In his latest notes column, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports looks at the developing market for Cuban star Yulieski Gurriel. Discussing his team’s reported interest, Giants GM Bobby Evans tells Rosenthal that he is primarily looking to “be as thorough as we can when it comes to international talent,” not angling to replace a starter in the infield. In Rosenthal’s opinion, Gurriel fits best with the Mets, who could use him at third this year and then utilize him there or at second in the seasons beyond, depending upon how things shake out. Needless to say, Gurriel figures to be a fascinating player to watch over the coming weeks.
Here are some more highlights from the post:
- The Dodgers have engaged the Rays in talks regarding righty Erasmo Ramirez, according to Rosenthal. Though he’s working out of the pen for Tampa Bay, the Dodgers would intend to utilize Ramirez in the rotation — at least initially. He has spent most of his career as a starter, and presumably would offer the club a swingman/long-relief option down the line. With several youthful and recently-injured starters in the picture in L.A., it’s not hard to see the match.
- Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart says that the organization is getting trade interest in both Brad Ziegler and Daniel Hudson, with some teams even asking about landing both arms. However, Arizona is not yet ready to concede the 2016 campaign, particularly after improved play of late. Stewart also suggested again that the club would rather extend both of the late-inning righties, each of whom is a pending free agent, rather than shipping them out.
- Despite their position-player gaps — most of which are being filled with surprising aplomb by unheralded players — the Royals’ biggest need is starting pitching, Rosenthal argues. GM Dayton Moore says that the club is “not overly concerned” about third base or right field, which are currently manned by Cheslor Cuthbert and Paulo Orlando. “If we had to make a decision today, we’d probably go with what we’ve got,” he said. But the architect of the reigning World Series champs also noted that the starting pitching market isn’t showing the same kind of top-quality veterans that it did last year, making it a “challenge” to find a real upgrade for the staff.
- Speaking of that thin market, Rosenthal says that teams are not unaware of the fact that Kyle Lohse can still opt out of his his deal with the Rangers after recently being bypassed for a promotion. Though the veteran owns only a 5.23 ERA in 51 2/3 Triple-A innings on the year, he is sitting at a typical 6.1 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 and obviously comes with a lengthy track record of quality major league pitching. (Note: it’s unclear precisely what opt-out situation Lohse has; the deal included a June 1 date that has obviously already passed, but may allow him to force the Rangers’ hand if another team offers a big league opportunity.)
- Rosenthal says that the Nationals have previously discussed center fielder Michael Taylor in trade talks and suggests they could do so again this summer in search of a top relief arm. Taylor would certainly make for an interesting piece to dangle: he still possesses tantalizing tools despite his difficulties in harnessing the strike zone and only just turned 25.