MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that the Angels have received interest in closer Bud Norris and right-handed relievers David Hernandez and Yusmeiro Petit and could trade any of the three by the non-waiver deadline on Monday. Norris’ inclusion in the group isn’t too surprising given that the Angels are expected to be sellers this season, though it’s the first time he’s been linked to any concrete trade rumors this summer. He stands to make $1.75 million in 2017 and will enter free agency in 2018.
The 32-year-old righty has bounced back after a rough campaign with the Braves and Dodgers in 2016, during which he went 6-10 with a 5.10 ERA in 35 appearances for the two clubs. The Angels converted him to a full-time bullpen role in 2017 and have seen decent results from the veteran pitcher, including 15 saves, a career-best 3.12 ERA, 4.0 BB/9 and an impressive 11.4 SO/9 over 40 1/3 innings.
No serious suitor has emerged for the closer’s services just yet, however, and Feinsand adds that there have only been preliminary talks concerning the Angels’ relievers. One possible landing spot could be the Red Sox, though SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo says they’re likely to pursue David Hernandez after previously expressing strong interest in the right-hander.
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.