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The New York Yankees didn't extend a one-year, $17.8 million qualifying offer to shortstop Didi Gregorius and aren't expected to aggressively pursue re-signing him. The Yankees are comfortable with Gleyber Torres at shortstop and DJ LeMahieu at the keystone, but there's still the possibility that Gregorius returns at a discount price. Gregorius proved his health after coming back from Tommy John surgery in June, but he didn't exactly tear the cover off the baseball in the second half of the season. The Reds are already connected to the 29-year-old. The shortstop hit just .238 with a .276 on-base percentage in 2019, but he does have some pop at his position. Gregorius could bounce back next season if he's healthy, but his value will depend on where he lands. If he's back in the Bronx, he might not even have an everyday role.
New York Yankees relief pitcher Zach Britton will be the teams primary closer if closer Aroldis Chapman isnt ready for the start of the season, according to manager Aaron Boone. Chapman was diagnosed with coronavirus on Saturday and has been showing symptoms, so fantasy owners should expect Britton to start the season as the closer for the Yankees. An elite reliever with a 1.83 ERA since 2014, Britton becomes a strong value pick at his 498 ADP. Even if Chapman only misses the first week of the season, Britton should be a top-tier fantasy closer during that time, making Britton draftable around pick 200 or earlier depending on Chapman's recovery.
Seattle Mariners relief pitcher Gerson Bautista hit 101 mph with a fastball during an intrasquad game on Saturday, but his next pitch came out at 94 mph and he threw one more pitch before something looked wrong. Athletic trainer Rob Nodine came to the mound to check with Bautista before they both walked off moments later. The 25-year-old appeared to be favoring his right arm when he left. Bautista made just eight appearances (two starts) for the M's in 2019, allowing 11 earned runs and walking nine in nine innings. He allowed six earned runs in 4 1/3 innings in five outings with the Mets in 2018 and was just hoping to make the team this year. By the looks of it, Bautista won't be ready by July 24. Stay tuned for updates.
New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (head) played catch on Saturday for the second time since suffering a concussion one week before. Tanaka is still in the concussion protocol and the Yankees are taking his recovery slowly, but the 31-year-old is reportedly acting like his normal self and has been progressing well. Manager Aaron Boone hasnt placed a timetable on Tanakas return, but it seems like hell begin pitching again within the next week, putting him in line to miss no more than one start to begin the season.
New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge (neck) has had his stiff neck attributed to sleeping wrong, and the team is optimistic that the 28-year-old will be back in the lineup on Sunday. Judge was held out of Saturdays intrasquad game with a stiff neck, but manager Aaron Boone isnt particularly worried and expects Judges absence to be brief. It makes sense that the Yankees are being extra cautious with Judge, but fantasy owners should wait for Judge to get back in the lineup before drafting him to be certain that his stiff neck isnt related to the stress fracture in his rib.
Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Zach Eflin (back) is day-to-day with back spasms and has yet to face hitters in game situations in summer camp, according to manager Joe Girardi. If he's ready for the start of the regular season, Eflin projects to be the club's No. 4 starter. The 26-year-old right-hander had a career-low 4.13 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 129 strikeouts and 48 walks in 32 games (28 starts) over 163 1/3 innings. He can be very inconsistent on a start-to-start basis and his career 6.8 K/9 leaves a lot to be desired from fantasy owners. Eflin will need to pitch well throughout the year to keep his rotation spot, and the fact that he's behind the other pitchers with less than two weeks to go until Opening Day isn't good. You can find better options with more upside late in deep mixed drafts.
San Diego Padres second baseman Brian Dozier isn't expected to be added to the team's 60-man player pool in the upcoming week, meaning he can opt out of his contract on July 18. Instead of Dozier, it seems likely the Padres will add a relief pitcher in the wake of recent injuries to Jose Castillo (lat) and Trey Wingenter (elbow). The Friars player pool currently sits at 54 players, but it remains unlikely that they'll fill all 60 spots in the coming week. Dozier, 33, was an All-Star with the Twins in 2015 when he hit .236 with 28 home runs and 12 steals, and he also had a career-high 42 round-trippers the year after. But the power has disappeared the last couple of seasons and the strikeouts have gone up. At this point in his career, Dozier has become infield depth.
Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Socrates Brito is back in summer camp on Saturday after he confirmed his positive COVID-19 diagnosis. Brito is just hoping to somehow crack the team's Opening Day roster, but his late arrival to camp will make that even more of a long shot. The 27-year-old left-handed hitter was decent on the farm in the Blue Jays organization last year, but he has a career .179/.216/.309 slash line with only five home runs, 18 RBI and three stolen bases in 99 games with the Diamondbacks and Blue Jays. Even if he were to make Pittsburgh's roster, Brito would be nothing more than outfield depth at the big league level.
New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge (neck) was removed from the lineup for Saturday's intrasquad game with a stiff neck. Judge finally returned to hitting against live pitching recently after recovering from a stress fracture in his rib, and it's possible that his stiff neck is related to that injury. If Judge's neck issue is related to his stress fracture, then it's likely that he'll require surgery and miss the entire season. Fantasy owners should be extremely cautious about drafting Judge before additional updates as a result and monitor the situation closely.
Boston Red Sox third base prospect Bobby Dalbec has been cleared to resume summer camp workouts with the team after previously testing positive for COVID-19. He will join the team at Fenway Park on Sunday. The 25-year-old should be on the team's roster at some point in 2020, but it remains to be seen how much playing time he'll get, but the good news is he can provide depth for the BoSox both at third and first base. In 135 games split between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket in 2019, Dalbec hit .239/.356/.460 with 27 home runs, 73 RBI, 69 runs scored and six stolen bases. We're not expecting him to be much of a factor in redraft leagues in 2020, but he's a prime dynasty asset for his power upside at the corner infield spots.
Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani (back) is being held back a bit in camp because he's dealing with a little bit of a stiff back, but manager Joe Maddon said he's still on schedule to make his next intrasquad outing. Ohtani is feeling well and it's "nothing alarming." It's probably not much to worry about, but when you consider that he was extremely wild in his first game action at summer camp and the fact he's returning from Tommy John surgery, suddenly the former American League Rookie of the Year in 2018 is becoming more risky as a potential No. 2 fantasy starter with a current ADP of 129. There remains plenty of upside with both his arm and his bat, but the Angels might handle him more cautiously during the 60-game season.
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