Federal Judge to Hear Arguments Over Lifting Protections of Gray Wolves in Parts of U.S.
The decision came during a hearing on whether gray wolves were properly classified under the Endangered Species Act. An attorney for the U.S. Justice Department argued that they were not, saying that gray wolves, in particular, are not distinct enough to make up a species. Your browser does not support this video "Congress was very clear in the statute," argued Michael Eitel of the Justice Department's natural resources division, "if there is not that species, the service does not have the ability to regulate it.
The Reds are "open" to trading free-agent starter Sonny Gray this offseason, reports Buster Olney of ESPN. However, Olney hears that Cincinnati isn’t amenable to moving either of Luis Castillo or Tyler Mahle. © Kareem Elgazzar via Imagn Content Services, LLC Will Sonny Gray get traded?
No deal involving Gray appears to be close, but he’s seemingly the most likely Reds starter to wind up on the move at some point. That’s not especially surprising, since Gray’s also the most expensive of their top trio. Cincinnati has opened the offseason scaling back expenditures, and general manager Nick Krall has spoken about “aligning (the team’s) payroll to its resources.” Early reports suggested a Castillo deal could be part of those efforts, but Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported last week that it was doubtful any deal involving the 28-year-old would come to fruition.
Music Dream Team! See Olivia Rodrigo and Conan Gray's Cutest Friendship Moments
Look back at Olivia Rodrigo and Conan Gray's sweetest friendship moments, from obsessing over Taylor Swift to attending the AMAs together Interestingly enough, the two pop stars first connected through music. In addition to sharing the same producer Dan Nigro, they also share a love of Taylor Swift's music. After publicly gushing about the "Cardigan" singer during various interviews and performances, Swift enlisted Rodrigo and Gray to promote her rerecorded Fearless album in April 2021.
Gray looks like a fairly straightforward trade candidate as he enters the final guaranteed year of his contract. He’s slated to earn around $10.67M in 2022 and remains under club control for 2023 via $12.5M club option. (Gray would also receive a $1M assignment bonus in the event of a trade.) That’s a reasonable sum for a pitcher of Gray’s caliber, but it also makes him Cincinnati’s fourth-highest-paid player. And the three players set to earn loftier sums (Joey Votto, Mike Moustakas and Eugenio Suárez) wouldn’t be easy to move. Votto’s a franchise icon who has full no-trade protection; Moustakas and Suárez are coming off bad 2021 seasons and wouldn’t figure to hold much appeal to other clubs.
On the other hand, Gray offers a blend of a fairly substantial, but still team-friendly salary that could make a trade realistic. He’s coming off a season in which he posted a 4.19 ERA/3.85 SIERA across 135 1/3 innings. That’s decent mid-rotation production, and Gray was even better over his first couple of seasons in Cincinnati. Despite pitching in one of the league’s more hitter-friendly home environments, the right-hander reeled off 231 1/3 innings of 3.07 ERA ball from 2019-20.
MLB trade rumors: 12 impact players who could be dealt this offseason
The crop of free-agents on the market is solid, both in terms of quantity and quality. But for teams looking to upgrade — before or after the expected lockout — there are lots of options on the trade market, too. Here are 12 players who could be wearing a new uniform when the 2022 season starts, whenever that might be. MORE: Ranking the top 50 free agents for 2022 Byron Buxton, CF, Twins Why he could be moved: The Twins are in a legit difficult situation with Buxton, who’s set to be a free agent after the 2022 season. They love Buxton and the fans love Buxton, as they should.
Gray has backed up those solid results with strong underlying numbers. While he typically runs walk rates a bit higher than the league average, he also generates an enviable combination of punchouts and grounders. Gray has posted above-average strikeout and ground-ball percentages in each of the past three seasons. His 27% and 47.2% marks in those categories in 2021 were his lowest since 2018, but even those were both markedly above the respective league averages (22.6% and 42.7%) for starting pitchers.
Installing Gray into the middle of a rotation should have plenty of appeal around the league. The Dodgers were already rumored to have interest in that possibility this offseason, and others would join them if the Reds front office began to discuss trade frameworks in earnest.
Both Castillo and Mahle could bring even greater returns, as they’re arguably superior pitchers who are more affordable. Like Gray, both righties are controllable for two more seasons, but they’re proceeding through arbitration. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects Castillo for a $7.6M salary in 2022; Mahle is projected to bring in around $5.6M. Both pitchers would stand to earn a final raise in 2023, but it’s unlikely either would match or top the value of Gray’s $12.5M option that year.
Gray Wolf That Trekked 935 Miles From Oregon to California Found Dead Near Roadway
The first gray wolf to be documented in Southern California since the 1920s was found dead.Gray wolves are designated as endangered under the California Endangered Species Acts. According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the wolves were eradicated from the state in the 1920s.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t seem Cincinnati is preparing to tear the roster down completely. Coming off an 83-win season with a strong core led by their talented rotation, it’s not implausible that the Reds could compete next season. A frugal offseason would certainly make building a strong roster more difficult for Krall and his front office, particularly with middle-of-the-order presence Nick Castellanos likely to sign elsewhere as a free agent. A returning group including Castillo, Mahle, Votto, Jesse Winker, Jonathan India and Tyler Stephenson certainly has promise, though. Speculatively speaking, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them target near-MLB players in potential discussions involving Gray to help thread that needle of remaining competitive while cutting costs.
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Related slideshow: 20 MLB players who could be traded this winter (Provided by Yardbarker)
Athletics likely to trade 'almost every player with value'?
Many players who have previously popped up in rumors — such as Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Sean Manaea, Chris Bassitt and Frankie Montas — could be fair game.In a recent piece from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, he relays that it is unlikely they will bottom out to such a degree that their payroll drops as low as $40M, a level that even the low-budget Athletics haven’t seen in 20 years.
20 MLB players who could be traded this winter
MLB's off-season is in full swing, with all 30 teams currently plotting their winter chess moves as we speak. This season's free-agent class is more exciting than recent years, but that market is not the only avenue teams have to improve. Let's take a look at some guys who could find themselves on the trading block.
Yankees' first baseman Luke Voit led the league in home runs during the pandemic shortened 2020 season, but the last 12 months have gone very differently for the right-handed slugger. Four separate trips to the injured list limited Voit to only 68 games last year, and when he was on the field he just was not the same offensive threat he was a season earlier. In 213 at-bats he slashed just .239/.328/.437 with only 11 homers. New York is clearly looking to reshuffle its deck this winter, and if they add an infielder the most likely scenario has D.J. LeMahieu moving to first base and leaving Voit the odd man out. If they do make him available in trade discussions, multiple teams will assuredly jump at the opportunity to add his run production potential.
Last summer the Cubs finally embarked on the massive retooling many expected them to undergo, trading away World Series heroes Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, and Javier Baez among others. Catcher Willson Contreras remained in Chicago through the end of 2021, but it's far from certain he'll begin next season in the Windy City. He's the last piece the Cubs could trade away for a significant return, and dynamic two-way backstops don't grow on trees. Plenty of teams would engage the Cubs if they really made him available, an outcome that is more likely than not.
Whit Merrifield's name has been bandied about in trade rumors annually, but a potential trade just feels more likely this time around. The career-long Royal is a lifetime .291 hitter who has racked up over 40 doubles on three separate occasions--including last year. Players with his versatility are becoming more and more important to contending teams, and that same versatility makes him a fit for nearly any club. Pay attention to his situation at the winter meetings.
Similar to the Cubs, the Nationals traded away basically anything that wasn't nailed down last summer, and seem content to undergo a full rebuild in an attempt to build these teams back up around their centerpiece, superstar outfielder Juan Soto. This is going to be a multiple-year reset, which is why having switch-hitting former all-star Josh Bell playing first base doesn't make a whole lot of sense. In his first season in D.C. a year ago, Bell hit .261 with 27 bombs and 88 RBI, and as a veteran with value, both he and the Nationals would probably be better off with a trade.
The Reds are quite obviously making shedding payroll their priority this winter, and though we're still over a week before Thanksgiving, they've already traded their starting catcher, Tucker Barnhart, and allowed a valuable starting pitcher, Wade Miley, to be claimed on waivers without getting anything in return. What's going to come next though is going to hurt fans in Cincinnati more. The Reds will assuredly trade away more assets, beginning with their ace, righty Luis Castillo. After a slow start last season Castillo was excellent in the second half, and a durable starter who has never missed a start, owns a lifetime 1.22 WHIP, and consistently strikes out over a batter/inning could bring back a haul.
Sticking with the Reds, while Castillo is very likely to be moved, their #2 starter, Sonny Gray is a virtual certainty. The veteran has been an all-star twice in his career and has over 1200 big league innings under his belt. The 2021 season was not his best, as he finished with an ERA a little over four, but his 1.22 WHIP and .225 batting average against will both play. He won't bring back nearly the return Castillo will, but enough teams should be interested in adding him to their rotation that it will increase the price to a level the Reds should be willing to pounce on.
The Philadelphia Phillies were one of baseball's more disappointing teams last season, as even with an MVP caliber season from Bryce Harper and a borderline Cy Young caliber performance from Zack Wheeler, they weren't all that close to making the playoffs even in a weak NL East. A weak spot for the Phils was shortstop, where veteran Didi Gregorius had the worst season of his long career, hitting just .209 and reaching base at only a .270 clip. With so many big-name free-agent shortstops available, it would behoove Philadelphia to search for an upgrade, and if they can secure one, Gregorius becomes a logical trade chip for a shortstop needy team that misses out on a free agent.
Young Gavin Lux was the Dodgers' first-round pick five years ago, and after ripping through the minor leagues with a career .304 average and .381 OBP with power, LA expected him to become their next star. That just hasn't happened to date. In 473 big league at-bats across parts of three seasons, Lux has hit just .233 with 35 extra-base hits. He's yet to carve out any kind of role with the Dodgers, and perhaps it's time for both sides to aim for a fresh start.
Here is maybe the most interesting name on this whole list. When healthy Buxton is a legitimate superstar in this league, but he's participated in over 100 games only once in seven seasons. That's problematic. In the 61 games, he did play in last year though, Buxton hit .306 with a whopping 19 homers in only 235 at-bats. He also plays tremendous defense at a premium position in center field. Early this winter it sounds like Minnesota is at least open to listening on him, and you'd have to imagine some team would be willing to take a chance on him staying healthy moving forward. Is there a match somewhere that works for everyone? We'll soon find out.
The Padres unfortunately might have been the most disappointing team in baseball a season ago. After a good start, in the second half of the season, they were left completely in the dust by the Dodgers and Giants in the NL West. As a club that wants to be all in, you know failing to make the playoffs is something they don't want to repeat in 2022 and big moves are probably coming. First baseman Eric Hosmer actually had a pretty good season last year, but with versatile Jake Cronenworth capable of sliding to first if he had to, it could open the door for an infield addition somewhere else. That could make Hosmer expendable via a trade.
Veteran Kevin Kiermaier has been patrolling center field in Tampa Bay for almost a decade, but it's at least possible that could change in 2022. The Rays are notorious for being cost-conscious, and Kiermaier is due to make $12 million in the upcoming campaign. He's won three Gold Gloves for this team in his career, but that's still a steep price tag for an outfielder that just hit .259 with only 30 extra-base hits. A trade might not be probable, but it's certainly possible.
Could Jose Ramirez become the second switch-hitting all-star infielder traded out of Cleveland in as many years? It's certainly something that's on the table. Cleveland's terrific third baseman is coming off a fantastic year, as he just hit .266 with 36 homers and 103 RBI while participating in all but 10 of his team's games. For Cleveland though, they're in a situation where they have to be realistic about their aspirations. The AL Central appears poised to be run by the White Sox for years to come, and the Tigers are coming quickly as Chicago's top potential threat. That leaves the Guardians and Twins both falling behind in the wrong direction and potentially heading towards rebuilds.
Shortstop Paul DeJong was an instant sensation for the Cardinals for the first three years of his career, but the most recent two have not been as kind to him. Last year the veteran hit a paltry .197 with a sub .300 OBP, and his 19 long balls were not enough to keep him from losing his everyday job to Edmundo Sosa. DeJong has proven he can be an offensive force in this league, but it's fair to wonder if a change of scenery is needed after what was both a physically and emotionally disappointing 2021.
Similar to the aforementioned Dom Smith, the Mets were counting on JD Davis to be a big part of their team in '21, and it just did not work out. Davis was hit in the hand by a pitch in the first series of the season and the injury cost him multiple stints to the injured list and had to play a big role in his nonexistent power most of the season. He ended up having surgery following the year to fix it but it's hard to really gauge what that means for him moving forward. On the surface the .285 average he finished with looks solid, but five homers in 179 at-bats from a guy New York expected 25+ from hurts. The Mets have so much to figure out ahead of '22, and it's increasingly likely moving Davis and aiming to upgrade at third base is going to happen.
Orioles' reliever Tanner Scott is somebody whose final numbers last year don't look great, but his peripherals will get the attention of rival clubs hoping to be able to steal an asset by buying low. The southpaw held left-handed hitters to just a .203 batting average and his pre and post all-star game ERA's (2.78 and 9.82) are beyond stark. You'd have to assume the two stints Scott spent on the injured list down the stretch could have played a role in that latter number. In 54 innings he punched out an impressive 70 hitters, and while the Orioles are high on him, they would move him if the offer was enticing enough.
Garver's fate in Minnesota could be tied closely to that of the aforementioned Byron Buxton. If the Twins do decide to trade away Buxton, you'd have to assume third baseman Josh Donaldson and Garver may not be far behind if a rebuild is the way the club wants to go. For Garver, a power-hitting right-handed catcher, you'd have to imagine the market would be robust. In a shade over 200 at-bats a season ago, the veteran hit .256 with 13 homers, and defensively he threw out about 18% of would-be base-stealers. The Marlins stand out as an obvious fit for the Twins in a potential Garver trade.
If the A's are serious about trading off some pieces, cutting costs, and retooling for the future, right-handed starting pitcher Frankie Montas could very well be the best chip they've got. In a career-high 32 outings, last season the veteran turned in the best campaign of his career, winning 13 games with a strong 3.37 ERA. His 1.18 WHIP, .232 batting average against, 207 strikeouts, and 187 innings pitched all ranked in the top 10 in the American League. Oakland will listen to offers and it will assuredly be tough for them to pull the trigger, but if they can stomach moving him, they can expect to bring back a haul.
Ohio State offers 2023 running back, defensive lineman .
OSU sends out a pair of scholarships, and multiple Buckeye targets earn a coveted fifth star in updated rankingsIt is no secret that Ohio State wants to add multiple running backs in its 2023 recruiting class. The Buckeyes are already involved with many of the nation’s top prospects, though they have not yet received a commitment in the class.