Kansas City has added a pair of bench players by acquiring catcher Humberto Quintero and outfielder Jason Bourgeois from the Astros for minor leaguer Kevin Chapman and a player to be named later.
Quintero became expendable in Houston with Jason Castro back from injury and veteran Chris Snyder signed this offseason, but his ineptitude offensively makes him little more than a mediocre backup. He’ll split time behind the plate with Brayan Pena until Salvador Perez returns from knee surgery around midseason.
Bourgeois brings speed and defense to a fourth outfielder role, but he’s 30 years old and has hit just .262 with two homers and a .631 OPS in 192 games as a big leaguer. His minor-league production isn’t a whole lot better, so presumably he’ll back up Lorenzo Cain rather than steal his playing time.
Chapman was the Royals’ fourth-round pick in 2010 and has racked up impressive strikeout numbers in the low minors, so he’s a pretty solid haul for a pair of bench guys regardless of who the PTBNL turns out to be.
Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.
The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.
The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.
In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.