Todd Frazier is reportedly being shopped “heavily” by the Reds, and USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets that the most extensive interest in Cincinnati’s third baseman is coming from the American League Central. The Indians, White Sox and Royals are all in the mix for Frazier, Nightengale hears, which aligns with previous reports connecting the three clubs to the All-Star third baseman. Both Cleveland and Chicago could use upgrades at the hot corner, while Frazier would most likely be deployed in left field were the Royals to line up with the Reds on a trade.
Elsewhere in the AL Central…
- Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes that while the Indians may have lost a pair of trade partners when the D-backs (Zack Greinke, Shelby Miller) and Giants (Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija) each added a pair of high-profile starting pitchers, there are still plenty of clubs with interest in Cleveland’s stockpile of young, controllable pitching. Hoynes feels that the Cubs (John Lackey signing notwithstanding), Rockies, Astros, Cardinals, Marlins and rebuilding Reds are all teams that could line up as trade partners. Cleveland is looking to bolster its offense and is interested in names like Jorge Soler, Javier Baez, Marcell Ozuna and Frazier. A one-for-one trade of Frazier for either Carlos Carrasco or Danny Salazar won’t be happening, he notes, as each has five years of club control compared to Frazier’s two. But, further pieces could make the deal more appealing. Failing a trade, the Indians could turn to relatively inexpensive names on the free agent market, where they’ve been linked to Rajai Davis, Shane Victorino and Steve Pearce.
- Although Tigers GM Al Avila ruled out a run at top-of-the-market outfielders like Yoenis Cespedes at last week’s Winter Meetings, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press notes that owner Mike Ilitch made no such claim. Fenech writes that while the Tigers aren’t seen as a major player for Cespedes now, that could change if he lingers on the open market and his price tag drops. Ilitch bluntly stated that “[doesn’t] care about money” after signing Jordan Zimmermann, and there’s certainly the case that Cespedes’ agents at Roc Nation Sports could pitch directly to Ilitch, as Scott Boras reportedly did with Prince Fielder four years ago.
- Also from Fenech, Tigers righty Bruce Rondon instigated a benches-clearing brawl at a game in the Venezuelan Winter League over the weekend. Fenech notes that manager Brad Ausmus had said just days prior that Rondon could work his way back into the bullpen picture by showing up to Spring Training with improved focus. The Tigers abruptly sent Rondon home with just under two weeks left in the season, citing his “effort level” as the driving factor behind the decision.
- The Twins met with Cesar Ramos’ agents and listened to a pitch on the lefty reliever in Nashville, reports 1500 ESPN’s Darren Wolfson (via Twitter). However, Wolfson doesn’t get the sense that there’s any real movement on that front. Increasingly, it seems like the Twins will trade for the lefty reliever(s) they’re seeking.