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Detroit Tigers agree to minor league deal with right-hander Julio Teheran

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The Detroit Tigers agreed to a minor league contract with right-hander Julio Teheran on Tuesday. Teheran also received an invitation to major league spring training.

A two-time All-Star, Teheran went 76-72 with a 3.64 ERA as a fixture in the Atlanta Braves‘ rotation from 2013 to 2019, averaging 32 starts and 191 innings each season.

The Los Angeles Angels signed Teheran to a one-year, $9 million contract in December 2019 hoping he could provide some consistency to their starting staff.

But Teheran, who turned 30 this January, spent the early part of the 2020 season recovering from COVID-19 and finished 0-4 with a 10.05 ERA in 31⅓ innings.

ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez contributed to this report.

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A $245 million payroll?! Why the Los Angeles Dodgers are outspending every other MLB team by a mile

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THE LOS ANGELES DODGERS spent $100 million to renovate Dodger Stadium ahead of the 2020 season, an ambitious undertaking that modified most of the infrastructure in an effort to modernize baseball’s third-oldest ballpark.

“Irony of ironies,” Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten said. “After all these years of being the most beautiful stadium ever built to watch the game of baseball, we now also added 21st-century amenities. We have two acres of entertainment, and new food, and new history displays, and kids’ areas, and merchandise. Now we have elevators, and escalators, and connecting bridges — we now have all of that! We have a front door! You’ve seen pictures of it — it’s amazing!”

And it has all been just sitting there, untouched, for a year.

Kasten told CNBC in late October that a fan-less 2020 season led to revenue losses “north of $100 million” for the Dodgers, adding that it would take the franchise “years to catch up.” Three weeks later, the team followed a leaguewide trend in issuing organizationwide layoffs. Three months after that, they splurged on Trevor Bauer, brought back Justin Turner and raised a payroll that now is approaching a whopping $245 million, according to Cot’s Contracts, 26% higher than that of the second-place New York Yankees and the only one on pace to exceed baseball’s luxury-tax threshold.

The Dodgers’ payroll is high, but manageable, given their flexibility to creep back under that threshold in a year or two. Their roster is loaded with stars, but their abundance of young talent makes it seem as if the Dodgers’ run of excellence — consisting of eight consecutive division titles, a 2020 World Series championship and a 2021 PECOTA projection of 104 wins, the highest known number that system has ever produced — might never end. They have built a baseball utopia, evolving into the type of juggernaut their sport rarely produces. While most of their competition reels from the revenue losses of the coronavirus pandemic, which kept fans away from ballparks for an entire season, the Dodgers are doubling down.

How?

As one rival executive noted: “I think it’s important to go back to the beginning.”

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Who is 2021 MLB draft’s No. 1 pitching prospect? Scouting Vanderbilt’s Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker

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In last week’s early 2021 MLB draft rankings, Vanderbilt right-handers Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker were second and third, respectively, on the list — and the top two pitching prospects on our board.

I had a chance to see the two pitch back-to-back in both ends of a doubleheader on Sunday in Nashville against Georgia State, so here’s a deep dive on both prospects and what could cause their stock to rise (or fall) heading into the 2021 MLB draft starting July 11 in Atlanta.

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Cincinnati Reds OF Shogo Akiyama returns to camp after wife seriously injured

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GOODYEAR, Ariz. — – Cincinnati Reds outfielder Shogo Akiyama returned to spring training after a week away to be with his wife, who was seriously injured when a tree fell on her in a park in Ohio.

Akaya Akiyama was hospitalized after being injured by the tree last week while she was walking in Sharon Woods in Cincinnati. Her husband said Thursday that her condition is improving.

“I was in the hospital with her, I was spending time with [the] kids,” the 32-year-old Akiyama said through a translator at the team’s spring training complex in Goodyear, Arizona. “I think it was the inevitable time that I needed with this week away.”

Manager David Bell said Akiyama won’t be in the lineup for a spring training game until Sunday.

The Reds signed the Japanese player to a three-year, $21 million contract before the 2020 season. He played in 54 games last year, hitting .245.

“That’s bigger than baseball,” Reds pitcher Lucas Sims said. “Being able to see him today, it made us all happy and glad to know that she’s doing all right. Hopefully, everything gets back to normal.”

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