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MLB News And Notes

MLB News And Notes

While some interesting free agents are still available, the cupboard is getting a little bare when it comes to top-shelf talent. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the significant signings from the week and other news from around Major League Baseball.

Cubs Nab Last Premier Shortstop

After having seen the likes of Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts, and Carlos Correa already signed, Dansby Swanson stood alone as the last premier shortstop still available in free agency. According to David Kaplan of NBC Sports Chicago, that changed on Saturday.

It appears that the Chicago Cubs are finalizing a deal to sign the 28-year-old. According to Russell Dorsey of BallySports, the contract will be for $177 million over seven years and also features a full no-trade clause for the life of the deal.

Last year, with the Atlanta Braves, Swanson was remarkable, hitting .277/.329/.447 with 25 home runs, 96 runs batted in, and 99 runs scored. He also added 18 stolen bases.

Chicago hopes his signing will help a team that ranked 22nd in scoring, averaging 4.06 runs per game last season.

The Cubs have been busy this offseason as they have also inked Jameson Taillon, Cody Bellinger, Brad Boxberger, and now Swanson.

Even with the active offseason, they are considered long shots to win the World Series next season, as their odds currently sit at just +5500.

White Sox Bring In Left Fielder

Moving from the North to the Southside of Chicago, the White Sox also brought in a big free agent this week by agreeing to a five-year, $75 million deal with left fielder Andrew Benintendi.

Last season, the 28-year-old hit .304/.373/.399 with five home runs, 51 runs batted in, and 54 runs scored with both the Kansas City Royals and New York Yankees.

Benintendi, who hit 20 home runs in his first full season back in 2017, has reinvented his swing, turning from more of a power threat to a high-contact hitter. This is evident in the fact that this was the first season he hit above .300, but he also had a significant drop-off in power numbers.

His approach is a good thing for the White Sox. They already feature a number of free swingers, and Benintendi should help balance the lineup both from a lefty-righty standpoint and with his approach.

Last year, the White Sox struggled as they finished just 81-81, 11 games behind the Cleveland Guardians in the AL Central. Offensively, they ranked 18th, averaging 4.23 runs per game.

With a new manager leading the way (Pedro Grifol), the White Sox hopes to bounce back to compete with the Guardians in the division.

They are currently tied for the 11th-best odds of winning the World Series next season at +2500.

Dodgers Bring In Veteran Slugger

The Los Angeles Dodgers have been surprisingly quiet this offseason, but they did bring in a veteran bat on Saturday. According to Robert Murray of FanSided, the Dodgers agreed to a one-year deal with slugger J.D. Martinez.

At 35 years old, Martinez’s best days are certainly behind him, but he hit .274/.341/.448 with 16 home runs, 62 batted in, and 76 runs scored in 533 at bats last season.

While he might not be the 43 homers and 130 runs batted-in type slugger he was back in 2018, Martinez should still provide stability and depth to the designated hitter role for Dave Roberts and the Dodgers.
Despite their quiet offseason, the Dodgers are still one of the favorites to win the World Series. They have the third-best odds to do so at +750.

Pirates Bring In Veteran Catcher

In a more minor deal this week, the Pittsburgh Pirates have brought in veteran Austin Hedges on a one-year deal to solidify the catcher position.

With Cleveland last year, Hedges hit just .163/.241/.248 in 294 at-bats, but his defensive approach still makes him appealing for the Pirates.

The Pirates are still a long way from competing as they are tied for the third-worst odds of winning the World Series (+20000), but management is still trying to take strides in contending and hope Hedges can help a pitching staff that ranked 26th last season in ERA at 4.66.

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