Blue Jays president of baseball operations Mark Shapiro spoke with the media for the first time since reports of Jose Bautista’s staggering asking price of move than five years and $150MM, and downplayed the story to some extent, as Shi Davidi of Sportsnet writes. “Every spring training there are contractual situations that come up,” said Shapiro. “You manage them as effectively as possible, always maintaining the focus on what we’re out here to do as a team, and to win a championship.” Shapiro went on to explain that any comments he would have regarding Bautista’s contract would be made directly to Bautista himself or to Bautista’s representation. “For me, respecting the process and the player means you don’t comment on any of those things publicly,” the longtime executive continued. As Shapiro notes, difficult decisions on franchise players nearing the expiration of their contract aren’t exactly uncharted waters for him. In his time at the helm for the Indians, Shapiro dealt with similar situations with franchise legends like Jim Thome and Omar Vizquel, he points out.
Here’s more from the AL East…
- The Red Sox will likely take a pass on Cuban brothers Yulieski Gurriel and Lourdes Gurriel Jr., reports Sean McAdam of CSN New England. The Red Sox, of course, are barred from signing the younger Gurriel, Lourdes Jr., for more than $300K after shattering their bonus pool on Yoan Moncada last offseason, but even in the absence of spending restrictions, McAdam’s source indicates that Boston wouldn’t be much of a player. The Sox have expensive veterans in the infield (Dustin Pedroia and Pablo Sandoval) plus a large array of controllable talent at shortstop (Xander Bogaerts) and in the outfield (Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley and the well-compensated but unproven Rusney Castillo). As such, the team doesn’t have much room on the roster for any sort of additions in the short- or long-term at the brothers’ respective positions.
- Dexter Fowler’s late demand of an opt-out clause from the Orioles and his subsequent decision to sign a one-year deal with the Cubs could end up being a break for the Reds, tweets Jon Heyman, as Baltimore’s focus could turn back to Jay Bruce, whose trade to the Blue Jays recently fell through due to one of the other players involved in the would-be swap.
- How would an extension work between Blake Snell – a player without service time – and the Rays? Craig Edwards of Fangraphs looked at the different possibilities.
- On Thursday, Orioles exec Dan Duquette and agent Casey Close both commented on the Fowler situation.