Glad tidings to you all on this Monday morning, which is an abbreviated week for many. Typically this isn’t the most bustling week for news items, but we’ve got a few nice morsels to kick things off with all the same, and we’ll have some of our Moments of the Decade posts on the site throughout the week for your enjoyment.
In Mariners news...
- Not many Mariners players are active in winter leagues this year, sadly, but Eric Filia is staying hot in the Dominican Winter League playoffs.
Around the league...
- With Dallas Keuchel off the board, another enticing lefty has been scooped up.
BREAKING: Left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu and the Toronto Blue Jays are in agreement on a four-year, $80 million contract, sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 23, 2019
Hyun-Jin Ryu to the Blue Jays isn’t a total shocker, as Toronto was consistently connected to the larger name pitchers all winter, but it’s still a surprise to see a non-contender scoop up a quality player after the past couple offseasons. Ryu’s injury history is as spotty as they come, but he’s been nothing but effective when on the mound, and was a Cy Young frontrunner last year. He also represented the last starter clearly better than a No. 5 option in free agency, putting several pitching-thin contenders in a bind. The Blue Jays, for their part, still track well behind the Yankees, Rays, and Red Sox in the AL East, but project to return to the league’s middle class, now with a youthful core in place of their aging one of a couple years prior.
- Ryu, who will be 33 in March, reportedly has a full no-trade clause.
- Yesterday we reported on MLB’s >$10 billion in revenue. Today, Scott Boras has eclipsed the $1 billion mark in cumulative guaranteed money over the life of the contracts negotiated this winter.
- Toronto made another move as well, inking INF Travis Shaw, likely to split time between 1B and 3B with Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Travis Shaw agrees to a one-year, $4M deal with Toronto, per source. Incentives: $175K for 350 PA, and an additional $125K each for 400/450/500/550 PA. Max value of $4.675M. @jonmorosi 1st with Shaw to Toronto.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) December 22, 2019
- In David Laurila’s Sunday Notes for FanGraphs, he hears about Willie Calhoun’s adjustments, Eric Lauer’s frustrations with the rabbit ball, and how Kyle Freeland hopes to adjust after a dismal season.
- Hannah Keyser of Yahoo Sports rails against the scoop economy of MLB’s breaking news and rumor mill actors.
- Andrew Mearns of Baseball Prospectus ($) tries to figure out why on earth the Milwaukee sports bar in Love Actually has a Chicago White Sox logo as well as multiple bits of Texas-based Midland RockHounds paraphernalia.
- Joe Rivera of Sporting News raises his eyebrows at the roster churn of the Diamondbacks.
- In a free piece from BP, Roger Cormier investigated the variety of verbiage announcers use in the worst blowouts of their seasons.
- With pitching flying off the board, the Angels have worrisome news coming out on their scintillating two-way star Shohei Ohtani.
Billy Eppler said Shohei Ohtani hasn’t been shut down from throwing, but they’re ramping things down with him. They’re still discussing his 2020 usage, including potentially delaying his start to the season on the mound, and should have something more concrete in early January.— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) December 21, 2019
- Hard to call a speculative tweet news, but Jon Heyman notes that with the pitching market thinning up, the Mariners might be pushed more firmly by offers on Marco Gonzales.
Teams that still seek a starter: Twins, Dodgers, Angels, Padres, Phillies, possibly Brewers, Braves. Starters whose names are heard on market: Price, Ray, Boyd, Clevinger, Happ, speculatively Archer, Matz/Stroman, M. Gonzales, Quintana. Should be a wild scramble.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 23, 2019
- Heyman also noted there’s been talks between the Brewers and Yankees on a Josh Hader swap, with Miguel Andujar as New York’s preferred starting trade chip.
- Bradford Doolittle at ESPN+ ($) has a ranking of MLB’s rotations as the free agent market now has made its major impacts.
- The Padres nabbed former first round pick Pierce Johnson, who was a lights-out reliever in the NPB in 2019 after a couple underwhelming shots in MLB.
Right-hander Pierce Johnson is in agreement with the San Diego Padres on a two-year, $5 million deal with a club option for a third year, sources tell ESPN. Johnson, 28, was absolutely dominant for the Hanshin Tigers in 2019 and returns to MLB a year later on a multiyear deal.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 23, 2019
- Jen McCaffrey of The Athletic spoke with Red Sox manager Alex Cora about his trip to the U.K. to study Liverpool.
- It looks like the Marlins are close to signing veteran C Francisco Cervelli.
- Per Mike Ozanian of Forbes, the reported impending sale of the Mets to billionaire Steve Cohen is not as straightforward as it seems. Part of the reason? The team has around $350 million of debt.
- Meanwhile, the Mets did... something with their holiday video.
From our family to yours, happy holidays! ❄️ pic.twitter.com/J7xYaNEh9o— New York Mets (@Mets) December 20, 2019
My friends and I spent some time together this weekend, and we prepared a list of five songs that were our Songs of Our Year, with small explanations on why those five made the list for us. The reasoning could be whatever felt right - they could simply be your five favorite songs this year (though they did not need to be released this year, just listened to/resonated most with). If there were songs that meant more, however, they could be included for any reason that mattered to them.
I would love to hear what five make the cut for y’all, and why!