Watch the Super Bowl, for free, with one click! CBS Sports is offering free streaming of Super Bowl LV on all platforms, and you check it out here on CBSSports.com and the CBS Sports app.
Mets ink Almora Jr.
The New York Mets have reached an agreement with free-agent outfielder Albert Almora Jr., according to Ken Rosenthal and Andy McCullough of The Athletic.
Almora, 27 come mid-April, was available after being non-tendered by the Chicago Cubs earlier this winter. Over the last three seasons, he's hit .261/.299/.373 with 17 home runs and three stolen bases (on seven tries). Almora's 76 OPS+ during that span ranks 215th out of 222 players with at least 800 plate appearances. Predictably, he is still considered to be a solid defensive center fielder.
Almora figures to see most of his action against left-handed pitching. The Mets are currently slated to start three left-handed outfielders on most days: Dominic Smith, Brandon Nimmo, and Michael Conforto. Almora joins Jose Martinez and Guillermo Heredia as the other right-handed outfield options on the 40-player roster.
Mets remain interested in Bradley Jr.
The Mets may have signed Almora on Sunday, but that doesn't necessarily take them out of the running for Jackie Bradley Jr. Julian McWilliams of the Boston Globe reported on Sunday afternoon that the two sides "remain very much engaged."
Bradley Jr. entered the offseason ranked by CBS Sports as the 12th-best free agent available. Here's what we wrote at the time:
Bradley Jr. isn't a freaky-deaky athlete in the vein of, say, Kevin Kiermaier or Ramon Laureano. What he is, though, is one of the best defensive center fielders in the game. He darts into space as if he's Mike Campbell, and he plays the position with an admirable precision -- to the extent that his routes appear preprogrammed. Bradley Jr. isn't a zero at the plate, either. The Red Sox allowed him to face more lefties the past two years, and he put up good numbers against them in 2020. (His next team will probably relegate him back to platoon status.) He's good for double-digit homers and an OPS over .760 against righties. That'll play just fine with his glove.
Bradley Jr. would likely take over as New York's most-days center fielder, with one of Brandon Nimmo and Dominic Smith standing in left with the other shifting to the bench.
Of course, the Mets figure to face stiff competition on Bradley Jr. -- Mike Puma of the New York Post tweeted that half a dozen teams are involved in the process.
Red Sox making progress on reliever
The Red Sox are believed to be progressing toward a deal with Japanese reliever Hirokazu Sawamura, according to Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com.
Sawamura, 33 come April, has made nearly 400 appearances during his career in Nippon Professional Baseball. In those outings, he's amassed a 2.82 ERA and a 2.95 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Sawamura throws a straight, mid 90s fastball that sits around 96 that he can locate well at the bottom of the zone. His primary secondary pitch is a low-mid 90s splitter, which has some late drop but doesn't have a huge break due to the speed he throws it at. He does a good job of keeping the pitch down, either in or below the zone, and hitters regularly swing over it when it dips out of the zone. Splitters are difficult pitches to command, which is a factor contributing to Sawamura's high walk rates.
Sawamura would receive a big-league contract if the two sides can reach an agreement.
Reds add Strange-Gordon
The Reds have signed veteran infielder Dee Strange-Gordon to a minor league contract, reports ESPN's Kiley McDaniel. Pending other moves, Strange-Gordon figures to compete with Kyle Farmer and Kyle Holder for Cincinnati's shortstop job.
Strange-Gordon, 32, hit a weak .200/.268/.212 with three stolen bases in 82 plate appearances with the Mariners last season. Seattle declined his $14 million club option earlier this offseason. Strange-Gordon was last an average hitter in 2017, when he stole an MLB-leading 60 bases with the Marlins. He has not played shortstop regularly since 2013.
Pirates add Shreve
The Pirates made an interesting addition on Sunday, inking lefty Chasen Shreve to a minor-league deal, the team announced.
Shreve, 30, struck out more than 12 batters per nine in 17 games with the Mets last season. He did so while showing improved velocity (up about a mile per hour over his 2019 average), and while generating more than 55 percent whiffs on his splitter.
A's remain active on bullpen market
On Saturday, the A's signed right-hander Mike Fiers and acquired shortstop Elvis Andrus in their first notable moves of the winter. The A's might not be done, however, as general manager David Forst said Oakland remains interested in adding some relief help.
It's unclear who Forst has in mind, but there are a number of relievers who were ranked in CBS Sports' top 60 and remain unsigned:
- No. 38 Trevor Rosenthal
- No. 46 Shane Greene
- No. 47 Mark Melancon
- No. 49 Ken Giles (out for the season)
- No. 53 Trevor Cahill
- No. 57 Yusmeiro Petit
- No. 58 Tyler Clippard
- No. 59 Tony Watson
The A's lost closer Liam Hendriks to free agency earlier this winter.