MLBits: Cruz to the Padres, Fujinami to the A's, Correa's Re-Intro, Blow For Oakland, Tigers Ballpark Change, More

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MLBits: Cruz to the Padres, Fujinami to the A’s, Correa’s Re-Intro, Blow For Oakland, Tigers Ballpark Change, More

Chicago Cubs

An oddly busy day around baseball in terms of “random news” for a mid-January Wednesday …

Nelson Cruz to the Padres for a Bargain

Nelson Cruz is still trying to make it happen, and he’ll join the Padres (DH platoon with Matt Carpenter?) on a cheap deal:

For the first time since 2007(!), Cruz was a below-average hitter in 2022 for the Nationals. He was 42, which could be a factor, but many think it was an eye issue that has since been resolved. I guess we’ll see in 2023.

Correa Officially Back in Minnesota

Carlos Correa was re-introduced as a Minnesota Twin today, with lot of pleasantries and attempted explanations on the leg thing:

Not-So-Rooted in Oakland

As part of their plan to TRY to keep the Athletics in Oakland, the city was hoping to receive certain funds from the Federal Department of Transportation (nearly $200 million) … but that request has reportedly been rejected, according to SFGate.

The Howard Terminal project was/is going to cost a lot more than $200 million, but this would’ve been the largest chunk funding the project. So the rejection is a problem for the city’s plan to keep the A’s rooted in Oakland. Meanwhile, Las Vegas is waiting, and league expansion thereafter.

A’s to Sign Shintaro Fujinami

In more positive A’s-related news, they are taking a shot on big-armed Japanese righty Shintaro Fujinami, and they’re going to let him start:

It’s interesting that he is signing only a one-year deal, but it kinda makes sense – he’ll get free agency right away after the season, and if he shows he can stay healthy and translate to big league success, he could be in line for a large multi-year deal.

Big Changes Coming to Comerica Park

Hey, remember how we were talking just a couple weeks ago about Comerica being absolute death to well-struck fly balls? Like, nearly 80 points of wOBA difference between Comerica and the next worst ballpark for hard hit fly balls? Well, seems the Tigers are trying to do something about it:

I am cracking up at one of the officially-stated reasons for the change, particularly the phrasing (it’s the third one):

  • Reward hitter outcomes on balls hit to the deepest parts of the park
  • Maintain the high number of extra-base hits on balls in play to the gaps, resulting in action on the basepaths
  • Lowered wall height encouraging more electric defensive plays such as home run robberies

I mean, they’re not wrong. It’s just funny to me to see “electric defensive plays such as home run robberies” in an official team release.

Odds and Ends

  • It feels like a lot of great players and prospects are going to be participating in the WBC this year, and I think that’s fun:
  • Love to hear this for college baseball and softball:
  • Just one World Series loss for the Cubs in the decade ahead:

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.