The start of the 2021 MLB season is now just a matter of a couple of days away. Across the league, teams are making their final cuts and deciding on their starting pitcher for opening day. It is the time of the season when hope springs eternal for every team in the league, although we all know that some are going to see their hopes dashed very early on. As team finalize their opening day rosters, there are still some moves being made here and there, as some players look for a new home after getting cut late. Let’s take a look at what has been going on in the world of MLB over the past few days so you can get ready to make your bets against their MLB odds.
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A story worth keeping an eye on is the situation with Felix Hernandez, who has just opted out of his contract with the Baltimore Orioles. The 35-year old pitcher has not pitched in the majors since back in 2019, but it looked as though he might land a spot in the Orioles rotation after a decent start to the spring season. That all came to an end earlier this month when an elbow injury knocked him off the mound. That injury has to be considered a concern and you do have to wonder of he will and elsewhere or if this is the end of the road.
Another pitcher looking for a new home just days before the start of the season is Mike Montgomery, who was just let go by the New York Mets. This is probably not seen as a huge surprise, as the contract he signed with the Mets in February had an opt-out clause that could be triggered at any point up until this date. The 31-year-old pitcher was with the Kansas City Royals last season, but he only saw 5.1 innings of action last season. It’s too early to tell if another team will come in and give him a shot.
Not every cut leaves a player out in the cold for too long, which is what we saw with Cameron Maybin of the Chicago Cubs. One day after being released by the Cubs, Maybin returned and signed a new deal that will see him head to the minors. The feeling is that his willingness to sign such a deal is a sign that he will be the first player called up of the Cubs need some help in the outfield, which could well be something that happens sooner rather than later.
After a shortened season in 2020, the hope is that we will not see any interruptions this time around, but a lot of that depends on how things play out with COVID. The season hasn’t even started yet and we already have a situation brewing in Boston. Relief pitcher Matt Barnes tested positive for COVID, which led the Red Sox to place 8 more players in contract tracing. The good news is that there have been no other positive tests out of the Boston camp, so hopefully this is a situation that will blow over quickly.