MLBits: Will Kimbrel Wait Until June? Jays Off the Hook, MiLB Gambling, Snell, Flaherty, More

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MLBits: Will Kimbrel Wait Until June? Jays Off the Hook, MiLB Gambling, Snell, Flaherty, More

Chicago Cubs

As I was mapping out the rest of my day today, I started planning the Pre-Gamin’ post, when I realized … there’s no game today. I hate that. I hate no baseball.

It reminds me of that usually pesky second day(off) of the regular season. You wait all winter for baseball, they tease you with Opening Day, and then – thud – you have to wait 48 hours for more baseball. It’s the absolute worst. Like this season, for example, the Cubs return on March 28th at 3:05 CT … and then don’t play until 7:05 CT on the 30th! That sucks. Gimmie all the baseball, please.

  • Craig Kimbrel remains unsigned, and with Opening Day just around the corner, Ken Rosenthal is wondering what might happen. Kimbrel’s agent, David Meter, already shot down rumors that Kimbrel would sit out this year, but Rosenthal wonders if he might consider sitting out until at least after the June Amateur Draft. At that time, the thinking goes, Kimbrel will cost less in 2019 (pro-rated salary) and will no longer be subject to draft-pick compensation. Rosenthal also notes that a competitor looking to improve their bullpen might be more willing to bite on a cash-only elite reliever instead of parting ways with prospects at the deadline.
  • But while that all makes some sense, I just don’t see it happening. Kimbrel is clearly not going to get the deal he wants, but I bet he has a home long before the June Amateur draft. And, no, I don’t think the Cubs are going to jump in, even though there seems to be yet another opportunity to take advantage.

  • Well, that takes care of that, now doesn’t it?

  • The Blue Jays now have an ironclad excuse to hold Vladimir Guerrero Jr., one of the games best prospects in a while, down for however much time is needed to secure an extra season of team control, like the Cubs did with Kris Bryant. They were going to do it anyway, no doubt, but now it’ll be much harder to file a grievance. They are so off the hook.
  • As legalized sports gambling spreads throughout the country, betting on Minor League games will eventually happen. And on the surface, it’s easy to say … “So what?” After all, if we can bet on big league games, why not Minor League games? Well, here’s one consideration brought up by the Boston Herald I never considered: Because MiLB players are hardly paid ANYTHING AT ALL, they are far more vulnerable to corruption (i.e. getting paid to throw a game). I guess MLB better step up and consider something at least close to minimum wage, eh?
  • Adam Jones has reportedly signing a one-year/$3M contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks, though the team has not yet confirmed the deal.
  • Jo Adell is the Angels top prospect and the 14th best prospect in all of baseball according to MLB Pipeline. And although he’s just 19 years old, he reached (and succeeded at) Double-A last season. Unfortunately, his progress was slowed when he suffered a right ankle sprain and left hamstring sprain over the weekend. “He was likely to open the year at Double-A Mobile,” writes, “but he is expected to remain in Arizona to rehab his injuries until he’s healthy.” That’s a bummer and might ultimately prevent us from seeing Adell this year.
  • At The Athletic, Ken Rosenthal takes a deep dive into Mike Moustakas’ career and free agent journey, with a special focus on his move to second base this season for the Brewers. How good Moustakas is at second base could go a long way in determining the height of the Brewers’ potential. If he’s a disaster there, they might have to re-maneuver the infield in sub-optimal ways.
  • The Brewers players apparently voted to give one full playoff share (worth $123K) to announcer Bob Uecker last season. Which … dang. That’s actually pretty wonderful. I hate when the Brewers do wonderful things (fortunately that’s not too often). “To include me in that, I couldn’t believe it,” said Uecker, 85. “I said, ‘I don’t believe it. Really?’ I’ve tried to make sure I thanked every one of them.”
  • If Yadier Molina finishes out his contract with the Cardinals, which takes him through the 2020 season, and then retires, he’ll finish his career behind only Stan Musial in terms of longevity with the team. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Molina’s 17 years will surpass Bob Gibson’s 16 years with only the Cardinals, but trail Musial (22 years) by quite a bit, at the end of 2020. I guess that’s pretty cool. Sticking with one team is cool. But the only thing I hate more than the Brewers doing wonderful things is the Cardinals doing cool things. This is shaping up to be a bad day.
  • After Kris Bryant burst onto the scene with MVP caliber performances right out of the gate, the Cubs did well by him, increasing his salary above the minimum expected rate (they also kept him down long enough to secure an additional year of team control, but at least they gave him a raise). The Rays did no such thing with 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell. “They also have the ability to more adequately compensate me,” Snell said via the Tampa Bay Times, “as other organizations have done with players who have similar achievements to mine. The Rays chose the former.” After winning the Cy Young award and finishing in the top-10 of MVP voting, the Rays have given Snell a …. $5,500 raise. How generous. 
  • The Cardinals ran into a similar problem: They apparently tried to come to terms with each of their pre-arb players for 2019, offering Jack Flaherty $572,100. But when Flaherty rejected the agreement, the team just used their unilateral ability to impose a salary on him … for $10K less than their OWN original offer. “The system as a whole is not great,” said Flaherty. No kidding.
  • Cool. Cool, cool, cool.

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Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami