These two stories in the headline stack over at MLB.com today make me think that there was a memo sent around last week or something:
1. Family roots keep Hairstons grounded;
2. Family keeps Prince grounded:
The Hairston story is more interesting simply because I don’t know as much about the Hairstons as I do Prince Fielder. But the Fielder one is interesting too in light of stuff like this from Fielder’s wife Chanel regarding Prince’s contract status:
“I think the team is in such a different place now than it was a couple
of years ago, I don’t think it should be as scary. We obviously want to
stay. There have been days that Jadyn has come home from school after
hearing kids say that Prince is going to be traded and he says, ‘Dad, I
don’t want to go anywhere else!’ We’re comfortable, and I have met so
many wonderful people in Milwaukee.”
I hate to see stuff like that. Whenever I hear it I think the people are just saying it for PR purposes (though I’m not necessarily accusing Chanel Fielder of that here). I also anticipate that someone will bookmark it and, in the likely event that Fielder leaves the Brewers in free agency, will drag it out and say stuff like “what about your wife and kids, Prince?” and accuse him of being a mercenary or something.
I know the reporter has to ask those sorts of questions in a feature like this, and I know that Chanel Fielder is no shrinking violet, but baseball is a business not unlike sales or anything else, and sometimes business considerations mean you gotta move. Hate to see the wife and kids dragged into it.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.
There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.
Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.
ESPN’s Jesse Rogers reported over the weekend that the Cubs and reliever Pedro Strop agreed to a contract extension. He’ll remain with the Cubs through 2018 and the new deal includes a club option for the 2019 season as well. Per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune, Strop will earn $5.85 million in 2018 and the club option is worth $6.25 million with a $500,000 buyout. The two sides already avoided arbitration earlier this month, agreeing on a $5.5 million salary for the 2017 season.
Strop, 31, has been a very reliable reliever for the Cubs over the last three years. He has a combined 2.65 ERA with 212 strikeouts and 69 walks over 176 1/3 innings in that span of time.
The Cubs replaced Aroldis Chapman with Wade Davis, so Strop and Hector Rondon will be bridging the gap to Davis this coming season.
Strop joined the Cubs along with Jake Arrieta in the July 2013 trade that sent Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman to the Orioles. That trade panned out well for the Cubs.