Reds acquired LHP Cionel Perez from the Astros for C Luke Berryhill.
The 24-year-old southpaw appeared in seven games out of the Astros bullpen during the truncated 2020 season, registering a 2.84 ERA, 8/6 K/BB ratio and troublesome 2.05 WHIP across 6 1/3 innings. He should have a chance to compete for a spot in the Reds' Opening Day bullpen in 2021.
Astros acquired C Luke Berryhill from the Reds for LHP Cionel Perez.
The Astros were forced to make a 40-man roster move in order to make the Michael Brantley signing official, so rather than designating Perez for assignment, they flipped him to the Reds instead. Berryhill, 22, was a 13th round selection of the Reds from the 2019 draft. He'll add catching depth for the Astros in the lower levels of the minors.
Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that free agent left-hander Brad Hand is nearing a decision and expected to sign soon.
Feinsand notes that Hand could make a decision before the end of the weekend. While his velocity and some of the underlying metrics hinted at trouble in 2019, Hand posted a brilliant 2.05 ERA, 0.77 WHIP and 29/4 K/BB ratio while recording a league-high 16 saves in 22 innings for the Indians. The Angels, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Astros, White Sox and Mets have all expressed interest at some point this offseason. Hand's fantasy value for the 2021 season will be tied to where he lands and whether or not he winds up in the closer's role.
According to Jim Bowden of CBS Sports, the Royals, Yankees and Marlins all remain interested in free agent outfielder Yasiel Puig.
The Yankees and Marlins had been previously mentioned as teams that had varying levels of interest in the dynamic 30-year-old outfielder, but this is the first mention of the Royals. Puig did not play during the 2020 season, as his deal with the Braves was nullified after he tested positive for COVID-19. He hit .267/.327/.458 with 24 homers, 84 RBI and 19 stolen bases in 149 games between the Reds and Indians in 2019. His combination of power and speed make him a popular target in fantasy drafts -- especially if he lands an everyday role.
According to Chris Cotillo of Mass Live, the Blue Jays are no longer interested in signing free agent right-hander Garrett Richards.
The Jays had expressed interest in Richards in late November, but it appears that he's no longer a consideration for them. It looks like momentum is building towards Richards signing with the Red Sox - as the two sides are now relatively far along in discussions - though other teams are still believed to be in the mix as well.
Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports that while the Mets have interest in right-hander Trevor Bauer, it's likely on a short-term deal of four years or fewer.
The Dodgers are also interested in signing the right-hander to a short-term deal, though the general impression around the league is that Bauer is looking for a longer-term contract. The Angels continue to be the most logical destination for the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner, though the Blue Jays have met with him and could be in the mix as well.
Cubs signed C Austin Romine to a one-year, $1.5 million contract.
The 32-year-old backstop spent the 2020 season as the Tigers starting catcher, where he slashed a disappointing .238/.259/.323 with two homers, 17 RBI and a cringe-inducing 47/4 K/BB ratio in 135 plate appearances. He'll serve as the understudy to Willson Contreras in Chicago now that Victor Caratini has been traded to the Padres. Romine is unlikely to hold any fantasy value in 2021 outside of the deepest NL-only formats.
Orioles first base coach Anthony Sanders said Friday that he expects Yusniel Diaz to debut with the big league club during the 2021 season.
Sanders, who also serves as the team's outfield instructor, gushed about Diaz after working with him at a recent three-day mini camp, telling reporters, "I’ve been following up with the strength and conditioning guys on his workouts and he looks like a man, to be honest with you. He’s a lot stronger. You can tell he put some good weight on. Obviously the arm strength, and the routes and everything are getting crisper... I’m excited to see him hopefully get an opportunity at some point this year.” The highly-touted 24-year-old -- who came to the Orioles in the deal that sent Manny Machado to the Dodgers -- slashed .265/.341/.464 with 11 homers and 55 RBI in 85 games across three minor league levels in 2019. He's expected to open the season at Triple-A Norfolk but should get a chance to make the jump before long.
Braves claimed OF Kyle Garlick off of waivers.
Garlick was designated for assignment by the Phillies on Monday as they needed to free up a spot on the 40-man roster for Archie Bradley. The 28-year-old has posted impressive numbers in the minor leagues, but has struggled in his limited action at the big league level -- slashing just .214/.276/.414 with three homers, nine RBI and a 26/5 K/BB ratio over 76 plate appearances. His chances of being relevant in fantasy leagues in 2020 aren't very good in a crowded Braves outfield.
Braves claimed RHP Victor Arano off of waivers.
The 25-year-old hurler was designated for assignment by the Phillies on Monday. Arano was limited to just 4 2/3 innings during the 2019 season after undergoing elbow surgery -- then missed the entire 2020 season with shoulder problems. He has been outstanding in his career at the big league level though, registering a 2.65 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 80/23 K/BB ratio over 74 2/3 innings. As long as he's healthy, he could be a very nice addition to an already deep Braves bullpen.
The Pirates have announced the hiring of Christian Marrero as their new assistant hitting coach.
He's replacing Mike Rabelo, who will shift to major league field coordinator. Marrero had spent the previous three seasons as a hitting coach in the minors with the Phillies.
Reds acquired RHP Héctor Pérez from the Blue Jays for a player to be named later or cash.
The move frees up a spot on the 40-man roster for the impending addition of George Springer. Perez -- who was acquired by the Blue Jays from the Astros in the Roberto Osuna trade -- throws hard and can miss some bats, but he's always struggled with his control as a pro. He's been used both as a starter and reliever.
Astros signed C Jason Castro to a two-year, $7 million contract.
The 33-year-old backstop returns to the team that originally drafted him (10th overall) in 2008 and where he spent his first seven big league campaigns (2010-2016). He'll share the load behind the plate with Martin Maldonado, though neither projects to be a very useful fantasy option outside of deep two-catcher formats.
Astros general manager James Click said Friday that Yordan Alvarez (knee) is progressing nicely in his recovery from arthroscopic surgery on both of his knees.
Click told reporters, "Everything we've seen so far in the rehab has been very positive". He also noted that there's a possibility that Alvarez could see some time in the outfield during the season, though that would be a conversation that they'll have during the spring. Alvarez was cleared to resume running in early November and so far has been able to avoid any setbacks. He's expected to be healthy and ready to rock for Opening Day.
The Royals announced Friday that Rusty Kuntz will return as the team's first base coach for the upcoming 2021 season.
Kuntz opted out of the 2020 season due to concerns over COVID-19. Damon Hollins -- who filled that role for the Royals last season -- will return to his previous post as a minor league instructor. Tony Pena Jr. joins manager Mike Matheny's staff as their infield coach, while Rafael Belliard (who served as the infield coach in 2020) will return to being a special assistant to general manager Dayton Moore.
Angels signed LHP Jose Quintana to a one-year, $8 million contract.
The deal was agreed to earlier in the week and finally became official on Friday after Quintana passed his physical. The 32-year-old southpaw should open the 2021 season in the Angels' starting rotation as long as he's healthy and doesn't completely fall on his face during spring training. He logged just 10 innings during the 2020 season due to a lingering lat injury -- registering a 4.50 ERA and 12/3 K/BB ratio for the Cubs.
Astros designated RHP Humberto Castellanos for assignment.
The Astros needed to free up a spot on the 40-man roster for Jason Castro and Castellanos was the odd-man out. They'll need to repeat the exercise once Michael Brantley's deal becomes official. There's a good chance that Castellanos will pass through waivers unclaimed and continue to function as organizational bullpen depth for the Astros.
Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that the Red Sox are in active discussions with free agent right-hander Garrett Richards.
Morosi notes that the Red Sox are one of multiple teams that's currently talking to the 32-year-old hurler. Richards managed to stay healthy for the 2020 season, posting a 4.03 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and 46/17 K/BB ratio across 51 1/3 innings with the Padres. He would represent a definite upgrade to the backend of the Red Sox rotation entering the 2021 campaign, though his fantasy value would take a hit moving to the American League East.
According to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, the Red Sox and Enrique Hernandez have agreed to a two-year, $14 million contract.
Feinsand reported earlier that the two sides had reached a multi-year deal, and now we have the duration and the financial terms. Hernandez may function as the primary second baseman for the Red Sox, though he's likely to see action all over the diamond. He should be able to provide nice late-round power from a middle infield spot in fantasy leagues, but don't expect much from him in terms of stolen bases or batting average.
Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports that Jake Arrieta will throw a bullpen session for teams next Friday.
Arrieta will turn 35 in March and has posted a 4.75 ERA over 33 starts since the beginning of the 2019 season, so it's not a surprise that we've heard very little about his market this offseason. The veteran right-hander will probably have to settle for a modest one-year deal or maybe even a minor league contract.
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