The Braves have agreed to sign former NFL defensive back Sanders Commings to a minor league contract, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Rosenthal wrote earlier this month that the former Kansas City Chiefs and University of Georgia corner had interest in pursuing a baseball career as an outfielder. Commings, who will turn 27 in early March, was a fifth-round pick by the Chiefs back in 2013, though he appeared in just two games with Kansas City in his brief NFL career. He’s no stranger to baseball, having played high school ball in Augusta, Ga., as Rosenthal noted.
After moving on from a potential effort to buy the Marlins, Mitt Romney and his family are eyeing the purchase of a share of the Yankees, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag. In this case, though, the high-profile politician and businessman would only be looking at obtaining a small portion of the franchise’s highly valuable ownership stake. Here’s more from the American League: There’s ongoing concern in the Indians organization regarding the health of outfielder Michael Brantley, Heyman futher reports. Though Cleveland is expressing at least some degree of optimism publicly, the most important steps remain to be taken. Hopes that Brantley could be ready to take the field on Opening Day “have waned just a tad,” says Heyman, though clearly the most important issue isn’t so much when he’s ready as it is ensuring that there isn’t another major setback when he does return to action. It seems that Josh Hamilton will be able to resume his quest to crack the Rangers roster, as he T.R. Sullivan was among those to tweet that a knee exam yesterday revealed no new structural damage. For the time being, it seems, the discomfort will slow him down somewhat, though presumably he’ll be back in action as soon as the oft-injured joint allows.
The Rangers and the reps for second baseman Rougned Odor have undertaken renewed efforts to reach agreement on a long-term deal, according to a report from Jon Heyman of Fan Rag. It’s not clear just how likely it is that the sides will see eye to eye, but Heyman says there’s “at least a bit of hope.” Last we checked in, early last fall, the sides had stalled out in talks over the size of the guarantee and number of option years that the club would pick up. Now, Odor stands one season away from reaching arbitration eligibility, perhaps adding impetus to the club’s effort. Indeed, Texas appears to be making a significant push to get something done. The club is “believed to have offered something in the range of” the extension reached between Jason Kipnis and the Indians at the outset of the 2014 season. That six-year deal promised Kipnis $52.5MM and came with a single club option. At the time, the Cleveland second baseman was also a 2+ service class player who had not reached Super Two eligibility, putting him in the same position as Odor. (Interestingly, as Heyman notes, both are also represented by the large Beverly Hills Sports Council agency.) Of course, that deal is now a few years old. And one could argue that Odor ought to earn more, based largely upon his age.
Japan has become the World Baseball Classic’s preeminent team. Samurai Japan won the tournament in 2006 and repeated three years later. And by the time a champion is crowned at Dodger Stadium next month, Japan is likely to reach the semifinal for a fourth time.
Rockies shortstop Trevor Story hit 27 home runs in his rookie season, but he also wants to be known for his defense.
With elbow health continuing to generate headlines, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports takes a look at the variety of new treatments — generally grouped under the header of orthobiologics — that pitchers, teams, and medical professionals have turned to in an effort to avoid the necessity of going under the knife. Stem-cell therapy and platelet-rich plasma treatments are now increasingly being deployed throughout the game, though it remains to be seen whether they’ll prove effective. You’ll certainly want to give this piece a full read to understand the state of the science. Those interested in the general subject will also want to read up on the surgical alternatives to the traditional Tommy John approach to torn ulnar collateral ligaments, as we recently discussed here. Here’s the latest on some injury and health matters around the league: Veteran Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton is headed for a visit with his surgeon after feeling pain in his recently repaired left knee, as Jeff Wilson of the Forth Worth Star-Telegram was among those to report on Twitter.
Will there ever be another 300-game winner? The answer comes from a different question: “Will anyone ever again want to win 300 games enough to actually do it?”
The Nationals had been the speculated landing spot for free-agent catcher Matt Wieters this offseason, and the two sides reached a deal on Tuesday, pending a physical, manager Dusty Baker confirmed.
For the rebuilding Brewers, the 2017 season will serve as an audition to determine who will be part of the team’s future. Step one in the process will begin this spring with several players in the mix for openings. Here are some notable position battles to keep an eye on. CENTER FIELD and RIGHT FIELDKeon BroxtonAge: 27 Bats: R Contract Status: Pre-Arbitration; projected to become a free agent after ’22 season Options remaining: 1 Domingo SantanaAge: 24 Bats: R Contract Status: Pre-Arbitration; projected to become a free agent after ’21 season Options remaining: 1 Hernan PerezAge: 26 Bats: R Contract Status: Pre-Arbitration; projected to become a free agent after ’20 season Options remaining: Out of options Kirk Nieuwenhuis Age: 29 Bats: L Contract Status: 1 year, $900K; projected to become a free agent after ’19 season Options remaining: Out of options Lewis BrinsonAge: 23Bats: RContract Status: Pre-Arbitration; projected to become a free agent after ’23 seasonOptions remaining: 3 Other candidates: Ryan Cordell, Kyle Wren Sporting a .125/.253/.188 slash line in 75 plate appearances, Broxton was, unsurprisingly, optioned to the minors in early July. That he was recalled later in the month and inserted into the starting lineup was a surprise, but he rewarded the Brewers’ faith in him with a stellar performance over his final 169 plate appearances (.294/.399/.538), including eight homers and 16 stolen bases. The center field job is likely his to lose. Santana also left quite a late-season impression with a .301/.350/.581 slash line over his final 100 plate appearances. That should also give him a leg up this spring, although his 32.4% strikeout rate presents enough of a concern that he won’t just be handed the starting right field job. Of course, giving him regular playing time during a rebuilding season is how you find out if he’s capable of making the proper adjustments.