The Mariners are “cautiously optimistic” they will also sign Nelson Cruz


The Mariners have reportedly agreed to a two-year, $14 million contract with reliever Fernando Rodney, but it sounds like their eventful winter isn’t over yet:

We have heard the Mariners connected to Cruz for most of the offseason, so this isn’t a big surprise. A match has almost seemed inevitable at times. While the Mariners could certainly use his right-handed power bat for the middle of their lineup, his market has been slow to develop this winter for a number of reasons. In addition to him being attached to draft pick compensation, there are concerns about his age, defense, and injury history, as well as how he’ll perform following his PED suspension.

The Mariners have already added Robinson Cano, Corey Hart, and Logan Morrison this offseason. Bringing in Rodney and Cruz wouldn’t guarantee them anything, but it would sure make them more interesting. And heck, after giving a barrel of money to Cano, they might as well go for it.

Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for Red Sox

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No surprise here: Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. The Red Sox open the season on March 29 in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Sale will oppose Chris Archer.

Sale, 28, is the fifth different Opening Day starter the Red Sox have had in as many years, preceded by Rick Porcello, David Price, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. Sale started on Opening Day for the White Sox in 2013, ’14, and ’16.

Sale finished second in AL Cy Young Award balloting last year and finished ninth for AL MVP. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and a 308/43 K/BB ratio in 214 1/3 innings. Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strike out 300 or more batters in a season dating back to 2003.