As we get within a few weeks of pitchers and catchers reporting to Arizona and Florida, clubs are scrambling to add another arm to their rotation or hole in their lineup. Last week’s departure of shortstop Marcus Semien to play second base in Toronto forced the hand of Oakland to find a replacement and on Saturday the Athletics acquired Elvis Andrus from Texas for outfielder Khris Davis, catcher Jonah Heim, and minor leaguer Dane Acker.
Andrus, a two-time All-Star, is 32 and has two years and an option left on an eight-year, $120 million contract signed with the Rangers. Davis hit 40+ HR’s three straight years in Oakland, but the 33-year-old hit only two out of the park in 2020. The motivation for Texas is financial, as they are retaining $13.5 million to make the deal more palatable to the budget-conscious A’s and moving the younger (and more inexpensive) Gold Glover Isiah Kiner-Falefa from third to short.
Scrambling for arms
The signs that clubs were out of the Trevor Bauer sweepstakes were apparent this week, as the Los Angeles Angels swapped prospect infielder Jahmai Jones to Baltimore for starter Alex Cobb. The 33-year-old has been a bust since leaving Tampa Bay for Baltimore in 2018, going 7-22, with a 5.10 ERA in 41 starts over three seasons, but may get better results getting away from the hapless Orioles.
The Angels are getting Baltimore to pay two-thirds of Cobb’s $15 million salary, instead of shelling out over $40 million to the 2020 National League Cy Young winner.
Another former Ray, Chris Archer, suffered a similar fate after being traded to Pittsburgh in 2018 for Austin Meadows and Tyler Glasnow. After an injury-plagued 2019 campaign, the 32-year-old righty missed the entire 2020 season after undergoing surgery to correct thoracic outlet syndrome and was bought out of the final year of his contract by the Pirates.
Archer signed a one-year, $6.5 million deal with the Rays, who have a history of working magic with reclamation projects and it would not be a shock for Tampa to get him back to being an effective starter.
Yankees looking to yoga to solve injury issues
The New York Yankees relied a lot on the opinion player health and performance director Eric Cressey when it came to rolling the dice on former Cy Young winner Corey Kluber and they are also trusting him with a new approach of offseason training for oft-injured outfielders Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton.
Judge and Stanton collectively have missed 273 games over the last two seasons with calf strains, oblique injuries and muscle pulls and has altered their workouts going into this season from a weight-lifting centric routine to those that focus on more flexibility.
“Both of those guys took a dramatically different approach this offseason from what they’ve previously done,” Cressey said to the YES Network’s Meredith Marlovits last week. “Aaron in particular has taken a heavy interest in a lot of yoga. We’ve had a great instructor in Dana Santas who’s come in and helped out at our spring-training complex. Not just Aaron, but Luke [Voit] and Mike Ford and Thairo [Estrada] and Nick Nelson, a lot of those guys who are down there. So that’s something that I think is important.”
With big question marks in Kluber and Jameson Taillon in the rotation, it will be more important than ever for the Yankees offense to be overwhelming and a healthy Judge and Stanton would make that more likely.