As Saturday turned to Sunday last night, MLB’s free agency period officially kicked off.
It’s hot stove season and we’ll be digging up and dissecting rumors all winter long here on Hardball Talk.
In the meantime, HBT’s own Matthew Pouliot has ranked this offseason’s Top 111 Free Agents. A refresher:
And here’s the Top 10 with Rangers ace Cliff Lee leading the pack. He turned in a gorgeous 3.18 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in 28 starts this season, striking out 185 batters in 212.1 innings and walking only 18. The Yankees are almost certain to try for him and Texas will try desperately to keep him. The Red Sox may get involved, too.
Carl Crawford is another impressive name on the free agent market this winter. He has speed, a great defensive glove, a fantastic swing built to make contact and even a little pop. The 29-year-old finished with a .307/.356/.495 batting line and 19 home runs over 154 games this year and is expected to draw interest from the Red Sox, Angels and other big spenders.
Bad news for the Cubs’ Yu Darvish: The right-hander is headed back to the disabled list with right triceps tendinitis, the team announced Saturday. It’s the second such assignment for Darvish this season, but the first time he’s been sidelined with arm issues. Neither the severity of his injury nor a concrete timeframe for his recovery has been revealed yet, but the move is retroactive to May 23 and will allow him to come off the DL by June 2, assuming all goes well.
Prior to the injury, Darvish went 1-3 in eight starts with a 4.95 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 through 40 innings. Needless to say, these aren’t the kind of results the Cubs were hoping to see after inking the righty to a six-year, $126 million contract back in February, though the circumstances affecting his performances appear to have largely been out of his control. He missed a start in early May after coming down with the flu and has struggled to pitch beyond the fifth inning in five of his eight starts to date.
The Cubs recalled left-hander Randy Rosario from Triple-A Iowa in a corresponding move. Rosario has yet to amass more than five career innings in the majors, but has impressed at Triple-A so far this year: he maintained an 0.97 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 6.1 SO/9 through 19 1/3 innings in 2018. As for Darvish’s next scheduled turn in the rotation, Tyler Chatwood is lined up to take the mound when the Cubs face off against the Giants in the series finale on Sunday. A starter for Monday night’s game has yet to be determined.