The coming offseason will tell us quite a but about how Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski values draft picks versus free agents, writes WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. As Bradford points out, Dombrowski never signed a free agent that had rejected a qualifying offer while serving as Tigers’ GM (he did, however, re-sign Victor Martinez, when letting him walk would’ve netted a comp pick), and Boston’s No. 12 overall selection in the 2016 draft is the second-highest unprotected pick, making it that much more difficult to surrender. The Sox will be connected to top pitchers like Zack Greinke, Jordan Zimmermann, Hisashi Iwakuma and Wei-Yin Chen, in addition to already having been connected to outfielder Alex Gordon, Bradford notes, but each would require parting with that premium pick.
A few more notes from the AL East…
- The Orioles like Daniel Murphy and could show interest in him this offseason writes MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko, though Kubatko himself admits that it is difficult to see how Murphy fits onto the roster. Jonathan Schoop and Manny Machado have Murphy’s two primary positions locked down, although as Kubatko notes, Murphy has experience a first base, and the O’s have the DH spot available as well. Murphy could, conceivably, rotate through those four spots in the lineup, giving Machado and Schoop breathers in the field and serving as insurance in the event of an injury. Nonetheless, he seems like an imperfect fit, or at least one that may not address the club’s top need, which is in the rotation.
- Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun writes that while Darren O’Day might be the likeliest of the Orioles’ impending free agents to return, the chances still aren’t great. O’Day could receive interest as a closer on the open market, Connolly notes, and the O’s showed last winter in letting Andrew Miller walk that they weren’t interested in paying closer money for a pitcher that would function as a setup man for the team. Connolly adds how important O’Day is to Baltimore’s pitching staff from a clubhouse leadership standpoint, though, also pointing to the Royals in highlighting the importance of having a dominant eighth/ninth inning combo at the back of a bullpen.
- Chad Jennings of the Journal News provides an early offseason checklist for the Yankees, noting that the club has six players on the 60-day disabled list but will only open up four spots via departing free agents. Jennings points out that Sergio Santos (one of the aforementioned 60-day players) is an easy candidate to be removed from the 40-man roster, and Diego Moreno, also on the 60-day DL, could be designated for assignment if the team doesn’t view him as part of the future. Other candidates include Domingo German, Austin Romine, Chris Martin and Andrew Bailey. Jennings also looks at Brendan Ryan’s mutual option and takes a look back at the Yankees’ recent early-November moves, noting that we shouldn’t rule out a few relatively notable transactions in the next couple of weeks.
- Incoming Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro, who will be formally announced at a press conference this afternoon, has a history of trading for unheralded prospects that blossom into stars, writes Sportsnet’s Nick Ashbourne. As Ashbourne points out, Shapiro acquired Coco Crisp, Travis Hafner, Shin-Soo Choo, Michael Brantley, Corey Kluber and Yan Gomes in various trades despite the fact that none ranked higher than seventh on Baseball America’s pre-season prospect rankings for the organization from which they were acquired. Excluding Brantley, none ranked better than 16th. There were some notable missteps, trading away Brandon Phillips and Chris Archer too soon, but it’s an impressive history nonetheless. Shapiro will, of course, have a significant increase in financial resources with Toronto, but the Jays aren’t the type of team that can fill out its roster solely through spending, so a keen eye for undervalued prospects will be an important trait. Shapiro currently sits atop the Jays’ baseball operations pyramid after GM Alex Anthopoulos stunningly left the team last week, reportedly due to differences with Shapiro and due to the fact that ownership promised Shapiro baseball operations autonomy when hiring him.