The Yankees “could make a serious run” at left-hander Wei-Yin Chen, reports Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News. A source tells Feinsand that the Yankees will be one of the many teams involved in talks for the Scott Boras client, and in an ideal world, the Yanks would love to add a left-handed starter. David Price, of course, is the top lefty name on the market, but Chen will have a much more reasonable asking price, Feinsand hears, as he’s seeking a five-year deal. GM Brian Cashman said at the GM Meetings that while talent trumps handedness, in an ideal setting he’d be able to balance out his rotation a bit while also providing an upgrade. The Yankees are more than familiar with Chen, having watched him pitch for the division-rival Orioles for the past four seasons.
A few more notes from the AL East…
Orioles righty Dylan Bundy has been shut down from Arizona Fall League action after experiencing forearm tightness, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports. It’s certainly possible that the move is primarily precautionary, as Baltimore will no doubt handle Bundy with extreme care, but it’s obviously not encouraging given his lengthy struggle with arm injuries.
- The Orioles have reached out to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia‘s camp, a source tells Rich Dubroff of CSNMidAtlantic.com. Baltimore has interest in Saltalamacchia in the event that Matt Wieters rejects their qualifying offer, as he’s widely expected to do. According to Dubroff, if and when Wieters declines, the O’s will have interest in adding a veteran backstop. Dubroff doesn’t explicitly state it, but based on his reporting, it seems that the Orioles view the QO as the only means by which they’ll be able to retain their longtime catcher.
- While the Red Sox have a clear need in the rotation, they also lacked hard-throwing relievers in 2015 and, with a closer on the wrong side of 40, would be wise to explore the trade market for dominant bullpen arms, opines Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. Lauber lists Drew Storen, Aroldis Chapman and Mark Melancon as potential targets, noting that the GM of each respective club at least hinted at the possibility of each pitcher’s availability this week. Chapman is well-known to be available, and that’s the wide belief on Storen, also. Lauber notes that both the Reds and Nats have needs in the outfield and in other areas of depth for the Red Sox, making alignment on a trade possible in theory.
- Lauber’s colleague, Michael Silverman, writes in a separate column that trading for an ace might not happen for the Red Sox this winter. Silverman quotes execs from the Mets, Athletics and White Sox on the availability (or lack thereof) of the Mets’ young rotation, Sonny Gray and Chris Sale. The strong reluctance from teams with controllable pitching suggests that Sox fans shouldn’t get their hearts set on prying a front-line arm away from a club that possesses a young ace (or, in the Mets’ case, young aces) — as such pitchers are of the rarest breed.
- Rays president of baseball operations Matt Silverman (not to be confused with the similarly named Boston columnist referenced in the previous bullet) spoke with Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times about his penchant for trades since moving to the top of the team’s baseball operations pyramid. As Topkin notes, Silverman has made 13 trades in 13 months, though the young exec says he didn’t necessarily plan to be so active. Silverman explained, though, that the team’s financial inability to compete for top-tier free agents and top international players (at least the ones who could make an immediate impact) forces him into the trade market. Topkin reports that the Rays aren’t even soliciting interest in Evan Longoria, nor are they planning to do so, but they’d like to move James Loney and the remaining $8MM on his contract to increase payroll flexibility and open at-bats for other players.
- Topkin also reports (via Twitter) that the Rays are one of many clubs showing interest in free agent lefty Rich Hill. The journeyman southpaw dominated in four starts for the Red Sox late last season, creating a good deal of intrigue around him. Unlike most free agents, Hill’s lack of track record and status as an upside play shouldn’t price him out of the Rays’ range.
- The Blue Jays would like to add at least two starting pitchers and ideally three, interim GM Tony LaCava told Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet (Twitter link). In a full column, Nicholson-Smith writes that while adding that type of pitching is the goal there’s no plan to move pieces such as Jose Bautista or Edwin Encarnacion to make it happen. The Jays aren’t interested in detracting from a strength to enhance a weakness.
- Additionally of note from Nicholson-Smith’s column is that the Blue Jays remain uncertain as to the role of Roberto Osuna in 2016. While Osuna was a brilliant closer for the team in 2015 despite his status as the league’s youngest player (20), he was being developed as a starter and could have more long-term value in that role. The team’s ability to add rotation arms this winter will likely impact what role Osuna and Aaron Sanchez occupy in 2016.