In his latest notes column, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides some new twists in the ongoing saga between Mark Trumbo and the Orioles. Trumbo reportedly rejected a four-year proposal worth more than $50MM earlier this offseason, and Rosenthal hears that he recently asked Baltimore for a three-year deal worth about $50MM. Since that request, Trumbo’s camp has indicated a willingness to take an offer between $40-50MM over three years, he continues. As Rosenthal notes, Trumbo does have interest elsewhere. But, the Rockies would have to move an outfielder and shift Ian Desmond off of first base to facilitate a signing, while the Rangers are currently engaged with Mike Napoli and have suggested on multiple occasions this winter that major free-agent signings aren’t in the cards due to financial reasons.
As always, I’d encourage readers to check out Rosenthal’s column in full. Here are a few more highlights…
- The Orioles are interested in re-signing Pedro Alvarez to slot in as their DH and replace some of the lost production if Trumbo signs elsewhere. It’s been a quiet market for Alvarez (and most first base/DH types) thus far, but the soon-to-be 30-year-old slugger enjoyed a strong season against right-handed pitching with the O’s in 2016. Last year, “El Toro” batted .249/.322/.504 with 22 homers on the season as a whole. That line includes a dismal .243/.293/.378 showing in a small sample of 41 plate appearances against left-handers. In 334 PAs against righties, Alvarez slashed .251/.326/.522 with 21 of his 22 big flies. From my vantage point, the O’s could use another left-handed stick in their lineup, as right now only Seth Smith, Hyun Soo Kim and Chris Davis project as regulars in the lineup, and Ryan Flaherty is the only lefty on the bench. Adding a switch-hitter like Angel Pagan to handle one outfield slot and moving Smith to a DH platoon with either Christian Walker or Trey Mancini makes a fair amount of sense as well, in my eyes. The O’s are also eyeing left-handed relievers and rotation depth, per Rosenthal.
- The Mariners tried to acquire Mallex Smith from the Braves on multiple occasions this offseason and had talks with Atlanta about him as recently as last Friday. However, Seattle GM Jerry Dipoto swung a deal for Jarrod Dyson, instead. Dipoto and the Mariners still saw value in Smith and knew the Rays had interest in him as a potential component in a Drew Smyly trade, so Dipoto circled back with Atlanta counterpart John Coppolella over the weekend to get talks rolling once again. (As an aside, Rosenthal counts a staggering 35 trades for Dipoto since taking over as Seattle’s GM in Sept. 2015. Thanks for always keeping us busy, Jerry.)
- Despite the fact that the Rays now have a fair amount of center-field depth in Smith, Kevin Kiermaier and newly signed Colby Rasmus, a Tampa Bay source tells Rosenthal it’s “very unlikely” that they’ll move Kevin Kiermaier in a trade. Kiermaier won’t turn 27 until April, is controlled through the 2020 campaign and is arguably the game’s top defensive player, making him a highly valuable asset. Defensive metrics are obviously an inexact science, but Defensive Runs Saved pegs Kiermaier at a ludicrous +68 runs in his 2346 Major League innings in center field (and another +13 in his limited corner work). Ultimate Zone Rating has him at +44 in center and +16 in the corners. On top of that, he’s projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz to make an eminently affordable $2.1MM in his first trip through arbitration as a Super Two player this winter. He’s also a plus baserunner, and his bat has been slightly above the league average in his career, as he’s a .258/.313/.425 hitter (105 OPS+ and wRC+).
- Despite possessing options at first base and DH, the Twins are keeping tabs on right-handed hitters in that market in the event that a bargain arises. Minnesota has the well-compensated but declining Joe Mauer at first base as well as former KBO superstar Byung Ho Park and switch-hitter Kennys Vargas as options at first and DH. Mauer’s full no-trade clause and $23MM salary means he won’t be going anywhere, and Park’s contract is affordable enough that it makes sense to see if he can rebound after a strong start to the 2016 season was derailed by a wrist injury that ultimately required season-ending surgery. Vargas, meanwhile, has shown flashes of potential (particularly as a right-handed hitter) but has yet to cement himself in the Majors. Rosenthal’s report meshes with recent rumors that have connected the Twins to Jose Bautista, though it seems that Minnesota is only open to jumping into that market at a certain price point. It strikes me as unlikely that any of Bautista, Trumbo or Mike Napoli would see his market reach that point.
- In a separate column, Rosenthal writes that while he received some negative feedback from scouts on the Mariners’ decision to move left-handed pitching prospect Luiz Gohara in yesterday’s trades with the Braves (and then the Rays), Seattle may have been more willing to part with the 20-year-old due to medical concerns. The would-be Zack Cozart trade from this past trade deadline fell apart due to the Reds’ concerns over Gohara’s shoulder, Rosenthal hears. Certainly, Atlanta is comfortable enough with Gohara’s shoulder, and GM John Coppolella suggested to Rosenthal that he’s not afraid to move on from a trade due to medical reasons. “We have had to walk away from two trades this offseason because of failed medicals,” said Coppolella. “We feel good about the health of [Gohara and left-hander Thomas Burrows].”