Cubs keeping “all options open” with Alfonso Soriano

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Now that Alfonso Soriano has “only” two more years remaining on his massive contract Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune asked Theo Epstein if that means he’s unlikely to be traded, but the Cubs president replied: “No, you have to leave all options open.”

Epstein was quick to note that Soriano now has the ability to veto any trade “so if he doesn’t want to go anywhere, he doesn’t have to.” However, he added that if a potential deal comes up the Cubs “will bring it to him” as a possibility for approval.

In other words, if Soriano has another decent season–he hit .262 with 32 homers and an .821 OPS last year–the Cubs will definitely be trying to cash him in for some value or at least clear some of his 2013-2014 money off the books.

Report: Shohei Ohtani has sprained UCL in pitching elbow

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The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.

Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”

Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.

Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.