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MLBits: Top Cuban Prospect Declared Free Agent, Derek Jeter and Jeb Bush Join Forces, More

MLB News and Rumors

Night games after off-days should be outlawed, but that’s just what the Cubs have tonight after walking-off in their series finale against the Brewers on Wednesday. Life just feels so boring without baseball.

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Let’s get to some news from around the league.

  • And some of the biggest MLB news of the week comes from Ken Rosenthal (naturally):

  • That would be 19-year-old free-agent outfielder and top Cuban prospect, Luis Robert, who has been officially cleared by MLB as a free agent. However, that doesn’t mean he can sign right away. Instead, according to Jesse Sanchez, Robert will have to wait about one month (May 20th) before he’s eligible to sign. And while that day holds some relevance to other teams, it means a whole lot less for the Cubs. Unfortunately, whether he signs before the July 2 deadline or in the period that follows, the Chicago Cubs will effectively be unable to sign him, given their $300,000 bonus limit in both this and the coming period (same reason they likely can’t get Shohei Otani if he comes this offseason as rumored).
  • But that doesn’t mean the polished-for-his-age, powerful, potential-center-fielder will not have an impact on the Cubs down the line. He has drawn interest from many teams, but the White Sox were mentioned as favorites, as were the Cardinals (lovely and lovely) in a recent MLB Trade Rumors piece from Jeff Todd. Whether the White Sox want to incur penalties in this or the coming period (or at all) could be the deciding factor. If the NL Central gets involved, this’ll definitely be something to watch.
  • QUICK! Name a (soon-to-be) Hall-of-Famer and politician you’d want to hang out with! Was it Jeb Bush and Derek Jeter? Because those two may be joining forces in a bid to purchase the Miami Marlins – all of that, somehow, is true. What’s interesting is that these two were previously considered to be rival bidders, so joining forces is not just a publicity move, it might make a ton of financial sense (hard to hold leverage when your two highest bidders join forces). More about these and other potential suitors at the Miami Herald.
  • QUICK! Name a Hall-of-Famer and a (soon-to-be) politician! Was it Tom Glavine and Tagg Romney? Because they may be working together to buy the Marlins, too! Because apparently 2017 was like, “lol if you thought last year was crazy ….”

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  • Some not-quite-bad-but-definitely-not-good news out of Boston: David Price has experienced some left elbow soreness after playing some long toss today. The $217 million starter for the Red Sox has not thrown a single inning yet this season, but was scheduled to throw off the mound tomorrow (with an aim at returning sometime in May at the earliest). It’s not entirely clear how this affects that timetable, but it’s certainly not a good sign. I would not yet pick him up in your fantasy league.
  • Roger Clemens was recently on the TV show “Undeniable with Joe Buck,” and boy was it a doozy. To put his appearances simply, he came out hard against George Mitchell and Henry Waxman (of the infamous Mitchell Report), suggesting that the entire event was all about money and that it was “nothing short of a Jerry Springer show.” To paraphrase Craig Calcaterra (NBC Sports), who has an excellent write-up of the experience, the Mitchell Reports had its flaws, sure, but Clemens seems to have learned absolutely nothing in the decade since those reports came out, “and it’s pretty dang sad.
  • At FanGraphs, Tony Blengino has been grading out the best pitches from last season, and among the best in the curveball business is one familiar name: Jake Arrieta. Indeed, Arrieta’s 2016 curveball ranked out as a B+ (behind only Madison Bumgarner (A) and Jerad Eickhoff (B+) – Clayton Kershaw didn’t have enough innings to qualify, but his would have certainly been right there, as well. Arrieta’s curve wasn’t used nearly as often as many others on the list, but it was fourth in contact management (76 adjusted contact score) and third in bat-missing (17.2% swing and miss). If Arrieta’s fastball velocity is indeed down this season, we might look to him to throw more curveballs, because when he has, they’ve been very effective. John Lackey showed up at number 15 overall, with a “C” grade for his curveball.

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  • As you may have guessed, Kyle Hendricks’ 2016 change-up was the only “A” grade among National league change-ups. With an adjusted contact score of 55 and a 23.7% swing and miss rate, his was far and away beyond anyone that came behind him.

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  • The Mets activated closer Jeurys Familia from the restricted list on Thursday, now that he’s finished serving a 15-game suspension related to a domestic violence incident last October. Although the charges against Familia were ultimately dropped, MLB does not require them to impose their own discipline (thus the suspension). Addison Reed is expected to continue closing for now, but Familia will likely take back over at some point this summer.
  • The Mets will be without Yoenis Cespedes for at least a few days, though, as he’s having an MRI on his injured hamstring.
  • The Pirates react to the Starling Marte PED suspension news, and Andrew McCutchen’s response seems the most appropriate (Pirates.com): “You hate to hear anything like that for anyone, especially your own teammate. You hate to hear it,” McCutchen said. “Guys make mistakes, but the last thing I need to be doing is distancing myself away from him or whatever that may be. I’m just trying to be a good friend before I am a teammate. … When you make a mistake, you’ve got to pay for it. It’s that simple, regardless, teammate or not.”
  • Eric Thames continues to rake, popping his league-leading 8th home run for the Brewers. His wRC+ is currently 287, or 187% better than league average. Freddie Freeman and Bryce Harper are having all-universe starts to their season … and they are 30 to 40 points behind Thames, who has already been worth 1.6 WAR:

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  • I’m … not sure you can do that, Trevor Bauer:

Brett Taylor contributed to this post.


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Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @Michael_Cerami.

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