Quick Hits: McCann, Dotel, Tanaka, Astros

The Pirates' acquisition of Justin Morneau is rated by Scott Miller of CBSSports.com as the August waiver trade with the highest "Cody Ross potential."  Ross, of course, was an unheralded pickup in August 2010 who ended up paying huge dividends in the Giants' World Series victory that season.  Here are some more items from around the majors…

  • Though Evan Gattis' storybook rookie season has been slowed by injuries and slumps, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution still doesn't think the Braves will push to re-sign Brian McCann this winter.  Since the Braves won't be able to transition McCann from catcher to DH as he ages, O'Brien figures that an AL team who can offer this luxury will outbid Atlanta for McCann's services.  MLBTR's Tim Dierkes ranked McCann third the last edition of his 2014 Free Agent Power Rankings, though McCann's bat has cooled off (.674 OPS in 89 PA) in August.
  • There is a "99.9%" chance that Octavio Dotel will be shut down for the season, Tigers manager Jim Leyland told reporters, including Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press.  Dotel hasn't pitched since April 19 due to an elbow injury and he has experienced forearm tightness during his minor league rehab assignment.  Since Dotel turns 40 in November, it has been speculated that this injury could mark the end of Dotel's career, though Leyland said he wasn't aware of the veteran reliever's future plans.
  • The Yankees have "heavily scouted" Masahiro Tanaka, sending scouts to see many of Tanaka's starts for Rakuten, Mark Hale and George A. King III of the New York Post report.  Assistant GM Billy Eppler and special assignment scout Don Wakamatsu were in Japan last week for one of Tanaka's outings.  The Yankees and Rangers could be the favorites to make the highest posting bid for Tanaka should Rakuten make him available this offseason, though the Giants, Red Sox, Athletics and Twins are also known to be interested in the right-hander.
  • Fangraphs' Wendy Thurm explores when the Astros will start to raise their payroll by comparing the club's major payroll cuts to other teams who have slashed salaries in recent years.
  • With Alex Rodriguez facing a possible season-long suspension in 2014 and Mark Reynolds and Kevin Youkilis both question marks, ESPN's Jim Bowden (Insider subscription required) looks at some long-, medium- and short-term third base answers that the Yankees could acquire from another team.
  • The Twins should move Joe Mauer to first base next season and rely on either rookie Josmil Pinto to play catcher or sign A.J. Pierzynski, Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star Tribune opines.  Pierzynski, who spent his first six seasons in Minnesota, would also provide the Twins with some needed grit and leadership, Souhan adds.  Pierzynski will hit the free agent market again this winter and one would think he'd prefer to play for a contender at this late stage in his career.  He's hitting .283/.309/.452 with 16 homers in 424 PA with the Rangers this season so he'll certainly have a market for his services.

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