It appears Hanley Ramirez will reach free agency.
Dodgers president Stan Kasten told Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times that contract talks with the injury-prone 30-year-old shortstop have been tabled until after the 2014 season. “Both sides have agreed we’ll sit down and talk at the end of the season and decide,” said Kasten. “We both decided that makes the most sense. As difficult a season as he’s had physically, there is still lots of time for him to have an enormous impact for us. … We love Hanley.”
Ramirez has appeared in only 100 of the Dodgers’ 125 games this year and is currently on the disabled list with an oblique strain. He has also batted just .277/.367/.455 in 2013, way down from his outstanding .345/.402/.638 batting line from 2014.
CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported in May that Hanley was seeking a deal worth in excess of $130 million. The Dodgers are flush with cash, but that’s still a really risky commitment for a guy who has struggled to stay on the field and whose defense at shortstop is already questionable and not going to get better.
The Dodgers have a fast-moving top shortstop prospect in their system named Corey Seager.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.
There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.
Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.