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Julio Urias is heading back to the minor leagues

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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said rookie lefty Julio Urias will likely be optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City today.

This is a bit earlier than expected, but the demotion and eventual shut down of Urias this year was expected. He’s the top prospect in the organization and he’s never pitched more than 87.2 innings in a season. Between Triple-A and the bigs he’s at 77.1 innings for 2016 now, so he’ll get some bullpen duty in Oklahoma and, likely, will not continuing pitching without considerable rest for the entire season.

As an experiment, Urias in the bigs was a mixed bag. He was below average to be sure, but he’s painfully young and pitched in some bad luck at times as well. Until giving up five runs in less than four innings to the Orioles yesterday, he had been showing some progress. Ultimately, however, his not being dominant in the bigs was probably a blessing for his long term development, as there was not a compelling reason to keep him in the rotation in order to help the Dodgers’ chances of catching the Giants in the NL West.

Given his stuff and his minor league track record, there is every reason to believe that Urias will be an asset for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Just not in 2016.

Report: Angels and Anthony Rendon agree on seven-year, $245 million contract

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Another big free agent domino has fallen at the Winter Meetings in San Diego. Third baseman Anthony Rendon is signing with the Angels on seven-year, $245 million contract, per Jon Heyman.

Rendon, 29, was the top free agent position player. He’s coming off of a season in which he helped the Nationals win their first championship, batting .319/.412/.598 with a league-high 126 RBI and an NL-best 44 doubles along with 34 home runs and 117 runs scored in 646 plate appearances. Rendon also continued to play solid defense at third base. During the postseason, Rendon hit .328/.412/.590 with seven doubles, three homers, 15 RBI, and 11 runs scored in 75 trips to the plate.

The Angels badly needed to make a big free agent splash this offseason, and third base was as good a place as any to do it. Rendon will now slot easily into the middle of the Angels’ lineup along with Mike Trout. It remains to be seen if the Angels are done making moves, but they could use a corner outfielder and another starting pitcher.

Humorously, Rendon has said he’d like to retire by age 35, as Jesse Daugherty of the Washington Post alluded to on the Nationals Talk Podcast. This contract will take him through his age-36 season.