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ICYMI: Notable February Free Agent Signings That We Missed

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As we flip the calendar from February to March, Spring Training games are in full force, and only about four weeks remain until Opening Day. We’re finally in the home stretch!

February was a month that saw some of the biggest free agent names on the market finally agree to deals with new teams, most notably Yu Darvish, Eric Hosmer, and JD Martinez, which didn’t go uncovered by our team.

Aside from those three names, there were plenty of additional Major League signings. Some players went to new clubs, while others returned to their most recent ones. So, without further ado, let’s recap some of the deals that we missed on our site- most notably since February 13.

2/13- Tampa Bay Rays agree to one-year, $2.5 million deal with RHP Sergio Romo. Romo, 34, posted a 1.47 ERA in 25 games for Tampa Bay in 2017 after the team acquired him from the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he had a 6.12 ERA in 30 games. Prior to pitching for the Dodgers and Rays, Romo was a nine-year member of the San Francisco Giants (2008-16). Overall, Romo has a career 2.69 ERA in 570 games (all in relief).

2/14- St. Louis Cardinals agree to one-year, $3 million deal with RHP Bud Norris. The nine-year, 33-year-old veteran has pitched for six teams since 2009, and has a career record of 64-84 with a 4.49 ERA in 291 games (188 starts). In 2017, he pitched for the Los Angeles Angels, going 2-6 with a 4.21 ERA in 60 games (three starts) while recording 19 saves in 23 chances.

2/15- Baltimore Orioles agree to two-year, $16 million deal with RHP Andrew Cashner with a $10 million vesting option for 2020. Cashner, 31, joins the Orioles’ rotation after enjoying a solid 2017 season for the Texas Rangers where he went 11-11 with a 3.40 ERA in 28 games/starts. Cashner has pitched for four teams since 2010, and has a career record of 42-64 with a 3.80 ERA in 230 games (137 starts; 131 since 2013).

2/15- Toronto Blue Jays agree to one-year, $8 million deal with LHP Jaime Garcia. Garcia pitched for three teams in 2017 (Braves, Twins, Yankees), going 5-10 with a 4.41 ERA in 27 games/starts, a year after going 10-12 with a 4.67 ERA for the Cardinals. The 31-year-old’s career ERA in nine seasons (since 2008, missed 2009) is 3.69 (was 3.31 before 2016). Garcia looks to regain the type of success he had as an eight-year member of the Cardinals.

2/17- Los Angeles Dodgers agree to two-year, $2 million deal with 2B Chase Utley. The 39-year-old Utley has been with the Dodgers since August 2015 after spending the first 13 years of his career as a Philadelphia Phillie. Utley’s a career .276/.359/.469 hitter with 258 homers, and has hit .240 with the Dodgers, and went 0 for 15 in last year’s World Series playoff run.

2/18- Boston Red Sox agree to one-year, $4 million deal with 2B Eduardo Nunez. Nunez’s deal comes with a $4 million player option for 2019 which includes a $2 million buyout. Nunez hit .319/.353/.539 in 38 games for the Red Sox last year after being acquired from the San Francisco Giants, and provides insurance at second base with Dustin Pedroia’s health in question.

2/19- Arizona Diamondbacks agree to two-year, $7.5 million deal with CF Jarrod Dyson. The speedy 33-year-old has swiped 204 bases in 241 attempts in his eight Major League seasons since 2010. He spent the first seven with the Royals, and was a Seattle Mariner in 2017, stealing 28 bases with a career-high five homers. Overall, Dyson’s a .258/.325/.352 career hitter with 12 dingers, 32 triples, and 131 RBIs.

2/19- San Francisco Giants agree to two-year, $7-9 million deal with LHP Tony Watson. Watson, 32, is an eight-year veteran for the Pittsburgh Pirates (2011-17) and Los Angeles Dodgers (2017). In 474 career games (all in relief), he has a career record of 33-17 with a 2.68 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. This past year for Pittsburgh and LA, he went 7-4 with a 3.38 ERA in 71 games.

2/21- Miami Marlins agree to one-year, $3.25 million deal plus incentives with OF Cameron Maybin. The 2017 World Series champion returns to his former club, whom he played for from 2008-10. In 11 seasons for six teams since 2007, the 30-year-old is a career .255/.321/.372 hitter with 56 homers, 287 RBIs, and 164 steals. This past season for the Angels and Astros, Maybin hit .228 in 395 at-bats with 10 homers and 33 steals.

So, there you have it, some of the notable Major League free agent signings from the month of February that we missed! There were several Minor League signings too, with some notable names being Derek Holland, Wade Miley, Trevor Plouffe, Craig Breslow, Jason Motte, Fernando Abad, Peter Bourjos, Michael Saunders, and Erick Aybar.

For a full list of February free agent signings and other transactions, click here.

American League

April 2019’s Biggest MLB Stories

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Yahoo! Sports

Holy smokes, the first season of the 2019 MLB season is already in the books, and stories were abundant in this one. From certain players tearing it up and others struggling to records being broken, April 2019 was certainly eventful in the baseball world. Here are the biggest stories, happenings and surprises from the first month of the 2019 campaign.

Albert the Great

Image result for albert pujols
UPI.

At 39, Albert Pujols might not be the revered slugger that he was in his prime, but the Anaheim Angel is still getting it done and joined elite company in April. His two-run double off of Kansas City’s Homer Bailey on April 28 gave him career RBIs no. 1,996 and 1,997, putting him ahead of Barry Bonds and in sole possession of no. 3 on the all-time list. Only Alex Rodriguez (2,086) and Hank Aaron (2,297) remain ahead of him. Though it’s unlikely that he’ll ever catch the latter, Pujols could pass A-Rod with a healthy and productive 2019 and 2020.

C&C on a tear

Outfielders Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers spent April wreaking havoc on National League pitching. Bellinger appears to have regained his form after a sophomore slump in 2018 and was the first month’s best hitter. The 23-year-old currently has the NL Triple Crown with a .431 AVG, 14 HR and 37 RBI. Reigning MVP Yelich is picking up where he left off last year, and owns a share of the homer lead in addition to a .353 AVG and 34 RBI. It’s obviously still early and both of these guys will cool off at some point, but they are as good as it gets in the Senior Circuit right now.

K&K still on the sidelines

Image result for dallas keuchel craig kimbrel
New York Post.

Two of this past winter’s most high-profile free agents still remain unsigned as the calendar turns to May. 2015 American League Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel and 2x Reliever of the Year Craig Kimbrel are still without homes and MLB.com Insider Ken Rosenthal reports that it may be as long as June before either star signs. Both men have different contract desires, as Rosenthal reports that Kimbrel does not want a one-year deal whilst Keuchel is aiming for the short-term. There are plenty of teams that would love the services of either, but it looks as if a signing won’t occur any time soon.

Medical costs soaring in the Bronx

The New York Yankees had enough injuries in the first month of the season to fill an entire hospital ward. Sophomore manager Aaron Boone has had the difficult task of holding his team together with more than half his starting lineup on the disabled list. Miguel Andujar, Dellin Betances, Greg Bird, Clint Frazier, Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Luis Severino and Giancarlo Stanton are all currently laid up. Considering half of the team’s minor league system has seemingly played in the past month, New York has done pretty well and Boone should be commended for his work. But fans in the Bronx will feel much better when all their superstars return.

Transaction declined?

Image result for chris sale
NESN.

Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale is one of the MLB’s most dominant lefties and has been since he became a starter in 2012, but he’s been MIA for the first month of this year. Fans accustomed to the 7x All-Star dazzling batters with his slider would be shocked to see that he’s currently 0-5 with a 6.30 ERA. There’s still every chance that he can turn it around, but the Red Sox and their Nation have not enjoyed their ace struggling so mightily. Sale has taken full responsibility for his failures, but if his team wants to repeat as World Series champions, they’ll need him to regain his form.

Slow start for Harper in Philly

The most high-profile free agent acquisition in recent MLB history hasn’t gotten off to the start that his new team was expecting. 26-year-old Bryce Harper is having a rougher time acclimating to the Philadelphia Phillies than anyone would have thought. Through the first month of what is to be a very long tenure in the City of Brotherly Love, Harper is batting .231 with 6 HR and 20 RBI. He’s far too talented to struggle like this long-term, but considering what the Phillies are paying him, they can’t be too happy.

Vlad Jr. makes long awaited debut

Image result for vladimir guerrero jr
CBS Sports.

The baseball world had been chomping at the bit for some time to see no.1 prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at the big league level. However, the Toronto Blue Jays waited patiently with the young phenom and allowed him to spend the end of 2018 and the beginning of this season with Triple-A Buffalo. Fans finally got their wish when the Jays made the call last week and brought Guerrero up for his MLB debut on April 26 vs. Oakland. A proud Vlad Sr. looked on as his son ripped a double in the bottom of the ninth for his first career knock. There will surely be many more to come.

Mets endure deGrom TJ scare

Jacob deGrom is currently the best pitcher baseball has to offer and he hasn’t slowed on the heels of his masterful 2018 campaign. However, the Mets and their fans had to endure a brief panic when it looked as if the superstar righty had been claimed by the curse of Tommy John. It turned out to be nothing more than a scare and deGrom only missed one start, but baseball fans in Queens surely thought the sky was falling at the time.

Ichiro retires in grand fashion

Image result for ichiro suzuki farewell
Sporting News.

Though it happened in March actually and most fans may have forgotten about it by now, it’s still one of best stories to come from baseball in some time. The Seattle Mariners opened the 2019 season vs. the Athletics at Tokyo Dome in Japan’s capital. It was undoubtedly an amazing experience for all players involved, but it stood out for one player especially. 45-year-old Ichiro Suzuki played the series with the Mariners and called it a career after the second game. Not many foreign players in Major League Baseball can say that they played their last game in front of their native country and it’s an honor Ichiro more than earned throughout his 28-year professional career in Japan and North America. An undoubted future Hall of Famer and one of the best hitters of all time, Ichiro walked off an MLB field for the last time to a thunderous ovation from his countrymen. Thanks for the memories, no.51.

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American League

Rays Place Austin Meadows On IL

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The Tampa Bay Rays placed outfielder Austin Meadows on the 10-day injured list due to a sprained right thunb.

Rays general manager Erik Neander said that the team may be without Meadows for “a few weeks”, according to the Tamp Bay Times’ Marc Topkin.

Meadows has started the 2019 season hot, posting a stellar .351/.422/.676 slash line to go along with six homers for Tampa Bay.

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American League

Blue Jays’ Matt Shoemaker Out for Season with Torn ACL

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Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Matt Shoemaker will miss the rest of the season after suffering a torn ACL, according to Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith.

Shoemaker, who was initially placed on the 10-day injured list, suffered the injury during a game on Saturday.

Shoemaker, 32, was off to an impressive start for Toronto, pitching the the tune of 1.57 ERA.

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