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Central Notes: Twins, Bryant, Mize, Reds

Let’s check in on a few teams from the game’s Central divisions…

  • The Twins signed injured left-hander Rich Hill in December with the expectation he’d miss a large part of the season. That was before the coronavirus pandemic ran amok, though, and now the Twins might get a full season (if there is one) out of Hill. The 40-year-old, who’s still recovering from the primary revision surgery he underwent in November , told Betsy Helfand of the Pioneer Press, “(I’ve) been able to make the most out of the situation so I’m right where I should be as far as rehab progression-wise, so if we do have a season, I should be ready to go when we kick off something of a spring training.” That means the Twins could get an entire season out of a hurler who has been one of the most effective starters in the majors on a per-inning basis since his out-of-nowhere breakout in 2015. Dating back to then, Hill has combined for a 2.91 ERA with 10.67 K/9 and 2.82 BB/9 in 466 1/3 frames as a member of the Red Sox, Athletics and Dodgers.
  • Cubs third baseman/outfielder Kris Bryant is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2021 season. In theory, a shortened or canceled 2020 campaign could have a negative effect on his market if he does reach free agency, but agent Scott Boras doesn’t expect it to damage Bryant or any of the other star players who could be available then. “For the players who are the great players — because there’s always only a few great players — I don’t think it’s going to have anywhere near the impact,” Boras told Gordon Wittenmyer of NBC Sports Chicago, “because those great players are somebody you would sign for 10 years, and you can defer the cost. You just backload the contracts. You can do things with long-term contracts; you could wait for better times but still get the player for today.”
  • Righty Casey Mize, the No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft, may be the best prospect in the Detroit organization. But with a minor league campaign unlikely to happen, Mize could miss out on further professional seasoning this year. So what’s the solution? Well, Evan Woodbery of MLive.com makes a case that the Tigers should just put him in their rotation this season. Doing so would burn a year of service time, and it’s unlikely Mize would help make the Tigers a playoff-caliber team even in a shortened season, but there’s no denying he is one of the most talented players in the organization. Mize spent the majority of last year in Double-A, where he pitched to a 3.20 ERA with 8.69 K/9 and 2.06 BB/9 in 78 2/3 innings.
  • The Reds will start temporarily furloughing employees – less than 25 percent of them – on June 1, C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic tweets. Those individuals will continue to receive benefits while laid off, though.

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