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Sports Data APIs for Individuals!
The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported Tuesday that the Chicago White Sox have expressed interest in trading for Kansas City Royals second baseman/shortstop Nicky Lopez. However, the Royals are not eager to move Lopez, as they view him as an important depth player. The team's plan is to start Bobby Witt Jr. at shortstop, Michael Massey at second base, and use Lopez in a utility role. The 27-year-old slashed .227/.281/.273 with no home runs, 51 runs scored, 20 RBI, and 13 stolen bases in 480 plate appearances in 2022. Lopez's fantasy value is already limited to stolen bases in roto leagues as is, and any dent in his playing time would further limit that.
Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell said that the team is planning for catcher Tyler Stephenson (collarbone) to be in the lineup for 140-150 games in 2023 if he can remain healthy. They will be able to achieve that by using Stephenson as the designated hitter to give him days off behind the plate. The 26-year-old is one of the best hitting catchers in baseball, but he played in only 50 games in his third major-league season last year due to a broken collarbone. He managed to hit .319 with six homers and 35 RBI before his injury, and RotoBaller has him ranked as the No. 10 fantasy backstop at a thin position. In 132 games in 2021, Stephenson slashed .286/.366/.431 with a .797 OPS, 10 home runs, 45 RBI and 56 runs scored. When he's serving as the DH, the Reds will have options at catcher with Curt Casali, Luke Maile and Austin Romine.
The Texas Rangers signed free-agent outfielder Clint Frazier and left-hander Danny Duffy to minor-league deals on Friday. Once a top prospect for the Cleveland Guardians, Frazier spent the 2022 season with the Chicago Cubs and hit just .216 with a .653 OPS and no home runs in 19 games. Staying healthy has always been a big issue -- he's never played in more than 69 major-league games in a single season -- and he has a career slash line of .238/.329/.427 with a .756 OPS, 29 home runs and 98 RBI in six big-league seasons. Duffy had a left forearm injury that kept him from pitching in 2022. In his 11 major-league seasons with the Kansas City Royals, he has a 3.95 ERA (4.17 FIP), 1.32 WHIP and 21.1 percent strikeout rate in 234 outings (204 starts). Frazier and Duffy will provide some nice veteran depth if they can stay healthy in 2023.
Oakland Athletics general manager David Forst said he expects the newly signed Jesus Aguilar to split his time in 2023 at first base and designated hitter in an everyday role, similar to what he was doing last year with the Miami Marlins and Baltimore Orioles. The 32-year-old right-handed slugger spent most of his time with the Fish (113 games) and finished with a .235/.281/.379 slash line, .661 OPS, 16 home runs, 51 RBI, 39 runs scored and a stolen base in 507 plate appearances over 129 combined games. Aguilar still has some pop in his bat, but he'll provide little else while moving to a weak lineup in one of the most pitcher-friendly home ballparks in baseball. He can be avoided in shallow mixed leagues.
The Oakland Athletics expect starting pitchers James Kaprielian (shoulder) and Paul Blackburn (finger) to be ready for spring training, according to general manager David Forst. It's the reason the team felt comfortable trading left-hander Cole Irvin to the Baltimore Orioles this week. Kaprielian had surgery to fix the AC joint in his right-shoulder in the offseason. The 28-year-old figures to be a fixture in the A's rotation after posting a 4.23 ERA (4.63 FIP), 1.34 WHIP and 17 percent strikeout rate in a career-high 26 starts in his third MLB season in 2022. Blackburn was excellent for Oakland before a finger caused him to be shut down in July. The 29-year-old was an All-Star last for the first time last year and went 7-6 with a 4.28 ERA (4.21 FIP), 1.26 WHIP and career-high 19.1 percent strikeout rate in a career-high 21 starts in his sixth season in Oakland.
The Tampa Bay Rays and reliever Pete Fairbanks agreed to a three-year, $12 million contract extension on Friday, according to sources. The deal includes a fourth-year team option and comes off a year in which Fairbanks tossed 22 scoreless innings. The 29-year-old right-hander avoids his remaining arbitration-eligible years with the deal, and his fourth-year option will be worth $7 million. While injuries were a problem for him in 2022, he allowed just three earned runs on 13 hits while walking three and striking out 38 in his 24 relief innings for the Rays. Despite his injury last year, Fairbanks should enter the 2023 season with plenty of fantasy appeal as the current favorite for save chances in Tampa alongside Jason Adam.
Free-agent left-hander Cole Hamels threw for interested teams in Arlington, Texas, on Friday and was said to look "insanely good." Hamels was hitting 88-91 mph with his fastball, and the observer expects Hamels to draw serious interest on the open market with spring training quickly approaching. The 39-year-old southpaw hasn't pitched since the 2020 shortened season and only made one start that year for the Atlanta Braves before injuring his left shoulder. But he looks to be completely healthy now and motivated to continue his career. The four-time All-Star obviously is no longer in his prime and is unlikely to be whiffing many batters, but he could provide a team in need of rotation depth a crafty veteran option.
The New York Mets and National League batting champion Jeff McNeil agreed to a four-year, $50 million contract extension on Friday, according to sources familiar with the deal. The contract includes a fifth-year team option that could take the total value of the deal to $63.75 million. Not only can McNeil hit, but he can also play second base, third base and the outfield, giving the Mets positional flexibility. The 30-year-old slashed .326/.382/.454 with an .836 OPS, nine home runs, 62 RBI, 73 runs scored and four stolen bases in a career-high 589 plate appearances and 148 games to earn his second career All-Star bid in 2022. McNeil won't supply fantasy managers with much power -- only one season with 20-plus homers -- but he's an excellent source of average, contact and on-base percentage in one of the best lineups in baseball.
The Baltimore Orioles signed free-agent third baseman Curtis Terry to a minor-league deal on Friday. Terry made his major-league debut with the Texas Rangers in 2021 and went 4-for-45 with no homers, one RBI, three runs scored and 15 strikeouts in 48 plate appearances over only 13 games played. The 26-year-old spent the 2022 campaign with the Minnesota Twins' Triple-A affiliate in St. Paul and slashed .250/.348/.429 with a .777 OPS, 10 home runs, 32 RBI and 41 runs scored in 80 games. Terry will provide the Orioles with depth at the hot corner this year, but he'll likely begin the regular season in the minor leagues.
The Chicago Cubs signed free-agent right-hander Tyler Duffey as a non-roster invitee on Friday, according to a source. Duffey will compete for a bullpen job in spring training. He made 295 appearances for the Minnesota Twins over the last eight seasons, and the Cubs have a good track record with these types of free-agent relievers. The 32-year-old veteran has a good shot of making the Cubs bullpen out of spring training. Last year with Minnesota, he had a 4.91 ERA (4.79 FIP), 1.36 WHIP, two saves and 21.1 percent strikeout rate in 44 innings over 40 relief appearances. In eight major-league seasons, he has a 4.57 ERA (3.96 FIP), 1.29 WHIP and six saves in 475 innings. If Duffey makes the big-league club, he won't have much fantasy appeal, if any.
The St. Louis Cardinals signed free-agent left-hander Andrew Suarez to a minor-league deal on Friday that includes a non-roster invitation to major-league spring training. The 30-year-old southpaw pitched in 56 games for the San Francisco Giants from 2018 to 2020 and was an All-Star in the Korean Baseball Organization in 2021. In his three seasons with the Giants, Suarez went 7-15 with a 4.66 ERA (4.60 FIP), 1.36 WHIP and 18.7 percent strikeout rate in 202 2/3 innings over 56 appearances (31 starts). He spent the 2022 season in Japan. Suarez will give the Cardinals both starting and relief depth, but there's a good chance he won't make the Opening Day roster out of spring training.