Now that it’s November 7th, on the east coast at least, free agency has officially begun. Qualifying offers (twenty of them) and option decisions marked the final key elements to set up the market. Here are a few notable reports as business opens:
- The Braves will not pursue catcher Matt Wieters, Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com tweets. Atlanta has appeared at least to be a plausible landing spot, depending perhaps on what they decide with youngster Christian Bethancourt, but Gammons’ sources certainly make that possibility seem unlikely. Wieters received a qualifying offer today, so a signing team would need to sacrifice a draft pick to add him, though Atlanta’s top choice is protected.
- First baseman Justin Morneau is not entertaining thoughts of retiring and “definitely” wants to keep playing, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports on Twitter. That had always seemed to be the case, since Morneau worked back from his latest head and neck issues just for a few weeks at the end of the year. The 34-year-old has looked good at the plate over the last two years and should draw plenty of interest — particularly from American League clubs.
- We’ve also heard some chatter that Morneau and the Twins could have mutual interest in a reunion, though Joe Mauer is entrenched at first. Morneau could theoretically slot in as the DH, but the club needs to find a way to get Miguel Sano into the lineup and still has the solid Trevor Plouffe at third. It’s possible, Berardino writes, that Sano could begin spending some time in the outfield in winter ball in an effort to open the possibility of him getting action there next season. Of course, the team’s handling of Sano and Plouffe likely won’t be dictated by the veteran Morneau, but it’s obviously intriguing to consider the possibilities.
- Though the Angels did not extend a qualifying offer to third baseman David Freese, new GM Billy Eppler said that the team will at least look into a return, as MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez reports. “We’ll engage him in the marketplace,” said Eppler. “We love what he brings on the field and in the clubhouse.”
- While the Astros have proven willing to act boldly to improve their major league roster, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle writes that it could be a relatively quiet offseason for the club. “With the exception of lefthanded relievers, there’s nothing I’d say we absolutely have to do,” explained GM Jeff Luhnow. “There’s a lot we want to do,” he added, perhaps suggesting that the organization might pursue some creative opportunities without feeling much urgency.
Matt Weiters doesn’t seem to have much of market IMO. White Sox, Mariners, Nationals, and a few others. Going to be interesting how this plays out.
Boras has been known to create markets where none exist. There will definitely be one or two “mystery teams” interested in his services.
If I had to pick just one player who I thought would accept a QO this year, it’s Wieters.
Braves usually jump on supposedly opportunistic contracts, and this is playing out like Weiters could be one, so it’s interesting that they’ve said already that they’re not interested. I wonder if his QO tag was the nail in the coffin, or they know that it might be better to trade for someone without the same amount of risk. FO has said that trades will be the most likely avenue for transactions – for right now.
I want Morneau back. Get rid of Plouffe.
Wieters to the Angels would be a good fit. He is an above average hitter for a catcher. Solid defensively. And a 5 year deal would work to help Perez to blossom. And in 2 to 3 years could be moved to first. To replace Pujols.
The Nationals and Boras have good relations and I can see Matt Weiters being in DC in 2016. Some weren’t happy with Ramos this past season. I can see Ramos as trade bait and Nats getting Weiters
I always have liked Morneau and he is a proven hitter and if he is healthy, bring him back like Hunter so he can help the young guys. Plouffe has improved his defense but his strike outs and his propensity to hit into a rally killing double play kills us. Get Sano in at third base and use Santana or Escobar as the utility infielder which one does not start at SS and Morneau, Vargas, and Mauer handle first base and DH.