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Mookie Betts was named the winner of the 2018 AL MVP Award on Thursday.

It wasn't close, with Betts taking 28-of-30 first-place votes. Mike Trout finished second for the fourth time in his career with one first-place vote, with Jose Ramirez coming in third. J.D. Martinez got the other vote and finished fourth. It was a sensational year for the 26-year-old Betts, hitting .346/.438/.640 while hitting 32 homers, stealing 30 bases and scoring 129 runs while also providing some of the best defense in the outfield that we saw in 2018. It's the first MVP for Betts, but considering his age and talent, it shouldn't shock anyone if it's not his last.
Source: BBWAA
Thu, Nov 15, 2018 06:46:00 PM

Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic writes that the Cubs have "bandied about the idea of trading Ben Zobrist this offseason."

Zobrist is set to play an integral role for the Cubs again in 2019, particularly early on in the season while Addison Russell serves the remainder of his suspension. That said, the team has evidently considered trading him for bullpen help and payroll space. However, it does not appear at this point that any deal involving Zobrist is close. The veteran utility player will turn 38 in May and is slated for free agency after the upcoming season. He'll earn $12.5 million in 2019.
Source: The Athletic
Jan 20 - 3:55 PM

Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports reports that the Dodgers, Giants, Angels, Phillies and Rays are among the teams pursuing Josh Harrison.

The Rangers have also been previously connected to Harrison. The Pirates used Harrison almost exclusively at second base last season, but his ability to play all over the field makes him a fit on just about any club. The 31-year-old batted an uninspiring .250/.293/.363 over 97 games in 2018.
Jan 20 - 1:39 PM

Angels signed RHP Cody Allen to a one-year, $8.5 million contract.

He can earn an additional $2.5 million in games finished incentives. Allen didn't have an ideal walk year with a 4.70 ERA for the Indians, but he misses a lot of bats and has a good shot at a bounce-back season if he can stay healthy. He's in line to serve as the Angels' closer.
Jan 20 - 1:25 PM

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Dodgers have been discussing Joc Pederson in possible trades, and the White Sox are "one of clubs in those conversations."

Jason Kinander of FanSided was first to report that the two sides were talking. The White Sox really need outfield help, so it's not a surprise that they would have some interest in Pederson. It's also not a surprise that the Dodgers are fielding offers for the outfielder, as they appear interested in balancing out their left-handed-heavy lineup. Rosenthal adds that it's "not known if talks are advanced to point where teams are close to a deal." Pederson is under team control through 2020.
Jan 20 - 12:08 PM

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that a possible delay in the announcement of the Sonny Gray trade is that the Reds might be trying to sign Gray to an extension.

Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports has confirmed that extension talks between the two sides are indeed taking place. Rosenthal notes that the trade between the Yankees and Reds could still be completed even if a contract extension isn't agreed to, but Gray might be more amendable to a long-term deal with Cincinnati because of a reunion with former college pitching coach Derek Johnson.
Jan 20 - 11:57 AM

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Dodgers are "in discussions" with A.J. Pollock.

It's a follow-up report from Rosenthal, who had noted previously that the Dodgers had interest in the free agent outfielder. Pollock would provide the Dodgers with a right-handed bat to add to a left-handed-heavy lineup and allow them to play Cody Bellinger more at first base if that's what they'd prefer. While Pollock's injury history is a concern, Rosenthal correctly notes that the Dodgers could deal with his absence more easily than most clubs due to their depth and versatility.
Jan 20 - 9:34 AM

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Twins have reached a contract agreement with free agent left-hander Martin Perez.

According to Rosenthal, it's a one-year major league deal that includes a club option for a second season. No word yet on the financials. Perez hit the open market after the Rangers declined his $7.5 million option in December. The 27-year-old hurler registered a troublesome 6.22 ERA, 1.78 WHIP and 52/36 K/BB ratio across 85 1/3 innings for the Rangers in 2018.
Jan 19 - 4:52 PM

Jon Heyman of Fancred reports that the Giants have been gauging trade interest in third baseman Evan Longoria.

Longoria has four years and $72.5 million remaining on his contract with the Giants, in addition to a $2 million assignment bonus if he's traded, so the Giants may have to contribute significant cash if they're hoping to move him. The 33-year-old hit .244/.281/.413 with 16 homers and 54 RBI over 125 games in his first season with the Giants.
Jan 19 - 4:48 PM

Jon Heyman of Fancred reports that the Yankees and Reds are "getting closer" to making a trade involving Sonny Gray.

This one has been brewing for a long time now and something might happen soon. Heyman mentions that the Yankees would receive two prospects and a competitive balance draft pick. One of the prospects involved could be either 2B Shed Long or C Tyler Stephenson, both of whom are in the back half of the Reds' top ten prospects. The second prospect would likely be from further down the list. Gray will make a $7.5 million salary in 2019 after going 11-9 with a 4.90 ERA and woeful 1.50 WHIP in 30 games (23 starts) last year for the Yankees. Based on those numbers we wouldn't expect Gray to net much of a return in trade value, but his xFIP was better at 4.10 and he owns a career ERA of 3.66 over six seasons. His first three seasons were his best however, and over the last three seasons he has a 4.59 ERA. Heyman reports the Giants, Braves and Brewers are also interested in Gray.
Jan 19 - 10:50 AM

Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe reports that Chris Sale said his shoulder is feeling healthy again.

Sale spoke at the Red Sox annual fan convention and said "I feel normal again, I’m able to throw free and easy and feel loose and kind of have that whip back. It’s obviously a nice feeling." Sale suffered through an extended bout with left shoulder inflammation last season that cost him two stints on the disabled list. The club was able to nurse him through the season and the playoffs but he wasn't at full strength. The aches and pains limited him to 158 innings but when he was on the mound he was spectacular. He turned in a 2.11 ERA and 0.86 WHIP (both career bests) in 27 starts. He struck out 237 batters, issued just 34 walks and yielded only 11 home runs. He won 12 games against four losses and finished fourth in the AL Cy Young balloting. He has finished in the top six of the Cy Young balloting in each of the last seven seasons but has not yet won the award.
Jan 19 - 10:33 AM

Kris Bryant said his shoulder is now perfectly healthy and he has been taking batting practice at full strength since December 1st.

Bryant initially injured his left shoulder on a slide in late June and was bothered by lingering discomfort throughout the second half. He batted just .242/.333/.374 with two home runs over his final 30 regular-season games. Following the season there was conjecture that he might need surgery on the shoulder and that he wouldn't be able to swing a bat until January. Speaking at the Cubs' fan convention he said his shoulder is "Perfect. I feel so good. I feel great... I feel very strong... I'm swinging really hard." It's good news for fantasy owners who can now draft him with confidence this spring.
Jan 19 - 9:54 AM

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