With the signing of Adam Frazier, Kansas City has now collected three former Mississippi State players in free agency, all three having been teammates on the 2012 Bulldogs team that won the SEC Tournament. That might be a good vibe for a Royals team that could use it. Frazier joins Chris Stratton and Hunter Renfroe on the Royals’ 40-man roster, which also includes ex-Ole Miss standout James McArthur. Frazier, 32, a lefty-hitting second baseman who played in Baltimore in 2023, reportedly has a one-year deal with the Royals, who’ll become his fifth team since 2021, when he was an All-Star with Pittsburgh. He hit .240 with 13 homers and 11 steals for the playoff-bound Orioles last season and is a career .269 hitter over eight MLB campaigns. Stratton, a right-hander, was on Texas’ World Series-winning team last year, and Renfroe, an outfielder, played for the Los Angeles Angels and Cincinnati before being released in September. KC was 56-106 last year, missing the postseason for the eighth straight year since winning the 2015 World Series. Incidentally, another player from the 2012 State roster is a current free agent: right-hander Brandon Woodruff, who is expected to miss the 2024 season after arm surgery. (Future big leaguers Kendall Graveman, Jonathan Holder and Jacob Lindgren were also on the Bulldogs’ roster in 2012.) P.S. Kudos to ex-State standout Brad Freeman, an NFL referee who has been selected to work the Super Bowl next month. Freeman was a seventh-round pick by St. Louis in 1998 and played two seasons in the Cardinals’ minor league system.
Mississippi State alum Dakota Hudson, who has a 38-20 career record in the majors, has signed with Colorado, which needs pitching help. Hudson, 29, once a regular member of St. Louis’ rotation, didn’t make the club out of spring training last year but did eventually get called up, posting a 6-3 record and 4.98 ERA in 18 appearances, 12 starts. The right-hander, a first-round pick in 2016, has a career 3.84 ERA in six seasons and joins a Rockies staff that finished last in MLB with a 5.68 in 2023. … The Rockies might still hold out hope that ex-Ole Miss star Ryan Rolison can contribute someday. The 26-year-old lefty was a first-round pick in 2018 but has been derailed by injuries, pitching in just four games since 2021. Yet to make his MLB debut, he is no longer on Colorado’s 40-man roster. P.S. If you’re keeping score, Hudson joins Lance Lynn (St. Louis), Chris Stratton (Kansas City) and Hunter Renfroe (Royals) as Mississippi-connected free agents to sign big league contracts this off-season. Still available: Adam Frazier, Tim Anderson, Brandon Woodruff and Spencer Turnbull.
While the world waits for Shohei Ohtani to pick a team, some here in the ‘Sip are just wondering when the local guys are going to sign. Former Ole Miss standout Lance Lynn signed with St. Louis on Nov. 21. Since then … crickets. Ex-Mississippi State star Adam Frazier, East Central Community College product Tim Anderson and MSU alum Chris Stratton (a World Series champ in 2023) were ranked among the top 89 available free agents by USA Today. They’re still out there. So are Brandon Woodruff (unlikely to pitch in 2024 after arm surgery), Dakota Hudson and Spencer Turnbull, a trio of quality pitchers who became free agents after USA Today published its rankings. Hunter Renfroe, the veteran slugger (177 career homers) out of Crystal Springs and MSU, hasn’t landed. (At one time, Atlanta was rumored to be interested, but the Braves have since filled — maybe — their left field void.) Other Mississippi connections with big league experience still looking for jobs include Billy Hamilton (326 career steals), Drew Pomeranz (289 career games pitched), Demarcus Evans, Chuckie Robinson, Mike Mayers and Jonathan Holder. Some of these guys may retire, but many surely want to play on in 2024. It feels like a wave of signings is coming soon.