Previewing Saturday’s Rising Stars Game in the Arizona Fall League


Bored without some baseball games in your life? Well, I have good news for you. Some of the game’s top prospects will be featured in tonight’s Rising Stars Game in the Arizona Fall League, which will be broadcast live on MLB Network and at 8 p.m. ET.

The annual Rising Stars Game has proven to be a stepping stone for prospects since the game’s inception in 2006, as Jonathan Mayo of notes that 72.6 percent of participants have gone on to play in the major leagues. Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Derek Norris and Mike Olt are among those who played in the game last year.

If we’re lucky, we might get to see Reds prospect Billy Hamilton run the bases tonight. The speedy 22-year-old set a professional baseball record with 155 stolen bases this year and is currently making the switch from shortstop to center field. Some other notable names to watch tonight include Tigers prospect third baseman/outfielder Nick Castellanos, Astros prospect first baseman Jonathan Singleton and Mariners prospect infielder Nick Franklin. Nationals prospect third baseman Anthony Rendon is a reserve for the East team while Mariners prospect catcher Mike Zunino, Cardinals prospect infielder Kolten Wong and Marlins prospect outfielder Christian Yelich are on the bench for the West. Cubs prospect shortstop Javier Baez likely would have participated, but he was recently forced to leave the Arizona Fall League due to a fractured thumb.

Jarred Cosart of the Astros is scheduled to start for the East team while Kyle Gibson of the Twins will get the call for the West squad, though they are unlikely to throw more than a couple of innings.

Below are the lineups for tonight’s game:

Rising Stars West: CF – Billy Hamilton (Reds), SS- Hak-Ju Lee (Rays), RF – Rymer Liriano, (Padres), 1B – Hunter Morris, (Brewers), 2B – Nick Franklin (Mariners), 3B- Cody Asche (Phillies), DH – Bryce Brentz (Red Sox), C – Tommy Joseph (Phillies), LF – Brian Fletcher (Royals)

Rising Stars East: LF – Brian Goodwin (Nationals), CF – Gary Brown (Giants), 1B – Jonathan Singleton, (Astros), DH – Nick Castellanos (Tigers), 3B – Kaleb Cowart (Angels), C – Austin Romine (Yankees), RF – Corey Dickerson (Rockies), 2B – David Adams (Yankees), SS – Chris Owings (Diamondbacks)

Blue Jays showing interest in Ryan Madson

Ryan Madson
AP Photo/Orlin Wagner
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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Blue Jays are on the prowl for relievers with closing experience. Ryan Madson is one of the names on their list.

Madson, 35, had a career rebirth with the Royals in 2015. He signed a minor league deal with the club that paid him a salary of $850,000 if he made it back to the majors. Due to a plethora of arm injuries, Madson hadn’t pitched in the majors since Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS against the Cardinals as a member of the Phillies. For the Royals, he wound up becoming a crucial member of the bullpen, finishing with a 2.13 ERA and a 58/14 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings.

While Madson allowed five runs in 8 1/3 post-season innings, he pitched well when it mattered most, as he hurled three scoreless frames in three appearances in the World Series against the Mets.

Madson has closing experience, with 55 career saves. 32 of them came in 2011 when he took over the closer’s role from Brad Lidge.

After signing Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ, and trading for Jesse Chavez, the Jays have bolstered their rotation but it was reported on Saturday that interim GM Tony LaCava is still focused on upgrading the pitching staff.

Trevor Cahill considering the Pirates as a potential destination

Trevor Cahill
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ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that free agent pitcher Trevor Cahill is looking for a one-year, bounce-back deal. The Pirates are one of the potential teams he is considering.

It’s no surprise that the Pirates are on Cahill’s list. Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage has garnered a reputation as a miracle worker after turning around the careers of a handful of pitchers, including Edinson Volquez, Francisco Liriano, and J.A. Happ. Volquez parlayed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Pirates into a two-year, $20 million deal with the Royals last December. Liriano signed with the Pirates on a one-year, $1 million contract and turned that into a three-year, $39 million deal. Happ, dealt to the Pirates from the Mariners at the most recent trade deadline, just signed a three-year, $39 million contract with the Blue Jays.

Cahill, once a highly-regarded pitching prospect, has scuffled over parts of seven seasons in the majors. The 27-year-old owns a career 4.13 ERA with a 754/427 K/BB ratio in 1,083 2/3 innings. Cahill had some brief success after signing with the Cubs as a free agent in mid-August, compiling a 2.12 ERA in 11 appearances out of the bullpen.

Blue Jays narrow GM search to two candidates: Tony LaCava and Ross Atkins

Tony LaCava
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Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Blue Jays have narrowed their search for a new general manager down to two candidates: current interim GM Tony LaCava, and Indians vice president of player personnel Ross Atkins. Former Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos resigned last month.

LaCava was promoted to interim GM on November 2 and has already made a handful of moves along with new president Mark Shapiro. The club acquired Jesse Chavez in a trade and signed pitchers Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ to multi-year deals.

Atkins worked under Shapiro in the Indians organization for 15 seasons, so it is no surprise that he is a finalist for the open GM position.

The Diamondbacks met with Johnny Cueto’s agent

AP Photo/David Goldman

Update (7:58 PM EST): Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart met with Cueto earlier this month in the Dominican Republic and made a contract offer that the right-hander turned down. The Diamondbacks maintain interest in the free agent.


Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Diamondbacks spoke with Bryce Dixon, the agent of free agent starter Johnny Cueto. However, Rosenthal notes that Cueto’s price tag is expected to exceed the Diamondbacks’ comfort level.

Cueto, 29, is one of a handful of highly touted starting pitchers in this offseason’s free agent class. He is joined by David Price and Zack Greinke, among others. Jordan Zimmermann inked a deal in the neighborhood of $110 million over five years with the Tigers on Sunday morning, which will serve as a barometer for Cueto.

Cueto finished the 2015 regular season, between the Reds and the Royals, with a 3.44 ERA and a 176/46 K/BB ratio over 212 innings. He made 13 shaky starts with the Royals, but outside of a shellacking in Game 3 of the ALCS against the Blue Jays, pitched well in the post-season. Cueto pitched a complete game in Game 2 of the World Series against the Mets, helping put the Royals up two games to none at the time.

As a result of switching teams during the season, Cueto was not eligible to receive a $15.8 million qualifying offer. This means that Cueto, unlike Zimmermann for example, does not come attached with draft pick compensation.