Quick Hits: Braves, Rosenthal, Ohtani, Ray, Cherington (www.mlbtraderumors.com)

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The Braves had interest in Trevor Rosenthal before the reliever signed with the A’s, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman writes (Twitter link).  With Rosenthal now off the market, Atlanta is still looking for right-handed relief help, and Heyman wonders if the Braves could turn to a familiar face in Shane Greene.  Apart from some consideration from the Twins earlier this month, there hasn’t been much buzz about Greene this offseason, despite his 2.39 ERA over 90 1/3 innings since the start of the 2019 season.  Greene doesn’t have a big fastball and his peripherals haven’t been overly impressive, however, which could explain why he still available heading into his age-32 season.  Atlanta did recently add veteran righty Nate Jones to their bullpen mix on a minor league deal.

Some more notes from around baseball…

  • Most players make changes in the wake of a rough season, but Shohei Ohtani faced the increased challenge of overhauling himself as both a hitter and a pitcher after a 2020 campaign the Angels star called “pathetic.”  Ohtani’s offseason endeavors included a trip to Driveline Baseball, Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic reports, and Ohtani and his agent Nez Balelo told reporters that the pitcher/DH has adopted a new training regiment, a new diet, and made changes to his swing.  Ohtani’s training has been helped by the fact that he is now recovered from a flexor strain that limited him to 1 2/3 innings as a pitcher in 2020, which came after not pitching at all in 2019 due to Tommy John surgery.
  • Robbie Ray’s foray into the open market didn’t last long, as the southpaw re-signed with the Blue Jays shortly after the free agent period opened in early November.  This gave Ray more time to spend with Jays coaches on trying to correct his form following a mediocre 2020 season, Ray told reporters (including The Toronto Star’s Gregor Chisholm).  Ray made changes to his arm slot prior to the 2020 season, which may have led to such disastrous results as a 6.62 ERA and 45 walks over just 51 2/3 innings with the Diamondbacks and Blue Jays.
  • The Pirates are still in the early stages of a rebuild, and GM Ben Cherington gave an outline of the team’s basic plan to Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and other reporters.  Modeled after how other clubs have undergone rebuilds, Cherington broke it down into three steps: talent accumulation, developing that talent, and then adding to that talent base through trades and free agency.  The general manager also made it clear that the Bucs are still in the first step, as “whatever improvement we’ve seen in our overall organizational talent — and I think we have seen some improvements in the last year — it’s not enoughWe’ve got to keep going.  We’ve got to be one of the stronger organizations just in terms of overall talent to give ourselves the best chance to win.”

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