Here’s the latest on a pair of highly-touted players who would be notable additions to the free agent market — if they become available:
- After playing in his team’s game on Friday, Cuban second baseman Jose Fernandez and his cousin, catcher Lazaro Herrera, were absent for unknown reasons, manager Victor Mesa told Cuban media outlet Giron (Spanish link). Baseball America’s Ben Badler hasn’t been able to confirm whether or not Fernandez and Herrera have defected, but he writes that were Fernandez to defect and be granted free agency, he’d immediately become one of the most sought after free agents on the market. Badler ranked Fernandez as the No. 3 player in Cuba back in late August. He praises Fernandez’s excellent bat control and plate discipline, noting that he also has occasional pop. Fernandez hit .326/.482/.456 in Serie Nacional’s 2013-14 season and was off to a .315/.415/.426 start in 65 PA this season.
- It is still an open question whether Japanese starter Kenta Maeda will be posted this year. Noting that posturing is an element in public discussions of whether Maeda will be made available, Ben Badler of Baseball America breaks down Maeda’s last start of the year. Per Badler, the righty — who relies on location given his good-but-not-great pure stuff — was crisp until his pitch count crept up. Clubs will get an interesting chance to see Maeda face big leaguers later this winter, as he is slated to throw for the Japanese club that will face a barnstorming roster put together by MLB.