Report: Blue Jays interested in Francisco Rodriguez

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The Blue Jays were linked to Francisco Rodriguez when he was a free agent over the winter and now Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun reports that the team has been in contact with the Brewers about a potential trade.

After posting a 3.04 ERA and 73/18 K/BB ratio in 69 appearances with Milwaukee last season, the 33-year-old Rodriguez has a 1.13 ERA with 26 strikeouts and seven walks over 24 innings so far this year. He’s a perfect 13-for-13 in save chances. The Brewers figure to be one of only a handful of sellers in advance of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, so Rodriguez would appear to be an obvious candidate to be moved. Brett Cecil is functioning as Toronto’s closer right now, but he has only had seven save chances all season and owns a 4.50 ERA over 25 appearances. An upgrade makes sense.

Rodriguez is under contract for $5.5 million this season and his contract includes a $6 million option or $4 million buyout for 2016.

With Aaron Sanchez on the disabled list due to a lat injury, Elliott hears that the Blue Jays are also in the market for a starting pitcher.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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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.