Now that it’s November 7th, on the east coast at least, free agency has officially begun. Qualifying offers (twenty of them) and option decisions marked the final key elements to set up the market. Here are a few notable reports as business opens:
- The Braves will not pursue catcher Matt Wieters, Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com tweets. Atlanta has appeared at least to be a plausible landing spot, depending perhaps on what they decide with youngster Christian Bethancourt, but Gammons’ sources certainly make that possibility seem unlikely. Wieters received a qualifying offer today, so a signing team would need to sacrifice a draft pick to add him, though Atlanta’s top choice is protected.
- First baseman Justin Morneau is not entertaining thoughts of retiring and “definitely” wants to keep playing, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports on Twitter. That had always seemed to be the case, since Morneau worked back from his latest head and neck issues just for a few weeks at the end of the year. The 34-year-old has looked good at the plate over the last two years and should draw plenty of interest — particularly from American League clubs.
- We’ve also heard some chatter that Morneau and the Twins could have mutual interest in a reunion, though Joe Mauer is entrenched at first. Morneau could theoretically slot in as the DH, but the club needs to find a way to get Miguel Sano into the lineup and still has the solid Trevor Plouffe at third. It’s possible, Berardino writes, that Sano could begin spending some time in the outfield in winter ball in an effort to open the possibility of him getting action there next season. Of course, the team’s handling of Sano and Plouffe likely won’t be dictated by the veteran Morneau, but it’s obviously intriguing to consider the possibilities.
- Though the Angels did not extend a qualifying offer to third baseman David Freese, new GM Billy Eppler said that the team will at least look into a return, as MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez reports. “We’ll engage him in the marketplace,” said Eppler. “We love what he brings on the field and in the clubhouse.”
- While the Astros have proven willing to act boldly to improve their major league roster, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle writes that it could be a relatively quiet offseason for the club. “With the exception of lefthanded relievers, there’s nothing I’d say we absolutely have to do,” explained GM Jeff Luhnow. “There’s a lot we want to do,” he added, perhaps suggesting that the organization might pursue some creative opportunities without feeling much urgency.