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American League

ICYMI: Rays Trade Jake Odorizzi To Twins, Acquire C.J. Cron From Angels

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The Tampa Bay Rays have been busy as of late, as they traded left fielder Corey Dickerson to the Pittsburgh Pirates on the 22nd of February, as well as right fielder Steven Souza Jr. to the Arizona Diamondbacks two days prior to that as part of a three-team trade.

Right before both of those deals, the Rays were involved in an additional two that we forgot to cover here as they both went down on the 17th.

First, Tampa Bay received first baseman C.J. Cron from the Los Angeles Angels for a player to be named. Immediately following the trade, the Rays designated Dickerson for assignment, as he was traded to Pittsburgh five days later.

The second deal involved right-handed starter Jake Odorizzi, as he was traded to the Minnesota Twins in exchange for shortstop Jermaine Palacios, the Twins’ No. 27 prospect via MLB Pipeline.

Cron, 28, has hit 16 homers in each of the last three seasons for the Angels, averaging 59 RBIs and 110 games played in those campaigns. This past season, he appeared in 100 games, the fewest since his 2014 rookie season in which he appeared in 79.

With 42 RBIs after the 2017 All-Star break, Cron finished second on the Angels in that category to Albert Pujols who had 47.

“One of the things that we have been on the lookout for was a right-handed hitter,” said Rays general manager Erik Neander. “When Cron became available at the price he was available for us, we felt like he was a better fit for our club moving forward, to balance us out. Going forward, we’re hoping (to have) similar offensive capabilities (from Cron), but from the other side of the plate.”

Odorizzi, 27, leaves the Rays after being with the team for the last five seasons. Prior to being dealt, Odorizzi defeated the Rays in an arbitration hearing, as the righty is due to make $6.35 million this year.

This past season, Odorizzi went 10-8 with a 4.14 ERA in 28 games/starts across 143 1/3 innings, the fewest he’s had in his four full seasons as a starter (since 2014). In those four years, Odorizzi went 40-36 with a 3.81 ERA in 120 games/starts, averaging 167 innings pitched and 154 strikeouts per year.

With Odorizzi out of the rotation mix, the Rays are looking at an Opening Day rotation of Chris Archer, Blake Snell, Jake Faria, Matt Andriese, and Nathan Eovaldi.

Palacios, 21, was signed by the Twins out of Venezuela in 2013. In 2017, he hit .296/.333/.454 with 13 homers, 10 triples, and 67 RBIs in 124 games across two different single-A levels.

“There comes a point in time where you have to make some decisions and move some things forward,” said Neander. “That’s just on a general level. We felt this was the best time to (trade Odorizzi), and we felt like this was the best offer.

“This (Palacios) is somebody that, by our own work and by our own information, what we see here is a lean, wiry Venezuelan shortstop who has had plenty of offensive success,” added Neander. “Carries the position defensively well. Very good arm. Very good hands.”

The Rays finished 2017 with an 80-82 record, an improvement from their 68-94 record in 2016. The team is in somewhat of a rebuilding phase, as owner Stu Sternberg has put a payroll reduction into place for the upcoming year. Cron and Palacios are two solid additions in my opinion, and time will tell who the Rays will eventually send to Minnesota in exchange for Cron.

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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