There's a player out there who could potentially be a difference-maker for a contender, and it won't cost said contender prospects in trade or a draft pick. Just a lot of money. That guy is Cuban infielder Yulieski Gurriel. I don't really understand the rules on signing international guys, but MLB said this week that for whatever reason Gurriel was a true free agent. Now, you never know what you will get with Cuban hitters -- it could be Jose Abreu (stud) or Rusney Castillo (bust) or somewhere in between. But Gurriel, who just turned 32, was a spectacular hitter in Cuba. Last season, he hit .500 with 15 home runs and 51 RBIs in 49 games for Industriales of the Cuban League. He also had one very good season in Japan. It might cost $15 million or more a year to sign this guy, so only big-market teams are going to have a shot. Reportedly Gurriel, who realistically would play second, third or DH, would love to play with the Yankees alongside former teammate Aroldis Chapman, but the Bombers aren't considered a likely destination. To no surprise, the deep-pocketed Dodgers are the likeliest landing spot.
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Mariners at Rays (-113, 8)
There are usually about 5,000 fans at a Rays home weekday game with a first pitch time of 1:10 p.m. ET like this one, but maybe a few more will show up at the dump that is Tropicana Field to see the home debut of one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, Rays lefty Blake Snell. He was the 2015 Minor League Player of the Year and has made one big-league start: on April 23 at the Yankees, Snell allowed one run and two hits over five innings with six strikeouts. The only knock on Snell, who has a huge looping curve to go with 96 mph heat, right now is control at times. The Mariners counter with lefty James Paxton (0-2, 2.25), who is in Felix Hernandez's rotation spot. Paxton deserved a win Saturday vs. Texas in throwing six shutout innings but took a no-decision. He beat the Rays in his MLB debut in 2013 and hasn't seen them since.
Key trends: The Mariners are 2-8 in Paxton's past 10 on the road. The "over/under" has gone under in four of his past five on four days of rest.
Early lean: Rays and under.
Pirates at Mets (-132, 7.5)
It sounds like any day now that the Mets will announce that David Wright is going to have season-ending neck surgery. He recently met with a back specialist in consultation with Mets doctors. We should have confirmation of a decision by the end of the week. Monitor the status of struggling Mets outfielder Michael Conforto, who has been diagnosed with sprained cartilage in his left wrist. He had a cortisone shot Tuesday, and you probably won't see him for a little while other than perhaps pinch-hitting. New York starts ageless Bartolo Colon (5-3, 3.08). He hasn't allowed more than two earned runs in any of his past four starts. The Pirates' Chris Stewart is 6-for-17 off him with a homer. Andrew McCutchen is 1-for-10. Pittsburgh goes with Juan Nicasio (5-5, 5.34). He was called on in relief Friday vs. St. Louis and was bombed for six runs in one inning in a loss. He started vs. the Mets before that and allowed a run in five innings. Asdrubal Cabrera is 2-for-8 with a homer and five strikeouts against him.
Key trends: The Pirates are 1-4 in Nicasio's past five on the road. The Mets are 0-6 in Colon's past six at home vs. teams with a winning record. The over is 4-1 in Colon's past five vs. teams with a winning record.
Early lean: Pirates and over.
Yankees at Twins (+128, 8.5)
Keep an eye on the status of the Yankees' Carlos Beltran as he hasn't played since Sunday and had his knee drained Tuesday. The team can't hide him at DH because that's where Alex Rodriguez is. New York goes with lefty CC Sabathia (4-4, 2.28). He has been reborn, not allowing an earned run in four of his past six starts. And in the other two starts, just three combined earned runs. Minnesota's Joe Mauer hits only .163 off him career with 17 strikeouts in 43 at-bats. The Twins go with Kyle Gibson (0-4, 6.49). He had been sidelined since April 22 due to a shoulder problem, returned Saturday vs. Boston and was lit up for five runs in 5.2 innings. The Yankees' Brian McCann is 2-for-4 with a homer and five RBIs against him. Starlin Castro is 2-for-2.
Key trends: The Twins are 1-5 in Gibson's past six at home. The under is 5-2 in his past seven on four days of rest. Minnesota is 1-4 in his past five vs. the Yankees.
Early lean: Yankees and under.
Tigers at Royals (+106, 8)
This game will be televised by the MLB Network and have live betting at sportsbooks. Interesting that the Royals won't visit Detroit until after the All-Star break. The Tigers lost two of three in Kansas City from April 19-21. Detroit goes with Justin Verlander (6-5, 3.77). He won at the Yankees last time out, allowing one run and five hits in 6.2 innings in his second straight quality start. Verlander didn't face the Royals in the first series. Kendrys Morales hits him well, batting .353 with two homers and 10 RBIs in 34 at-bats. Salvador Perez is 21-for-44 off him with two homers and 13 RBIs. Kansas City goes with lefty Danny Duffy (2-1, 2.94), who has been arguably the team's best starter since being moved out of the bullpen. He has thrown two innings of relief vs. the Tigers this year, allowing three runs.
Key trends: The Tigers are 4-1 in their past five vs. a lefty. The Royals are 6-1 in Duffy's past seven vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 6-2 in his past eight vs. Detroit.
Early lean: Tigers and under.
Nationals at Padres (+148, 8)
Potential letdown game for the Nats? They finished off a big home series with the Cubs on Wednesday and then had to fly across the country. Washington put closer Jonathan Papelbon on the DL earlier this week with a strained right intercostal muscle that is likely to keep him out longer than 15 days. Manager Dusty Baker wouldn't commit to a full-time closer in his spot, but it probably will be Shawn Kelley. The Nats go with Tanner Roark (5-4, 2.93) in the series opener. He beat the Phillies last time out, throwing seven shutout innings. San Diego goes with Erik Johnson (0-3, 7.71) in his second start since coming over from the White Sox in the James Shields trade -- which is looking better and better for San Diego because Shields has been so bad with the Pale Hose. Johnson lost to Colorado on Saturday, allowing five runs in 4.2 innings. This will be Johnson's first career big-league start in the Pacific Time Zone. He has never faced Washington.
Key trends: The Nationals are 1-6 in Roark's past seven road starts vs. teams with a losing record. The under is 7-2 in his past nine on the road.
Early lean: I do think the Nats will be flat. Go Padres and under.
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