Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti tells MLB Network Radio (audio link) that he’s chasing offensive upgrades, with interest in hitters from both sides of the plate. “I think it’s probably safe to say … that if you’re a corner bat or an outfielder, that we are investigating those options,” said Antonetti, who added that Cleveland is “definitely looking to improve our position player club.” The executive made clear in his comments that the team is open to adding multiple bats.
Here’s more from the central divisions:
- The Reds “have made everyone available,” Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets, including third baseman Todd Frazier. President of baseball operations Walt Jocketty indicated that would probably be the case back in November, as C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reported at the time. “I don’t know if we’re in a position to say there’s any untouchables,” said Jocketty. With the Winter Meetings opening tomorrow, it seems that Cincinnati will be one of the major sellers to watch.
- While the Reds have fielded the most active recent interest from the Dodgers and the Astros in star southpaw Aroldis Chapman, per another Heyman tweet, Cincinnati and Houston have been “having [a] hard time matching up.” All indications are that the ’Stros have been casting a wide net in their search for a top-notch reliever, possibly indicating a focus on achieving value, and it’s certainly possible to imagine that the team will be hesitant to cough up a major prospect haul after cashing in some significant assets at the trade deadline. Cincinnati will no doubt be looking to add near-MLB talent to plug onto a roster that has dealt with injury and performance issues in recent years, though MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports that the team has some encouraging news on the progress of shortstop Zack Cozart and catcher Devin Mesoraco.
- The Cubs have been chatting with the Rays about “some match ups,” tweets Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com, who notes that lefty reliever Jake McGee is “intriguing.” We have heard recently that Chicago could be looking to add a major arm via trade.
- Tigers GM Al Avila says his focus this week in Nashville will be on bolstering the pen, Jason Beck of MLB.com tweets. Detroit might still look to make changes on the position player side of the equation, but that probably will not occur this week.
- The Tigers have already addressed their rotation, of course, after announcing the signing of Mike Pelfrey to go with the previously-inked Jordan Zimmermann. As Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports, Avila called the move a “scout signing” in that the team believes the big righty has shown the ability to produce solid results moving forward. “He’s a guy we were very comfortable with,” Avila explained “He’s a guy that’s a good bet for us that he can bounce back and build off last year. Our intent was to get a guy that can get us 30 starts, give us some innings, a veteran guy that has good clubhouse makeup.”
- Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt Jr. says that his club will “stretch again if we see the right opportunity” after putting in a big offer for lefty David Price, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. All told, Goold writes, the organization appears primed to have a major impact on the market even after missing on Price.
- Another team that chased Price, the Cubs, sought to woo him with a seven-year, $161MM offer, per Levine (via Twitter). That is believed to be the third-highest offer, behind the Cards and the ultimately successful Red Sox. Of course, Chicago ultimately went on to add John Lackey for two years and $32MM, a signing that drew strong praise from at least one rival GM, per Heyman (via Twitter).
- Meanwhile, the Pirates have a host of needs that remain open at this time, as Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes. Team president Frank Coonelly tells Sawchik that the organization anticipates a rise in payroll, and has “flexibility to add by free agency and/or trades.” He also made an interesting observation on the club’s range of possible actions, saying the 2016 ballclub “may include players who are available to us in part because we have made other moves.” That could be a reference to high-priced veterans Mark Melancon and Neil Walker, both of whom have emerged as trade candidates. It seems that Pittsburgh could be a major mover at the GM Meetings, one of the many topics that Zach Links and I covered in this week’s Winter Meetings preview on the MLBTR Podcast.