There are a host of interesting notes in the latest column from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Here are some of the highlights:
- While the Royals are still interested in free agent starters Yovani Gallardo and Scott Kazmir, as has previously been reported, the club may be most intrigued by Wei-Yin Chen, per Heyman. Kansas City would have to go well beyond its usual spending levels to add the southpaw, but Heyman writes that the club has newfound budget “flexibility” in the midst of its renaissance. Chen, though, is represented by Scott Boras, with whom the Royals have a strong relationship. (Kendrys Morales, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Alex Rios and Franklin Morales are among the current or recent Royals to be Boras clients.)
- Kazmir already has multiple three-year offers with guarantees in the range of $12MM to $13MM annually, per the report, with teams like the Athletics, Orioles, and Dodgers said to be involved. It seems like the first legitimate four-year offer could land Kazmir, Heyman adds. Of course, it’s unclear if the A’s will still be in the hunt if and when their reported one-year deal with righty Henderson Alvarez is finalized.
- Meanwhile, the Royals are still pursuing Alex Gordon, but Heyman reports that the team’s initial four-year offer was not met with a very promising response from Gordon’s camp. It’s been surprisingly quiet on the Gordon front for much of the offseason, although with Jason Heyward off the board, it’s easy to imagine the market for him and fellow corner outfielders Yoenis Cespedes and Justin Upton picking up quickly.
- The Royals are holding extension discussions with backstop Salvador Perez, says Heyman, and there’s interest from team and player in reaching “something equitable.” But K.C. has all the leverage, of course, given its already lengthy and cheap control rights over the sturdy young catcher. Heyman adds that Perez’s representatives have raised the extensions of players like Troy Tulowitzki, Evan Longoria, and Ryan Braun in talks, with the Royals not favorably disposed to those concepts. (An observation: those deals certainly don’t seem all that relevant from where I sit. Perez is an excellent player, but hasn’t reached the heights of those stars, and his current contract is far cheaper than the ones Longoria and Braun turned into new deals. Also, as a heavily-worked, large-framed catcher, there are questions about how wise it would be to make a long-term investment in Perez.)
- The Marlins have continued their extension talks with Dee Gordon, and Heyman says that Miami has put a five-year deal on the table. But Gordon and his reps are looking for seven seasons in an extension. The talks are moving slowly, but still moving, per Heyman.
- While the Mets do have legitimate interest in Tyler Clippard, they only want him with a one-year guarantee, per Heyman. Clippard is looking for a two-year deal he adds. It certainly seems that the veteran’s market is lagging the rest of the top-end set-up men who hit free agency this year. That could be due to a combination of his heavy recent workload and sub-par peripherals last year, but Clippard should still find a significant contract given his lengthy track record and the high dollars we’ve seen given to inferior arms.
- Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday has been working out at first base, with the veteran looking to extend his career by adding defensive versatility. While that’s been done at Holliday’s initiative, Heyman wonders whether the hypothetical possibility of a move could keep St. Louis involved in the hunt for Gordon.
- The Padres seem unlikely to put together a big offer for Ian Desmond. That would certainly be bad news for the free agent, whose market has yet to develop, as San Diego seems like one of the best fits. The Pads are not getting a lot of interest in James Shields at present and have put a high price on Tyson Ross, per the report. Meanwhile, the club is considering a move for veteran reliever Fernando Rodney.
- The Astros aren’t done with their bullpen and remain in the market for relievers as well as a corner bat, Heyman writes. Houston non-tendered Chris Carter, and A.J. Reed probably won’t be ready to begin the season, so there does indeed appear to be room for someone capable of taking some at-bats at first base (although Jon Singleton could be given another look there as well).
- We’ve heard chatter that the Orioles and Rockies have had some talks regarding outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, and Heyman says that Colorado asked for young righty Kevin Gausman in a deal. That was, unsurprisingly, a non-starter for Baltimore. The O’s, meanwhile, tried to get Andre Ethier from the Dodgers last offseason, and Heyman wonders whether another such effort could take place this year as the club continues to hunt for another left-handed-hitting outfielder (per Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com, on Twitter).
- The Indians had talks with free agent Austin Jackson before signing Rajai Davis, per Heyman. He adds that there are legitimate concerns that Michael Brantley will be out into June “or perhaps even later” after some undisclosed new shoulder “issue” arose this winter.
Steve Adams contributed to this post.