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Sports Data APIs for Individuals!
New York Yankees starting pitcher Deivi Garcia was optioned to Double-A on Thursday. Garcia had been competing for a rotation spot in the wake of injuries to James Paxton and Luis Severino, but struggled in three spring training starts with a 7.36 ERA. A consensus top-100 prospect, Garcia finished last season at Triple-A, where he racked up 45 strikeouts over 40 innings. Still, Garcia is just 20 years old and struggles with command (4.4 BB/9 last year), so additional minor league experience should be useful. Depending on how the MLB schedule is structured, Garcia could make his major league debut as soon as this season. Garcias strong strikeout ability should have him on the radar of all fantasy owners, but his uncertain call-up date makes him more of a factor in dynasty leagues.
The Boston Red Sox have added right-handed starting pitcher Garrett Richards to a one-year, $10 million deal on Saturday. The 32-year-old spent the past two seasons as a member of the Padres staff, but injuries have sidelined the veteran for long stretches of time over the past five seasons. Richards logged 207 1/3 innings for the Angels in 2015, but since that 15-win season, the right-hander has pitched just 198 2/3 innings in total. Richards underwent Tommy John surgery in 2018 and returned to the mound briefly in 2019. This past season, Richards stayed healthy and logged 51 1/3 innings, while making 10 starts for the Padres and logging a 4.03 ERA, two wins and 46 strikeouts. Richards will pitch in a tough division consisting of the high-powered Yankees and the improved Blue Jays lineups regularly, making the veteran starter worth drafting in the late rounds of extremely deep fantasy formats this upcoming spring.
The Minnesota Twins have upgraded their dollar amount in their one-year offer to try and re-sign designated hitter Nelson Cruz. However, multiple National League teams have shown interest, and it's not a surprise that he's waiting to see if the universal DH will be adopted again in 2021. The 40-year-old slugger hasn't played a single game on defense since the 2018 season, when he made four appearances in right field. Cruz spent the last two years with the Twins and hit 57 home runs with a 1.020 OPS in 173 games. Despite his age, Cruz continues to mash the ball, but he'll only be eligible in a utility spot for fantasy managers, which brings his value down somewhat. We continue to wait for his decline, but we see it, he's not a bad source of power at a reduced cost. Once MLB announces their plans for the DH this year, both Cruz and Marcell Ozuna should find teams very quickly.
The Toronto Blue Jays have been in touch with free-agent shortstop Andrelton Simmons. Toronto currently has young star Bo Bichette at shortstop, but they are willing to move Bichette around the infield if they can bring in an established veteran at the 6 like Simmons. The Blue Jays were also trying to trade for Francisco Lindor before he landed with the Mets. The 31-year-old Simmons had a strong .295/.348/.352 slash line in the shortened 2020 season, but he had just two stolen bases in 122 at-bats and remains a defense-first asset. There is some modest power and speed in his profile and hitter-friendly Rogers Centre would certainly make him slightly more attractive, but Simmons is best left as middle infield depth in single-league and deep-mixed formats.
The Los Angeles Angels and New York Mets are viewed as the two teams that have the best chance of signing free-agent starting pitcher Trevor Bauer, the National League's Cy Young winner in 2020. The Angels are "very active" on the starting pitcher market and just added left-hander Jose Quintana to the rotation picture. The Mets still have interest in Bauer, but they aren't rushing to sign him. The Dodgers and Blue Jays have also been linked to Bauer recently. The Angels have the greatest need for the right-hander, with their rotation being a weak spot in recent seasons as they try to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2014. He would pair with another fellow NL Cy Young winner in Jacob deGrom in New York in what would be a nasty one-two punch. Bauer will be an elite No. 1 fantasy starter no matter what uniform he's wearing.
The Boston Red Sox are in active discussions with free-agent right-hander Garrett Richards, according to sources. Multiple teams have been talking to Richards as of Friday. The 32-year-old had a 4.03 ERA and averaged 8.1 strikeouts per nine innings in 14 appearances (10 starts) for the San Diego Padres in the shortened 2020 season. The former Angel had a rough 8.31 ERA in just three starts for the Padres in 2019 and has been held back by injuries for the majority of his 10-year career in the big leagues. Richards should provide some starting rotation depth for Boston, but he's only had over 26 starts in a season just once in his career (2015). You can do better in the late rounds in most mixed league drafts, especially if Richards were to land in the tough American League East.
The Boston Red Sox agreed on a two-year, $14 million deal with infielder/outfielder Kike Hernandez on Friday, according to sources. Hernandez was a key piece for the Los Angeles Dodgers for the last six seasons, mainly because of his defensive versatility and his production against left-handed pitching. The 29-year-old has a career slash line of .240/.313/.425 while providing solid defense as a middle infielder or outfielder. He had a 5.7 wins-above-replacement mark by FanGraphs from 2016-2020. Hernandez hit just .230/.270/.410 with five home runs and 20 RBI for Los Angeles in the shortened 2020 season. He figures to serve as the regular second baseman in Beantown this season, though, which will raise his fantasy value in the counting stats. Just don't expect much help in the average department, especially since he'll be expected to face more right-handed pitching.
The Chicago Cubs agreed to a one-year, $1.5 million deal with free-agent catcher Austin Romine on Friday, according to sources. While Willson Contreras remains in trade rumors this offseason, the Cubs needed more catching depth after shipping Victor Caratini to the Padres along with starter Yu Darvish. Chicago also has Miguel Amaya, the team's No. 8 prospect, waiting in the wings, but he's expected to start the 2021 season in the minors. The 32-year-old Romine hit .238/.259/.323 with two home runs and 17 RBI in 37 games with the Tigers last year, but he was hitting .291 (.726 OPS) through August before a foul ball to his right knee caused him some issues down the stretch. Romine is more effective with the bat than with the glove, but he won't have much use in fantasy leagues unless the Cubs trade Contreras and open up more playing time for Romine.
The New York Mets have free-agent outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. on their radar after losing out on George Springer. At least five teams -- the Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox, Houston Astros, Colorado Rockies and Mets -- are monitoring Bradley. New York would prefer a right-handed hitter for center field, but Bradley would give them very a very strong outfield. Since the start of 2017, JBJ has recorded +49 Outs Above Average, which is eighth among all players. The Mets are also looking at utility man Kike Hernandez and lefty reliever Brad Hand. The 30-year-old Bradley is one of the best outfielders in baseball, but his bat can run extremely hot and cold from the left side of the plate. But he did hit .283/.364/.450 with seven home runs, 22 RBI and five steals in 191 at-bats in a small sample size in 2020.
The Washington Nationals are re-signing first baseman Ryan Zimmerman to a one-year, $1 million deal on Friday, according to a source. The 36-year-old veteran opted out of the 2020 season due to concerns about his family's safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, but he is returning to play his 16th major league season, which have all come with Washington. Zimmerman hit .257 with six home runs in 2019 on his way to helping the organization win the World Series. With the Nats trading for Josh Bell to be their everyday first baseman in 2021, Zimmerman will find playing time hard to come by, especially if there is no designated hitter in the National League like there was during the shortened 2020 campaign. You should be ignoring the right-handed slugger in mixed leagues this season.
The Toronto Blue Jays continue to look for a starting pitcher and have free-agent left-hander James Paxton on their radar. Toronto continues to shop despite signing center fielder George Springer and closer Kirby Yates this week. Paxton is a Canada native but had back surgery last February and suffered a strained flexor tendon in his left forearm during the 2020 season. The southpaw had a rough 6.64 ERA and made just five starts (20 1/3 innings) while showing diminished velocity. He's never made more than 29 starts or thrown more than 160 1/3 innings in a season, but the 32-year-old does have a 3.58 career ERA and a 9.9 K/9. Paxton is likely to receive an incentive-laden contract and could be a nice bounce-back candidate with a strong strikeout rate for fantasy managers if he can stay on the field. Toronto isn't a very pitcher-friendly environment, but his fantasy price would likely drop even more if he were to land with the Blue Jays.