While the early part of this season has produced some fantastic and exciting baseball on the field, there is plenty of news off the field as well. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest stories around Major League Baseball from the past few days.
Ian Happ Signs Extension
The Chicago Cubs have been busy trying to sign some of their younger players to extensions in the early part of the season. After having already signed Nico Hoerner to a three-year deal recently, they signed Ian Happ to an extension on Wednesday.
Playing in the last season of his current contract, Happ signed a three-year extension worth $61 million. Some are surprised that Happ settled for a shorter deal with free agency on the horizon, but the Cubs and Happ seem to be happy with the agreement.
At 28-years-old, Happ has experience playing in both the outfield and the infield. Last year, in 573 at bats, he hit .271/.342/.440 with 17 home runs, 72 runs batted in, 72 runs scored, and nine stolen bases.
Through 11 games this season, he is hitting .282/.429/.462 with a home run, six runs batted in, seven runs scored, and a stolen base.
Chicago currently sits 6-5 overall, 1.5 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central. The Cubs currently have the third-best odds of winning the division at +1300.
While it remains to be seen how well they compete this season, the Cubs have done a nice job of securing two pieces that could help form the nucleus of the next Cubs’ contender.
Ian Anderson To Have Tommy John Surgery, Arcia Hits IL
Between some inconsistent starts from some of the young guys and injuries throughout, the Atlanta Braves’ starting rotation has taken some hits in the early part of the season. Their depth took another hit on Tuesday as it was announced that pitcher Ian Anderson will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the entire 2023 season.
The 24-year-old Anderson struggled a bit in 2022, going 10-6, but sporting a 5.00 ERA. Still, he is just two years removed from going 9-5 with a 3.58 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and 124 strikeouts in 128.1 innings in 2021.
While Anderson had not made a start with the Braves this season, it was expected that he would likely have been called up at some point over the course of the season.
Now, the young righty will have to wait until at least some point next season to get his career back on track.
In other injury news, the Braves put shortstop Orlando Arcia on the injured list after suffering a microfracture in his left wrist. Prospect Vaughn Grissom was recalled in his place.
In 45 at bats, Arcia has been outstanding, hitting .333/.400/.511 with a couple home runs, seven runs batted in, and 10 runs scored. A timetable has not been set for his return, but he will be out for the foreseeable future.
As for the Braves, they sit 9-4 overall and lead the NL East by two games in the early part of the season.
Atlanta has the best odds currently of winning the NL East at -185, and they have the best odds of winning the World Series this year at +650.
Springs Leaves Game With Ulnar Neuritis
The Tampa Bay Rays are off to a historic start, having gone undefeated in their first 13 games. A big part of that is their pitching, which ranks first in Major League Baseball with a 2.17 ERA.
Unfortunately, their rotation might have taken a hit on Thursday as lefty Jeffrey Springs was forced to leave the game early with what the Rays are describing as ulnar neuritis.
Spring is set for more testing, but this would certainly be a blow to the Rays’ rotation. IN two games, he is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA, 0.54 WHIP, and he has 19 strikeouts in 13 innings.
Tampa Bay has the fifth-best odds of winning this year’s World Series at +1000.