In today’s column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe spoke with eight major league officials about the players trending up and trending down as free agency approaches. It probably won’t surprise you to learn that the list of players trending in the right direction starts with Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy.
“Obviously, he’s not going to be as hot as he’s been in the postseason, but he plays positions where his power plays well,” an American League GM told Cafardo. “There are teams like the Dodgers and Yankees who need a second baseman. Others, like the Angels, need a third baseman, where he also plays. He’s going to be sought-after and get a five-year deal at around $75MM. Maybe more.”
Murphy, who can also play at first base, would also have appeal for the attractive to the Orioles, Astros, Padres, and Tigers, Cafardo writes.
Here’s more from today’s column..
- The feeling is that a seven-year, $210MM deal for David Price would be fair, Cafardo writes, though some are concerned that Price won’t live up to that kind of deal unless he goes somewhere that he’s comfortable. The incumbent Blue Jays could be that place, but the Dodgers, Cardinals, and Cubs are also listed as possibilities. Price, 30, pitched to a 2.45 ERA with 9.2 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 in 32 regular season starts for the Tigers and Blue Jays this past season.
- The group of eight anonymous scouts, managers, and GMs polled by Cafardo would not want to give Orioles bopper Chris Davis more than a five-year deal. Of course, a team out there very well could. “In the heat of the negotiations and fearing someone else will get him, this will likely get beyond what everybody wants. Scott Boras is the agent, so we may be looking at seven years,” one scout remarked. Recently, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes profiled the two-time home run king and estimated that he’ll be in line for a six-year, $144MM pact.
- Johnny Cueto had a rough second half after being traded to the Royals and one National League GM told Cafardo that a “few teams have scratched him off their list.” Still, that GM estimates that Cueto can net a Jon Lester-type $155MM deal. Recently, we learned that the Red Sox are mulling a serious push for Cueto. The Marlins also like Cueto, but financial constraints will probably hold them back in that pursuit.
- One GM told Cafardo that he wouldn’t give Royals outfielder Alex Gordon anything more than a three-year deal at $36MM-$38MM. In addition to KC, Cafardo recently listed the Indians, Orioles, Mets, Tigers, and possibly the Red Sox as potential fits.
- Nationals hurler Jordan Zimmermann didn’t have a great season, but he was listed by Cafardo as a player whose arrow is pointing upwards. One NL scout praised Zimmermann’s work ethic and toughness. At the end of the regular season, Zimmermann sounded like a player who knows that he’ll be changing teams.
- One AL GM envisions Blue Jays pitcher Marco Estrada attracting attention from “six or seven teams” who could offer up a “four- or five-year deal in the $12MM-$15MM [per year] range.” Last month, MLBTR’s Mark Polishuk checked in on Estrada’s free agent stock. The right-hander posted a 3.13 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 across 28 starts and six relief appearances in 2015.
- Cafardo’s panel indicated that Scott Kazmir could get a three-year deal this offseason, but at a reduced rate because of his struggles with the Astros down the stretch. The group of eight officials sees Kazmir getting $10-$12MM AAV over a three year period. The Tigers are among the clubs with interest in the veteran left-hander, though Kazmir has also expressed a desire to return to Houston.
- At least two teams have their top advisers and scouts looking at Rich Hill’s last four starts with the Red Sox to see if his emergence in 2015 is for real. One AL scout who has done his homework on the left-hander praised the hurler for his confidence.
- Cafardo identified the Braves, Dodgers, Rays, Astros, and Mariners as teams that could have interest in Orioles catcher Matt Wieters. Of course, his market will be impacted by whether or not he receives a qualifying offer. The Rangers will be among the teams with interest, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, but only if he does come with a QO attached. In a recent MLBTR poll, 60% of readers said that the O’s should give Wieters a QO.