Jacoby Ellsbury will start Yankees’ spring training finale

15 Comments

Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that Yankees manager Joe Girardi plans to write Jacoby Ellsbury’s name in the starting lineup when the Yankees wrap up spring training against the Marlins at George Steinbrenner Field in Tampa on Saturday afternoon. Ellsbury has been dealing with a tight right calf since the middle of March, but if everything goes well on Saturday, he should be ready for Opening Day.

The Yankees signed the 30-year-old Ellsbury to a seven-year, $153 million contract in December. He has had injury problems in the past, playing in more than 75 games in just two of his previous four seasons. When he is healthy, however, he can be quite productive. The outfielder has led the league in stolen bases three times and joined the 30-homer club in 2011, when he was a runner-up in the AL MVP race to Justin Verlander.

Announcement: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $100,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Opening Day’s games (March 31). It’s $25 to join and first prize is $15,000. Starts at 1:05pm ET on Opening Day. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Reds ink Oliver Perez to a minor-league deal

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Reds have signed free agent reliever Oliver Perez to a minor-league contract, the team announced Saturday. The deal comes with a major-league invite and could be worth $1.25 million if Perez secures a roster spot this spring, with an additional $500,000 in potential performance bonuses.

Perez, 36, is coming off of a two-year run with the Nationals. He produced a 4.64 ERA, 3.3 BB/9 an d10.6 SO/9 through 50 relief appearances and 33 innings with the club in 2017. The veteran lefty hasn’t kept an ERA under 4.00 in at least four seasons, but he continues to be undeniably solid against left-handed batters, holding them to a .227/.301/.364 batting line over 18 1/3 innings last year.

While returning southpaw Wandy Peralta appears to have locked down a bullpen spot already, Perez will still compete for another role against fellow left-handers Cody Reed and Amir Garrett, both of whom also have experience in the rotation. If Perez doesn’t break camp with the team, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon notes, he’ll be permitted to opt out of his contract. The Reds are currently looking to bounce back from a dismal performance in 2017, one in which their bullpen ranked 28th among major league teams with a collective 5.63 ERA and -1.2 fWAR.