Big hit for the Red Sox. How MLB Players Find a Place to Live

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Lucas Giolito was Boston's big offseason move. Now he may miss the entire season. Plus: Notes on Matt Chapman, the evolution of the Rays show, and the insular subculture of high rollers and real estate. I'm Levi Weaver here with Ken Rosenthal – welcome to Windup!


Who can replace Lucas Giolito?

The Red Sox didn't pursue this “full throttle” offseason, but at least they signed Lucas Giolito to bolster the rotation, right?

Oof. Discomfort in the elbow has entered the chat.

Giolito is getting a second opinion, but ESPN's Jeff Passan reported Tuesday that Giolito “likely has a partial tear of his ACL and a flexor strain.” If so, the most likely outcome is Tommy John surgery, which would cost Giolito at least the entire 2024 season (and possibly part of 2025). This will be his second TJ surgery. His debut came after his first professional match in 2012.

For the Red Sox, who traded Chris Sale to the Braves this offseason, this was a huge blow. As Jane McCaffrey reported, the front office isn't offering any panicked public quotes that might help Scott Boras' case in negotiations regarding Jordan Montgomery or Blake Snell. For now, the company's line is that they are comfortable with their interior options listed here:

At the start of camp, Giolito, Brian Bellew, Nick Pivetta and Cotter Crawford were named to the top four rotation spots with Garrett Whitlock, Tanner Hoke and Josh Winkowski competing for the fifth spot. Cooper Cresswell, the only other free agent signed this winter, was also in the mix.

It's not a disaster-level pitching staff, but it's certainly not a rotation that generates confidence in Boston's ability to avoid last year's last-place finish in the very strong AL East.

Boston is a big-market team, and if the Red Sox are serious about getting back into the mix to compete for the playoffs, it stands to reason that another addition (or two) would go a long way.

More on injured star pitchers:


Ken's notebook: A year from Chapman could be a bargain for the Giants

From my last notes column:

How satisfied are the San Francisco Giants with the terms they negotiated for Matt Chapman? They won't be able to get back the draft they lost by signing him. However, even after taking the option value into account, they decided it would be worth the potential cost if he stayed for just one year.

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In last Thursday's edition of The Windup, I wrote that because of rules surrounding draft pick compensation, teams may be reluctant to grant a one-year opt-out to a free agent who turned down a qualifying offer — Chapman, for example.

A player cannot receive a qualifying offer twice, so if Chapman leaves after one season, the Giants will not be eligible for the selection. The exemption from the quality process should give Chapman, as well as Bellinger, an additional incentive to opt out. If they return to the market, it will be without restrictions.

Chapman, who turns 31 next month, would cost the Giants $20 million for one season if he declined his player option for 2025. Last year, Slot value selection The Giants would make a sacrifice to sign him, No. 51 overall, for $1.66 million.

If slot values, based on industry revenue, increased by the same 10 percent as they were a year ago, the value of the No. 51 pick would be about $1.8 million. And as Mets owner Steve Cohen tweeted in 2021“Baseball picks are worth up to 5 times their slot value to clubs.”

The pick, which the Giants sacrificed at the time, is worth an estimated $9 million, bringing Chapman's potential single-season acquisition cost to $29 million. This may seem like a lot, but Chapman has averaged 3.9 WAR the past three seasons. While much of his value stems from his defense, teams generally consider the WAR to be worth between $8 and $10 million. So, if Chapman pitches 4 WAR this season, his net worth will be between $32 and $40 million.

The Giants might argue they got a trade.


How are radiology so good at promoting development?


Ryan Peabiot says the Rays' coaching staff constantly reminds him how good he is. (Nathan Ray Sibick/USA Today)

I found a familiar face during a trip to Tampa last year. I covered Jake Diekman from 2016 to 2018 when he was with the Rangers, and in the intervening years, Diekman rotated with the Royals, A's, Red Sox and White Sox before joining the Rays (he's with the Mets now).

I think by that point in his career, he would be considered a “journeyman.”

He posted a 7.94 ERA in 11 1/3 innings in Chicago last year, which led to his release, but he completely turned things around with the Rays. In 45 1/3 innings with the Rays last year, he posted a mark of 2.18.

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What the hell happened?

“Every pitching coach can break down the mechanics and know the same things,” Lee said. “But the verbiage may be different. some It's about that… (but) everything is very positive here. On the first or second outing, I gave up running; (If) I threw 18 pitches, it was like 15 of them were amazing. So don't worry about all three. The focus remains on throwing it at the plate, and that's it.

From the introduction to the Chad Jennings story, it's clear that positivity is still at the forefront for the Rays. During the regular season, the team gathers pitchers twice a week for a video session — not about what went wrong and needs improvement, but to show their best.

Like Diekman, pitchers like Drew Rasmussen, Jeffrey Springs and Zach Littell have found a second life under pitching coach Kyle Snyder's philosophy: Trust your stuff, and throw the ball up the middle — especially on the first pitch.

In Chad's story (as in my conversation with Dickman), a common theme emerged: If you throw the first pitch in the strike zone, you'll get a positive outcome 95 percent of the time, even if that means a few first pitches. Ambushes. Compare that to the .380 on-base ratio when the batter starts the at-bat 1-0 (it's .266 if it's 0-1), and it's simple math: Throw a strike on the first pitch.

They will need this philosophy to fuel more turnovers this year. Tyler Glasnow was traded to the Dodgers, and three other starters (and prospect Shane Baz) are returning from injuries.

But replacing departed talent wasn't a problem for the Rays before, so who's to say it's a problem now?


How do baseball players find a place to live?

Andy McCullough looked into a less-covered aspect of the minor league baseball world: the fact that a lot of real estate is transferred or rented between players.

The reasons make sense when you think about it. Not counting the minor leagues, there are only 28 major league cities — 27 if you count Los Angeles and Anaheim as the same city (which you shouldn't).

Finding a place to live — often at the last minute due to trades, DFAs or signings after the start of spring training — is difficult and complicated by the fact that the regular season only lasts from April through October 1. Good luck finding a seven-month lease.

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So why not use your network of people who live the same lifestyle as you?

The number of players mentioned in this story is mind-boggling and certainly does not come close to being representative of all the player-to-player house swaps and rentals that occur in the league. Trades are often made by players' wives while their husbands are out playing games every day.

The most serendipitous example: After signing a deal with the Phillies, Carlos Santana rented his house in the suburbs of Cleveland to former teammate Edwin Encarnacion. Later that year, the Mariners traded Santana to Cleveland for Encarnacion. So Santana just went home.

It's an interesting read about a topic that most of us don't think about much. Playing baseball comes with a lot of perks and a very good salary. but she excellent A strange and unique way to live life.


Handshakes and high fives

We have more analysis on Zach Wheeler's three-year, $126 million extension. Topics include: what this means for the Phillies, how it affects the free agent market and how his current contract (extension begins in 2025) may be the best contract in history.

Speaking of extensions: Tim Britton's extension week continues (final push coming tomorrow):

Yes, it's early but… If Jackson Holiday wins Rookie of the Year, he'll make a lot of history, Jason Stark says.

Tyler Kepner tells us how Gabriel Moreno went from being an expendable trade chip with the Blue Jays to a 'difference maker' in Arizona.

Sam Bloom had a really interesting article this week about what it looks like when a player is designated for assignment.

The A's have revealed plans for their new stadium in Las Vegas. Ivan Drilich has a Q&A with the architect. Yes, references to the Sydney Opera House and the Armadillo have been addressed.

Keith Law explores the 2024 draft and brings us his top 30 amateur prospects.

Good news in Atlanta: Ronald Acuña Jr.'s knee will be OK.

Mike Zunino Josh Donaldson announced their retirement.


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(Top photo by Lucas Giolito: Billy Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

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