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MLB News and Notes: March 30, 2019

Tatis Jr. Has Solid MLB Debut

While it is hard to envision that the San Diego Padres will be competitive for a postseason spot this year, it is at least worth noting that they are not holding back. In a day and age where most top prospects are kept down in the minors for a month or two to manipulate service time, the Padres have decided to start top prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. with the big club from day one. With Tatis Jr. at short and newly acquired Manny Machado at third, the Padres have a formidable left side of their infield for years to come.

At least for one day, the plan looked pretty good. On opening day, the Padres beat the San Francisco Giants 2-0. Tatis started his career 2 for 3 including flashing his speed with a bunt single (although he was also caught stealing during the game). For a team that has struggled to be relevant for years, it has been a nice offseason and a nice initial start to the season for San Diego.

More Extensions

It has certainly been busy couple weeks for general managers on the extension front. We have already seen major names like Mike Trout, Alex Bregman, Blake Snell, Eloy Jimenez, and Justin Verlander receive extensions with their respective teams and this last week has presented us with another quartet of players receiving longer deals. Let’s take a look at who got extensions this last week:

Paul Goldschmidt – Since being acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks, it has been rumored for quite some time that the Cardinals have been looking to extend the slugging first baseman (who would have been a free agent at the end of the season). The Cardinals got their wish as he will now be in Cardinal red for five years at a total of $130 million. While he got off to a slow start last season, Goldschmidt still finished the season hitting .290/.389/.533 with a .922 OPS. He also had 33 home runs, 83 runs batted in, 95 runs scored and 7 stolen bases.

Chris Sale – The Red Sox lefty ace has also signed a five-year contract extension worth $145 million. He will make $30 million for the first three after which he can opt out of the deal if he decides. Last year, Sale was 12-4 with a 2.11 ERA in 27 games. He also struck out 237 in 158 innings. Despite that, Sale did get roughed up on opening day, giving up 7 earned runs on 6 hits in 3 innings pitched. In the contest, he gave up 3 home runs in an eventual 12-4 loss to the Seattle Mariners.

Kyle Hendricks – The Chicago Cubs also locked up one of their best pitchers in Kyle Hendricks. He agreed to a four year, $55.5 million contract that will keep him in Cubby blue through 2023. Last year, Hendricks went 14-11 with a 3.44 ERA.

Jacob deGrom – The New York Mets have signed one of the best in the game to a contract extension. Ace Jacob deGrom has signed a four year, $120.5 million contract extension. Of that money, though, it is reported that $52.5 million is in deferred money. Still, the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner gets his payday and more financial security while remaining in New York.

A’s Get Kendry Morales

After losing first baseman Matt Olson for a couple of months with a hand injury, the Oakland Athletics have found their temporary replacement. On Thursday, the A’s made a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays for first baseman / designated hitter Kendry Morales. The Blue Jays are actually covering the majority of the contract still owed to Morales, but in return, get a minor leaguer (Jesus Lopez) and $1 million in international bonus money. Last season for the Blue Jays, Morales hit .249/.331/.438 with a .769 OPS. He also had 21 home runs, 57 runs batted in and 47 runs scored. While he is certainly a downgrade from Olson (especially defensively), Morales is still probably a tick better than other options that Oakland had. With the Blue Jays covering most of the money, it was probably a pretty easy decision for the A’s front office.

Steven Souza Jr. Out For The Year

Unfortunately, it just seems like Steven Souza Jr. cannot catch a break. After being limited to just 72 games last year with the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he hit .220/.309/.369 with 5 home runs and 29 runs batted in, Souza will now be out for the entire 2019 season. In one of the final spring training games, Souza Jr. suffered a massive injury to his left knee crossing home plate. Specifically, he tore his ACL, LCL, partially tore his PCL and posterolateral capsule. After signing a deal worth a little over $4 million this year, Souza had hoped for a bounce-back year. Instead, he will hope that successful surgeries might put him on track for 2020, although there is sadly no guarantee with that.

Marlins Cut Dan Straily

In a somewhat surprising move, the Miami Marlins have released right-handed pitcher Dan Straily. In what is likely a cost-cutting move, Straily will be able to sign with any club if he makes it through release waivers. Acquired for Luis Castillo (in a deal the Marlins would probably love to have back), Straily did not pitch terribly for the Marlins. Last year, he pitched to a 5-6 record with a 4.12 ERA over 23 games (he did deal with some arm issues last year). In total, he pitched 122.1 innings, allowing 107 hits and striking out 99. With the Marlins unable to find a trade partner, Straily will now be able to have some choice in where he ends up. While Straily may have been a better option than some others, the Marlins will now roll out a starting rotation of Jose Urena, Trevor Richards, Pablo Lopez, Sandy Alcantara, and Caleb Smith.

Dodgers Start Out Season With A Bang

No one would argue that the Los Angeles Dodgers have quite a bit of explosiveness on the offensive side. Having made it to the World Series for the last two years, they consistently show that they can get it done on both sides of the ball. Still, no one quite expected the offensive output that we saw on opening day. The Dodgers set an opening day record with a whopping eight home runs. Knowing that they opposed Zack Greinke makes it is all the more impressive. Corey Seager (1), Max Muncy (1), Cody Bellinger (1), Austin Barnes (1), Joc Pederson (2), and Kike Hernandez (2) all got in the action. This has to be a warm welcome for a team that traded away the likes of Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp while also not resigning Manny Machado this offseason. If they keep hitting like this, it is very feasible that they could be making an appearance in their third straight World Series.

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