day. Real live baseball is a little more than a week away. Here are the latest hot stove happenings to hold you over until then.
Padres sign Hamels
The Padres have signed veteran lefty Cole Hamels to a minor league contract, reports FanSided. Hamels, who grew up in San Diego. has not pitched in the big leagues since 2020. He inked a minor league deal with the Dodgers in August 2021, but got hurt during his ramp up work, and never made it to the mound. Hamels said wanted to try one more comeback this past December. Hamels' deal with the Padres will pay him $2 million for the 2023 season if he makes the MLB roster, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
"A spring training invite is no risk, all reward," Hamels told the Associated Press. "If you start me out in February, I'll be ready by April 1. Or I'll know exactly I can't do it, and I will be the first one to admit, nope, I had a great career. I can hang it up and be proud of what I did."
Hamels, now 39, has had foot, knee, and shoulder surgery since his lone 2020 MLB start with the Braves. He pitched to a very respectable 3.81 ERA in 27 starts with the Cubs in 2019. The recently signed Michael Wacha joins Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, Joe Musgrove, and likely Nick Martinez in San Diego's rotation. It seems unlikely Hamels will be ready for Opening Day, so the Padres signed him as a no-risk lottery ticket who could maybe help later in the season.
Angels pick up Moore
The Angels has signed lefty Matt Moore, the team announced. The one-year deal is worth $7.5 million according to the New York Post. Moore joins a bullpen that doesn't have an obvious closer, but does have three solid options from the right side (Carlos Estévez, Jimmy Herget, Ryan Tepera) and now three solid options from the left side (Moore, Aaron Loup, José Quijada).
Moore, 33, revived his career with the Rangers last season, pitching to a 1.95 ERA with 83 strikeouts in 74 relief innings. He was also more effective against righties than lefties, so he's not just a left-on-left specialist. Moore made some tweaks to his curveball last year, specifically throwing it harder and getting more horizontal break. The pitch's whiff rate nearly doubled as a result.
Phillies extend Domínguez
The Phillies have signed righty Seranthony Domínguez to a two-year contract extension with a club option for a third year, the team announced Thursday. The deal covers his final two arbitration years with a club option for his first free agent year. Domínguez will make $2.5 million in 2023 and $4.5 million in 2024, per the New York Post. The $8 million club option has a $500,000 buyout.
Domínguez, 28, was Philadelphia's most dominant reliever last season, his first full year back from Tommy John surgery. He was especially effective in October, when he allowed only two runs in 10 2/3 innings while striking out 18 of the 40 batters he faced during the Phillies' run to the World Series. Domínguez is more likely to be used as a fireman in 2023 than as the designated closer.