Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s the latest from the game’s central divisions:

  • Royals lefty Danny Duffy says he is throwing pain free after an offseason elbow clean-up, as MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports. “Honestly, I had forgotten what it felt like to throw without any pain or discomfort,” says Duffy. That’s good news for Kansas City, as the organization will expect the southpaw to lead an uncertain staff in 2018 and beyond — unless, that is, he isn’t traded at some point. Other organizations would no doubt have interest in Duffy’s reasonable contract ($61MM through 2021), though we haven’t seen any indication that the Royals are likely to move the 29-year-old this winter.
  • Over at The Athletic, Patrick Mooney has a pair of articles (subscription links) regarding the market’s two top pitchers. The Cubs have plenty of money left to work with, he notes, and have seemingly remained engaged with Yu Darvish for much of the winter. That said, there are still alternatives for both team and player; Mooney says the Cubs have other scenarios in mind and notes the possibility of mystery teams in Darvish’s market. It’s less clear, Mooney suggests, that there’s a realistic path back to Chicago for Jake Arrieta. As MLBTR’s 2018 Free Agent Tracker shows, Darvish and Arrieta are just a few of the many starters still available; remarkably, the Cubs’ early agreement with Tyler Chatwood still paces this winter’s market for rotation contracts.
  • The Indians are readying for an arbitration hearing with righty Trevor Bauer, Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer writes. Cleveland is utilizing a file-and-trial approach, says Hoynes, meaning a panel will decide whether the righty plays for $5.3MM or $6.52MM in the coming season. The results won’t just determine wheter Bauer can pick up an additional $1.22MM for the coming season; his 2018 salary will also set a base rate for raises in his final two seasons of arb eligibility. As always, you can keep track of all the arbitration developments with MLBTR’s 2018 Arbitration Tracker.
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This article first appeared on MLB Trade Rumors and was syndicated with permission.

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