Back again, and over the weekend, left-hander David Price announced his intentions to sit out the 2020 season. Acquired by the Dodgers this winter, Price becomes the most prominent name to opt-out of the 2020 season, though that could very well change during the coming days. Price is coming off a resurgent season for the Red Sox. He was expected to be a significant piece of L.A.’s star-studded rotation. Top prospect Dustin May now has a chance at a spot in L.A.’s rotation. However, Ross Stripling and Tony Gonsolin will also be in competition for the up-for-grabs spots behind Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, and Julio Urias.
While Price has committed to sitting out the season, there continues to be conjecture and speculation surrounding the status of baseball’s undisputed to talent: Angels outfielder Mike Trout. With his first child due in August, Trout is facing a tough decision. Obviously, health concerns and family are far more important than baseball. Tentatively, Trout seems committed to the playoff-hopeful Angels for the 2020 season, though things could change quickly as the commencement of the regular season nears. Trout is coming off yet another staggering season, hitting .291/.438/.645 with a career-best 45 home runs.
Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman tested positive for COVID-19 recently. Unlike many of his contemporaries dealing with the virus, Freeman is said to be symptomatic. Among the best hitters in baseball, Freeman is incredibly vital to Atlanta’s World Series aspirations for the 2020 season. Still, obviously his health is far more critical. Already placed on the 10-day injured list, Freeman is in quarantine and will require two negative tests before being allowed back to Atlanta’s camp. It’s unclear if Freeman’s status will affect his decision to participate in the 2020 season.
While participating in a simulated game on Sunday, Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka was struck in the head by a line drive. Obviously, this is a concern, though, by all accounts, Tanaka managed to avoid serious injury. He is said to be dealing with a mild concussion, which is far from great news. Still, it is a better prognosis than expected, given the circumstances. Coming off another solid season, Tanaka will be leaned on heavily by the Yankees in 2020 as New York looks to challenge the Astros, Rays, and Twins for American League supremacy.
One interesting developing story to follow due to the radical nature of MLB’s 60-game season is Cincinnati’s potential usage of starter Trevor Bauer. The right-hander has been vocal about his desire to be used every fourth day out of the rotation, and the Reds appear to at least be considering the notion. Cincinnati boasts a quietly exciting roster, and the NL Central division is well with reach for the Reds this season. Having Bauer take the mound with greater frequency, especially considering the presence of co-aces Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray in the rotation, will only aid Cincinnati’s quest for the postseason.
Washington appears committed to giving rookie Carter Kieboom the opportunity to win the starting third base job, an opening created by Anthony Rendon’s departure during free agency. Though Kieboom struggled during his brief debut last summer, he remains an elite prospect with star upside at the plate. In Triple-A, Kieboom hit .303/.409/.493 as a 21-year old. Despite losing Bryce Harper and Rendon in back-to-back off-seasons, the Nationals remain a viable contender thanks to its high-level prospects. Alongside Juan Soto (21 years old) and Victor Robles (23), Kieboom gives Washington’s lineup a third long-term foundation piece.