Rays relievers Jake McGee and Brad Boxberger are two of the more coveted relief arms on the trade market, and ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Nationals are among the interested teams (Twitter link). The Astros and Tigers have also been listed as possible suitors for Tampa Bay’s excellent eighth/ninth-inning duo. The left-handed McGee, 29, is projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz to earn $4.7MM this offseason. The right-handed Boxberger, 27, is not yet arbitration eligible. Both have seen significant time in the ninth inning over the past two seasons, as McGee collected 25 saves from 2014-15, and Boxberger led the AL with 41 saves in 2015. McGee seems like the more obvious trade candidate, on paper, due to his projected 2016 salary, but Boxberger’s first-year arbitration price could be huge if he serves as manager Kevin Cash’s primary closer in 2016 and racks up 35 to 40 more saves. The Rays could simply elect to hold the pair as well; spending a combined $5.2MM or so for the pair certainly isn’t exorbitant, though it’s hard to envision both relievers in the mix beyond 2016, as they’ll probably be too expensive a pairing after next winter’s arb raises.
A few more notes from the AL East…
- Ken Davidoff of the New York Post writes that Yankees GM Brian Cashman should be worrying about regression from players like Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez when constructing the roster this winter. Cashman said last week at the GM Meetings that his goal is to “upgrade our roster and not worry about regression on certain guys,” but Davidoff notes that it would be exceptionally risky to bank on Teixeira and A-Rod repeating both the health and the production they displayed in 2015, reminding how greatly they outperformed their preseason projections.
- Filling all of the holes on the Orioles’ roster is a near-impossible task for GM Dan Duquette without a significant payroll hike, writes Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com. Melewski points out that after Matt Wieters surprisingly accepted a qualifying offer last Friday, the team now has $57.6MM committed to four players — Wieters, J.J. Hardy, Adam Jones and Ubaldo Jimenez — plus $34.9MM worth of arbitration salaries (based on MLBTR’s projections). That places the Orioles at $92.5MM without even factoring in league-minimum players to round out the roster. Melewski uses Chris Davis and Alex Gordon as highly theoretical examples of players that could be brought in as major offseason signings (or, in Davis’ case, a re-signing), noting that that pair alone could cause Baltimore’s payroll to soar over $135MM while still leaving holes in the rotation and bullpen. Duquette has hinted that a payroll increase is certainly possible; over the weekend he discussed having the resources to not only re-sign Davis but also to bring in a No. 2 or No. 3 starter. The O’s opened the 2015 season with a $119MM payroll.
- The Blue Jays’ entire coaching staff will return in 2016 after agreeing to new contracts, reports Shi Davidi of Sportsnet. Davidi notes that the news isn’t necessarily a surprise, as Shapiro said during his recent introductory press conference that the entire staff had been invited back, but the finalization of the contracts is nonetheless noteworthy.