The Blue Jays, Dodgers and Yankees are among the teams that have reached out to the Indians and had “preliminary” trade talks about Cleveland’s starting pitching, reports Jon Morosi of FOX Sports (links to Twitter). The still-very-early frameworks being discussed would each send a controllable starter away from Cleveland in exchange for an everyday outfielder, he continues. In an appearance on MLB Network (video link), Morosi noted that Brett Gardner’s name has come up in talks with Cleveland. Of course, Gardner alone wouldn’t fetch Carlos Carrasco or Danny Salazar, given the outfielder’s poor second half (though that was said to be injury-driven) and the more general fact that it makes little sense for Cleveland to part ways with five affordable years of either pitcher in exchange for three to four years of a well-compensated veteran. Other young and very well-regarded pieces would be a necessity. Trevor Bauer could be a more intriguing candidate in that scenario, as the soon-to-be 25-year-old was impressive in bursts in 2015 but continued his longstanding battle with control issues for most of the season. Other very speculative fits from the listed clubs could include Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson, Kevin Pillar, Dalton Pompey and Aaron Judge. Of course, each of those suggestions comes with varying degrees of uncertainty.
Some more notes from the AL Central…
- The Tigers are among the teams with interest in free-agent right-hander Doug Fister, according to Buster Olney of ESPN (Twitter link). Fister is coming off a poor season in D.C. that saw his velocity dip to about 86 mph, causing him to lose his rotation spot. However, he enjoyed his best seasons in Detroit, and I can envision him being interested in a return on a make-good contract as he looks to rebuild his value, perhaps on a one-year deal in search of a larger contract among next year’s weak crop of free-agent starters.
- MLB.com’s Jason Beck breaks down the Tigers’ options in their search for a left fielder. As Beck writes, fans should put to bed the notion of Jason Heyward, Justin Upton or a Yoenis Cespedes reunion, as all figure to be out of Detroit’s price range. Avila spoke highly of Tyler Collins recently, Beck notes, lending some credence to the possibility of simply acquiring a platoon partner for the left-handed-hitting 25-year-old. Beck lists Chris Young, former Tigers Ryan Raburn and Rajai Davis as possibilities. However, if the club feels an everyday left fielder would be an upgrade over a platoon of Collins and one of those righty bats, names like Nori Aoki and Gerardo Parra could come into play. Of course, it should be noted that Parra himself could benefit from a platoon partner, though he has a stronger defensive reputation than Collins (his surprising 2015 downturn in the view of defensive metrics not withstanding).
- White Sox executive vice president Kenny Williams told MLB.com’s Scott Merkin that the team hasn’t made a definitive decision as to which direction it will go this offseason (Twitter link). While that will probably induce a large amount of Chris Sale and Jose Quintana trade speculation from fans of pitching-hungry teams, it does seem difficult to envision the White Sox changing course after spending so heavily last winter. Chicago’s core of Sale, Quintana, Carlos Rodon, Jose Abreu, Adam Eaton and David Robertson is an excellent start to a contending club. Previous reports have indicated that the Sox believe 2015 was just the first of a multi-year window to contend. Nonetheless, that Williams didn’t take the opportunity to firmly denounce the possibility of some retooling is notable.
- The Twins have reached out to Joakim Soria’s agent and received his medical records for review, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN, though it’s not known whether the team is comfortable with a number anywhere near his reported $27MM asking price. (My guess: no.) In other Soria/AL Central news, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press tweeted today that while the Tigers were interested in Soria as recently as this past weekend, the two sides weren’t on the same page in contract talks. Detroit’s acquisition of Francisco Rodriguez seems likely to have diminished their interest in Soria anyhow.