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A bunch of players were claimed off waivers today

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Today we saw an unusual amount of players claimed off waivers. They can probably best be described as 40-man roster stocking stuffers. Here’s a quick look at the busy day of transactions:

The Blue Jays claimed third baseman Brent Morel off waivers from the White Sox

Morel hit 10 homers in 126 games with the White Sox in 2011, but he has only appeared in 47 games at the major league level since. The 26-year-old hit .266/.349/.403 with six home runs and 54 RBI over 106 games with Triple-A Charlotte this past year.

The White Sox claimed left-hander Eric Surkamp off waivers from the Giants

Surkamp was hit hard in his lone start with the Giants this season, but he had a 2.80 ERA and 71/23 K/BB ratio in 86 2/3 innings over 16 starts between High-A San Jose and Triple-A Fresno. This was his first year back from Tommy John surgery. He’s not a hard-thrower, usually sitting in the 85-89 mph range, but has averaged 10.0 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in the minors.

The Rays claimed first baseman Jerry Sands off waivers from the Pirates

Acquired from the Red Sox last winter in the Joel Hanrahan deal, Sands really struggled at the Triple-A level this year, hitting just .207/.311/.329 with seven home runs and 34 RBI over 106 games. A right-handed batter, the 26-year-old struck out in 24 percent of his plate appearances with the Dodgers from 2011-2012.

The Orioles claimed right-hander Liam Hendriks off waivers from the Cubs

Hendriks was just claimed off waivers from the Twins last week, but he’s on the move again. The 24-year-old Aussie has enjoyed great success in the minors thanks to his pinpoint control, but he owns an ugly 6.06 ERA over 28 starts and two relief appearances at the major league level.

The Cubs claimed right-hander Brett Marshall off waivers from the Yankees

Marshall posted a 5.13 ERA, 1.53 WHIP and 120/68 K/BB ratio in 25 starts with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2013 and didn’t make much of an impression in two brief stints with the big club. Still, he doesn’t turn 24 until March and isn’t too far removed from being one of the Yankees’ better pitching prospects.

The Mets claimed right-hander Ryan Reid off waivers from the Pirates

Reid allowed two earned runs in 11 innings during his first taste of the big leagues this past season and owns a 3.87 ERA and 9.0 K/9 over parts of eight seasons in the minors, almost exclusively as a reliever. He turns 29 in April.

The Rangers claimed outfielder Alex Castellanos off waivers from the Red Sox

Castellanos was acquired from the Dodgers in October in exchange for outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker, but he was designated for assignment earlier this month to clear a spot for Mike Napoli on the 40-man roster. While the 27-year-old owns an impressive .288/.362/.502 batting line with 85 homers and 109 stolen bases over 615 minor league games, he has only appeared in 24 games at the major league level.

Indians sign Brandon Guyer to a two-year extension

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Brandon Guyer #6 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates Rajai Davis #20 two-run home run during the eighth inning to tie the game 6-6 against the Chicago Cubs in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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The Cleveland Indians and outfielder Brandon Guyer avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year contract with a club option for 2019.

The Indians acquired Guyer from the Rays at last year’s trade deadline. After coming to Cleveland he posted a line of .333/.438/.469 in 38 games. He’s a .262/.349/.402 hitter over 344 games in five seasons in the bigs. He has led the league in being hit by pitches for the past two seasons, getting plunked 24 times in 2015 and 31 times in 2016. He went 6-for-18 with four walks and two HBPs in the playoffs for Cleveland. The man will work to get on base, my friends. And he can play all three outfield positions.

Nice signing.

Sarasota County to build the Braves a new spring training facility

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The Braves have trained at Walt Disney World for several years. The lease is up, however, and they’ve been on the hunt for a new facility for some time. Disney is just too geographically remote from most of the Grapefruit League facilities so they’ve looked on both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts for some time.

Their search appears to be over, however, as they have reached an agreement to move to Sarasota:

The Atlanta Braves formally plan to move the team’s spring training home to North Port in 2019, the team and Sarasota County announced Tuesday afternoon.

The announcement set the stage for final negotiations this spring on a contract to bring the Major League Baseball team to a new complex in the West Villages district just south of West Villages Parkway and U.S. 41, near the State College of Florida campus in North Port.

It’ll be a $75-$80 million complex on 70 acres. The story says it’s envisioned to anchor a “town center” commercial and residential district. If anyone has ever been to a spring training facility, however, one knows how ridiculous such an idea is. There is nothing more geographically un-centered and dispersed than a spring training facility. It’s a sea of open fields which private citizens generally cannot access and large parking lots. These facilities typically require major arteries, not quaint town streets, for reasonable access. The best any facilities do to integrate with surrounding communities can be seen in Fort Myers with the Twins and in Surprise, Arizona with the Rangers and Royals, where the facilities are part of larger community parks and recreation centers. That’s OK, and certainly better than nothing, but they’re not the anchors of the vibrant live/work/shop developments like the Braves and Sarasota are describing here.

But of course everyone involved has to say that, because selling such facilities as the engine of pie-in-the-sky development is a key part of making the large expenditure of public funds seem more palatable. And yes, there will be a big expenditure of public funds here: the Braves will be getting $56 million in taxpayer subsidies for the new place, some from the state, some from the county. The amount from the county, by the way, is calculated to fall just below the threshold required for a public vote on the expenditure. The Braves have always been blessed with the ability to avoid public votes for their corporate welfare, of course.

One wonders how many other wealthy private businesses owned by multinational corporations get tens of millions in tax dollars to build employee training centers. Not many, I’m sure. The Braves always seem to luck out in this regard, however.