Kirk Nieuwenhuis CF/RF FA 5 days ago
Nieuwenhuis signed a minor-league deal with the Mariners, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation reports.
He hit .115/.258/.269 in 31 plate appearances with the Brewers last season and was even a below league average hitter (94 wRC+) with Triple-A Colorado Springs, so it's not surprising he had to settle for a minor-league deal. The Mariners don't have a lot star power in the outfield, but they have plenty of options that are either more established or offer more upside than Nieuwenhuis, so look for him to spend most of the year at Triple-A Tacoma.
Dominic Smith 1B NYM 5 days ago
Smith will have to compete for the Mets' starting job at first base in spring training, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. "He didn't win it in September, let's put it that way," general manager Sandy Alderson said.
This is an odd thing to say about a cornerstone player who was just getting his feet wet in the majors at the end of last season as a 22-year-old. He hit .220/.304/.450 with six home runs and a 30.4 percent strikeout rate in 100 at-bats from Sept. 1 through Oct. 1. It is understandable that the Mets want to find at-bats for Wilmer Flores, who is coming off a year when he slashed .271/.307/.488 with 18 home runs in 362 plate appearances, but third base and second base seem like a better places to try to work him in. Despite Alderson's comments, Smith is the clear leading candidate to open the year as the Mets' starting first baseman, but we now know that he is not a lock to open the year in that role.
Aaron Hicks OF NYY 5 days ago
General manager Brian Cashman said Monday that Hicks is expected to be an everyday starter in the outfield next season, Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reports. "We wouldn't have been playing him everyday in the postseason if we didn't think that," Cashman noted.
Injuries and a crowded outfield limited Hicks to just 361 plate appearances in 2017, but that didn't stop the 28-year-old from producing his best season to date. He flashed the much coveted power-speed combo, hitting .266/.372/.475 with 15 homers and 10 stolen bases in 88 games. Assuming he's able to stay healthy next season, Hicks should be in line for a healthy uptick in opportunities.
OUTPedro Florimon SS/CF PHI 5 days ago
Florimon re-signed a minor-league deal with the Phillies on Monday, Matt Gelb of The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
Florimon spent most of his time in the minors last season, compiling a .265/.347/.410 line in 90 games for Triple-A Lehigh Valley before earning a promotion in August. While it was a small sample size, he held his own in the majors, slashing .348/.388/.478 in 15 games before suffering a season-ending ankle injury. The 30-year-old utility man is expected to be healthy for the start of spring training, where he should compete for a bench spot.
Brian Johnson SP BOS 5 days ago
Johnson will be tried out as a reliever in 2018, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports.
Johnson split time between Triple-A Pawtucket and the Red Sox last season, compiling a 3.09 ERA in 17 starts for the PawSox and a 4.33 ERA in five starts for the big club. While he's worked solely as a starting pitcher through his first six seasons, the Red Sox -- who are in need of left-handed bullpen depth -- are set to try the 26-year-old southpaw out in a relief role. Johnson's expected to make the big club out of spring given he's out of options, so having him as a relief arm with the capability to spot start makes sense for a Red Sox team that is comfortable with their current starting rotation. At this point, it's unclear if the transition is a long-term move or simply for next season.
Roenis Elías RP BOS 5 days ago
Elias is expected to compete for a spot in the bullpen during spring training, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports.
Elias missed much of the 2017 campaign due to an oblique injury. When healthy, he appeared in 10 games (42.2 innings) at Triple-A Pawtucket, where he posted a 6.96 ERA and 1.57 WHIP. To this point in his career, Elias has primarily been used as a starter. However, due to their need for left-handed depth in the bullpen, the Red Sox will use spring training to test whether or not they want to use Elias in the Show as a reliever.
OUTMiguel Sano 1B/3B/RF/DH MIN 5 days ago
Sano (lower leg) successfully underwent surgery on his shin Monday.
As expected, Sano had a procedure to alleviate pain that had been coming from a stress fracture in his left shin. The estimated timeframe for his recovery is around eight weeks, so he should be back in full health once spring training arrives.
OUTNick Martínez SP TEX 6 days ago
Martinez underwent surgery Monday to repair a sports hernia, Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News reports.
At this point in time, it's expected that Martinez will be in full health once spring training arrives. During the 2017 season, Martinez posted an unimpressive 5.66 ERA and 1.37 WHIP over 23 games (111.1 innings).
Carlos Beltrán LF/RF/DH FA 6 days ago
Beltran announced his retirement Monday, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports.
As expected, the 40-year-old will hang up his cleats after winning his first World Series ring. The switch-hitting Beltran compiled a .279/.350/.486 line with 435 homers and 312 stolen bases across 20 major-league seasons with seven different teams.
Eloy Jimenez OF CWS 6 days ago
Jimenez (leg/illness) returned to action Sunday in the Dominican Winter League, Junior Matrille of Fiebredeportiva.com reports.
It was originally reported that he suffered a minor leg injury, but he also dealt with the flu over the past few days. When healthy, Jimenez has been a dominant force in the Dominican Winter League. He had four home runs and a 1.175 OPS in 15 games, picking up where he left off at the end of the minor-league season at Double. Jimenez could earn an assignment to Triple-A out of spring training, with a chance to force a big-league promotion this summer.