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Sports Data APIs for Individuals!
The Philadelphia Phillies are reportedly close to a two-year, $15 million deal with free-agent relief pitcher Matt Strahm, the Athletic's Matt Gelb reported Tuesday. The left-hander had a successful 2022 season out of the bullpen for the Red Sox, posting a 3.83 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 26.9% strikeout rate with 12 holds and four saves in 50 appearances. While the Phillies did cycle through several options at closer last season, it seems unlikely that Strahm would fill a significant high-leverage role, limiting his fantasy value.
Toronto Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano has withdrawn from Team Italy for the upcoming 2023 World Baseball Classic. It's good news for those that plan to invest in Romano as a top-10 fantasy closer this year. The 29-year-old right-hander has emerged as one of the better closers in baseball on one of the best rising teams in the sport. He was a first-time All-Star in 2022, when he had a sharp 2.11 ERA (2.82 FIP), 1.02 WHIP, career-high 36 saves, 21 walks and 73 strikeouts in 64 relief innings. Romano has 59 saves in the last two years for Toronto and will enter the 2023 season as the Jays' unquestioned closer. RotoBaller currently has him ranked as the No. 6 fantasy closer behind Ryan Pressly.
The Cincinnati Reds signed free-agent outfielder Nick Plummer to a minor-league deal this week. Plummer made his major-league debut last year with the New York Mets, going 4-for-29 (.138) with two home runs, six RBI, four runs scored and 12 strikeouts in 31 plate appearances over just 14 games. The 26-year-old former first-rounder (23rd overall) by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2015 has produced a .223/.359/.361 slash line, .720 OPS, 40 home runs, 193 RBI, 268 runs scored and 50 stolen bases in six seasons in the minor leagues. Plummer has a chance to earn more big-league at-bats with the rebuilding Reds, but there's still a pretty good chance he'll begin the 2023 campaign down on the farm.
The Washington Nationals signed free-agent right-hander Chad Kuhl to a minor-league deal on Saturday that includes an invite to major-league spring training. The 30-year-old struggled with the Colorado Rockies last year and went 25-30 with a 4.44 ERA in 100 games (84 starts) with the Pittsburgh Pirates before that. He'll give the Nationals more starting pitching depth. In his 27 starts for the Rockies in 2022, Kuhl produced a career-worst 5.72 ERA (5.26 FIP), 1.55 WHIP and weak 17.8 percent strikeout rate in 137 1/3 innings pitched. A right triceps strain put him on the injured list to close out last season, but he could see some spot starts for a rebuilding Nationals organization if he proves he's healthy early in 2023.
The Boston Red Sox signed former Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Jake Faria to a minor-league deal on Saturday, according to a source. Faria began his MLB career mostly as a starter for the Rays in 2017 and 2018, but he's mostly served as a reliever in two seasons since then. The 29-year-old didn't pitch in the majors at all in 2022 and had a 5.51 ERA (4.58 FIP), 1.59 WHIP, 13 walks and 32 strikeouts in 23 appearances (three starts) over 32 2/3 innings pitched for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Faria had a rough 7.48 ERA in 12 outings (nine starts) at Triple-A St. Paul with the Minnesota Twins in 2022. He'll give the Red Sox some starting and relieving pitching depth in 2023 but won't be on the fantasy radar at all if he's in the big leagues.
The Kansas City Royals have started exploring contract extensions for their young core of players and will continue to do so over the next year, according to general manager J.J. Picollo. Shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., starting pitcher Brady Singer and first baseman Vinnie Pasquantino are among those in that group. The Royals are currently in rebuilding mode, but they'd like to lock in their core for years to come. Witt, a former second overall pick in 2019, didn't disappoint as a full-time starter in his first MLB season, as he slashed .254/.294/.428 with a .722 OPS, 20 home runs, 80 RBI, 82 runs scored and 30 stolen bases in 150 games. Singer was arbitration-eligible for the first time this offseason, but the sides couldn't agree on a deal. Pasquantino also debuted in 2022, and hit .295 with 10 homers and 26 RBI in 72 games.
The San Francisco Giants have had discussions with starting pitcher Logan Webb this offseason about a long-term contract extension. Webb ended the 2022 season on the injured list with a back ailment, but he was great otherwise with a 15-9 record, career-best 2.90 ERA (3.03 FIP), 1.16 WHIP and 20.7 percent strikeout rate in a career-high 32 starts over 192 1/3 innings pitched. The strong season came after the 26-year-old right-hander broke out in 2021 in his third year with the organization, posting an 11-3 record, 3.03 ERA (2.72 FIP), 1.11 WHIP and 158 strikeouts in 148 1/3 innings. Webb has morphed into a top-level starting pitcher in both real life and fantasy, which makes sense why he's being considered a candidate for a long-term extension.
The Los Angeles Dodgers and infielder Miguel Rojas agreed to a two-year, $11 million contract extension on Saturday. The deal carries Rojas through the 2024 season and includes a $5 million club option for 2025 or a $1 million buyout, according to sources. The Dodgers acquired Rojas from the Miami Marlins this offseason, and he was originally scheduled to become a free agent after 2023. The 33-year-old is a defense-first player that struggled even more at the plate last year due to hand and wrist injuries that required surgery. Trea Turner is no longer around in LA, but Gavin Lux is expected to serve as the primary shortstop in 2023. Rojas will be competing with Miguel Rojas for playing time at second base in spring training.
Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Max Fried lost his salary arbitration case against the team on Saturday, according to sources. Fried will make $13.5 million in 2023 instead of the $15 he requested. The 29-year-old left-hander still has two more arbitration-eligible seasons before he reaches free agency. He was a first-time All-Star in 2022, when he went 14-7 with a 2.48 ERA (2.70 FIP), 1.01 WHIP and 23.2 percent strikeout rate in 30 starts covering a career-high 185 1/3 innings pitched. Fried finished second in the National League Cy Young voting last year and has become one of the best left-handed starting pitchers in the game. He'll make a very strong second fantasy starter in 2023.
When San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. was asked what position he'll play in 2023, he said: "Gotta talk to my manager," while adding that he's open to playing any position after the Padres signed shortstop Xander Bogaerts this offseason. Tatis also said he's been working at both outfield and infield as he prepares for the upcoming season. The 24-year-old superstar missed all of 2022 due to a fractured wrist and a suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. He was cleared resume swinging a bat in early January and is expected to take part in spring training. Despite the fact that he'll miss the first 20 games to close out his suspension, Tatis will continue to have sky-high expectations, even after missing all of 2022.
The Los Angeles Dodgers re-signed infielder Luke Williams to a minor-league deal on Friday. The Dodgers initially added Williams last November when they claimed him off waivers. The 26-year-old spent time with the San Francisco Giants and Miami Marlins in 2022, slashing a combined .236/.287/.315 with a .602 OPS, one home run, six RBI, 21 runs scored and 11 stolen bases in 136 plate appearances and 79 games in just his second major-league season. In his MLB debut with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2021, he hit .245 with a homer and six RBI in 58 games played. Williams will most likely open up 2023 in the minors with the Dodgers, providing utility depth on the infield.