For a rundown of some of the top Cuban talents who could soon be on their way to Major League Baseball, MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez lists several Cuban players who are full free agents and some who are subject to the July 2 international signing limits. Some of the free agents have yet to be officially declared as such due to paperwork, including righty Yaisel Sierra, who is considered to be the top Cuban player available on the open market this offseason. Here’s some more from around baseball…
- The Mets are one of many teams to contact Ben Zobrist‘s agent but the Yankees don’t appear to be in the running, according to Ken Davidoff and Dan Martin of the New York Post. The Yankees aren’t willing to pay what is likely to be a pretty significant price tag for Zobrist considering the number of teams interested in his services, and are more apt to upgrade their roster through trades rather than major free agent signings. The Mets, meanwhile, would use Zobrist to replace Daniel Murphy at second, and also give him some time in the outfield.
- Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly says his team’s payroll will drop from its $300MM threshold in 2015 to much closer to the $200MM level, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports. The vast Dodger payrolls of the first few years under the Guggenheim group’s ownership were meant to ensure the team could stay competitive while rebuilding the farm system, and once this young talent starts to emerge, the spending will drop. Boehly thinks “sustainable is more like the league average [payroll], plus some, or plus a lot.” As Shaikin notes, this still leaves the Dodgers with the flexibility to maintain a payroll at or near the luxury tax level every year.
- Bobby Witt, Yovani Gallardo‘s agent, discussed his client’s free agency with Jim Memolo and Brad Lidge of MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (Twitter links). Gallardo is looking for a long-term deal, Witt said, which is why he rejected the Rangers’ one-year qualifying offer. Witt said that a market for his client has yet to really develop and it may take time until the pitchers at the top of the market (i.e. David Price and Zack Greinke) pick their next teams.
- In their end-of-season discussions, the Indians briefly considered using Jason Kipnis in the outfield next season with Jose Ramirez taking over at second, Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. The team abandoned the idea, however, since Kipnis is just too valuable at the keystone. Cleveland is in dire need of outfield help and may need to make a big trade to fill the void, Pluto argues.
- More Indians outfield possibilities are discussed by Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer as part of a reader mailbag, though Hoynes doubts the Tribe is quite ready to trade one of its highly-touted starters for an everyday outfielder. Michael Brantley‘s status will be a big factor, as if it looks like his injury rehab will keep him out longer than expected, Cleveland may have no choice but to trade a pitcher or sign a notable free agent.
- The Phillies should trade Ken Giles while his value is at its highest, Jake Kaplan of the Philadelphia Inquirer opines. Giles isn’t even eligible for arbitration until 2018, so he carries much more cost-effective and long-term value than other notable closers on the trade market like Aroldis Chapman, Jonathan Papelbon or Mark Melancon. A rebuilding team like the Phillies, Kaplan argues, has little need for a top closer.