We at MLB Trade Rumors tip our caps to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, who announced today that he is leaving the newspaper after a decade of fine work covering the Orioles. Connolly’s name is a familiar one to MLBTR readers, as he has been a long-time source for Orioles information — just last week, in fact, Connolly broke the news that the O’s had agreed to sign Hyun-soo Kim. We wish Dan all the best in his post-Sun endeavors and selfishly hope he keeps writing about baseball in some capacity in the future.
Onto some stocking-stuffer news items as we head into the birthday of Hall-of-Famers Rickey Henderson, Nellie Fox and Pud Galvin, a.k.a. Christmas Day…
- Yoenis Cespedes’ market has been somewhat slow to develop, though “the Tigers appear to be sitting back waiting for” the free agent outfielder, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets. Cespedes’ asking price may also be dropping as the offseason rolls along. Detroit, Cespedes’ former team, has been linked to the slugger on the rumor mill but Tigers GM Al Avila said during the Winter Meetings that his team was out on both Cespedes and Alex Gordon. That stance could change, of course, if Cespedes could be had at a lower price, though that feeling undoubtedly applies to more teams than just the Tigers. The Angels, Orioles, Royals and Giants have also been rumored to have some level of interest in Cespedes this offseason. Tim Dierkes predicted Cespedes for a six-year, $140MM contract while ranking him sixth on MLBTR’s Top 50 Free Agents list.
- The Mariners’ somewhat unique re-signing of Hisashi Iwakuma and his first contact with the M’s is chronicled by Fangraphs’ Tony Blengino, who was working as a special assistant to the GM in Seattle when Iwakuma was first signed by the club. Injury concerns have plagued Iwakuma throughout his career — in Japan, possibly scuttling an agreement to join the A’s in 2011, during his stint as a Mariner and a red-flag physical that caused the Dodgers to back away from a three-year agreement. Blengino also provides some interesting background into how teams approach physicals, as “there’s a fine line between being ’hurt’ and ’injured,’ and an MRI can find damage in just about any shoulder or elbow….It all comes down to the injury risk, in conjunction with the anticipated player production and dollar investment.”
- A club’s payroll figures consists of far more than just the salaries of the 25-man roster, as Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times illustrates using the Mariners as an example.
- Alex Gordon checks the boxes of everything the Royals would want in a franchise player, yet as Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star writes, the financial realities of a mid-market franchise make it unrealistic or even unwise for the Royals to splurge and re-sign the outfielder. As was reported yesterday, there may be “no chance” of a reunion between the two sides if the Royals’ best offer is only four years and between $48MM-$52MM, a dollar figure Gordon may end up doubling on the open market.
- Hyun-soo Kim had a “follow up” to his first physical with the Orioles that caused a delay in the club’s official announcement of their contract with the Korean outfielder, MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko reports. Despite the delay, “Kim never was in real danger of failing his physical,” so it appears the O’s were just being cautious.
- In a separate item from Kubatko, he provides “non-update updates” on several bits of Orioles offseason business, noting that there haven’t been any new developments in the team’s talks with free agents like Chris Davis, Wei-Yin Chen, Yovani Gallardo or Scott Kazmir.