Here’s the latest from around the league:
- Potential free agent Aramis Ramirez will meet with his agent on Sunday to determine if he will exercise his side of a $14MM mutual option with the Brewers, reports Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish. The Brewers exercised their end of the deal on Friday. Ramirez has hit well when healthy, including a .285/.330/.427 line last season. However, he’s averaged just 441 plate appearances over the past two years. Entering his age 37 season, teams may be hesitant to commit to many years or a high annual value. Even so, he can likely earn better on the open market. Ramirez will receive a $4MM buyout (paid in two, $2MM installments) if he declines the option.
- With Root Sports Houston solving the Astros broadcasting disaster, Houston may have more money to spend in free agency, according to Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle. Owner Jim Crane is on the record as saying payroll could edge up by $20MM, which is fairly modest considering the club ranked dead last in 2014 with an opening day payroll of $44.5MM, per ESPN. The new partnership with Root Sports Houston could further improve the Astros financial position. As Drellich points out, just don’t expect Max Scherzer.
- Also via Drellich, the Astros could aim to improve via trade, as they did with Dexter Fowler last offseason. The club is loaded with young talent, and at some point it will be necessary to consolidate some of that depth. The bullpen and infield (aside from Jose Altuve) are the top problem areas for the club, and they could stand to add a starter too.
- The Padres front office hires under new GM A.J. Preller have a common trait, notes Dennis Lin of U-T San Diego. The group of Don Welke, David Post, Chris Kemp, Sam Geaney, and Logan White all have very strong reputations as talent evaluators. At least one outside source believed talent evaluation was a weakness for the Padres, so the focus seems well placed.