Jon Heyman of CBS Sports kicks off Friday morning with a pair of columns — the first being a piece on Zack Greinke’s opt-out status and the second being his weekly Inside Baseball column. Heyman writes in the first piece that Greinke will indeed opt out of the remaining three years and $71MM on his Dodgers contract, as has been widely anticipated for the better part of a year. One general manager suggested to Heyman that Greinke will receive, “at minimum,” multiple offers of $125MM over the next five seasons. That GM wagered a guess at the winning bid: $150MM over five years. Heyman notes that while many teams — the Cubs, Giants, Red Sox, Yankees, Tigers, D-Backs and Rangers, among others — will be in the mix for Greinke this winter, the right-hander enjoyed 2015 with the Dodgers more than he enjoyed his first two seasons, and L.A. will attempt to bring him back. Per Heyman, Greinke didn’t mesh with Josh Beckett and Hanley Ramirez in previous years but had nothing but positive feelings about the 2015 campaign.
Onto some highlights from his second column…
- There’s no certainty on the job status of Don Mattingly right now despite three consecutive division titles, Heyman writes. Mattingly is well-liked by the new Dodgers front office on a personal level, and the team is pleased with how he handled Andre Ethier’s shift to a part-time role, A.J. Ellis’ shift to a backup role in favor of Yasmani Grandal, and the emergence of Corey Seager over Jimmy Rollins late in the year. Mattingly’s people-managing skills are valued by the Dodgers, even if his in-game tactics aren’t quite as strong. Heyman notes that with the Dodgers unconvinced of Mattingly as their long-term option, they may allow him to interview with other clubs, and both the Nationals and Marlins would show interest.
- The Orioles are believed to be hesitant to make a qualifying offer to Matt Wieters and will only do so if they’re convinced that he won’t take it. (I can’t imagine a Scott Boras client that plays a premium position in the midst of his prime age doing so under any circumstances.) The White Sox will make a QO to Jeff Samardzija, who will not accept it, as has been suggested multiple times over the past couple of months.
- Colby Rasmus, on the other hand, is not expected to receive a $15.8MM qualifying offer from the Astros despite 25 regular-season homers and a strong postseason showing. Heyman writes that Alex Gordon will be “a name to keep an eye on” in connection with the Astros this offseason, as the team may look to inject its lineup with more on-base percentage and batting average than the 2015 crop. They’ll also look for more steady production at first and third base this winter after a season of boom-or-bust results from Luis Valbuena and Chris Carter.
- The Dodgers are set on making a qualifying offer to Howie Kendrick and are also planning on making a QO to Brett Anderson despite his injury history. The latter of the two drew some surprise when Heyman shared it with execs around the league, though as he points out, L.A. is in need of pitching. If Anderson accepts — again, a scenario I find unlikely given his age and strong 2015 results — he’d solidify a spot in the rotation behind Clayton Kershaw. And, I’ll point out, Anderson’s 2016 salary would then check in just $3.4MM north of the $12.4MM he earned in total after receiving a $10MM base salary and earning another $2.4MM worth of innings-based incentives this season.
- The Twins are willing to pay a premium to bring Torii Hunter back to their clubhouse if he’s willing to take a reduced role. Hunter, though, has been resistant to that idea in the past. He’s not yet decided whether or not he’ll return to the Majors for his age-41 season or call it a career.
- Other qualifying offer notes from Heyman throughout the column indicate that Padres people have suggested that they’ll make a QO to Ian Kennedy, though rival execs remain skeptical. Current expectation in the industry is that the Mets won’t make a qualifying offer to Daniel Murphy, and the same is true of the Nationals with regard to Denard Span, who suffered through an injury-shortened season. Kennedy and Murphy seem like easy calls to decline the qualifying offer to me, whereas Span is a tougher case due to his age and injuries, which included season-ending hip surgery. I can see a case for Span taking the $15.8MM payday — the initial contract extension he signed with the Twins, after all, was only for $16.5MM guaranteed, though that rose to $25MM after his 2016 option was exercised.
- The Nationals have received permission from the Giants to interview bench coach Ron Wotus to fill their managerial vacancy. Wotus has coached on the Giants’ Major League staff for the past 17 seasons and is a two-time Minor League Manager of the Year.