Thanks for all of your questions this week. Remember that you can ask about whatever is on your mind in our Tuesday afternoon chats (~2pm central) or through the Mailbag email address (email@example.com). On to this week’s questions…
The two sides haven’t had any serious talks about an extension yet, though there’s also some mutual interest in Heyward staying beyond 2015. MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes ranked the outfielder as having the second-most earning potential of any 2015-16 free agent, so it would take easily the largest contract in Cardinals franchise history to bring Heyward back into the fold. If Heyward did leave, the 2016 St. Louis starting outfield projects as Matt Holliday, Randal Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty, with Jon Jay and Peter Bourjos as backups, which could leave room for another veteran outfielder to be brought in at a lower price than Heyward will command. Does a year of excellent play from Heyward, a month of Jordan Walden and a compensatory first-round draft pick (due to the qualifying offer) equal four years of control over Miller and prospect Tyrell Jenkins? That’s a question that might take a few more years to answer, though the Cards would instantly chalk it up as a win if Heyward helps them win a championship. I’d guess that St. Louis will make a strong play to re-sign Heyward this offseason, though if the bidding gets really high (into the $180MM-$200MM range), that might be too expensive for the Cards’ liking.
Care to handicap the odds that Sandy Alderson extends a QO to Daniel Murphy? If offered is there any chance that Murph becomes the first player to ever accept? I’d imagine his agent will make lots of noise that he would “love to stay in NY on a 1 year deal to finish the job” in an attempt to bluff the Mets out of hurting his market value. — Cliff P
The upcoming class of free agent second and third basemen isn’t very deep, so I’d expect Murphy would indeed reject a qualifying offer in search of a healthy multi-year deal elsewhere. He should be able to find such a deal despite the draft pick compensation attached to his services, though Cliff is probably right in thinking that Murphy’s market will take a hit from the QO. If Murphy did break precedent and accept, it wouldn’t be the worst outcome for the Mets; a one-year/$16MM deal for an everyday second baseman who can also be something of a poor man’s Ben Zobrist in his ability to fill in at multiple other positions.
I’m leaning towards no. Anibal Sanchez is the only notable starting pitcher Dave Dombrowski has ever acquired in free agency, and even then Sanchez was re-signed after originally coming to the Tigers in a midseason deal. Dombrowski’s past history with starting pitcher contracts (hat tip to the MLBTR Transaction Tracker) indicates that he is more likely to obtain an ace via trade. Dombrowski could change tactics given his new surroundings and input from whomever is hired as the new Red Sox GM, though my guess is that if the Sox do land a top-tier arm this winter, it will be by dealing from their deep farm system.
What is Bronson Arroyo’s current standing with the Dodgers? Will he ever be able to pitch in the majors again, this year or next? — Jack S
Arroyo underwent Tommy John surgery in July 2014. He said in June that he was hoping to return to action by mid-August, there has been no recent word on his status now that August has come and gone. As such, he’s almost certainly not going to pitch this season. The Dodgers have a $13MM club option on Arroyo for 2016 that is sure to be bought out for $4.5MM (paid by the Braves, as per a condition of the elaborate trade that brought Arroyo to Los Angeles). If Arroyo is healthy, I’d expect he will find a a minor league deal from some team this winter. Arroyo hasn’t hinted at retirement in the wake of his injury, though since he’ll turn 39 in February, you have to wonder if he’ll consider hanging up his spikes if his recovery process is taking longer than expected.