Korean first baseman Dae-ho Lee, who is currently with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, could draw interest from Major League teams if he turns down his 2016 player option, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick notes (links to Twitter). The right-handed hitter will turn 34 next June, so he’s a good bit older than some other international free agents we’ve heard about, but Lee’s .282/.364/.524 batting line and 31 homers in 2015 are nonetheless impressive. Lee has enough service time that he is exempt from the posting process. In other words, if he turns down the option, he could jump right into a free agent class of first basemen that’s currently headlined by Chris Davis and Korean star Byung-ho Park.
A few more notes on some upcoming free agents…
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post looks at the postseason’s impact on the price tag for free agents Johnny Cueto, Yoenis Cespedes, Ben Zobrist, Alex Gordon and Daniel Murphy. Relaying some chatter from executives with whom he’s spoken, Sherman has heard some liken Cueto to James Shields a year ago. Shields hit the open market with higher expectations than the four years and $75MM he ultimately landed, though that, in my eyes, is still too low a price for Cueto, who is younger with a more dominant track record and no qualifying offer attached to his name. More surprising is the lack of support for Gordon, who “could” get to somewhere north of $75MM over five years with the benefit of open-market bidding, Sherman writes. A five-year $75MM contract for Gordon seems to me to be very much on the low end of the spectrum. While others at MLBTR are more bullish on Gordon than I am, I still think he’ll end up much closer to, if not north of $100MM as a free agent. Sherman also suggests a contract in the four-year, $68MM range as a possibility for Zobrist despite his advanced age.
- Fans shouldn’t be dismissive of recent suggestions that the Red Sox could make a play for Gordon this winter, writes WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. Pursuing Gordon is an idea that “has at least been considered” by the Red Sox’ inner circle, he writes, noting that Gordon’s glove would maintain an elite outfield defense in Boston and possibly allow the team to include Jackie Bradley in trade packages.
- Free agency is looming around the corner and comes with significant ramifications for the Orioles, who could potentially lose Chris Davis, Wei-Yin Chen, Matt Wieters, Darren O’Day, Gerardo Parra and Steve Pearce, writes the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly. However, Connolly hears that the Orioles have had talks with many of those players, and agent Jeff Borris, who represents O’Day, told Connolly that the conversations he’s had with the Orioles won’t stop even with free agency nearing. “We’ve had ongoing discussions with Baltimore throughout the season and I plan on continuing to have ongoing discussions with Baltimore,” said Borris. “However, time is of the essence because free agency is right around the corner.”