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Friday, January 18, 2019

Baseball

Giants reportedly in trade mix for Sonny Gray

Sonny Gray

The New York Yankees are looking to trade Sonny Gray, and a new suitor in the market has emerged.

According to FanCred’s Jon Heyman, the San Francisco Giants are interested in trading for the pitcher.

Gray, 29, agreed to a $7.5 million salary for 2019 with the New York Yankees. The Bronx Bombers acquired him in a trade in 2017, but he has not performed well for them. Still, plenty of teams believe he can get back to his Oakland A’s form if he finds a new team.

Gray went 44-36 with a 3.42 ERA in parts of five seasons for the A’s. He was 15-16 with a 4.51 ERA in his two seasons with the Yankees.

10 best bargains remaining in MLB free agency

Even in mid-January, it’s not too late to find a good bargain in Major League Baseball free agency. Plenty of players who have signed late and cheap have become hugely effective pieces of contenders, or turned into valuable trade bait for a non-contender come July. You just have to know where to look and what to look for.

Here are 10 players who could prove to be really good bargains, and are still available for all 30 teams to sign.

10) Mike Moustakas, 3B

Moustakas has a skillset that doesn’t really match the modern times — low average, low on-base percentage, and power. He may not be the poster child for this era, but there are plenty of teams who could use a power-hitting third baseman who plays a competent hot corner. Moustakas is a career .251 hitter who has hit at least 25 home runs in each of his last three seasons, and he has ample postseason experience as well. A team may be able to get nice value on him at this point. A few clubs of note are keeping tabs on him.

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Alex Cora promises even more special season ahead for Red Sox

Alex Cora

The 2018 Boston Red Sox put together one of the best seasons in recent MLB history. Alex Cora is promising even bigger things for an encore.

Cora attended the Boston Baseball Writers’ Association of America dinner on Thursday night to accept the Manager of the Year Award. During his speech, he said this year will be even more special than last year.

The 2018 Red Sox won 108 regular season games, then demolished the Yankees, Astros and Dodgers in the playoffs. The former two were both 100-plus win teams, while the Dodgers were buoyed by one of the deepest payrolls and most talented rosters. Yet Boston mowed through them as part of their historic season.

What would an encore look like? 115 wins? Going through the postseason without losing a game? Topping this would not be easy.

Report: Mike Trout contract extension now with Angels is unlikely

Mike Trout

The Los Angeles Angels are not just worried about trying to win, they’re also concerned about the situation surrounding Mike Trout.

Their standout center fielder is signed through the 2020 season and set to become a free agent after that. Talking in the context of the Philadelphia Phillies’ plans, MLB reporter Jon Heyman said on Tuesday that the Phillies will make a big play for Trout when he becomes a free agent. He added a significant note in his tweet, saying an “extension now is unlikely” for Trout.

There was talk during last season that the Angels would try to sign Trout long term, so maybe there is no movement on that front.

You can’t really blame Trout.

The Angels have missed the playoffs four years in a row and have only reached them once in his career. They need to show a major turnaround to convince Trout to stay. Luckily they have some time to do that, though the clock is ticking.

Report: Angels, Cody Allen agree to 1-year deal

Angels logo

The Los Angeles Angels were looking for bullpen help and appear to have found some.

The Angels and relief pitcher Cody Allen have agreed to a 1-year deal, according to Ken Rosenthal.

Allen was one of many top relievers available in a deep market that also included the likes of Andrew Miller, Adam Ottavino, Zach Britton and David Robertson. Rosenthal says he was looking for an opportunity to close, and the Angels should provide that.

The Angels saw multiple relievers close games last year after Keynan Middelton got injured. Blake Parker, who had 14 saves, was non-tendered by the team and signed with the Twins, leaving an opening for who would handle save chances.

Allen, 30, has been the Indians’ closer the past five seasons. He has a career 2.99 ERA and 1.19 WHIP.

Report: Phillies have visions of signing Harper, Keuchel, Kimbrel

Craig Kimbrel

The Philadelphia Phillies have figured prominently in offseason matters, and they may not be close to done.

We know the Phillies have been linked to Bryce Harper and Manny Machado for the past several months, with some talk indicating their thoughts have shifted towards Harper. But according to one report, they have their eyes on what would be one of the biggest offseasons ever.

USA Today’s Bob Nightengale says the Phillies have visions of signing Harper, Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel.

Signing all three players would be one heck of an offseason.

Being offseason champions does not translate to guaranteed championship, but if the Phillies added all three players, they would be firmly in the mix for the NL pennant. Many teams are intentionally not spending this offseason, which has created a buyer’s market. If the Phillies are going to go big, this would be the offseason to do it.

Philly has already signed Andrew McCutchen and David Robertson, while adding Jean Segura in a trade. Adding Harper, Keuchel and Kimbrel on top of that could result in $600 or so million in new payroll commitments, which is crazy, especially if they also have their eyes on another future prize.

Chris Archer: Cheaters don’t deserve to be in Hall of Fame

Chris Archer

With the results of the latest round of Baseball Hall of Fame voting set to be released next week, the annual debate about whether or not performance-enhancing drug users should be allowed in Cooperstown is once again simmering. One starting pitcher wants to make his stance on the subject very clear.

On Thursday, Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Chris Archer said any player who has been suspended for or admitted to using PEDs should not be eligible for the Hall of Fame since they are proven to have “disgraced the integrity of the game.”

Archer certainly is not alone in that stance. However, the issue is a lot more complicated than he makes it sound. The two biggest names to watch once again this year are Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, both of whom are on their seventh ballot. Both players have strong ties to steroids, but — unlike nominees Manny Ramirez and Miguel Tejada — neither has admitted to using them or been suspended for it. Does that mean they should be in the Hall?

We already know how Bonds feels about his own Hall of Fame candidacy, and Clemens once called out the supposed hypocrisy of a fellow star pitcher who urged voters to keep him out of Cooperstown.

Bonds and Clemens both received their highest vote percentage in six years last year, with the former getting 56.4 percent and the latter 57.3 percent. A total of at least 75 percent of the vote is needed to get into the Hall.