With the recent Hall of Fame voting out of the way, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe looks at the case for former Red Sox star Manny Ramirez. Obviously, his offensive performance was magnificent, although lousy defense sapped his overall value. With confirmed PED violations after the so-called Steroid Era, voters may find it hard to select Ramirez. He also had a prickly reputation with the phrase “Manny being Manny” coming to represent his often oblivious frame of mind.
Here’s more from Cafardo’s column:
- The Red Sox could consider signing free agent outfielder Justin Upton. Club president Dave Dombrowski is comfortable with a starting outfield of Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, and Rusney Castillo, but there’s certainly risk involved with relying upon Bradley and Castillo. Either or both players could conceivably fail to produce at a league average rate. The Sox do have depth in the form of Chris Young, Brock Holt, and possibly Travis Shaw. However, Upton would give them a superstar presence in the middle of the lineup, and he won’t have the same difficulty in adjusting to left field as Hanley Ramirez.
- Yovani Gallardo may be the next starting pitcher to sign. Scott Kazmir’s three-year, $48MM contract is a potential comparable. The teams involved in his market are hoping for a bargain on a two- or three-year contract, per Cafardo. He sees the Orioles, Blue Jays, Pirates, Royals, and Cubs as the best fits.
- Fellow free agent starter Wei-Yin Chen has scared some teams away with a five-year, $100MM asking price. The Nationals and Cardinals “have taken a good hard look.” Chen, 30, can point to success in the always difficult AL East as justification for a nine-figure asking price.
- Ten teams have inquired about Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna, but Miami coaches Barry Bonds and Don Mattingly are campaigning to keep Ozuna. They believe they can shape Ozuna into a star player. While owner Jeffrey Loria is said to be the impetus behind the club’s attempts to trade Ozuna, it’s also plausible he would defer to his newly hired, high profile personnel.
- Some scouts still think there’s something left in Ike Davis’ tank. The Mets’ former top prospect has played for three teams over the last two seasons with exactly zero WAR in 666 plate appearances. Davis will likely sign a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training.
- The Tigers and Mets are monitoring the market for Yoenis Cespedes. Based on Cafardo’s report, it sounds like both clubs hope to pounce if a strong suitor doesn’t emerge.
- Meanwhile, Dexter Fowler could end up as a bargain. Cafardo predicts a three-year contract below the $31MM signed by Denard Span. He suggests the Rockies (if they make a trade) and Tigers as possible fits. Personally, I disagree with the valuation on Fowler. Like Span, he has a history as a high OBP, top-of-the-order hitter. The draft pick compensation tied to him is a deterrent, but he’s been much healthier than Span in recent seasons.
- Talks between Chris Davis and the Orioles may have a drop-dead date. While the Orioles prefer a big left-handed bat, they may dip into the market for Upton or Cespedes. Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez is also a potential fit.