- Nats GM Mike Rizzo says the team hasn’t yet determined what Revere’s role will be, James Wagner of the Washington Post tweets. It sounds like Revere could be the Nats’ starting center fielder, or he could move around between the three outfield spots. Center fielder Michael Taylor and left fielder Jayson Werth both had underwhelming seasons in 2015; perhaps Revere’s role could depend in part on how former top prospect Taylor develops, and upon whether everyone in the Nats’ outfield can stay healthy.
- Rizzo says he’s not set on trading closer Jonathan Papelbon unless he can find a suitable trade, tweets Wagner. “We see Papelbon as one of our late-inning relievers,” says Rizzo. (Rizzo previously said something similar about Storen, so it seems unwise to dismiss the possibility of a deal, although Storen’s departure does reduce the Nationals’ bullpen depth.)
- Rizzo adds (again via Wagner on Twitter) that he feels the Nationals’ roster is fairly complete. “I don’t see any major needs we haven’t addressed,” he says. The Nats’ big additions this winter have included Revere, Daniel Murphy, Shawn Kelley, Oliver Perez, Yusmeiro Petit and Stephen Drew.
- In an article written before the Storen trade, Wagner wonders whether the Nationals ought to pursue another starting pitcher. The idea is that the Nats can use more depth, and this year’s strong class of free agent pitching might help them compensate for the possible loss of Stephen Strasburg to free agency next winter, much in the same way that Max Scherzer’s addition last year helped them compensate for the impending loss of Jordan Zimmermann. There have also been recent rumors about the possibility that the Nats could trade Gio Gonzalez. Adding another starter via the free agent market (perhaps Wei-Yin Chen, who is represented by Scott Boras, with whom the Nationals frequently do business) would make even more sense in such a scenario.
The Nationals and Blue Jays have officially struck a deal that will send outfielder Ben Revere to the Washington and reliever Drew Storen to Toronto, as Jon Heyman first reported on Twitter. A player to be named later will also head to D.C., and the Nats will kick in cash sufficient to offset the differences in the players’ anticipated 2016 salaries, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets.
MLBTR projects Revere to earn $6.7MM this year in arbitration. He’s also eligible for one more season of arb control thereafter. Storen, meanwhile, projects at a $8.8MM salary in his final year of eligibility.
While it isn’t quite a blockbuster, this move certainly rates as a significant trade for both clubs. As I noted in breaking down the Nats’ offseason back in November, a deal along these lines between these two clubs has long made conceptual sense — though it’s also understandable that both wanted to explore other possibilities before pulling the trigger. Much like the deal that sent Jon Niese to the Pirates for Neil Walker earlier this winter, this trade involves two similarly-priced assets being exchanged as each organization seeks to address their respective needs.
For the Nats, adding a left-handed-hitting outfielder who is capable of playing center field has long been a priority. While there have been suggestions at times that the club might have looked for a more significant piece to build out its outfield, it ultimately settled on a solid option in Revere who can share time in center with Michael Taylor and spell Jayson Werth in left, potentially creating a three-man rotation for two slots that should function well alongside Bryce Harper. In some ways, he’s a faster, younger, lighter-hitting version of the just-departed Denard Span, though it’s certainly arguable that the former Nat had a better glove.
The team’s relationship with Storen had long seemed destined to end. After replacing him once in the closer’s role with Rafael Soriano, the Nats ruffled some feathers by adding Jonathan Papelbon down the stretch last year. Needless to say, that move blew up in spectacular fashion, and seemingly created some tension between the organization and its former first-round draft pick.
On the Jays’ side of the equation, Revere was something of a luxury. Acquired at the trade deadline last summer, his essential role can be filled by Michael Saunders, who missed all of last year but is expected to return to full strength in 2016. And Dalton Pompey also joins Kevin Pillar in the outfield mix (along with superstar Jose Bautista, of course).
By bringing in Storen, the Jays have added a big arm to the back of the pen without taking on a lengthy commitment. There’s no denying that the 28-year-old has struggled at times, but he’s also been dominant for lengthy stretches. Whether he’s serving in a set-up capacity in front of Roberto Osuna or even taking the 9th himself, there’s good reason to believe that Storen can be a valuable late-inning arm.
Of course, both players in this trade come with their share of demerits. Revere, 27, doesn’t hit for power or draw walks. Though he’s always made a ton of good contact and doesn’t strike out much, any dip in contact ability or speed could spell trouble. And he’s a mystery on the defensive side of the equation. After garnering strong defensive metrics at times with the Twins, Revere has looked lost at times on his routes and generally received quite poor ratings in recent seasons.
So long as he can get on base enough, though, Revere seems a good bet at least to function as a solid fourth outfielder. He’s still plenty young, and delivers serious value with his legs. He has 80 steals on the ledger over the last two years and is second only to speed demon Billy Hamilton in Fangraphs’ total baserunning value measure (BsR) over those seasons. Notably, Revere has also generally posted neutral platoon splits, though he was quite a bit more effective last year against right-handed pitching.
And Storen has been somewhat fickle on the mound, with his general excellence sometimes punctured with ill-timed lapses. It’s all but impossible to know whether that’s a genuine cause for concern or just a sample blip, but there is a perception that he’s faltered in the brightest lights. Of course, he’s also locked up 95 saves, so it isn’t as if he’s a stranger to succeeding in high-leverage spots.
All told, Storen owns a 3.02 ERA in his 334 big league frames. He’s struck out an average of 8.6 and walked 2.6 batters per nine for his career, but his K rate jumped significantly last season. Storen’s average fastaball velocity trended up, topping 94 mph for the first time since 2012, and he got big results with his slider. He ended the season with a 12.2% swinging-strike rate that was the second best of his career. On the other hand, Storen also put up wider-than-usual platoon splits.
There are broader impacts here, too. For one thing, it now seems rather unlikely that the Nats will re-enter the outfield market. The move seemingly takes them out of the running for Gerardo Parra and would make a play for Justin Upton or Yoenis Cespedes seem even more remote. On the other hand, Washington could still stand to add to the bullpen and has been rumored to be considering moves in the starting staff as well. The Jays seem less likely to tinker at this point, though making a bullpen upgrade without taking on more salary could in theory open some creative options.
Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
In his latest notes column for FOX Sports, Ken Rosenthal reports that the Diamondbacks strongly considered a swap that would’ve sent center fielder Ender Inciarte to the Nationals in exchange for lefty Gio Gonzalez. While such a scenario is no longer a possibility — Inciarte went to the Braves along with two other highly regarded pieces in exchange for Shelby Miller, and Gonzalez makes little sense for a rebuilding Atlanta club — Rosenthal notes that the Nats could still explore similar possibilities. Moving Gonzalez for a center field option and then signing Wei-Yin Chen, to whom the Nats have previously been linked, could give the team the left-handed-hitting center field option it desires without significantly weakening the rotation. It’s also worth noting that Washington has been linked to the Rockies in the past, who have a left-handed hitting center field option in the form of Charlie Blackmon, though GM Mike Rizzo figures to explore many avenues if that route is indeed on the table.
A few more notes from Rosenthal’s latest column…
- Rizzo has repeatedly stated that he’s not interested in trading Jonathan Papelbon or Drew Storen unless he receives a nice return, but sources tell Rosenthal that the Nationals are indeed trying to move both of the right-handers. The Nats would likely need additional bullpen help were they to move either pitcher, though as Rosenthal points out, right-hander Tyler Clippard is still available in free agency, and a reunion between the two sides could make some sense. The Dodgers “figure to be” one club that will check in with the Nationals regarding Storen, Rosenthal writes.
- The specific irregularities in Kenta Maeda’s elbow remain unknown, but the Dodgers’ $25MM guarantee with $10MM worth of annual incentives is a reflection of the team’s acknowledgment that he may require surgery over the deal. According to Rosenthal, the bonuses at the back end of the deal are “largely unattainable,” so even though the contract can max out at $105MM over eight years, it’s unlikely that Maeda will receive such a sum. The elbow issue was known to every team that requested Maeda’s medical information, as it turned up in an MRI taken at the urge of his representatives with the Wasserman Media Group. Per Rosenthal, Maeda is presently asymptomatic and pain-free when he pitches.
- The Orioles have been debating moving on from Chris Davis for about a month, but the team remains engaged with the slugging first baseman due to owner Peter Angelos’ affinity for Davis. If Baltimore does ultimately move on to alternatives, Yoenis Cespedes is a more likely target for the team than Justin Upton, as Cespedes wouldn’t require the O’s to part with a draft pick.
In an excellent piece for Sports on Earth, MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince profiles the Indians’ “dream team” front office from the mid-1990s, which featured eight men that have now occupied (or currently occupy) the title of GM or president of baseball operations. John Hart was the Cleveland GM at the time, but the front office also included assistant GM Dan O’Dowd (who went on to become GM of the Rockies); director of player development Mark Shapiro (former GM and president of the Indians and now president of the Blue Jays); scouting director Josh Byrnes (former GM of the Padres and D-backs); advance scouts Ben Cherington and Paul DePodesta (former GMs of the Red Sox and Dodgers, respectively); assistant director of minor league operations Neal Huntington (current GM of the Pirates); and baseball operations assistant Chris Antonetti, who is of course the current president of baseball ops in Cleveland. Hart and O’Dowd spoke fondly of the group’s explorations of baseball philosophy, and Castrovince explains how O’Dowd and Shapiro wrote a 15-page whitepaper that was pitched to Hart detailing their models of extensions for arbitration-eligible players. While such extensions are commonplace now, the Indians pioneered such extensions in early to mid-90s, allowing them to retain their top talent and emerge as perennial contenders in the American League. Castrovince examines other statistical and technological trends of which the Indians were early adopters and looks at how each now-well-regarded executive got his foot in the door with the Indians.
Here’s more from the AL Central…
- The addition of Mike Napoli to the Indians’ roster almost certainly means that Carlos Santana has gone from catcher to first baseman to DH (with a brief, ill-fated stop at third base along the way), writes Cleveland.com’s Zack Meisel. While there’s the possibility that focusing solely on offense could help Santana build his offense back up to its 2011-14 levels, Meisel also notes that the $12MM club option the team holds over Santana for the 2017 season is a steep amount for a club with an eight-figure payroll to pay a designated hitter. Meisel’s implication, of course, is that Santana’s future with the club is somewhat murky. Considering the raises Cleveland will owe Michael Brantley, Yan Gomes, Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Jason Kipnis on their guaranteed contracts and also the raises that will be owed to Cody Allen, Lonnie Chisenhall, Bryan Shaw, Trevor Bauer and Zach McAllister in arbitration, a crunch does appear to be coming.
- Brewers left-hander Will Smith has some fans in the Twins’ front office, says 1500 ESPN’s Darren Wolfson in the first edition of his new podcast (Soundcloud link; Twins talk beginning around 19:30). Nationals right-hander Drew Storen also has some fans among Twins brass, though his projected $8.8MM salary (via MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz) could serve to curb the team’s interest. Wolfson also notes that the Twins remain interested in free agent southpaw Antonio Bastardo but still aren’t keen on his three-year, $15-18MM asking price. A Twins official told Wolfson recently that even if the Twins don’t make further moves this winter, they’re happy with what they have, though Wolfson notes that he does expect at least one more move out of the Twins.
- Twins manager Paul Molitor tells MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger that he’s hopeful that Korean slugger Byung-ho Park will be ready to be his Opening Day designated hitter next season, though Molitor also recognizes that there will be some adjustment as Park transitions to a new league. Molitor notes that Park’s former KBO teammate, Jung Ho Kang, “looked beatable” when he saw him in Spring Training last season but had made enormous adjustments by the time the Twins played the Pirates in the summer. Molitor and the Twins feel that Park can make a similarly quick adjustment. “I think that our scouts understand bat speed, eye-to-hand coordination, pitch recognition abilities, even if velocities and breaking pitches are not Major League quality,” said Molitor in reference to Park’s impressive work in the KBO.
- Alex Gordon’s desire to come back to the Royals “was a 10,” he told reporters at a press conference yesterday (as MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan writes). Gordon spoke about how appreciative he is of both ownership and the front office for bringing him back to the Royals, although GM Dayton Moore explained that Gordon was always the team’s top priority. “When we went around the table and talked to our scouts, they said, ’Get Alex Gordon,'” said Moore to the media. “”I talked to our analytical guys and they said, ’Get Alex Gordon.’ I talked to our coaching staff and it was, ’Get Alex Gordon.’ Talked to his teammates along the way and it was ’Get Gordo back.’ My momma didn’t raise no dummy. We had to get him back.” According to Moore, things began coming together on New Year’s Eve, and the final details were hammered out over the next few days prior to yesterday’s announcement.
The Braves’ impressive haul for right-hander Shelby Miller is one one of the biggest storylines of the past week, but there are already rumblings about one of the key pieces of the deal; Ender Inciarte has drawn a lot of interest since the trade, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link), who adds that the Cubs are one team that has inquired. Rosenthal reports that they haven’t engaged in any type of serious trade discussions, although ESPN’s Jayson Stark tweets that he got the sense that the Braves are at least open to the idea of flipping Inciarte to another team in a further trade. One executive told Stark that as many as 12 teams have inquired on Inciarte, though he does add that rival teams don’t consider a trade to be particularly likely.
Here’s the latest from the NL East…
- The Twins have reached out to the Nationals to inquire on right-hander Drew Storen, reports James Wagner of the Washington Post (Twitter link). There’s nothing on the horizon at this point, however, he adds. Still, Minnesota has been prominently linked to Storen in previous seasons, so it’ll be interesting to see if they take that interest to another level this winter, when Storen is said to be available in trades.
- Sticking with the Nats, Pete Kerzel of MASNsports.com tweets that Washington has talked with the Rockies about outfielder Charlie Blackmon, but the asking price on the 29-year-old center fielder is said to be quite high. Corey Dickerson could be in play, too, Kerzel notes, though he doesn’t specify that the Nationals have spoken to Colorado about him, specifically.
- The Mets still have interest in both Denard Span and Gerardo Parra, reports Newsday’s Marc Carig, and the club hasn’t completely ruled out a multi-year deal for either player if it proves necessary (Twitter link). A multi-year deal would seem to be imperative in talks with either player, as Parra reportedly has three-year offers in hand already, while agent Scott Boras dismissed the notion of a one-year deal for Span yesterday when asked by MLBTR’s Zach Links.
- The Mets have had preliminary talks with right-hander Bartolo Colon’s camp about a reunion, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. While Colon probably wouldn’t hold down a rotation spot all season in Queens barring an injury to one of the Mets’ excellent young starters, he could be a valuable stopgap early in the year as Zack Wheeler progresses in his Tommy John rehab.
- Braves president John Hart and GM John Coppolella explained the team’s rebuilding process to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman while at the Winter Meetings in Nashville. Coppolella likened the rebuild to constructing a skyscraper, stressing the importance of building from the ground up in an an effort to deliver a sustainable run of success to Braves fans. He added that building a deep core of talent will help to prevent second-half collapses like the Braves have endured in recent seasons. Hart called many of the trades made by Atlanta “painful” but explained that each has been made with the same goal in mind: constructing a perennial World Series contender.
Orioles executive VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette said today that his club is hoping to tie up an agreement with top free agent reliever Darren O’Day in short order, as Rich Dubroff of CSNmidatlantic.com tweets. “We’re continuing to work on that Darren O’Day project,” said Duquette. “We’re going to try to bring that to a head here in the next couple of days.”
Here’s more on an active market for relievers:
- About a dozen teams have “checked in” on free agent righty Steve Cishek, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN tweets. Non-tendered southpaw Cesar Ramos is also drawing wide interest he notes. But the Twins haven’t looked into either of those options. The club is set to meet with the representatives of Fernando Rodney and has some interest in lefty Tony Sipp as well.
- 39-year-old lefty Matt Thornton has drawn interest from six clubs, including the Twins, according to Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Twitter links). Thornton still brings a big fastball, and agent Adam Hubble says his client still hopes to pitch for another three or four seasons despite his advanced age.
- As has previously been reported, and Twins GM Terry Ryan confirmed today, Minnesota has interest in a reunion with lefty Neal Cotts, Berardino tweets. “We still have interest,” said Ryan.
- The Astros “have remained interested” in Yankees closer Andrew Miller, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports on Twitter. It remains far from clear, of course, whether any team will be willing to offer enough to get New York to part with the outstanding lefty, though Houston certainly has the young starting pitching coveted by the Yanks.
- As has seemed apparent all along, the Astros are continuing to cast a wide net after apparently missing on Aroldis Chapman. Per Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter), Houston is “looking” not only at Miller but also Mark Melancon of the Pirates. And Drew Storen of the Nationals might feature as a “fallback option,” he adds.
- While the prognosis seems promising, it’s worth noting also that Astros set-up man Pat Neshek just underwent foot surgery, as Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports. Neshek was forced to pitch through the injury last year
- While internal options like Scott Oberg and Jairo Diaz will be considered, the Rockies also intend to check the market for a closer, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reports on Twitter. Colorado recently non-tendered John Axford, who held down the 9th after Adam Ottavino was lost to Tommy John surgery.
- The Athletics took a shot at signing righty Mark Lowe before he landed in Detroit, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. Oakland has already done quite a bit of work in the bullpen, but it seems that the club could still be eyeing further additions.
- The Tigers are now moving down the line to address the team’s need for a left-handed reliever, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports. After already making several pitching additions, Detroit could consider free agents such as Antonio Bastardo, Tony Sipp, and Craig Breslow, says Fenech, though it remains unclear whether the club has specific interest in any of those particular players.
- While the Mets were involved in talks for Chapman over the summer, assistant GM John Ricco said today that the team hasn’t pursued him over the winter, as Tim Rohan of the New York Times reports on Twitter.
- Former Royals minor league lefty Buddy Baumann appears to be quite a hot commodity among minor league free agents, per Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter). Despite never having thrown an MLB inning, Baumann has already drawn five big league offers this winter. The 27-year-old worked to a 3.04 ERA in 77 frames at Triple-A last year, spending most of his time in the pen, with 9.8 K/9 against 2.9 BB/9.
The Nationals are expected to shop reliever Drew Storen at the upcoming Winter Meetings, reports Bill Ladson of MLB.com. Storen was in the midst of a career renaissance as the Nationals’ closer last season before the club acquired Jonathan Papelbon from the Phillies. Storen pitched poorly and eventually broke his hand in an off-field incident after being displaced as the team’s closer.
Storen, 28, is club controlled through next season. MLBTR’s Matt Swartz projects him to earn $8.8MM in arbitration. In 55 innings, Storen finished last season with a 3.44 ERA, 10.96 K/9, and 2.62 BB/9. He was even better prior to the acquisition of Papelbon. He posted a 1.64 ERA, 11.27 K/9, and 2.11 BB/9 through his first 38 frames.
The presence of Papelbon on the roster makes Storen expendable for the Nationals. We’ve heard earlier this offseason that Papelbon would be hard to shop due to perceived personality issues. Papelbon also physically assaulted franchise star Bryce Harper. Some analysts thought the club might cut Papelbon after the incident, but it appears all parties have made amends.
Interestingly, the Nationals are pursuing free agent reliever Darren O’Day. The 33-year-old is expected to run about four-years and $36MM to sign. While they’re remarkably different pitchers, O’Day and Storen project similarly in 2016. Storen is also younger and doesn’t require a commitment beyond 2016.
It’s possible the team views Storen as a change of scenery candidate. This was the third time he lost the Nationals closer job. The first was due to an elbow injury and the second time occurred when the team signed Rafael Soriano. The club may also simply view O’Day’s funky delivery as a valuable change of pace from Papelbon. They may see an O’Day signing; Storen trade sequence as a way to improve elsewhere without hurting the bullpen.
Here’s the latest on a number of free agent or trade candidate relievers…
- The Astros have discussed former Nationals closer Drew Storen as a potential backup plan, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweets. Storen could become of more interest to Houston if it fails to land one of its bigger-name targets like Aroldis Chapman, Jake McGee or Ken Giles.
- The Astros’ search for bullpen help is the major focus of this Houston Winter Meetings preview piece from MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. Within the piece, McTaggart notes that there’s mutual interest between the Astros and free agent Tony Sipp for the lefty to return to Houston though the price tag remains an issue. It could be that the Astros will focus on landing a big name closer first and then address other relief needs like adding a sorely-needed lefty to the bullpen.
- The Cubs, Padres and Twins have shown the most interest in Fernando Rodney, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. Rodney would ideally prefer to return to closing, a source tells Berardino, so the Padres could have the edge in this respect since the back of their bullpen is wide open with Craig Kimbrel and Joaquin Benoit gone. Rodney followed up three years of excellent closer numbers from 2012-14 with a disastrous stint in early 2015 that cost him his stopper job with the Mariners, though he regained some old form after catching on as a setup man with the Cubs late in the season.
- There haven’t been any developments between the Twins and Joakim Soria since the team made its initial contact, Berardino tweets. The Royals, Blue Jays, Giants, Rangers, Tigers and Red Sox have all been among the other teams linked to Soria this winter, though the latter two are said to be out of the running after their respective acquisitions of Francisco Rodriguez and Craig Kimbrel. Soria is looking for a big salary in the form of a three-year deal in the $27MM range, which may eliminate at least a couple of those teams who were only looking at Soria as a setup reliever.
- Also from Berardino (via Twitter), Rafael Soriano is pitching well in the Dominican League and has drawn attention from a few MLB teams. The Twins aren’t one of those clubs.
Orioles GM Dan Duquette has said on many occasions that he’s trying to re-sign Chris Davis, and ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets that owner Peter Angelos has also become directly involved in talks to re-sign the slugger. Contracts of the magnitude such as the one Davis is expected to sign are typically ownership-level decisions, and as Olney notes, the O’s wouldn’t stand a serious chance in negotiations were Angelos not involved in talks. Baltimore still figures to face plenty of competition in their endeavors, with one Friday report linking the Cardinals to Davis.
A few more notes from the game’s Eastern divisions…
- Interest between the Nationals and right-hander Darren O’Day is mutual, reports CSNWashington.com’s Mark Zuckerman. A source points out to Zuckerman that the Nats are in a favorable spot due to the fact that his wife is a TV reporter for FOX News in Washington, as CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman pointed out over the weekend. That would seem to make either D.C. or Baltimore an attractive place to land for O’Day, but Zuckerman writes that there’s no evidence that the Orioles have made a serious effort to re-sign the right-hander. Zuckerman adds that O’Day would be an out-of-character signing for GM Mike Rizzo, who has shown a willingness to pay top dollar for relief arms (Rafael Soriano, Jonathan Papelbon) but only over shorter terms than the three or four years which O’Day will command. Adding O’Day into the fold would seem to increase the likelihood that Papelbon or Drew Storen will be traded this winter, he continues, though a trade of either wouldn’t be a certainty.
- Papelbon recently altered the teams on his no-trade list, reports James Wagner of the Washington Post. Though he doesn’t have specifics on the updated list, Wagner points out that the no-trade clause makes it more difficult to move Papelbon than Storen, who also has just one year of team control remaining at a cheaper rate than that of Papelbon. GM Mike Rizzo has said he doesn’t feel the need to trade either reliever unless he gets a sound return, but as Wagner notes, that could just be an attempt at preserving some trade value.
- Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun cites two sources in reporting that the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes have reached out to former Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos about working in a senior position or a consulting position within the team’s front office. The Coyotes reached out to Anthopoulos immediately upon his decision to leave the Blue Jays, writes Simmons, and they’re one of many teams/media outlets to inquire with Anthopoulos about his future. Per Simmons, Anthopoulos isn’t expected to make any kind of decision on his future until late December or early January. Simmons adds that the call from the Coyotes caught Anthopoulos “by complete surprise,” as he’s never worked in hockey at any level, though he does know Coyotes assistant GM John Chayka personally.
- MLB.com’s Matthew Leach and Todd Zolecki tackle a number of Phillies-related hot stove topics in a podcast. Zolecki feels it’s highly unlikely that the Phillies will sign a notable free agent, though he states that he “absolutely” believes the team will add a stable rotation arm that can make 30 or so starts on a short-term deal with the idea that said addition could save the young arms in the bullpen or rotation. Jeremy Hellickson is already viewed somewhat in that role, Zolecki notes, though the team believes he has a bit more upside given that he’s younger than recent arms (e.g. Aaron Harang, Jerome Williams) they’ve brought in to serve in that role.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has tons of great info and insight in his latest column. The whole article is worth a read, but here’s a look at a few of the highlights:
- Before acquiring Francisco Rodriguez via trade, the Tigers made an offer to free agent Joakim Soria, major league sources tell Rosenthal. They also inquired on a few Nationals relievers, including Jonathan Papelbon and Drew Storen. George A. King III of the New York Post first reported that there were discussions earlier this month between Soria and Detroit. Soria is seeking a three-year, $27MM deal, so that was likely too rich for the Tigers’ blood.
- Papelbon and Storen have been mentioned in rumors for some time now and sources tell Rosenthal that both are likely to be moved. Meanwhile, talk persists that the Nationals have been one of the clubs trying to pry closer Aroldis Chapman away from the Reds. All in all, it seems like Washington is looking for a major overhaul in their bullpen. Still, the Nats feel that a left-hander hitter is their biggest need and they could also be on the hunt for a starting pitcher.
- The Rangers inquired on Yoenis Cespedes multiple times when he was crushing homers for the A’s, sources tell Rosenthal, but it still seems unlikely that they’ll send the money necessary to sign him this winter. Last week, Steve Adams looked at the Rangers’ various options as a part of MLBTR’s Offseason Outlook series.