Rusney Castillo Rumors
Freddie Freeman's eight-year, $135MM extension with the Braves is a "foreboding barometer" for the Marlins when considering a Giancarlo Stanton extension, writes Juan C. Rodriguez of the Miami Sun-Sentinel. Rodriguez points out the similarity in service time for each player, noting that one more strong season would only make it more expensive for the Fish. Stanton already has a large edge in power, though his durability could be questioned in extension talks. More from baseball's Eastern divisions...
- The Orioles will scout Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, an industry source tells Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun. The 26-year-old has batted .319/.383/.516 over the past five seasons in Serie Nacional. The speedy Castillo comes with experience at both outfield corners as well as second and third base. The Dodgers are known to have scouted him as well, but he's yet to be cleared by OFAC to sign with a big league club.
- MASNsports.com's Steve Melewski looks at David Lough's long path to the Majors and writes that Orioles hitting coach Jim Presley has been a fan of the 28-year-old since seeing him with the Royals last year. Lough hopes to win the starting left field job in Baltimore this Spring.
- Orioles lefty Troy Patton, who is suspended for the first 25 games of the season, told Melewski that he took Adderall to improve his focus and energy at one point and called it a "stupid mistake." Patton's suspension could have an impact on Brian Matusz, Melewski continues, as the team was looking at giving him another crack as a starter. However, without Patton in the bullpen, the O's would be without their two primary lefty relievers to open the year in that case.
- The Mets are still unwilling to commit multiple years to Stephen Drew, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Agent Scott Boras continues to wait out the market, but it's fair to wonder if Boras will have to drag a few "mystery teams" into the mix for Drew.
The Diamondbacks competed against some of MLB's largest markets for Masahiro Tanaka but ended up as one of the finalists for the Japanese righty. FOX Sports Southwest's Jack Magruder and MLB.com's Steve Gilbert have the details from managing partner Ken Kendrick, team president Derrick Hall and GM Kevin Towers on how the Snakes courted Tanaka. Though Tanaka ultimately signed with the Yankees, Kendrick feels the D'Backs "declared ourselves as committed to making a very significant offer to someone who can be a difference-maker to our club....The agent world understands that if we like a player, we will go after him. I don't think that's a bad thing."
Here's some more from around the NL West...
- Towers reiterated that the team would still look to add "a top-of-the-rotation type guy" if one became available, and the general manager noted that more trade possibilities could open up with Tanaka now off the market. That said, Towers and Hall said they were satisfied with their current pitching options and that their pursuit of Tanaka was a special case. Magruder reported earlier today that Arizona wasn't planning to pursue other free agent starters given their high price tags.
- The Diamondbacks' current TV rights contract expires after the 2015 season, and since the team expects to earn more TV money in its next deal, Hall felt the Snakes could afford to spend extra on Tanaka. "This is not money that we had this past year or in the past," Hall said. "It's an anticipated increase in revenues. It was banking on the fact that -- and it's been out there -- that our television situation is going to change dramatically. With that, we were able to spread our wings a bit."
- Dodgers GM Ned Colletti and several team scouts attending a private workout with Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, Baseball America's Ben Badler reports. Badler profiled Castillo, a right-handed hitting outfielder with experience at second and third base, last month. The 26-year-old may be months away from signing with a team, as he still to go through all of the procedural work required of Cuban players to reach the majors.
- The Dodgers were "not anywhere close" in the bidding for Tanaka and were outbid by "a decent amount" by both the Yankees and Cubs, two sources tell Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. While the Dodgers were obviously impressed enough with Tanaka to offer him a $100MM+ contract, "they're not convinced Tanaka is all that," Shaikin writes. Since they didn't see Tanaka as a true ace and the Dodgers weren't desperate for pitching, they weren't willing to get into a bidding war.
- Along these same lines, ESPN Los Angeles' Mark Saxon argues that the Dodgers don't need to pursue the likes of Matt Garza, Bronson Arroyo or other free agent starters since they could have a surplus of pitching if Chad Billingsley and Josh Beckett are healthy. Zach Lee and other minor league arms are also on hand for rotation depth.
- Veteran right-hander Brett Tomko threw for the Padres earlier this offseason, MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo reports (Twitter link). Tomko is attempting a comeback and recently told MLBTR's Zach Links that he had spoken with at least 10 other Major League clubs, as well as a few Asian teams. For more on Tomko's comeback, check out Links' interview with the 40-year-old righty.