Some news and notes from around the AL East…
- “When you only win 68 games, you’re open to everything,” Rays president of baseball operations Matt Silverman tells Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. “Everything” doesn’t quite extend to Evan Longoria, as Topkin writes that the team doesn’t have any interest in trading the longtime face of the franchise. The Rays head into the GM Meetings and the offseason in general with many needs, with Silverman saying that the club will primarily rely on trades to fill those needs (no surprise, given Tampa’s usual reluctance to spend big on free agents).
- The Orioles’ search for a new pitching coach continues, as the team interviewed Double-A pitching coach Alan Mills this past week, MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko reports. The O’s are also interested in former Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell and Cardinals minor league pitching coordinator Tim Leveque.
- Also from Kubatko’s piece, he reports that former Orioles first-rounder Matt Hobgood is trying to restart his career as a hitter. Hobgood, picked fifth overall in the 2009 draft, managed only 325 innings over parts of six pro seasons in the minors, as shoulder problems continually kept him off the mound. Hobgood still has a long ways to go in order to get properly re-acclimated to hitting, though at age 26, he doesn’t yet want to give up on his baseball dream.
- With a number of first basemen and designated hitters on the free agent market, Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith argues that the Blue Jays could be in no rush to fill the potential hole left by Edwin Encarnacion. Since the Jays can offer a spot on a contender and playing time in a hitter-friendly ballpark, they’re an attractive option for many 1B/DH types, which presents the possibility of Toronto landing a big bat at perhaps a bargain price. Nicholson-Smith also posits that the Jays could pursue Ian Desmond, Steve Pearce or Sean Rodriguez to fill their need for versatility. Among more outside-the-box ideas, Nicholson-Smith suggests the Jays could try to acquire J.D. Martinez from the Tigers, or take advantage of the thin pitching market by listening to offers on “anyone this side of Aaron Sanchez,” with Joe Biagini perhaps ready to step into the rotation if another starter is dealt.