MLB Player News

  • Oneil Cruz SS | PIT

    Pirates' Oneil Cruz: Back in action in instructionals

    Pirates manager Derek Shelton confirmed Monday that Cruz (ankle) has resumed participating in instructional games in the Dominican Republic this offseason, Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

    Cruz hasn't yet taken part in any official Dominican Winter League games and may not before the 50-game regular season ends in late December, but the fact that he's taking live at-bats again as well as playing the field suggests that he's made a full recovery from the fractured left ankle he suffered April 9. Assuming the 25-year-old avoids any setbacks in his offseason program while he continues to train in the Dominican Republic, he should report to spring training with no restrictions. Though he essentially lost a season of development at the big-league level while recovering from ankle surgery, Cruz has youth in his favor as he looks to bounce back from the major injury. His impressive bat speed and sprint speed has been matched by few players during his time in the majors and should translate to some solid power and stolen-base numbers in 2024 even while he shakes off some rust, but Cruz's lengthy absence didn't do anything to quell the concerns about his plate discipline that existed even before he fractured his ankle.

  • Vaughn Grissom SS | ATL

    Braves' Vaughn Grissom: Could platoon with Kelenic

    Grissom could platoon in left field with Jarred Kelenic while also serving as Atlanta's top reserve infielder, David O'Brien of The Athletic reports.

    Atlanta wants to get Grissom's bat in the lineup, but it just needs to find a spot for him. He is playing left field in the Puerto Rican Winter League beginning this month, and it seems like he and the lefty-hitting Kelenic will be legitimately competing for at-bats this season. General manager Alex Anthopoulos told reporters Sunday that Kelenic's arrival from Seattle signals an end to their left-field pursuits this winter. If any of Atlanta's infielders get injured, the righty-hitting Grissom could step into more playing time.

  • Matt McLain SS | CIN

    Reds' Matt McLain: No lingering issues with oblique

    McLain said Thursday that his late-season right oblique strain is fully healed, Mark Sheldon of reports.

    McLain landed on the injured list Aug. 28 after straining his right oblique and then suffered a setback just as he was about to return to the Reds in late September. He began light workouts in late October, however, and is now back to full strength here at the end of November. "Things are going good," said the 2023 breakout infielder. "I started to swing, no problems. Lifting, no problems."

  • Joey Wendle SS | MIA

    Mets' Joey Wendle: Latches on with Mets

    Wendle signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Mets on Wednesday, Robert Murray of reports.

    After two seasons with the Marlins, Wendle will remain in the NL East and presumably serve in a utility role with the Mets. The 33-year-old infielder had his worst season at the plate in 2023, slashing .212/.248/.306 across 318 plate appearances. While Wendle's defensive versatility may get him in the lineup fairly often next year, his poor bat puts a low ceiling on his fantasy value.

  • Royals' Garrett Hampson: Inks one-year deal with KC

    Hampson signed a one-year contract with the Royals on Wednesday.

    The deal is worth $2 million guaranteed, per Jeff Passan of Hampson was non-tendered by the Marlins earlier this month despite posting a career-best .276/.349/.380 batting line over 98 games in 2023 while appearing defensively at shortstop, second base, third base and all three outfield spots. The 29-year-old should be a useful super-utility option for Kansas City in 2024.

  • Braves' Andrew Velazquez: Back with Atlanta

    Velazquez signed a minor-league contract with Atlanta on Friday.

    Velazquez was claimed by Atlanta in early September after beginning the 2023 campaign in the Angels organization. He hit .217 with four runs, four RBI and a steal over 14 games at Triple-A Gwinnett but elected free agency in early November. However, after testing free agency for a few weeks, he'll rejoin Atlanta and could compete for a reserve spot on the team's Opening Day roster this spring.

  • Mason McCoy SS | TOR

    Padres' Mason McCoy: Joins Friars on MiLB deal

    McCoy signed a minor-league contract, which includes an invitation to big-league spring training, with the Padres on Sunday, Dennis Lin of The Athletic reports.

    McCoy made his big-league debut with Toronto in 2023 but played in just six games, spending most of the campaign at the Triple-A level. He'll likely serve as organizational infield depth for San Diego in 2024.

  • Jorge Mateo SS | BAL

    Orioles' Jorge Mateo: Agrees to $2.7M salary for '24

    Mateo signed a one-year, $2.7 million contract with the Orioles on Friday, avoiding arbitration, Mark Feinsand of reports.

    Mateo made $2 million in 2023 while slashing .217/.267/.340 with seven homers and 32 steals over 116 games as the O's primary shortstop. He might be more of a utility player in 2024, which will stunt his fantasy value, but the 28-year-old offers good speed and defensive versatility for the reigning AL East champions.

  • Garrett Hampson: Pushed into free agency

    Hampson became a free agent Friday after being non-tendered by Miami.

    Hampson played all around the diamond defensively in 2023 and posted a respectable .729 OPS across 252 plate appearances, but the Marlins did not want to pay his price tag as a second-year arbitration-eligible player. The 29-year-old should be able to find a super-utility job elsewhere.

  • Kevin Smith SS | OAK

    Kevin Smith: Non-tendered by Oakland

    Smith became a free agent Friday after the Athletics declined to tender him a contract.

    The A's will officially move on from Smith after the 27-year-old infielder slashed just .185/.220/.326 through 146 big-league plate appearances. However, he put up an impressive 1.025 OPS with Triple-A Las Vegas, so he should be able to secure a minor-league deal relatively easily.

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