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Larry Eschen Jersey

There’s no dearth of money in Major League Baseball.

The 30 clubs settled mostly one-year contracts with 99 arbitration eligible players for nearly half a billion dollars by Friday’s deadline for exchanging figures.

The Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs and New York Mets led the way in Friday’s spending of $498.5 million, all three teams booking deals in excess of $40 million each.

The above figures were assembled personally by hand via ESPN’s 2020 arbitration tracker.

None of the above clubs made the playoffs last season even though the three teams were among the top spenders in MLB, the Red Sox soaring far over the luxury tax threshold at a baseball tops $242.8 million. Three teams, including the Cubs and New York Yankees, exceeded the threshold of $206 million.

The Red Sox, who spent $46.21 million Friday, signed five players, including outfielder Mookie Betts to a record for an arbitration-eligible player deal of $27 million. Another outfielder, Jackie Bradley Jr., signed for $11 million.

Today In: Business
The Mets spent $44.38 on seven players, including $9.7 million alone for pitcher Noah Syndergaard.

The Cubs also signed six players for $42.65 million, including third baseman/outfielder Kris Bryant at $18.6 million.

In other contract news from around the league, the Los Angeles Dodgers signed National League MVP Cody Bellinger for $11.5 million, a record for a first-year arbitration eligible player. Bellinger earned $605,000 last season.

The New York Yankees gave big raises to young stars Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez in their first years of arbitration. The slugging right-fielder went from $669,800 last season to $8.5 million, the catcher from $617,600 to $5 million.

Larry Eschen The Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds gave big raises respectively to second baseman Francisco Lindor and pitcher Trevor Bauer, both players signing for $17.5 million each. The Indians traded Bauer to the Reds at last season’s July 31 trade deadline, while Lindor has been a focal point of constant trade rumors all this offseason.

The arbitration system allows most players who have three to five seasons of service time to exchange financial figures with their own teams. If they don’t settle beforehand the two sides go to a hearing where an independent arbitrator awards one or the other financial figure to said player.

At six years of service time, players can become free agents and sell their services to any Major League club.

Betts, for example, was a third-year arbitration eligible player who will become a free agent after the 2020 World Series, thus the reason for the record settlement. Betts, represented by super-agent Scott Boras, has resisted negotiating a long-term deal with Boston and said he will test the free agent market.

Betts has history on his side. In the past two signing seasons, Bryce Harper signed a 13-year free-agent deal with the Philadelphia Phillies for $330 million, Manny Machado signed with the San Diego Padres for 10-years at $300 million with a five-year opt out, and most recently, Anthony Rendon signed with the Los Angeles Angels for seven years at $245 million.

The Angels last year also kept American League MVP Mike Trout for 12 years at $426.5 million, and the Colorado Rockies re-upped Nolan Arenado for eight years, $260 million with an opt out after five years.Larry Eschen

MLB is so awash in money that the top two pitchers on the current market signed early, Gerrit Cole going to the Yankees for nine years at $324 million and Stephen Strasburg returning to the Washington Nationals for seven years, $245 million when he opted out of his deal after his club defeated the Houston Astros in a seven-game World Series.

Friday’s contract action was just another example of it.

Anthony Santander Jersey

Draft Anthony Santander as a fantasy bench player who could make an occasional spot start in next season. His 409.44 projected fantasy points puts him at #47 behind Gregory Polanco and ahead of Thomas Pham. He has averaged 2.87 fantasy points in his past 93 games. Our projected per game average is virtually the same. He is projected to average 2.72 fantasy points. His rank based on avg proj (#102) is worse than his rank based on total fantasy points. He is underrated if you compare his ownership based rank with his projection rank. At 46%, he is the #64 most highly owned outfielder. Anthony Santander is expected to improve on last season’s #64 fantasy position rank.

NEXT SEASON RANK (OF) PROJECTION FANTASY STATS IN 2019
#45 Brandon Nimmo (25% OWN) 416 FP, 2.85 per game 160 FP, 68 gp, 2.35 per game (#84)
#46 Gregory Polanco (24% OWN) 415 FP, 2.84 per game 94 FP, 41 gp, 2.28 per game (#90)
#47 Anthony Santander (46% OWN) 409 FP, 2.72 per game 267 FP, 93 gp, 2.87 per game (#41)
#48 Thomas Pham (98% OWN) 408 FP, 2.71 per game 432 FP, 145 gp, 2.98 per game (#32)
#49 Ryan Braun (74% OWN) 406 FP, 2.95 per game 368 FP, 143 gp, 2.57 per game (#63)
These projections power SportsLine’s Computer Picks and Fantasy Data. But for contest winning DFS optimal lineups by top experts like Mike McClure visit SportsLine’s new Daily Fantasy Hub.

ANTHONY SANTANDER WEEK 1 AND 2 FANTASY OUTLOOK
Anthony Santander is projected for 7.36 fantasy points in 3 games the rest of the week in week 1 which only ranks him as the #72 projected outfielder and not a fantasy relevant player. This is projected to be a better than average week with more fantasy points per game than he is projected to average per game the rest of the season. He is ranked above Michael Conforto but behind Bryan Reynolds the rest of the week. Week 2 will be better based on projected rank (#65). He is projected for 14.33 fantasy points.

WEEK 1 RANK (OF) PROJECTION ROS FP PROJ AVG
#70 Adam Eaton 7.5 FP 2.78 FP
#71 Bryan Reynolds 7.4 FP 2.92 FP
#72 Anthony Santander 7.4 FP 2.72 FP
#73 Michael Conforto 7.3 FP 3.09 FP
#74 Franmil Reyes 7.2 FP 2.95 FP
WEEK 2 RANK (OF) PROJECTION ROS FP PROJ AVG
#63 Kole Calhoun 14.5 FP 2.68 FP
#64 Randal Grichuk 14.4 FP 2.76 FP
#65 Anthony Santander 14.3 FP 2.72 FP
#66 Christin Stewart 14.3 FP 2.5 FP
#67 Ramon Laureano 14.1 FP 3.04 FP
FANTASY PROJECTIONS AND ACTUAL STATS
The tables below show projected stats (totals and averages) for the rest of the season and upcoming weeks. Below the projection are actual stats from last season.

ANTHONY SANTANDER FP HR RBI R BB SB
2020 Projection 409 30 83 71 37 3.9
— Per Game (151 Proj) 2.7 0.20 0.55 0.47 0.24 0.03
3/26 to 3/29 (2.8 Games) 7.4 0.56 1.5 1.3 0.67 0.07
3/30 to 4/5 (5.6 Games) 14.3 0.98 3.0 2.5 1.4 0.13
2019 Season 267 20 59 46 19 1
— Per Game (93 GP) 2.9 0.22 0.63 0.49 0.20 0.01

Blake Hawksworth Jersey

President Donald Trump wanted to get his hands on Air Force slugger Nic Ready last week.

“I want to feel this guy’s muscles,” Trump joked as he invited Ready on stage during his graduation speech at Falcon Stadium. Ready was alerted to expect a shoutout as Trump referenced his record-breaking performance last summer at the college baseball home run derby.

He didn’t expect that.

“I was told to just real quickly stand up, give a simple wave and then sit down and shut up for the rest of the ceremony,” Ready said. “Obviously the way it unfolded went a little different and he went a little freestyle off the script and decided to pull me up on the stage. Took me completely by surprise when he did that.”

It was a pleasant surprise, to be sure. His mom cried. He received stunned reactions from friends and he’ll have a story to share for the rest of his life.

With the Major League Baseball Draft beginning Monday, Ready is hoping to be pleasantly surprised again if a team similarly decides it wants to get its hands on the Falcons’ all-time home run leader.

Ready is not alone in that that hope among players in the Pikes Peak region as this could turn into the most prolific baseball draft the area has ever seen.

Pine Creek pitching phenom Riley Cornelio is rated as the No. 20 high school prospect in the nation by Baseball Factory and No. 86 overall according to MLB.com.

Assignments for Air Force athletes from the Class of 2019: Where they are going
The area has seen players taken early in the draft in recent years – Air Force pitcher Griffin Jax went in the third round in 2016 and Pike Creek’s Ryan Warner went to the Rockies in the third round in 2012. But never have potential picks like Cornelio and Ready been eligible in the same year for this area often stigmatized because of the cold weather that restricts the baseball calendar.

Cornelio said that stigma works to his advantage as a pitcher, as his arm doesn’t carry the wear and tear of some from areas that play year-round. Four or five scouts attended nearly all of his games this year and many more had the chance to see him play last year for Team USA’s under-18 squad.

He faced some of the top projected picks in this year’s draft, including Bobby Witt, Jr., Riley Greene and CJ Abrams, and he felt he fared well.

The No. 86 pick has a budgeted slot bonus of $699,700, a potential figure Cornelio might have to weigh against a scholarship to play at TCU.

“I think we have talked it over and that when that day comes, hopefully we’re going to make the best decision,” said Cornelio, whose advising team largely consists of his parents, John and Stephanie Cornelio, and Blake Hawksworth, who works with famed agent Scott Boras. “I don’t want to say anything too much right now with it only a day away, but we feel like we’ve put ourselves in a good position over these next few days.”

Ready, whose father, Randy, played 13 years in the major leagues, is projected to go anywhere from the sixth to 22nd round and has already submitted paperwork to serve under the World Class Athlete Program. That program allows qualified athletes to serve on active duty with the assignment of training for a possible spot on an Olympic team. Ready could serve in that capacity through June 2020, when the team is selected for that summer’s games in Tokyo.

He didn’t use his chance meeting with Trump as an opportunity to prod the president further on his suggestion a month ago to Army football coach Jeff Monken that he might alter the policy and allow service academy athletes to defer active-duty service to pursue professional sports.

Ready, who will go to South Carolina as a logistics officer if his baseball plan hits a snag, joked that his brief handshakes with Trump didn’t allow time for policy discussion.

“I didn’t want to make any quick movements,” the third baseman who owns Air Force’s records in home runs and RBIs said. “You might get shot up there.

“If Trump wants to reverse that decision it would only help me out down the road.”

Air Force could potentially have two players drafted, as 6-foot-8 pitcher Jake Gilbert and his 96-mph fastball could draw enough interest to cause him to delay his pilot training slot to pursue the World Class Athlete Program.

The draft begins at 5 p.m. Monday with the first two rounds on MLB Network and MLB.com. Rounds 3-10 will begin at 11 a.m. Tuesday on MLB.com, with rounds 11-40 being starting at 10 a.m. Wednesday on MLB.com.

Keith Johnson Jersey

Metairie, LA – Keith Johnson will take over in the New Orleans Baby Cakes’ dugout for the 2019 season as the 16thmanager in franchise history, and will be joined on the coaching staff by pitching coach Jeremy Powell, hitting coach Justin Mashore, defensive coach Chris Briones, athletic trainer Greg Harrel, and strength and conditioning coachRobert Reichert.

Johnson has accumulated 679 career wins as a manager, two-thirds of which have come at the Triple-A level in seven seasons at the helm of the Salt Lake Bees. Johnson debuted as a manager in 2008, the first of three seasons managing a the Single-A level in the Angels organization, culminating in a California League Championship Series appearance with Rancho Cucamonga in 2010. The 2013 Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year, Johnson compiled a 468-504 record as the Bees manager and was just three wins shy of equaling Phil Roof’s franchise mark for managerial victories when he was promoted to the Angels’ major league staff last August. A fourth round selection by the Dodgers in the 1992 draft, Johnson spent the final two seasons of his 12-year playing career in Salt Lake, having reached the majors with the Anaheim Angels in 2000.

Powell returns to New Orleans for his second season as pitching coach and his eighth season in the Marlins system. He previously had two-year stints at Single-A Advanced Jupiter, where his 2017 pitching staff ranked second in the Florida State League in ERA and shutouts, as well as Single-A Greensboro and the Gulf Coast League rookie-level affiliate after making his coaching debut in 2010 in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization. Selected by the Montreal Expos in the fourth round in 1994, Powell pitched in parts of three seasons (1998-2000) in Montreal before playing in Japan for Nippon Professional Baseball from 2001-08, where he recorded four seasons with at least 10 victories.

Mashore comes to the Marlins after seven seasons in the Texas Rangers organization, the last three of which were spent as the major league assistant hitting coach. After four years in the minors, including 2014-15 at Triple-A with Round Rock, Mashore helped the 2015 Rangers become the first team in MLB history to have nine players hit at least 17 home runs. He started his coaching career in 2003 in the Toronto Blue Jays system following an 11-year playing career, which began in 1991 when he was a third round draft pick of the Detroit Tigers.

In his second stint in the Marlins organization, Harrel is back for his third season in New Orleans following 10 years in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, the last two of which were spent with Triple-A Oklahoma City. He was on the Dodgers’ major league training staff from 2012-13, and previously worked as the Marlins’ Triple-A athletic trainer in Albuquerque in 2004.

Reichert has served as a strength and conditioning coach in the Marlins organization since 2012 after receiving a kinesiology degree from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, and was with Double-A Jacksonville in 2016-17 before joining the Baby Cakes’ staff last year.

Article courtesy of New Orleans Baby Cakes Information Department.

Art Fromme Jersey

PHILLIES — Johnny Lush (18 years, 336 days on Sept. 8, 1904)

Lush played games in his first season in 1904 as a first baseman, outfielder and pitcher. He hit two career home runs, and both were in 1904 while playing first base — and they were within a few days of each other, on Sept. 8 and 12. Not only that, both of the home runs were of the inside-the-park variety. The first was at the New York Giants, off Claude Elliott.

Runners-up: Ted Kazanski (19-175), Sherry Magee (20-33)

NL CENTRAL

BREWERS — Robin Yount (18 years, 209 days on April 13, 1974)

The future Hall of Famer homered in his sixth career game off the Orioles’ Ross Grimsley. Oddly enough, Yount’s first two homers both came off Grimsley, even though one was in mid-April and the next was in mid-June. Yount went on to hit 251 career home runs, win two MVP Awards and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999.

Runners-up: Darrell Porter (19-240), Gary Sheffield (19-296)

CARDINALS — Dick Schofield (18 years, 221 days on Aug. 16, 1953)

Schofield played for 19 years, amassing 3,545 plate appearances, but hit just 21 home runs in his career. His first one was historic for the franchise, though, as he hit it as an 18-year-old. He hit that first home run in Cincinnati off Frank Smith, in his 13th career game.

Runners-up: Bunny Hearn (19-142), Tim McCarver (19-270)

CUBS — Danny Murphy (18 years, 21 days on Sept. 13, 1960)

Murphy played outfield initially in his career, then finished up his final two seasons as a pitcher — but this home run, of course, came while he was an outfielder at just 18 years old. He actually debuted as a 17-year-old that year, but didn’t go yard until after his Aug. 23 birthday. His first home run came in his 21st career game. He hit it off the Reds’ Bob Purkey, a three-run home run to give the Cubs the lead in a game in Cincinnati. Murphy hit four career home runs, including his fourth and final one as a pitcher in 1970.

Runners-up: Phil Cavarretta (18-68), Harry Chiti (19-165)

PIRATES — Bobby Del Greco (19 years, 63 days on June 9, 1952)

The 19-year-old hit his first career home run in his 49th career game off the Boston Braves’ Jim Wilson. Del Greco finished his career with 42 home runs, three of which he hit for the Pirates, in 1952 and 1956.

Runners-up: Lee Walls (19-217), Dale Coogan (19-314)

REDS — Pete Schneider (19 years, 29 days on Sept. 18, 1914)

Schneider was a pitcher, but he managed five home runs in his career, including this one as a 19-year-old in 1914. He homered off the Giants’ Art Fromme, knocking an inside-the-park home run. Three of his five career home runs were inside-the-parkers. He finished his career with 16 home runs allowed.

Runners-up: Ted Tappe (19-224), Curt Flood and Vada Pinson (19-250)

NL WEST

D-BACKS — Justin Upton (19 years, 347 days on Aug. 7, 2007)

The only home run as a teenager of Upton’s career was this one, in his first home game and fifth overall game in 2007. He went yard off the Pirates’ Tom Gorzelanny, one of two home runs he’d hit that season. Upton and his brother, Melvin Upton Jr., each hold the record for the youngest home run for a franchise — Justin for the D-backs and Melvin for the Rays.

Runners-up: Gerardo Parra (22-7), Karim Garcia (22-153)

DODGERS — Tommy Brown (17 years, 257 days on Aug. 20, 1945)

Brown isn’t just the youngest Dodgers player to hit a home run in the Modern Era, he’s the youngest for any team in the Modern Era, as he’s the only one to go deep as a 17-year-old. Brown’s first homer came off the Pirates’ Preacher Roe. What’s even wackier than a 17-year-old homering? Brown debuted in 1944, at 16 years, 241 days old, so he could’ve done so at an even younger age, theoretically. He played in 46 games in 1944, but tallied just four extra-base hits, all doubles.

Runners-up: Adrian Beltre (19-84), Don Drysdale (20-48)

GIANTS — Mel Ott (18 years, 138 days on July 18, 1927)

Ott debuted at 17, but didn’t homer until he was 18, in his second season in the Majors. His first home run was an inside-the-parker off the Cubs’ Hal Carlson. He’d go on to hit 511 home runs in his career, which makes him one of 27 players to reach the 500-homer plateau, though when he hit No. 500, he was the first National League player to accomplish the feat.

Runners-up: Whitey Lockman (18-345), Fred Merkle (19-186)

PADRES — Roberto Alomar (20 years, 85 days on April 30, 1988)

Alomar’s first home run came off the Pirates’ Bob Kipper at Jack Murphy Stadium. Alomar hit 210 home runs in his Hall of Fame career, including 22 with the Padres. Earlier this season, Fernando Tatis Jr. became the second-youngest player to homer for the Padres, narrowly missing out on edging Alomar as he was four days older.

Runners-up: Fernando Tatis Jr. (20-89), Jerry Morales (20-204)

ROCKIES — Roberto Mejia (21 years, 100 days on July 23, 1993)

This Rockies record still stands from the team’s first year of existence in 1993. Mejia hit just 10 home runs in his career, all of them in a Rockies uniform, but he certainly hit them at a young age. The 21-year-old took Allen Watson of the Cardinals deep for his first career home run. His other four home runs in 1993 came off some pretty nifty company: Curt Schilling, Tim Wakefield, Trevor Hoffman and Tom Glavine.

Runners-up: Troy Tulowitzki (21-329), Nolan Arenado (22-13)

Sarah Langs is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in New York. Follow her on Twitter @SlangsOnSports.

Brandon Watson Jersey

JACKSONVILLE – The workload could be heavy for a change.

We’re talking about the Jaguars’ defense, and that conversation promises to be different in the 2020 offseason than it has been in quite a while because a unit that had been a team strength changed dramatically in 2019.

Now, multiple areas must be addressed in the coming months.

Nearly every level of the defense – line, linebacker and secondary – enters the offseason with at least one position needing upgrading, and salary-cap figures could force the team to make painful decisions regarding players such as defensive end Calais Campbell, cornerback A.J. Bouye and defensive tackle Marcell Dareus.

Also key: how the Jaguars handle the contract of defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in March at the start of the 2020 League Year. The Jaguars have the franchise tag available, which limits Ngakoue’s leverage, but this was a messy situation last offseason that doesn’t figure to be easier in the coming months.

We’ll look at those positions and more in this position-by-position look at the defense as the Jaguars move into the 2020 offseason:

Defensive end (7)

2019 starters:Calais Campbell (16), Yannick Ngakoue (15), Josh Allen (4).

Others on roster:Dawuane Smoot, Lerentee McCray, Chuck Harris, Dewayne Hendrix.

Pending free agents:Ngakoue.

Season in review:This remained a strength in 2019, with the end position featuring one of the NFL’s best pass-rushing trios in Campbell, Ngakoue and Allen. Allen led the team with 10.5 sacks as a rookie, with Ngakoue registering eight and Campbell finishing with 6.5. Campbell was selected to the Pro Bowl for a third time in as many seasons since joining the Jaguars, and Ngakoue reemerged as one of the best strip-sack specialists in the NFL.

Possible first-round defensive ends:Chase Young, Ohio State; Yatur Gross-Matos, Penn State; A.J. Epenesa, Iowa; Julian Okwara, Notre Dame; Anfernee Jennings, Alabama; Terrell Lewis, Alabama; Jon Greenard, Florida.

Chances of Jaguars selecting defensive end in first round:So-so.

Too-early look at the offseason:This figures to be a major offseason focus, with the team needing to determine the franchise futures of both Ngakoue and Campbell. Ngakoue and the Jaguars couldn’t reach a long-term contract extension last offseason, leading to Ngakoue holding out early in training camp. General Manager David Caldwell shortly after the 2019 regular season called a long-term deal with Ngakoue the team’s No. 1 offseason priority, but reaching a figure that makes sense to both sides figures to remain tricky. Campbell has a year remaining on his contract, and the team must decide whether to bring him back at his $17.5 million cap figure, release him or try to reach an agreement under which Campbell can return at a lower salary/cap figure.

Defensive tackles (7)

2019 starters:Taven Bryan (8), Marcell Dareus (6), Abry Jones (15)

Others on roster:Carl Davis, Dontavius Russell, Akeem Spence, Brian Price.

Pending free agents:Spence, Davis.

Season in review:This was difficult season for this position, which struggled much of the season – particularly against the run and particularly after the midseason loss of Dareus to a core-muscle injury. That forced Bryan into the starting lineup and caused he and Jones both to play more snaps than planned.

Possible first-round defensive tackles:Derrick Brown, Auburn; Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina; Raekwon Davis, Alabama.

Chances of Jaguars selecting defensive tackle in first round:High.

Too-early look at the offseason:This will be a major area of offseason focus, with perhaps the team’s top priority moving forward improving a struggling run defense that in a sense defined the 2019 season. Dareus’ $22.5 million cap figure likely will force the team to either release him or dramatically restructure his contract – and the latter seems unlikely for a player still playing at a high level. Considering Dareus’ effectiveness against the run, he may represent the biggest offseason loss if he doesn’t return. Bryan likely will start next season, but the team figures to address this area heavily in the offseason – perhaps with one of their two first-round selections in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Linebackers (13)

2019 starters:Myles Jack (11), Donald Payne (5), Quincy Williams (8), Leon Jacobs (7), Austin Calitro (4), Najee Goode (4)

Others on roster:Jake Ryan, D.J. Alexander, Dakota Allen, Preston Brown, Joe Dineen, Joe Giles-Harris, James Onwualu.

Pending free agents:Brown, Alexander, Goode, Payne (restricted), Onwalu (restricted), Calitro (exclusive rights).

Season in review:This is another position that struggled much of the 2019 season – in part because of inexperience and in large part because injuries. Jack spent the past five games on injured reserve, and Williams entered his rookie season as the starter after the offseason retirement of longtime starting weak-side linebacker Telvin Smith. Williams then struggled early and was replaced in the lineup by Goode. Payne played solidly in place of Jack in the final five games, and Jacobs in his second season showed flashes of being a solid starter in the coming seasons.

Possible first-round linebackers:Isaiah Simmons, Clemson; Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma; Dylan Moses, Alabama.

Chances of Jaguars selecting linebacker in first round:Mid-to-high.

Too-early look at the offseason:This position must be addressed, and the first question must be where to play Jack. He played better in the middle than many observers believe, but he still seems better-suited to playing outside – perhaps on the weak side. If the Jaguars move Jack, that likely will mean having to acquire a starting middle linebacker through free agency or the draft. One possibility to watch is the Jaguars playing Ngakoue at strong-side linebacker in base situations and moving him to rush end in passing situations. If the Jaguars keep their current 4-3 scheme, that’s an option.

Cornerbacks (5)

2019 starters:A.J. Bouye (14), Jalen Ramsey (2), Tre Herndon (14), D.J. Hayden (8), Parry Nickerson (1), Breon Borders (1)

Others on roster:Brandon Watson.

Pending free agents:None.

Season in review:This area underwent a major shakeup early in the season, when Ramsey – a two-time Pro Bowl selection – demanded a trade and eventually was traded to the Los Angeles Rams for two first-round selections. Herndon moved into Ramsey’s place in the lineup, finishing the season with a team-leading three interceptions and 13 passes defensed. Bouye had an interception with eight passes defensed, and Hayden had perhaps the best season of any Jaguars defensive back with two sacks, 40 tackles, six passes defensed, five tackles for loss and five quarterback hurries.

Possible first-round cornerbacks:Jeff Okudha, Ohio State; Trevon Diggs, Alabama; Paulson Adebo, Stanford; C.J. Henderson, Florida.

Chances of Jaguars selecting cornerback in first round:High

Too-early look at the offseason:This figures to be a major area of focus, with many mocking the position to the Jaguars with one of two first-round selections. The team also must address the future of Bouye, whose $15.4 million cap figure could make him a candidate for restructure or release. How the Jaguars address this position will be one of the team’s primary storylines in the coming weeks.

Safeties (5)

2019 starters:Jarrod Wilson (16), Ronnie Harrison (14), Andrew Wingard (2).

Jim Golden Jersey

RANDOM FACTS AND STATS

Ian Kinsler, who announced his retirement on Friday, will have finished his career with 1,999 hits. Hall of Fame infielder Jimmy Collins also finished with 1,999 hits. A total of 287 players have 2,000 or more hits.

Dallas Keuchel had the highest ground-ball rate (60.1%) among pitchers who threw at least 100 innings in 2019. His sinker had the most vertical drop, relative to league average, among full-time starters. The 31-year-old lef-thander signed a three-year deal with the White Sox yesterday.

C.J. Cron had 25 home runs in 499 plate appearances last year. Jonathan Schoop had 23 home runs in 464 plate appearances. Brandon Dixon led the Tigers with 15 home runs. Cron and Schoop reportedly signed with Detroit yesterday.

Alex Avila has swung at the lowest percentage of pitches outside of the strike zone of any player over the past five seasons (min. 1,000 plate appearances.) Avila’s O-Swing% since 2015 is 15.3%.

Wilmer Flores is the only player in MLB history to have played at least 143 games at every infield position: first base: 155, second base: 165, shortstop: 162; third base: 143. (per ESPN’s Pedro Gomez.)

Derek Jeter started 2,660 games at shortstop, the only defensive position he played. Pete Rose started games at six different defensive positions: first base (905), left field (652), third base (627), second base (600), right field (581), center field (70).

Alan Trammell had 412 career doubles. Barry Larkin had 441 career doubles. Orlando Cabrera had 459 career doubles.

On December 23, 1958, the Los Angeles Dodgers traded Sparky Anderson to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for Rip Repulski, Jim Golden, and Gene Snyder.

On December 23, 1975, an arbitrator’s ruling made Dave McNally and Andy Messersmith baseball’s first free agents. Messersmith signed a three-year, $1M contract with the Angels the following April. McNally opted to retire.

Pinky Higgins, Red Kress, Scat Metha, Bobo Newsom, Cotton Pippen, Schoolboy Rowe, Birdie Tebbetts, and Dizzy Trout all played for the 1940 American League champion Detroit Tigers.

Danny Barnes Jersey

The Blue Jays made a nice pick-up by signing Freddy Galvis on Tuesday, but then made the surprising decision to designate Danny Barnes for assignment in order to make room on the 40 man roster.
With just a couple of weeks until pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, I expected that the Blue Jays would be adding potential bullpen arms this week, not subtracting them.

So while I was pleased and even impressed with the signing of Freddy Galvis to shore up the middle infield for the 2019 season, I was very surprised to see that Danny Barnes was the player removed from the 40 man roster in order to make room. Someone had to go, but I did not expect it to be a reliever, nor did I think that Barnes would be the one chosen.

To be clear, the 29 year old wasn’t good last season when he put up a 5.71 ERA across 47 appearances and 41 innings pitched, but he had shown promise prior to that. In 2017 he threw 66 innings and even worked some late-game spots as well, finishing the year with a respectable 3.55 ERA. He also posted a WHIP of 1.091 and a K/9 of 8.3, which seemed to be trending in the right direction. Personally, I thought that Barnes would take a step forward into a late-inning role last season, but his struggles prevented him from getting that opportunity.

While his recent numbers would suggest that the decision to designate him for assignment isn’t that surprising, the state of the Blue Jays bullpen made me believe that he would be safe, at least for the time being. As things currently stand the Jays have a depth chart that should include Ken Giles, Ryan Tepera, David Phelps, and possibly others like Tim Mayza and Joe Biagini, but there doesn’t seem to be a group of seven or more guarantees for the bullpen, which is why allowing Barnes to potentially leave for nothing is surprising to me.

In fact, I would have assumed that he sat ahead of someone like Biagini on the depth chart, but obviously that’s not the case. Beyond someone like Biagini though, I’m also surprised that the Blue Jays are holding 40 man roster spots for so many outfielders, especially ones that they don’t seem to have in their immediate plans. A good example is Dalton Pompey, who I personally hope to see get another shot in Toronto in 2019, but last year it seemed like that ship had sailed and a separation was inevitable. As of this writing he remains on the 40 man roster, as do others like Jonathan Davis, and Dwight Smith Jr.

Shi Davidi

@ShiDavidi
#BlueJays sign SS Freddy Galvis to $4m, one-year deal with club option for 2020. Danny Barnes designated for assignment to clear spot on 40-man roster.

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There’s also the fact that Barnes remains pre-arbitration eligible on his contract, which means he would have earned a relatively small salary for 2019 if he had been on the roster throughout the season. Last year he made $561,000, and he won’t be eligible for arbitration until 2020, so salary wasn’t the issue by any means. Not that budget should be a concern for the Blue Jays at this point anyway, but that obviously wasn’t the problem here.

If Barnes had been removed from the 40 man because of a bullpen upgrade then the decision would make more sense to me, but at this stage I’m pretty surprised. Perhaps it’ll all make sense in a few weeks once the Blue Jays had added a few more pieces, but there’s no guarantee that’ll happen before Spring Training begins, or before Opening Day either.

Mike Prendergast Jersey

INVERNESS, Fla. (AP) – The Florida Highway Patrol says a vehicle driven by a Florida sheriff struck and killed a pedestrian who was walking on a highway.

The agency’s report says 62-year-old Citrus County Sheriff Mike Prendergast was traveling on U.S. 19 in an unmarked patrol vehicle around 9:10 p.m. Wednesday when he struck 59-year-old Ronnie Anthony Heath. Troopers say the man died at the scene. No charges have been filed against Prendergast.

Eddie Priest Jersey

In honor of the quickly approaching Easter Sunday celebration this weekend, I thought it would be a good time to highlight and rank some of the greatest Easter player names in Major League Baseball history.

Some players on the list never reached the big club, but everyone listed here have played professional baseball for one of MLB’s organizations.

Names are plucked from everything “Easter” including symbols, traditions, common food, and the literally obvious.

There is no criteria for ranking these players based on stats or performance, as all decisions were solely based upon how Easter relevant their names are/were.

Sit back and enjoy, and feel free to add any other options in the comment thread after you’re done reading. Here we go:

20. Jack Spring
Spring was a pitcher for a number of teams over eight off-and-on seasons from 1955-1965. He retired with a 12-5 record and 4.26 ERA in 185 IP.

It is obvious as to why a man named “Spring” would crack this list, but the lack of creativity or uniqueness to his name leaves him at the bottom of the list.

Ryan Pope
Currently a minor league pitcher within the New York Yankees organization, Pope has logged nearly 400 IP in his professional career.

He is working hard to reach the big club in 2011 or 2012, but while his quality arm is climbing the ranks, his name is not–coming in at No. 19 on this list.

18. Bobby Wine
Wine was a major league Infielder for the Philadelphia Phillies and Montreal Expos from 1960-1972.

While the drink he is named after may also represent strong religious symbols, it is not solely a Christian or religious beverage–leaving him on the outside looking in at No. 18.

17. Lave Cross
Cross was a catcher and outfielder who spent most of his career in Philadelphia (both with the Athletics and Phillies) from 1887-1907.

No one needs much of an explanation as to why a “Cross” would end up on the list, but it was not enough to bump him up near the Top 10 of the list.

16. Eddie Priest
Eddie Priest has a very brief major league career, and he was able to log just six innings pitched with the Cincinnati Reds in 1998.

Another obvious choice for the best Easter name in MLB history, Priest falls into place at No. 16 here on my list.

15. Justin Christian
Christian, an outfielder known primarily for his speed, played in 24 games for the New York Yankees during the 2008 season.

Christianity is of course at the epicenter of the Easter Sunday celebration, so it was difficult for Justin not to end somewhere in the Top 20.