Friday's quick hits – Sheets doubtful for 2009

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According to ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark, teams interested in free agent Ben Sheets have learned that he won’t be ready to pitch this year after surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon.

When Sheets had the procedure in Feburary, the hope was that he’d be
ready to pitch in August. However, he obviously isn’t progressing as
hoped, which explains why he hasn’t been involved in any rumors
recently. There’s still good reason to believe he’ll be back at full
strength in 2010.

The Reds have activated Edwin Encarnacion from the DL following a two-month absence due to a fracture in his left wrist.

Danny Richar traded places with him, going on the DL with a shoulder
injury. Encarnacion was brutal before getting hurt, hitting
.127/.286/.190, but it was just 63 at-bats and no one has stepped up in
his absence. As a result, it’s practically guaranteed that he’ll get
his job back.

The Braves have scheduled Tim Hudson’s first rehab appearance from Tommy John surgery for July 19.

If all goes well, he’ll make five or six rehab starts and then rejoin
Atlanta’s rotation during the second half of August. The Braves already
have a very solid rotation that includes Derek Lowe, Javier Vazquez,
Jair Jurrjens, Kenshin Kawakami and Tommy Hanson, opening up the
possibility that Hudson could return as a reliever. However, a lot can
happen in a month and a half.

A really intriguing idea would be to shop Vazquez for a big-time
outfielder at the deadline, but I don’t see any obvious fits. A
three-way deal that would bring Matt Holliday from Oakland and send
prospects to the A’s would be ideal.

Cubs sign Brett Anderson to a $3.5 million deal

Brett Anderson
AP Photo/J Pat Carter
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Cubs have signed pitcher Brett Anderson to a contract, pending a physical. Anderson, apparently, impressed the Cubs during a bullpen session held in Arizona recently. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the deal is for $3.5 million, but incentives can bring the total value up to $10 million.

Anderson, 28, has only made a total of 53 starts and 12 relief appearances over the past five seasons due to a litany of injuries. This past season, he made just three starts and one relief appearance, yielding 15 runs on 25 hits and four walks with five strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings. The lefty dealt with back, wrist, and blister issues throughout the year.

When he’s healthy, Anderson is a solid arm to have at the back of a starting rotation or in the bullpen. The defending world champion Cubs aren’t risking much in bringing him on board.

Yordano Ventura’s remaining contract hinges on the results of his toxicology report

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.

What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.

The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.

Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.