Cincinnati is currently 12 1/2 games back of St. Louis in the National League Central standings, so it’s a near certainty that the club will be sellers at the July 31 deadline. Johnny Cueto is an impending free agent and a tremendous trade chip. He’s as good as gone. Brandon Phillips has an expensive contract and is not aging gracefully. He could go. There’s even word that Aroldis Chapman may be dealt.
Now comes word from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal that some members of the Giants front office have been scouting Reds right-hander Mike Leake, who is making $9.775 million in his final year of salary arbitration. The 27-year-old has posted a solid 3.95 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in 974 career innings while making half of his starts in one of the least pitcher-friendly home parks in the major leagues.
He’d make sense as an innings-eater for just about any contending team.
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.