News for Free Agent Players - 2014 4x4 AL League - $260 Cap

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Fri Feb 2301:13George Springer To Remain In Leadoff RoleGeorge SpringerCFAstrosFree Agent
Toronto Blue Jays outfielder George Springer will remain locked in as the team's leadoff hitter for the 2024 season, manager John Schneider told Keegan Matheson of MLB.com. "For Georgie, it's about getting back to what he's great at," Schneider said. "Pulling the ball more is something he's talking about." These are positive comments and promising updates from the skipper after Springer posted a modest .258/.327/.405 slash line with a career-low 8.8 BB% and 104 wRC+ in 2023. On a positive note, he went yard 21 times, eclipsing the 20-home run mark for the seventh time in the last eight years (with the only exception being the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign in which he launched 14).
Source: Keegan MathesonRotoBaller.com
Thu Feb 2220:11Corey Knebel A Bit Behind Other PitchersCorey KnebelRPRangersFree Agent
Chicago White Sox pitching coach Ethan Katz said that reliever Corey Knebel (shoulder), who didn't pitch at all last year while working his way back from right-shoulder surgery, is a bit behind the team's other relievers in camp. Knebel will need to throw a few more bullpen sessions before he's cleared to pitch in a Cactus League game. The 32-year-old hard-throwing relief pitcher had surgery in August of 2022 and is still working his way back. When healthy, he could become a high-leverage option for what is one of the weakest bullpens in baseball. Knebel was an All-Star in 2017 with the Milwaukee Brewers and has 72 career saves in eight major-league seasons, but he's thrown only 83 2/3 innings since the shortened 2020 season and is a pretty big health risk.
Source: The Athletic - James FeganRotoBaller.com
Thu Feb 2217:30Mookie Betts Expects To Play Second Base Exclusively This SpringMookie BettsCFRed SoxFree Agent
Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder/infielder Mookie Betts expects to play second base exclusively in spring training this year. Betts joked that he didn't bring his outfielder's glove to camp. The Dodgers and Betts are fully committed to him playing on the dirt as the club's full-time second baseman in 2024. The 31-year-old All-Star will still be eligible as an outfielder in fantasy, but unless a need arises for Betts to move back to the outfield in 2024, this could be the last year he has dual eligibility. Betts had a fantastic 2023 season with the Blue, hitting .307 with 39 home runs, 14 stolen bases and 126 runs scored. His 107 RBI set the big-league record for most RB1 by a leadoff hitter. He won't last past the first round in fantasy drafts.
Source: 570 LA Sports - David VasseghRotoBaller.com
Thu Feb 2216:02Justin Verlander Showing Encouraging ProgressJustin VerlanderSPTigersFree Agent
Houston Astros right-hander Justin Verlander's (shoulder) bullpen session went well on Wednesday. "I am encouraged where he's at right now," according to manager Joe Espada. Verlander is behind the other pitchers at spring training after having a setback with his right shoulder during the offseason. The good news, though, is that the 41-year-old future Hall of Famer continues to throw. However, it remains to be seen if he'll need to open the 2024 season on the injured list. It's been amazing to see how well the three-time All-Star has pitched late in his career, but fantasy managers should expect more decline from Verlander this year, as well as more time missed due to injury. But when he's healthy, Verlander still has the ability to be a decent No. 3/4 fantasy starter.
Source: MLB.com - Brian McTaggartRotoBaller.com
Wed Feb 2119:12Eric Hosmer Announces RetirementEric Hosmer1BRoyalsFree Agent
First baseman Eric Hosmer announced his retirement from professional baseball on social media on Wednesday. Hosmer never latched on with another team after he was released by the Chicago Cubs last May. The 34-year-old left-handed hitter played in just 31 games in 2023 and went 22-for-94 (.234) with two homers and 14 RBI before getting released. An All-Star with the Kansas City Royals in 2016, Hosmer had a career .276/.335/.427 slash line, 198 home runs and 893 RBI in 13 major-league seasons, also winning four Gold Gloves at first base. He won a World Series ring with the Royals in 2015 and quickly started to decline after signing a big contract as a free agent with the San Diego Padres before the 2018 season. In a two-year span with KC from 2016-17, Hosmer hit .292 with 50 homers and 198 RBI in 320 games.
Source: Eric HosmerRotoBaller.com
Wed Feb 2116:03Manny Machado Could DH "Sooner Than Later"Manny Machado3BOriolesFree Agent
San Diego Padres manager Mike Shildt said that third baseman Manny Machado (elbow), who is coming off offseason shoulder surgery, will not play in the team's Cactus League opener on Thursday against the Los Angeles Dodgers. However, Machado is "trending in a really good place" and could serve as the designated hitter "sooner than later" in spring training games. Machado had surgery to fix the extensor tendon in his right elbow after last season, but he should be ready to go for Opening Day, even if he's serving as the team's DH to kick off the regular season. Even though the 31-year-old veteran slugger played through elbow pain for much of 2023, he still managed to hit 30 home runs and drive in 91 RBI, but his .781 OPS was his lowest mark since 2017. Machado is RotoBaller's No. 6 fantasy third baseman and still has a very high floor.
Source: MLB.com - AJ CassavellRotoBaller.com
Wed Feb 2113:25Jose Ramirez Could Hit Second This YearJosé Ramírez2BIndiansFree Agent
Cleveland Guardians manager Stephen Vogt said he's talked to All-Star third baseman Jose Ramirez about hitting second and third in the lineup this year. Ramirez has traditionally hit third but moved into the No. 2 spot last year to try and help the team's struggling offense. Either way, Ramirez is going to hit near the top of Cleveland's batting order, and it's probably not going to affect his overall production. The 31-year-old switch-hitter is one of the best all-around hitters in baseball despite not having much protection around him in Cleveland. He's been an All-Star each of the last three years and five times overall, and he slashed a strong .282/.356/.475 again in 2023 with 24 homers, 80 RBI and 28 steals in 156 games. J-Ram should come off the board in the second round of fantasy drafts.
Source: The Cleveland Plain Dealer - Paul HoynesRotoBaller.com
Wed Feb 2100:56Liam Hendriks Expects To Pitch By Trade DeadlineLiam HendriksSPBlue JaysFree Agent
Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Liam Hendriks (elbow) said Tuesday that he hopes to debut for his new team by the trade deadline. The 35-year-old veteran overcame non-Hodgkin's lymphoma last year but then underwent Tommy John surgery in August. Hendriks said, "That's my goal. That's 12 months-ish. ... Throwing has been going well." It remains to be seen if Hendriks can hit that timeline, but he should offer fantasy impact when he does return. He was one of baseball's top closers with the White Sox from 2021 through 2022, earning a combined 75 saves. Kenley Jansen is the team's current closer, although he has been mentioned in trade rumors this off-season.
Source: Ian Browne - MLB.comRotoBaller.com
Tue Feb 2016:16Alex Cobb Throws Off MoundAlex CobbSPRaysFree Agent
San Francisco Giants right-hander Alex Cobb (hip) threw 12 fastballs off the mound in camp on Sunday with a catcher in front of the plate and felt great on Monday. Cobb was scheduled to repeat the process on Tuesday and remains on track as he comes back from left-hip surgery that he had in October. The 36-year-old veteran is making good progress, but he won't be much of an option in shallow mixed leagues based on the fact that he isn't going to be an option for the Giants' starting rotation until later this summer. Cobb exceeded expectations in his second year in the Bay Area in 2023 by making 28 starts and going 7-7 with a 3.87 ERA and 1.32 WHIP with 37 walks and 131 strikeouts in 151 1/3 innings pitched.
Source: San Francisco Chronicle - Susan SlusserRotoBaller.com
Tue Feb 2016:10Sonny Gray To Start On Opening DaySonny GraySPAthleticsFree Agent
St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Sonny Gray will get the nod on Opening Day this year on March 28 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. It will be Gray's first start for the Cardinals after signing a three-year, $70 million deal in free agency this offseason. The 34-year-old veteran finished second in the American League Cy Young voting in 2023 after he went 8-8 with a 2.79 ERA (league-best 2.83 FIP) and a 1.15 WHIP with 55 walks and 183 strikeouts in 184 innings over his 32 starts in his second year with the Minnesota Twins. He doesn't throw very hard, but Gray is great at keeping the ball out of the air while limiting hard contact, and he should be able to maintain a solid floor as a third fantasy starter in his new digs in St. Louis in 2024. However, his first matchup of the year against the Dodgers will be a tough one.
Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Derrick GooldRotoBaller.com
Mon Feb 1912:26Liam Hendriks Signs With Red SoxLiam HendriksSPBlue JaysFree Agent
Free-agent reliever Liam Hendriks (elbow) agreed to a two-year, $10 million guaranteed deal on Monday with the Boston Red Sox, pending a physical. The deal includes additional performance bonuses and an option for the 2026 season. The 35-year-old veteran overcame non-Hodgkin's lymphoma last year but then ended up needing Tommy John surgery last August, which means that he won't be available for the back end of Boston's bullpen until sometime later this summer. The three-time All-Star has 116 career saves in 13 major-league seasons, but he only pitched five innings for the Chicago White Sox in 2023, and it's fair to wonder how much he has left in the tank at this stage of his career. Hendriks can be avoided in single-year fantasy leagues.
Source: ESPN - Buster OlneyRotoBaller.com
Mon Feb 1912:02Mike Trout Doesn't Want To Be Traded Right NowMike TroutCFAngelsFree Agent
Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout said that he's happy in Anaheim right now, but he also left open the possibility that he'd be open to a trade down the line. Trout also said he's been pushing ownership to make more additions heading into the 2024 regular season, but he's unsure if will actually happen. General manager Perry Minasian said this winter that the Angels have no interest in trading the 32-year-old future Hall of Famer. The Angels have wasted one of the best players of all time, as Trout has made only one postseason appearance in his 13 big-league seasons. The three-time American League MVP has been hurt by injuries in recent seasons. He played in just 82 games in 2023 and has become a big injury risk on the wrong side of 30. Still, when healthy, Trout has the ability to be a difference-maker in everything but stolen bases.
Source: The Athletic - Sam BlumRotoBaller.com
Sun Feb 1814:11Chris Sale Had Fully Healthy Offseason, Ready To Compete In 2024Chris SaleSPWhite SoxFree Agent
Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Chris Sale told reporters on Saturday that this is his first offseason since 2019 that he hasn't had limitations. The veteran southpaw has dealt with a ton of injuries over the last four seasons, including Tommy John surgery in 2020 and a nagging shoulder issue in 2023. As a result, he's pitched just 151 total innings since 2019. It's very encouraging to hear he hasn't had any type of injury or setback so far this offseason. He looked sharp in spurts of the 2023 season with Boston, including a strong finish to the season in which he allowed two or fewer runs in six of his last nine starts. That was enough for the Braves to give Sale a two-year, $38 million extension after trading for him in late December. Sale, who runs 35 on March 30, will always carry injury risk but he can still be effective when healthy.
Source: Mark Bowman of MLB.comRotoBaller.com
Sun Feb 1812:45Ryan Jeffers, Christian Vazquez To Split Catching DutiesChristian VázquezCRed SoxFree Agent
Ryan JeffersFree Agent
Minnesota Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said on Saturday that he expects catchers Ryan Jeffers and Christian Vazquez to split playing time close to evenly this year. The Twins signed Vazquez to a three-year, $30 million deal last winter, but the 33-year-old veteran had the worst season of his career, hitting .223 (73-for-327) with six homers and 32 RBI, while Jeffers batted .276 (79-for-286) with a career-high-tying 14 homers and 43 RBI. As a result, the 26-year-old Jeffers became the team's starting catcher for the postseason. Vazquez worked hard on his swing and body this offseason, but Jeffers earned more playing time with a strong second half in 2023. At this point, the younger Jeffers has more offensive upside, but with an even timeshare expected, neither catcher is all that attractive for two-catcher leagues in fantasy.
Source: The Athletic - Dan HayesRotoBaller.com
Sun Feb 1812:40Christian Vazquez Determined To Bounce BackChristian VázquezCRed SoxFree Agent
Minnesota Twins veteran catcher Christian Vazquez has improved bat speed and is more fit in spring training this year as he looks to bounce back from a disappointing 2023 season after signing a three-year, $30 million deal with the team in December of 2022. Ryan Jeffers took over the lead duties behind the dish over Vazquez later in the year when Vazquez slumped and finished with a .598 OPS in the worst season of his career. The 33-year-old struck out more than ever last year and had the second-lowest slugging percentage of his career. Vazquez got a late start to his offseason workouts last year after playing in the World Series in 2022 with the Astros, and he thinks the lack of preparation affected him in his first year in Minnesota. A bounce-back is possible, but it could be more difficult with Vazquez expected to split time evenly with Jeffers in 2024.
Source: The Athletic - Dan HayesRotoBaller.com
Sat Feb 1712:39White Sox Agree With Bryan Shaw On Minors PactBryan ShawRPIndiansFree Agent
The Chicago White Sox agreed to terms on a minor-league deal with an invitation to major-league spring training with free-agent right-hander Bryan Shaw on Saturday. Shaw returns to the White Sox after recording a 4.14 ERA (3.87 FIP), a 1.23 WHIP, a career-high four saves, 17 walks and 40 strikeouts in 45 2/3 relief innings for the Pale Hose in 2023. The 36-year-old will help bolster one of the weakest bullpens in the league again in 2024, although he won't be a lock to make the Opening Day roster out of camp. The 13-year major-league veteran has a career 3.93 ERA (4.04 FIP) and 1.33 WHIP with 19 saves and 677 strikeouts in 760 1/3 innings pitched with the White Sox, Cleveland Guardians, Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies and Seattle Mariners.
Source: Chicago White SoxRotoBaller.com
Fri Feb 1616:18Nick Martinez Prefers To StartNick MartinezSPRangersFree Agent
Cincinnati Reds right-hander Nick Martinez can fill pretty much any pitching role, but he signed a two-year, $26 million deal with the Reds in December with the aim to be a starter. Right now, the team has 10 pitchers competing for five rotation spots, so there's no guarantee Martinez will open the year in the rotation. If he's not starting, he'll be expected to protect leads in a late-inning, high-leverage role out of the bullpen. The 33-year-old served as a swingman for the Padres the last two years, going 6-4 with a 3.43 ERA in a team-high 63 outings (110 1/3 innings) in 2023. Martinez had a 2.32 ERA over 42 2/3 innings in nine starts, and he was excellent at inducing weak contact. Because his role is unclear, it makes him difficult to recommend in fantasy drafts, but we can't argue against how effective he's been in recent seasons.
Source: MLB.com - Mark SheldonRotoBaller.com
Fri Feb 1615:40Blue Jays To Be Deliberate With George Springer In 2024George SpringerCFAstrosFree Agent
The Toronto Blue Jays will be deliberate with outfielder George Springer in the 2024 season, per manager John Schneider. Schneider said the team plans to cycle Springer in more at designated hitter in the 2024 season but will also give him his fair share of days off to maintain his health. Although the 34-year-old appeared in 154 games in the 2023 season, he does have a lengthy injury history and endured a down season at the plate in 2023, hitting .258 with 21 home runs, 20 stolen bases, and a .732 OPS across a career-high 683 trips to the plate. His 104 wRC+ graded out just 4% superior to the league average and is the worst figure of his 10-year big-league career. He also walked a career-worst 8.8% clip and saw his isolated power dip to .147, well below his .214 career mark.
Source: Jon MorosiRotoBaller.com
Fri Feb 1613:18Xander Bogaerts To Play Second Base In 2024Xander BogaertsSSRed SoxFree Agent
San Diego Padres shortstop Xander Bogaerts will play second base this year, according to manager Mike Shildt. Ha-Seong Kim will flip with Bogaerts and will be the team's starting shortstop after his breakout 2023 campaign. Shildt hinted at a possible position change for Bogaerts earlier this month, and now it's official. The 31-year-old isn't as good of a defender as Kim is on the infield, so it makes sense, but it makes Bogaerts' 11-year, $280 million contract look even worse. Bogaerts got off to a strong start offensively in his first year in SD in 2023, but he struggled in the summer months and ultimately finished with a decent .244/.308/.358 slash line with 19 home runs, 58 RBI, a career-high 19 steals and 83 runs. Fantasy managers shouldn't expect much more from him moving forward, although he'll be a bit more attractive now that he'll be gaining second-base eligibility in 2024.
Source: The Athletic - Dennis LinRotoBaller.com
Fri Feb 1612:06Justin Verlander Feeling Good After Throwing ThursdayJustin VerlanderSPTigersFree Agent
Houston Astros manager Joe Espada said that right-hander Justin Verlander (shoulder) "walked in today feeling good about how the arm feels" after throwing off a mound on Thursday in spring training. Verlander wasn't going full speed on Thursday, but it's a positive sign regardless as he looks to bounce back after having a setback with his right shoulder this offseason. The 40-year-old is a bit behind the other pitchers and probably isn't going to be ready for the start of Grapefruit League action, but as long as he doesn't have any further setbacks, he could still be ready for Opening Day. The 40-year-old three-time Cy Young winner is an extreme injury risk at this point in his career and is no longer a fantasy ace. He'll even be somewhat risky as a No. 3 starter for fantasy rotations since it would be more of a surprise if he didn't miss time due to injury in 2024.
Source: MLB.com - Brian McTaggartRotoBaller.com
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