According to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, the Dodgers have reached an agreement on a contract with Marcus Thames. No word on the specific terms involved, but the deal could be finalized by as soon as tomorrow.
Thames, who turns 34 in March, batted .288/.350/.491 with 12 home runs, 33 RBI and .841 OPS in 237 plate appearances with the Yankees last season. He’ll presumably be used as part of a platoon in left field, most likely with the left-handed hitting Jay Gibbons. Thames, a right-handed hitter, has thrived as a lefty-masher during his career, compiling a .264/.333/.505 batting line and an .838 OPS against southpaws.
The Dodgers had reportedly considered a plan that would have moved the recently-signed Tony Gwynn Jr. to center field, bumping Matt Kemp to right field and Andre Ethier to left field, but the addition of Thames signifies that they are now prepared to throw caution to the wind defensively.
The Cardinals have selected right-hander Miles Mikolas as their Opening Day starter, the club revealed Saturday. It’ll mark the first career Opening Day start for Mikolas, who is scheduled to go up against the Brewers when the team hits the road on March 28.
The 29-year-old righty was a strong contender for the 2018 NL Cy Young Award, earning All-Star distinctions and pitching to a career-best 18-4 record with a 2.83 ERA, 1.3 BB/9, 6.5 SO/9, and 4.3 fWAR over 200 2/3 innings. He’s positioned to lead the Cardinals rotation in 2019 as well, with former Opening Day starters Carlos Martínez and Adam Wainwright and some combination of right-handers Jack Flaherty, Michael Wacha, Alex Reyes, and John Gant behind him.
Manager Mike Shildt told reporters that Flaherty, Wacha, Wainwright, and Martínez had all been considered for the honor, but admitted that Opening Day honors were ultimately handed to Mikolas “in recognition of [his performance] last year.” The Cardinals are scheduled to play a four-game set against the Brewers to start the season and will stop over in Pittsburgh for another two games before returning to St. Louis for their opening homestand against the Padres on April 4. Additional pitching assignments have yet to be announced.