Sport These 17 arbitration-eligible players could soon join full and frozen free agent market
Broncos DC Ed Donatell back home recovering after COVID-related hospitalization
Broncos defensive coordinator Ed Donatell required hospitalization after contracting the coronavirus, according to the team. The second-year Denver DC was hospitalized last week but discharged Sunday. Donatell, 63, has been battling COVID-19 symptoms since Oct. 31 and has missed the past three games. Donatell, who is in his third stint with the franchise, is one of a few Broncos staffers to have contracted the virus. Running backs coach Curtis Modkins did so in October, and offensive line coach Mike Munchak was in the team’s COVID protocol.
The Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals have come and gone, with three weeks remaining to grab free agents before the Christmas holiday.
There were 186 free agents that hit the market after the Los Angeles Dodgers won the World Series, and a month later, there still are about 175 free agents still unemployed.
No. 1 Gonzaga suspends team activities due to COVID-19
First came the cancellation of Saturday’s anticipated game between No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 2 Baylor. Then came the news a day later that Gonzaga is suspending team activities. © Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports The Bulldogs announced on Sunday that they are suspending activities due to COVID-19 within the program. “Out of an abundance of caution and the well-being of student-athletes, in accordance with COVID-19 protocols Gonzaga has made the decision to pause men’s basketball competitions through December 14,” the school said.
The two highest-paid free agents are the ones who accepted their $18.9 million qualifying offers: Kevin Gausman of the San Francisco Giants and Marcus Stroman of the New York Mets.
No team has spent more than the Atlanta Braves, who dished out $27.25 million for veteran pitchers Charlie Morton, Drew Smyly and Josh Tomlin.
And starter Mike Minor of the Kansas City Royals, once he passes his physical, is the only free agent who received a multi-year deal.
There has been just $86.5 million spent so far in the 35 days since the start of free agency, and the deep freeze will only get worse after the 8 p.m. ET Wednesday deadline for teams to decide whether to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players on their 40-man roster.
Ravens WR Willie Snead tests positive for COVID-19 Sunday
We learned that Ravens tight end Mark Andrews was the latest member of Baltimore’s organization to test positive for COVID-19 in yesterday’s round, and there apparently were more this morning. There were multiple player/staff positives in Sunday’s round of testing, a source told Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. At least one of those positives was receiver Willie Snead, Jamison Hensley of The Athletic tweets. As he notes, Snead is the seventh offensive starter to test positive, and there have now been eight consecutive days with a positive test within the team.
The non-tendered players will immediately become free agents.
Considering that teams lost $3 billion in the pandemic, according to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, with revenues expected to plummet again if fan attendance is severely limited 2021, owners will lower their payrolls again.
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Teams like the Cleveland Indians already are in full cost-cutting mode. They are shopping All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor after refusing to pick up the $10 million option on three-time All-Star closer Brad Hand.
You don’t resign a year early and walk away from $10 million like Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein or step down as chairman of the San Diego Padres like Ron Fowler if you don’t know that painful cutbacks are coming. The Dodgers just laid off about 60 employees and the Philadelphia Phillies dismissed about 80 people alone in the last week.
Christian Wood felt for a second he was 'about to die' of COVID-19
Despite feeling that terribly during his bought with COVID, Wood was able to make a full recovery from the virus. As of March 25, the big man was said to be feeling great and fully recovered.Wood became a sought-after player in free agency this offseason. He ended up signing a three-year, $41 million deal with the Houston Rockets.An undrafted center out of UNLV, Wood averaged 13.1 points and 6.3 rebounds in just 21.4 minutes per game for the Pistons last season.Subscribe to Yardbarker's Morning Bark, the most comprehensive newsletter in sports.
There were 53 players who were non-tendered a year ago, including Gausman, Blake Treinen and Taijuan Walker.
What further complicates teams’ decisions is that MLB and the players union still have not reached an agreement on a formula on how statistics during the shortened 60-game season will be viewed by arbitrators. The union wants the 2020 stats multiplied by 2.7, while MLB believes it shouldn’t be that simple.
Here are the biggest names teams are discussing whether to submit contract offers by Wednesday night ():
Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs: Crazy, huh? Who would have ever believed a year ago that Bryant, the 2016 National League MVP and three-time All-Star, would be under consideration to be non-tendered? After the worst season of his career (.206 average, .293 OBP, .351 SLG with four home runs and 11 RBI), playing just 34 of the 60 games with five different injuries, the Cubs are intent on trading him before opening day. It’s highly unlikely they’ll non-tender him, even with a projected salary of $18.6 million, but it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility.
NFL expecting huge COVID-19 spike after Thanksgiving?
The NFL is bracing for a significant post-Thanksgiving spike in COVID-19 cases across the league. There is a fear that with the surge in the virus, it will have an impact on the remaining regular-season games. The NFL has every reason to be concerned. Cases of COVID-19 are spiking across the United States, with the country exceeding 100,000-plus new positive tests every day since November began. It’s also a trend that reflects in the NFL’s testing of players and personnel, with 47 percent of cases in the regular season coming in November.Oct. 4-10: Eight new cases among players, seven confirmed positives among personnelOct.
Gary Sanchez, New York Yankees: He’s a two-time All-Star catcher who hit 34 homers with 77 RBI a year ago. But last season, he hit just .147 with 64 strikeouts in 156 at-bats and was benched in five of the Yankees’ seven playoff games. Do they really want to give him aboutfrom his $5 million salary of last year? Owner Hal Steinbrenner said the Yankees lost more than any team last year, an amount the is close to $220 million.
Eddie Rosario, Minnesota Twins: Rosario has hit 96 homers the past four years, but he’s also going to cost $9.6 million to $12 million. Considering the Twins have two former first-round outfielders in Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach, who also hit left-handed, Rosario is expendable. The low-budget Twins could spend the savings on a one-year contract for a right-handed-hitting left fielder while acquiring pitching depth.
Steven Matz, New York Mets: Matz is coming off his worst season in a career that has been little more than mediocre. He was 0-5 with a 9.68 ERA last season, and has just a 31-41 career record with a 4.35 ERA. But he also made 30 starts apiece in 2018 and 2019. If this was the old Mets, they’d probably cut him loose. But with owner Steve Cohen and his $14.5 billion at the helm, what’s a gamble of just over $5 million?
Executives reject NFL's COVID-19 policy
It was this past Sunday that the Denver Broncos had to play an actual football game without a quarterback. That’s due to the questionable NFL COVID-19 policies around the league. © Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports Meanwhile, the Baltimore Ravens' Week 12 game was postponed three times after originally being scheduled for Thanksgiving night. It took place on Wednesday with Baltimore losing a close affair to the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers.The backdrop here is drama surrounding the NFL COVID-19 policy as the pandemic continues to spread unabated around the United States.
Kyle Schwarber, Chicago Cubs: Schwarber’s value is enhanced if there’s a universal DH, but with the Cubs looking to shake things up and trim the payroll, Schwarber is a strong non-tender candidate. They could tender him a contract and attempt to trade him like Bryant, but with a .230 career batting average, while hitting just .188 last season, his value has shrunk.
Archie Bradley, Cincinnati Reds: Bradley was the Reds’ biggest acquisition at the trade deadline. He made $4.1 million last year, but now could be earning $5.7 million as the Reds’ setup man in 2021.
Tommy Pham, San Diego Padres: Pham is an ideal middle-of-the-order hitter and a fiery competitor, but he missed half of the season with a broken hamate bone and had a slash line of just .211/.312/.312. He also suffered awhile retrieving his car at a San Diego club during the offseason, and hopes to be recovered by spring training. It will cost about $8 million to keep him.
Carlos Rodon, Chicago White Sox: They love his talent and believe he could be a front-line starter, but injuries limited the 27-year-old to nine starts and 42 1/3 innings the past two seasons. It's expected they will cut him loose instead of gamble for about $4.5 million.
Jon Gray, Colorado Rockies: Gray has been a huge disappointment for the Rockies since being selected third in the 2013 draft, one spot behindBryant. Gray has gone 45-37 with a 4.59 ERA. He’s projected to earn $5.9 million to $6.5 million in arbitration.
Austin Hedges, Cleveland Indians: Cleveland landed Hedges in the Mike Clevinger trade, but after picking up starting catcher Roberto Perez’s $5.5 million option, it seems a little silly to invest another $3 million in Hedges to be a defensive backup. Remember, they unloaded Hand to save $10 million, so it’s difficult envisioning spending nearly $9 million on light-hitting catchers.
Assessing the offseason outlook for the Colorado Rockies
For a second straight offseason, Rockies owner Dick Monfort set the stage for a tight-budgeted winter for his club. “There will be nothing normal about this offseason as the industry faces a new economic reality, and each club will have to adjust,” Monfort wrote in a letter to season ticketholders at the end of October. © Isaiah J.
Jesus Aguilar, Miami Marlins: The Marlins love Aguilar’s clubhouse leadership, and a universal DH increases his value. But Aguilar could command as much as $6 million for a team with one of the lowest payrolls.
Corey Knebel, Milwaukee Brewers: The Brewers, who plan to cut payroll again this winter, have no real need to keep Knebel and his projected $5.125 million salary. They already have closer Josh Hader and rookie of the year winner Devin Williams as a premium 1-2 bullpen punch. Knebel has pitched only 13 1/3 innings since 2018.
Nomar Mazara, Chicago White Sox: He was a former top Texas Rangers prospect whom the White Sox provided an everyday opportunity. He flopped. There’s no chance he gets tendered at a projected close to $6 million salary.
Matt Barnes, Boston Red Sox: He’s expected to earn as much as $5.7 million in arbitration. It’s a fair deal if he’s the closer. If the Red Sox decide he doesn’t fit that role, he could be non-tendered.
Travis Shaw, Toronto Blue Jays: The Blue Jays plan to spend this winter, but there are more prudent ways than risking $4.5 million to $5.4 million on Shaw. He hit just .239 with six homers, 17 RBI and a .717 OPS last season. This should be the second consecutive winter he is non-tendered.
Maikel Franco, Kansas City Royals: Franco did everything the Royals desired last winter as their everyday third baseman, but they’re not about to risk $5 million and potentially as much as $8 million in arbitration for a guy who has a career .737 OPS.
Johan Camargo, Atlanta Braves: Camargo has been disappointing since his 2018 breakout season, and with Austin Riley at third base, they may not want to risk about $2 million on a bench player.
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Assessing the Minnesota Twins' offseason outlook .
The Twins have some work to do this offseason if they want to break their unfathomable 18-game postseason losing streak.Guaranteed contracts