CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman writes that the Blue Jays have free agent Francisco Rodriguez on their radar, but they are “trying to trade for a closer first.”
Who could the Blue Jays be targeting? There are a couple of notable possibilities out there. Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun reported during the Winter Meetings that they were interested in Royals closer Greg Holland. Holland’s teammate, Wade Davis, is also believed to be on the block. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported earlier this month that the Nationals were shopping set-up man Tyler Clippard. He’d be a pretty nice fit too.
Rodriguez isn’t a bad alternative if they can’t find a match on the trade front. He had a 3.04 ERA with 44 saves and a 73/18 K/BB ratio over 66 innings with the Brewers in 2014. He’ll turn 33 next week.
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.