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With the Boston Red Sox sprinting to the 2018 World Series
title Mike Napoli
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, the MLB offseason is officially on for everyone.And
there's work to do for all 30 teams. While the Red Sox will bulk up their ranks
in hopes of becoming the first repeat champion since 2000, the other 29 clubs
will search for ways to knock them off the mountaintop.Even though offseason
motors aren't running full speed just yet鈥攆ree agency doesn't open until Nov.
3鈥攖hey've picked up enough steam to populate the rumor mill with some
interesting chatter.Marlins Keeping Jose Urena?Bill Kostroun/Associated PressThe
Miami Marlins are still learning what they have in 27-year-old starting pitcher
Jose Urena.They liked him enough to make him their 2018 Opening Day starter, and
they had to be pleased with his 49.6 percent ground-ball rate and 95.8 mph
average fastball velocity. But they were likely underwhelmed by his 3.98 ERA and
6.7 strikeouts per nine innings.Urena is entering arbitration for the first
time, andBarry Jackson of theMiami Heraldpreviously reported the Marlins could
consider moving Urena "if they get a good offer."But MLB.com's Joe Frisarowrote
that any Urena trade "isn't likely" and the pitcher is "more likely to be the
Opening Day starter for the second straight year."Unless the Marlins are blown
away by an offer, it would make sense to keep him.The hard-throwing righty has
substantial potential that remains untapped. Consistency can be an issue, but
he's flashed top-of-the-rotation stuff. He limited the Red Sox to one run with
seven strikeouts back in April, tossed his first complete game鈥攁 two-hit,
one-run gem against the Washington Nationals鈥攊n August and rolled through the
month of September with a 5-0 record and a 1.20 ERA."Even though we were out of
contention Carlos
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, he showed that he can pitch, and he can be our
ace," Marlins infielder Miguel Rojas said. "I'm so happy for him, because he
shows signs of being an ace and what we need."Those signs don't cost the Marlins
anywhere near ace prices, of course.MLBTradeRumors.comprojects Urena will
collect a $3.6 million deal in arbitration.And if he does wind up being moved,
he wouldn't bring back the return associated with elite pitchers.Better for the
Marlins, then, to continue bringing him along and see for themselves what his
future holds. Keuchel Will Get Qualifying Offer Yonder
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, Gonzalez Won't?David J. Phillip/Associated
PressDespite finishing just three wins shy of a return to the World Series, the
Houston Astros could have a busy offseason.Part of that process is apparently
underway already.Fancred's Jon Heyman revealed where the Astros are at regarding
three big decisions with possible qualifying offers:Jon Heyman JonHeymanAstros
are planning to extend the $17.9M qualifying offer to Dallas Keuchel. They are
planning not to extend it to Marwin Gonzalez. No word yet on Charlie Morton, who
may be a close call.None of these will be easy calls.Dallas Keuchel's ERA spiked
for the second time in three seasons (3.74). His strikeout rate nosedived to
17.5 percent, and his mediocre 53.7 percent ground-ball rate was his lowest
since 2012.That might make it seem like he should pounce on a $17.9 million
salary, even if it's only for one year. But with his 31st birthday approaching,
this could be his last chance to secure a giant contract. And it's likely he'll
find big money somewhere, as a former Cy Young with 200-plus innings and/or a
sub-3.00 ERA in three of the past five years.Marwin Gonzalez is just as
interesting.You wouldn't think someone with 16 home runs and 68 RBI would
warrant a price tag that high. But in an era that increasingly emphasizes
versatility, Houston's super-utility option is as flexible as they come."At any
given point on any team http://www.indiansfanproshop.com/authentic-jose-ramirez-jersey ,
this guy can literally play six positions every day," Astros manager A.J. Hinch
said. "As I've said before, he's the answer to everything. We have a problem, we
insert Marwin, and no matter what, he steps up in a huge way."As for Charlie
Morton, he's been serving up filth since arriving in Houston ahead of the 2017
season. He has posted a 3.36 ERA with 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings over his
two years with the team.But he's also turning 35 in November, and he doesn't
have the cleanest injury history. He could get a $17.9 million salary or a
multi-year commitment Bradley
Zimmer Jersey
, but it's hard to imagine him finding both.The
Astros could certainly keep all three, but money might get too tight if Houston
is looking to add pieces as opposed to simply retaining what it has. Statistics
used courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs. PITTSBURGH (AP) — Chicago
Cubs right-hander Yu Darvish will begin a rehab assignment Sunday with a minor
league team to be determined.Signed to a $126-million, six-year contract as a
free agent in February, Darvish last pitched for the Cubs on May 20 and is 1-3
with a 4.95 ERA in eight starts. He has been sidelined with right triceps
tendinitis and an impingement in his right shoulder.Darvish made a rehab start
June 25 with Class A South Bend but then felt pain in his arm afterward.“I
talked to Yu today and he was very optimistic,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said
Thursday night before the Cubs played the Pittsburgh Pirates.Maddon would not
speculate how many starts Darvish will need to be ready to come off the disabled
list.“I would say three would the maximum,” Maddon said. “I would think by three
starts that he would be dialed in.”
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