The Rays are a “long shot” to land Ian Desmond, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports on Twitter, with the required draft pick compensation (from the qualifying offer he declined) posing a significant barrier. Tampa Bay is in “bargain shopping” mode, he adds. We’ve seen previous suggestions that Desmond could line up with the Rays, though he doesn’t make for the most obvious roster match and it’s always seemed that he’d need to take a deal far below pre-winter expectations for that to occur.
Here are some more rumblings from the open market:
- There are plenty of other teams hunting for value at this stage of the market, of course, with the Marlins eyeing pitching, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post (via Twitter). We’ve heard that before, of course, and the club seems to be a prime destination for players seeking opportunity as the market settles.
- One possibility that has often been tied to Miami is righty Tim Lincecum, who is preparing for a showcase some time this month. Sherman tweets that his agent, Rick Thurman, will check in on the veteran’s progress tomorrow as his camp decides upon a date to call in the scouts.
- Yovani Gallardo remains the best available free agent arm, and Chris Cotillo of SB Nation tweets that he’s still drawing interest from the Orioles and two other teams. Cotillo had suggested (via Twitter) that the bidding would come down to the O’s, Astros, and Rockies, but Houston is out of the hunt after signing Doug Fister and he now says that Colorado appears to be on the sidelines.
- August Fagerstrom of Fangraphs argues that the White Sox may be the better fit for Gallardo, given their lack of quality and depth at the back of the rotation. It helps, of course, that the team’s first overall selection is protected. It’s worth noting that Chicago also makes a good deal of sense for the other remaining qualified free agents — Desmond and Dexter Fowler — and could in theory lower the average draft pick compensation cost by signing more than one such player. On the other hand, Chicago’s current spending commitments are already right at last year’s Opening Day mark once you account for league-minimum salaries to round out the roster. Things look slightly better in 2017, though, with John Danks and Adam LaRoche coming off of the books, so creative contract structuring could create some daylight.
- Two new names to watch in the coming months are prominent Cuban brothers Yulieski Gurriel and Lourdes Gurriel, both of whom reportedly left the national team in the Dominican Republic with intentions of heading towards major league free agency. But it might be unrealistic to expect to see either appear in the 2016 campaign, Ben Badler of Baseball America explains. His colleague, John Manuel, breaks down both players, noting that the elder Yulieski is a better player than Hector Olivera and could “set off a significant bidding war.” And for more reading on the interesting pair, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch explains their unique place in Cuban baseball.