The Padres have sent a scout to watch Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports. It’s far from clear whether that is an indication of serious interest, of course, let alone whether the scout is watching more than just Sandoval. Regardless, it’s the latest hint that there could be some remaining trade chatter to be held between these organizations, who already struck a significant swap early in the offseason.
Here’s more from the eastern divisions:
- The Rangers are not only continuing their search for another catcher, but could look outside the organization for rotation help, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. A.J. Griffin may have the inside track to take the fifth starter’s job at present, says Grant, but there’s some concern about the overall starting pitching depth as camp comes to a close. As for the backstop situation, it doesn’t appear that much has changed, but Texas is still looking to improve upon its reserve options — if not to strike a more significant upgrade. (Grant notes that the club has inquired on Derek Norris of the Padres and Bryan Holaday of the Tigers.)
- Of course, interest doesn’t always mean that a deal gets done, and significant spring trades are rare. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports also reports that the Rangers have real interest in both areas (Twitter links), but he says the club thinks it has only an “outside chance” at adding a catcher and is “doubtful” to find a new pitcher. All in all, both reports suggest that Texas is looking at its options but is hardly certain to add outside pieces. And still others suggest there’s not much reason to expect movement. Jeff Wilson of the Forth Worth Star-Telegram tweets that outside inquiries have mostly been tire-kicking exercises, while MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan adds on Twitter that club officials have suggested to him that the final rotation piece will come from inside the organization.
- Reclamation righty Matt Bush isn’t in the mix for an Opening Day pen spot with the Rangers, Grant also writes, but he has been enormously impressive this spring and could be an option later in the season. Bush’s story is well-known, of course — the former first overall draft pick recently finished a prison term for severely injuring a man in a DUI.
- Aaron Sanchez has been named as the Blue Jays’ fifth starter, manager John Gibbons told reporters (including John Lott of Blue Jays Nation) this morning. It won’t be a season-long assignment for Sanchez, however, as the righty seems to be under an innings cap and will eventually be transitioned into the bullpen as he approaches his limit. The 23-year-old has never thrown more than 133 1/3 innings in a season. Sanchez and Gavin Floyd emerged as the top two contenders for the fifth starter’s job during camp, and Floyd will join Jesse Chavez in the bullpen while Drew Hutchison has been optioned to Triple-A. It stands to reason that Floyd, Chavez or Hutchison will all be rotation candidates when Sanchez is moved back to relief pitching.
- The Astros have decided to give an Opening Day roster spot to young first baseman Tyler White, as Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports. Houston’s first-base situation has been in flux all spring, but it appears that the 33rd-round draftee is in line for a significant opportunity to take the position and run with it. He is one of several players in the organization who have impressed this spring; third base prospect Colin Moran has also compiled a 1.000+ OPS in more than thirty plate appearances, though Drellich notes on Twitter that he’s not considered a roster option at this point. The same holds true of A.J. Reed, of course, who could also have a chance to make an impact later in the season.
- Angels GM Billy Eppler says that he is “not optimistic” of adding to his roster before the season starts, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez reports. Gonzalez provides a deep rundown of the club’s remaining roster considerations.