- Despite always having one of the highest payrolls in baseball, the Detroit Tigers have not always handed out smart contracts. They’ve been lucrative but at times become a sunk cost. That’s the case with right-hander Mike Pelfrey. The Tigers have released Pelfrey per a club announcement. The club signed the veteran to a two-year, $16MM pact last offseason. They apparently saw something in him that made them believe he was worth that kind of money that no other club did. Regardless, Pelfrey did not live up to expectations as he pitched to a 5.07 ERA across 119 innings of work in 2016. He also had a rough spring and was touched up for 15 earned runs on 24 hits in just 17 innings. While spring training stats are meaningless for most players, in Pelfrey’s case the Tigers felt those numbers were pretty revealing and ended up releasing him. They tried to deal him by putting him on the trading block but no one wanted to touch him and his bloated $8MM salary despite the Tigers reportedly offering to pay most of the salary for 2017. Unfortunately, they ended up not being able to find a taker and found they had very little choice but to eat his contract and cut him loose. He can still serve as pitching depth somewhere and perhaps be a long man out of the bullpen but it is unrealistic to see him signing that kind of contract again.
- The St. Louis Cardinals are reportedly finalizing an extension with veteran catcher Yadier Molina which will go for three years and upwards of $55MM per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. There had been reports over the past week that both sides were nearing an agreement on a deal. The new deal should keep Molina in a red and white jersey through the 2020 season.
- Right-handed pitcher Dillon Gee has reportedly opted out of his minor-league deal with the Texas Rangers per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Rangers have 48 hours to add him to the 40-man roster or cut him loose. With the Rangers rotation looking shaky to start out the year due to the injury to Andrew Cashner and slow recovery process for Tyson Ross, it is definitely a likely possibility they may keep Gee for pitching depth.
- New York Mets southpaw Steven Matz has been ruled out for Opening Day per Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. The lefty has been dealing with elbow soreness all spring, a dangerous injury for any pitcher and is expected to be shut down for three weeks after undergoing a PRP injection. He will also head for an MRI to make sure there’s no structural damage and the Mets can only hold their breath given the injury problems that plagued their rotation last year.
- The Washington Nationals are giving the closer’s job to right-hander Blake Treinen per Chelsea Jane of the Washington Post. The closer’s role was the biggest question mark for the team heading into the season after failing to find an external replacement to take over for Mark Melancon, whom departed for San Francisco. Treinen battled against righty Koda Glover and Shawn Kelley for the job but ultimately won out after a strong spring showing.
- The St. Louis Cardinals are reportedly showing a quiet interest in Chicago White Sox southpaw Jose Quintana per Jon Heyman of FanRag. The veteran is the most valuable trade asset for the rebuilding South Siders and has been on the trade market the entire offseason but no team has been willing to meet the high asking price the White Sox placed on him. The Cardinals reportedly have the right combination of prospects and major league talent to make a deal work but are the sleeper team right now in the Quintana sweepstakes.
- Boston Red Sox lefty Drew Pomeranz is expected to begin the season on the 10-day D.L. because of a left flexor strain per Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald. The Red Sox will be tested early with injuries to their rotation and bullpen but are hopeful that Pomeranz can be ready to make his first scheduled start of the season on April 9.
- St. Louis Cardinals flame throwing right-hander Trevor Rosenthal will miss Opening Day and start the season on the 10-day D.L. per Jennifer Langosch of MLB.com. Rosenthal has been bothered by a lat injury all spring long and will need more recovery time before being ready to pitch in the regular season. Despite being removed from the closer’s role last year the Cardinals still had plans for him to be a big part of their bullpen in 2017.
- Right-handed reliever Mark Lowe is reportedly signing with the Seattle Mariners on a minor league deal per Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. The veteran was recently released by the Tigers earlier in the spring after posting an uninspiring 7.11 ERA across 49.1 innings of relief work in 2016. The Tigers are eating the rest of his guaranteed salary in the final year of his two-year, $11MM contract he signed with them last offseason.