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Spring Training MLB News Roundup

They may be only spring training games, but baseball games are back this week. With the excitement of Opening Day about a month away, teams are ramping up and setting their sights on a 2021 World Series title.  

While most attention is on the field, there is still plenty of news behind the scenes. Here are some of the biggest stories from the week.

Jose Abreu Late To Camp Due To Positive COVID-19 Test

The reigning AL MVP has yet to report to White Sox camp, and earlier this week, we found out why. Jose Abreu has been out due to COVID-19 testing. It appears that he tested positive for antibodies, indicating that he may have had the virus at some point in the recent past. According to general manager Rick Hahn, Abreu believes he may have had it in January; however, he is completely asymptomatic.

With a month before the regular season starts, there is plenty of time to get the veteran caught up, but the Chicago White Sox are looking forward to getting their star first baseman back after the season he had last year. In 240 at-bats last season, he hit .317/.370/.617 with 19 home runs, 60 runs batted in, and 43 runs scored.

The White Sox should be a dynamic group this season. In addition to bringing back a core of stars, they added starter Lance Lynn and closer Liam Hendricks to help shore up the pitching staff.

They are currently the favorites to win the AL Central at -125 and are +850 to win the World Series this season.

JBJ Is Best Remaining Free Agent

While most of the big free agents have signed and are at spring training with their new teams, one big free agent remains. Jackie Bradley Jr. is the top remaining free agent on the market, and there does not seem to be any immediate traction on a landing spot for the outfielder.

The Scott Boras client may have priced himself out of the market early on as he is believed to have wanted a four-year deal worth as much as $16 million per year, but at this point, he may have to settle for something smaller.

Teams like the Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, and Houston Astros have all been linked to the centerfielder at points throughout the offseason, but each of them may be content with other options.

Last season, with the Red Sox, Bradley hit .283/.364/.450 with seven home runs, 22 runs batted in, 32 runs scored, and five stolen bases in 191 at-bats.

Giants Agree To Deal With Scott Kazmir

To give depth to their pitching staff, the San Francisco Giants have agreed to a minor-league deal with lefty pitcher Scott Kazmir. The deal is a low risk as it is just worth $600,000 if he makes the big club, but the Giants are hoping to catch lightning in a bottle with the once serviceable Kazmir.

Realistically, it is a bit of a long shot for the 37-year-old Kazmir, as he has not pitched in the majors since 2016. With the Los Angeles Dodgers, he went 10-6 with a 4.56 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, and struck out 134 in 136.1 innings.  

A three-time All-Star, Kazmir has had his ups and downs in his career due to injuries. Still, in a recent throwing session, he was throwing in the low 90’s, so it isn’t a bad gamble for the Giants for less than a million dollars

San Francisco is +5000 to win a loaded NL West and is +11000 to win the World Series.

Snitker and Braves Agree To Extension

Atlanta Braves’ general manager Alex Anthopoulos announced that the team had extended manager Brian Snitker through the 2023 season with a club option for 2024.

The Atlanta Braves’ skipper has been in the position since 2016 when he took over after the team let go of then-manager Fredi Gonzalez. The Braves have won three straight division titles under his helm, including going 35-25 last season, winning the division by four games over the Marlins.

With Marcell Ozuna’s re-signing and adding starter Charlie Morton, expectations once again are high for the Braves this season. They are currently +140 to win the NL East and +1000 to win the World Series.

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