Last week, Major League Baseball continued its slow roll offseason. No big-time free agents signed contracts while no big trade hit the league like the Lance Lynn to Chicago White Sox deal the week before. Check out what happened last week in the U.S. professional baseball league.
MLB COVID-19 Update – December 16th Edition
2021 MLB Season
- When: Thursday, April 1 – Friday, October 1
- Where: Various
2021 World Series Odds
- Washington Nationals +3000
- St. Louis Cardinals +3300
- Philadelphia Phillies +3500
- San Francisco Giants +6600
- Arizona Diamondbacks +6600
- Pittsburgh Pirates +12500
Cleveland will change the nickname “Indians” but will keep it in 2021
After meeting with Native American groups and having internal discussion, Cleveland Indians owner Paul Dolan said that the team will change the nickname it has had since 1915.
Per Dolan, the name “Indian” is no longer acceptable in today’s world. Dolan did say that the team will continue to use the name in 2021. He doesn’t want to call Cleveland the Cleveland Baseball Team, the way that Washington is called the Washington Football Team.
When asked if Cleveland will switch their nickname to “|Tribe”, Dolan said that he’d love to pivot to “Tribe” but after discussions with the Native American groups, decided that was a bad move.
Per Dolan, the new nickname will have nothing to do with Native American in any way. It’s a good move on Cleveland’s part. Washington dropped the nickname “Redskins” and look what happened? They started winning football games.
Although no athlete will admit it, a controversial nickname can affect how they play on the field. It’s human nature to subconsciously play worse knowing there are picketing, angry individuals hanging outside the stadium.
Liam Hendriks looking for four-year deal
The best free-agent reliever that’s available is Liam Hendriks. The Oakland A’s pitcher has started to field calls from interested parties.
At 32-years-old, Hendriks has plenty of playing years left. The Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros, New York Mets, and Toronto Blue Jays have all shown interest in Oakland’s closer. In the truncated 2021 season, Hendriks struck out 37 batters and walked 3 in 25.1 innings pitched.
He had 14 saves with just a single blown save. Although the Dodgers and Astros are looking to sign Liam, they may not get the closer.
Blue Jays looking for long-term players
Hendriks is looking for a 4-year-deal, which could be the reason he ends up playing for Toronto. Perhaps by coincidence, or because they heard that Liam wants at least a 4-year contract, the Blue Jays said last week that they’re looking for long-term players.
The Jays are also pursuing D.J. LeMahieu and George Springer. They want to trade for Franciso Lindor. Nobody is off the table. The reason the Blue Jays are so gung ho this offseason?
Toronto’s 2020 commitments are less than $60 million. The Jays can hand out more long-term contracts than any team in MLB.
If a player like Hendriks wants to win a title, he should head to Hollywood and play with the Dodgers. But if he wants security, he should consider a team like the Toronto Blue Jays who want to get good right now and stay good for as long as they can.
Talk about these pitchers picked up in the last week
With Trevor Bauer remaining cagey about where he wants to play, or even if wants more than just a 1-year deal, teams may be looking to sign other pitchers. Jake Odorizzi, Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton and Taijuan Walker have gotten buzz.
So has Corey Kluber. If he can rediscover his best stuff, Kluber would be a great addition to any starting line-up. Heck, his best stuff makes him an ace.
But Corey didn’t throw well in 2019 and he skipped 2020, playing in a single game. Even with the issues, his lifetime ERA of 3.16 is awesome. Expect a team to give Kluber a chance. Teams know that the bigger the risk, and Corey is a huge risk, the bigger the potential payoff.
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