West Notes: Rockies, Freeland, Angels, Suzuki, Ohtani (www.mlbtraderumors.com)

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Denver native Kyle Freeland was a revelation for the Rockies in his sophomore season, posting a 2.85 ERA/3.67 FIP over 202 1/3 innings. Two years later, however, and the Rockies have yet to discuss an extension with their homegrown star, writes the Athletic’s Nick Groke. Freeland’s 2018 was an almost as a magical affair, so starved is the Rockies franchise for a cornerstone rotation piece. The bubble burst in 2019, of course, as his run prevention numbers ballooned to a 6.73 ERA/5.99 FIP. He found a middle ground over 70 2/3 innings in 2020, logging a 4.33 ERA/4.65 FIP with a 15.1 percent strikeout rate, 7.6 percent walk rate, and 51.5 percent groundball rate. Freeland agreed to a $5.025MM deal for 2021 on Friday, and he has two more seasons of arbitration before reaching free agency. Given the range of outcomes Freeland has already seen across four seasons, he’s likely to go year-to-year until reaching free agency after 2023. Let’s stay out west and check in with the Angels…

  • Kurt Suzuki had offers for more money, but he signed with the Angels for $1.5MM, per the Athletic’s Fabian Ardaya (via Twitter). Suzuki was with the Braves when Angels’ GM Perry Minasian was an executive there, which certainly could have helped smooth negotiations. But Suzuki’s ties to California don’t end there. Had Suzuki any reservations, he surely could have reached out to Anthony Rendon, who bonded with Suzuki’s son while the two were teammates in Washington, writes Robert Collias of The Maui News. Not to mention, Suzuki’s a native of Hawaii, he won a College World Series playing for Cal State Fullerton, and he began his career playing in the bay for the A’s. At 37-years-old, Suzuki’s not going to be a 130-start catcher, and injuries have hampered his ability to control the run game, but he’s been an above-average bat by measure of wRC+ in each of the last four seasons. Not to mention, having been the trusted receiver of Max Scherzer and Anibal Sanchez the past two seasons, Suzuki no doubt has plenty of sage advice to impart to the Angels’ less experiences backstops about how to manage a ballgame.
  • The Angels came to terms with five of their six arbitration-eligible players before yesterday’s filing deadline, but they’re heading to a hearing with star two-way player Shohei Ohtani. As if arbitration hearings aren’t complicated enough, Ohtani’s two-way abilities coupled with his injury history make him a particularly thorny case. Ohtani requested a $3.3MM salary, while the Angels countered at $2.5MM, per Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register. New GM Perry Minasian says the Angels will be a “file-and-go” team, also known as “file-and-trial,” meaning they don’t plan to continue negotiations after the filing deadline. Of course, even teams with this philosophy occasionally reach an agreement between the filing date and hearing.



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