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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Baseball

Blue Jays reportedly planning to keep Josh Donaldson

Josh Donaldson

Teams continue to check in with Toronto about Josh Donaldson, but it sounds like the Blue Jays are not inclined to trade him.

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported on Tuesday that the St. Louis Cardinals have spoken with the Jays about Donaldson during the Winter Meetings. But he says it seems like the Jays are intent on keeping the former MVP.

Donaldson, 32, is entering his final year of arbitration and then will become a free agent after next season. There is thinking that it might be in Toronto’s best long-term interests to trade Donaldson now when they can get a big haul for him rather than wait to lose him in free agency. However, the team probably is intent on keeping him and trying to compete in 2018. They likely figure that at worst, if they’re doing poorly as of mid-season, they can still trade him before the deadline and get a nice return if need be.

Either way, expect to see plenty of Donaldson rumors throughout the year.

Mike Trout shares beautiful picture from wedding

Last weekend was a big weekend for Mike Trout, and not just because his Angels landed Shohei Ohtani. No, it was much bigger than that.

The two-time AL MVP got married to his longtime girlfriend Jessica on Saturday. The Millville, N.J. native shared a gorgeous photo from his wedding on social media Tuesday:

From the starry sky in the background to the snow in the foreground, you can’t find much better of a setting for a wedding.

Trout also has one understanding wife. Despite preparing for his wedding, he was able to make somewhat of a sales pitch to Ohtani during the week. His words seemed to have a strong impact, too.

Report: Nationals are strongly considering signing Jake Arrieta

Jake Arrieta

The Washington Nationals have made the playoffs in four of the past six seasons, but they have not been able to advance beyond the NLDS. Perhaps if they put together one of the greatest starting rotations in MLB history, the results will be better going forward.

Jon Heyman of FanRag sports reported on Tuesday that the Nationals are considering signing Jake Arrieta, mainly because the right-hander has proven he can win in the postseason.

Of course, Scott Boras would love the Nationals to get in on the bidding for one of his biggest free agent prizes.

If he signed with Washington, the 31-year-old Arrieta would be joining a rotation that already features Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer and Gio Gonzalez. Those four could make up half of the NL All-Star team pitching staff in any given year.

Of course, it may be a long-shot to think the Nationals would take on the kind of salary Arrieta will command. In addition to having hundreds of millions committed to Strasburg and Scherzer, they also need to find a way to re-sign Bryce Harper, who will be a free agent next offseason and could command the biggest contract in MLB history.

We have already heard Arrieta linked to some other intriguing situations, so Boras is undoubtedly going to get the big pay day he is seeking. He almost always does.

Orioles reportedly shopping Manny Machado, who wants to move to SS

Manny Machado

The Baltimore Orioles are doing what they can to make it seem like they have no interest in trading Manny Machado, but the things the team is saying publicly may not be consistent with what is taking place behind closed doors.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported on Tuesday that the Orioles have begun asking teams to make offers for Machado. The O’s would reportedly be willing to part with their star third baseman if they can acquire a couple of young, controllable pitcher starting pitchers.

The Orioles understand that they may not be able to re-sign Machado when he becomes a free agent next offseason, and they know the return for him could be significantly less if they wait until the trade deadline in 2018 to unload him.

Oh, and Machado doesn’t want to play third base anymore. Accoridng to Rosenthal, the 26-year-old wants to play shortstop. He was drafted as a shortstop with the third overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft, and he understands that he could be paid more as a free agent if he’s a shortstop and not a third baseman.

Rosenthal speculates that the St. Louis Cardinals, who were willing to take on much of Giancarlo Stanton’s contract and could afford to re-sign Machado, make make the most sense for the three-time All-Star.

It would likely take at least $200 million for the Orioles to extend Machado, and it makes little sense for them to pay that. It would make even less sense for them to let him walk in free agency, so a trade this winter may be the best option. General manager Dan Duquette said what he had to about the situation recently, but we know better than to take that at face value.

Aaron Boone shares story of how he learned Stanton news

Aaron Boone

The New York Yankees acquired four-time All-Star slugger Giancarlo Stanton from the Miami Marlins just one week after hiring Aaron Boone to be their new manager, and the timing of it all made for quite the anecdote.

In an appearance Monday on SiriusXM MLB Network Radio, Boone shared the story of how he learned about the Stanton trade.

“I was at Yankee Stadium,” he said. “We were spending the day interviewing a couple of candidates for coaching positions. So we were getting ready to start one of the interviews, and we’re up in kinda the war room outside of Cash’s [general manager Brian Cashman’s] office, and Cash comes in and calls me into his office and says, ‘I think we just got Giancarlo.’

“I was like, ‘Wow, this job is pretty cool so far,’ Boone continued. “I mean, I was excited before Giancarlo … We feel like we have a great, young team in place, and now you add the National League MVP, a guy that’s obviously in the prime of his career, a guy that’s coming off such an amazing season.”

Boone was far from the only one awestruck by the blockbuster. The good news for Boone should continue, as it sounds like Stanton is planning to smash dingers in the Bronx for a long time to come.

Dodgers legend Orel Hershiser officiated Justin Turner’s wedding

Justin Turner girlfriend

How much does Justin Turner love playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers? Enough to ask one of the most popular players in franchise history to play a major role in his wedding, apparently.

Turner and his now-wife Kourtney got married this month, and they had a familiar face as their officiant. It was former Dodgers pitcher and World Series MVP Orel Hershiser.

Hershiser, a three-time All-Star during his time with the Dodgers in the late 1980s and early 1990s, is a licensed wedding officiant. He got a shout-out from the Dodgers for being part of the Turners’ big day.

Turner proposed to Kourtney just before the 2017 season, and he went on to play the role of hero for part of the postseason and nearly help the Dodgers win a World Series. Perhaps a championship ring, wedding ring and having Hershiser as your officiant would have just been too perfect. Something had to give.

Are the Houston Astros preparing to lose Dallas Keuchel?

Dallas Keuchel

Are the Houston Astros making preparations for Dallas Keuchel to eventually leave the team in free agency? It seems like that thought is in their minds.

News came out on Sunday from Fan Rag Sports’ Jon Heyman that Keuchel has hired Scott Boras as his agent.

Boras is known for helping his clients explore free agency and is one of the best in the business at getting players top dollar. Keuchel will be a free agent after the 2018 season, so him hiring Boras is a possible indication that he is serious about maximizing his value, which might only be realize by signing with another team.

In related news, two reporters on Monday said the Astros were interested in adding another ace this offseason.

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal said the Astros were interested in Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta, who are among the top free agent pitchers, as well as potential trade candidate Chris Archer.

Houston is coming off a World Series win and may want to capitalize on their window of opportunity, which could explain the strong interest in adding more pitching help. An alternate motive could be to make preparations for Keuchel potentially leaving after next season. They also know that Justin Verlander’s contract expires after 2019, so they’ll need to replace him eventually as well. The Astros may be doing their best to get ahead of a problem.

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