Twins prospect Miguel Sano is fully recovered from the Tommy John elbow surgery that caused him to miss all of last season.
Director of minor league operations Brad Steil told Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press that Sano “is doing pretty much everything” and “is able to do everything in the workouts.”
Now the big question is whether he’ll be able to re-establish himself as a third baseman long term, because even before the elbow injury there were questions about Sano’s massive size possibly forcing him to an outfield corner or first base.
Last year, before the injury, Sano ranked as a top-10 prospect according to both Baseball America and MLB.com. Even after missing an entire season he remains a consensus top-20 prospect and if everything goes according to plan he could be hitting in the middle of the Twins’ lineup at some point this year.
All the talk of John Lackey possibly balking at playing out the final year of his unique, Red Sox-negotiated contract for just $500,000 after being traded to the Cardinals proved to be nothing.
He’s set to earn the minimum salary for 2015 and Lackey is also interested in signing an extension to remain with the Cardinals beyond this season, telling Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch:
If it’s something that works for both sides. I would like it. This group of guys … this organization … it’s a great place to be and it’s something I would entertain for sure.
Lackey also added that “nothing is close,” so for now it’s just an idea. Lackey made $15.25 million in 2013 and that would be a lot closer to his likely per-season asking price for a potential contract extension, although at age 36 the Cardinals would no doubt want to limit the number of years.
Lackey has a 3.67 ERA in 60 starts since returning from the Tommy John elbow surgery that cost him all of 2012, including a 4.30 ERA and 48/15 K/BB ratio in 10 starts for the Cardinals down the stretch last year.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com the Dodgers are “showing interest in” free agent reliever Joba Chamberlain, which makes some sense following the news that Los Angeles closer Kenley Jansen needs foot surgery.
Chamberlain hasn’t been linked to many teams via free agency and it’s hard to imagine the Dodgers trusting him as a fill-in closer, but for a middle relief gig he’d be a solid pickup after throwing 63 innings with a 3.57 ERA and 59/24 K/BB ratio for the Tigers last season.
Wednesday there was some speculation that the Dodgers would try to sign Francisco Rodriguez, but given his reported price tag of $10 million and the fact that Jansen may only miss a month or so of the regular season a cheaper option might be a better fit.
Cole Hamels trade rumors have been swirling all offseason, but now the Phillies left-hander has indicated that he’d like to leave Philadelphia for a team ready to contend.
As part of a lengthy interview with Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the 31-year-old ace revealed:
I just want to win. That’s all. That’s all any competitor wants. And I know it’s not going to happen here. This isn’t what I expected. It’s not what the Phillies expected, either. But it’s reality.
Nightengale makes it clear that Hamels is not demanding a trade, but based on his quotes it’s tough not to conclude that he’d prefer one and he admitted: “I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was checking the internet to see the latest.”
Nightengale goes so far as to say that Hamels “is just as eager as the Phillies’ front office to move on.” The problem, of course, is that “moving on” depends on general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. accepting another team’s offer for Hamels and actually pulling the trigger on a trade that will provide the Phillies with young talent needed to rebuild.
Hamels is under contract for another four years and $96 million. He has a 20-team no-trade clause, but indicated to Nightengale that he’d accept a move to several of the teams on his list at this point:
There’s no better feeling than winning, and we enjoyed that for a long time in Philadelphia. I just want to win again. I’m no different than other guys. You just want to be in a position to win.
Phillies fans may not like to hear it, but there isn’t going to be much winning in Philadelphia for a while and both sides will probably be better off parting ways. Hamels’ quotes may be the final push that gets a deal done.
First the Rockies moved him out from behind the plate, taking away the starting catching job, and now they’ve defeated Wilin Rosario in an arbitration hearing.
That means Rosario will earn $2.8 million this season rather than his $3.3 million request.
Rosario hit .267 with 13 homers and a .739 OPS in 106 games last season after posting a combined .820 OPS during the previous two years. He also threw out just 16 percent of steal attempts and led the league with 12 passed balls in 824 innings at catcher.
He may catch some this season, but expect to see Rosario some at first base and possibly other positions as well. And presumably the Rockies would love to trade him.