Jay Bruce RF NYM 3 hours ago
Bruce was notified by the Mets that he will open the 2017 season as the team's starting right fielder, the NY Post's Ken Davidoff reports.
New York exercised the $13 million option on his 2017 contract in early-November as a hedge in case Yoenis Cespedes didn't return. Cespedes signed a four-year, $110 million at the end of that month. Since then, the Mets have tried to find a taker for Bruce to no avail, either because of the type of bullpen arm they want back or unwillingness to eat salary. Even with the free agent market softening, no deal looks to be on the horizon involving Bruce. Because of that, he will head to spring training as the starting right fielder with Cespedes in left, Curtis Granderson in center and Juan Lagares plus Michael Conforto as bench bats. In addition, Bruce and Conforto may be tried out at first base in spring training as Lucas Duda is returning from his back injury.
Eric Young Jr. CF NYY 4 hours ago
Young agreed to a minor league contract with the Angels on Tuesday, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports.
The vast majority of Young's playing time in 2016 came at Triple-A Colorado Springs, where he slashed .263/.338/.339 over 116 games. That performance was an adequate representation of what's become expected from Young, as he's failed to demonstrate the consistent ability to hit for power or average since showing flashes of promise in 2012. While it's likely that Young will start 2017 in the minors, the possibility exists that the utility man could see occasional time with the big club if injuries become a problem for the Angels.
OUTAlbert Pujols 1B/DH LAA 4 hours ago
Pujols (foot) is progressing as planned after undergoing surgery in December, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports.
While it's promising that Pujols hasn't incurred any setbacks while rehabbing his foot, the Angels have yet to say whether or not he's on track to be ready for Opening Day. However, there should be a better indication as to when the 37-year-old slugger will be able to return once spring training rolls around.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C/1B DET 4 hours ago
Saltalamacchia agreed to a minor league contract with the Blue Jays on Tuesday, pending a physical, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.
Saltalamacchia was hot out of the gates with Detroit last season, smacking six homers in his first 12 games, but he finished with a .171 average and 69 wRC+ in 292 plate appearances. He'll get a chance to compete for the backup role behind Russell Martin, and while he has enough power to reach double-digits in home runs even in a reserve role, the 31-year-old sells out for that power (30.5 percent strikeout rate for career) and that makes him a huge liability in the batting average category.
OUTLuis Valbuena 3B HOU 4 hours ago
Valbuena is expected to compete with C.J. Cron for the starting spot at first base in 2017, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports.
The Angels recently signed Valbuena to a two-year deal worth $15 million after a 2016 season that saw him post a .260 batting average and .816 OPS over 90 games. Due to their investment in the 31-year-old, the club plans to have Valbuena compete for the starting job at first. However, the job won't be easy to take, as Cron posted a career-best line of .278/.325/.467 over 116 games in 2016.
Mike Leake SP STL 4 hours ago
Leake said he is "completely over" the shingles that caused him to miss a couple weeks in late August and Early September last season, and said he is ready to start gaining weight, Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Dispatch reports.
Leake currently weighs just 170 pounds, while he would prefer to weigh about 190. He was 0-3 with a 5.47 ERA over his final five starts, which the shingles may have had some effect on. He finished the season with a 4.69 ERA and 1.32 WHIP over 30 starts. He'll hope that adding weight will increase his strength and improve those numbers in 2017.
Yohander Mendez SP TEX 4 hours ago
Mendez will likely begin the season at Triple-A Round Rock, MLB.com reports.
The left-hander shot from High-A to the majors as a 21-year-old last season, establishing himself as the top arm in the farm system and one of the top lefty prospects in baseball. He added velocity to his fastball last year and his changeup is already a plus pitch, but the Rangers want Mendez to work on refining his breaking pitch and simply build up innings to begin 2017. A.J. Griffin, Chi Chi Gonzalez and eventually Tyson Ross (shoulder) will be in the mix for the fifth starter spot early on.
OUTCharlie Morton SP HOU 5 hours ago
Morton (Hamstring) is "softly" in the Astros' starting rotation for 2017, according to Manager A.J. Hinch, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reports.
Morton signed a two-year, $14 million contract with the Astros in November after a torn hamstring limited his 2016 season to four starts. The 33-year-old has been injury-prone in recent years, but it looks like he will get the chance to start once again. While Morton appears poised to break camp as the team's fifth starter, 24-year-old Joe Musgrove has more potential and may be a more intriguing option, as he finished 2016 with a 4.06 ERA over 11 games (10 starts) in Houston. Musgrove may begin the season in Triple-A, but he figures to make his way back to the majors at some point in 2017.
Tim Berry SP MIA 6 hours ago
Berry signed a minor league contract with Baltimore on Tuesday, Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports reports.
Berry spent 2016 on the move as he played on four different squads between the Marlins and Padres organizations, ranging from Low-A to Double-A. Overall, his performances were rather lackluster and he finished the year with an ERA and WHIP of 6.32 and 1.85, respectively. Berry has traditionally served as a starter, but may be used as a reliever with the Orioles if his recent struggles persist.
Dean Anna 2B STL 6 hours ago
Anna signed a minor league contract with the Royals on Monday.
Anna batted .266 in 383 plate appearances over 106 games with Triple-A Memphis in the Cardinals' system last season. He has made just 26 career plate appearances in the majors, so he isn't a likely candidate for a spot in Kansas City. Expect him to serve as organizational depth.