Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine and A’s executive Billy Beane appeared on the MLB Network Radio show with Jim Bowden to discuss offseason rumors (tweets 1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Levine spoke broadly about Texas’ approach in free agency, saying “we’ll stay in touch with all the agents for the existing free agents. If something does fall into our lap, we’ll be poised to strike.” Reports suggest the Rangers have some budgetary constraints in play, but the roster is already is decent shape.
Here’s more from around the league:
- The Rangers have not offered pitching prospect Chi Chi Gonzalez to the Marlins for outfielder Marcell Ozuna. There is “no truth to the rumor,” per Levine, although he does confirm that the Rangers have talked shop with the Marlins and other clubs. Earlier today, we heard that Don Mattingly and Barry Bonds hoped to keep Ozuna with the Marlins.
- Levine and associates are long time admirers of Justin Upton. The aforementioned budget constraints restrict the club from making a long term commitment. However, they’ll continue to monitor the status of his market.
- The A’s have “resisted some pretty aggressive suitors” for starting pitcher Sonny Gray, per Beane. “We’ve been adamant with teams that we want to hang on to Gray.” He’s coming off arguably his best season in which he posted a 2.3 ERA, 7.31 K/9, 2.55 BB/9, and a 53 percent ground ball rate over 208 innings. Throughout his three season career, the 26-year-old has relied on inducing weak contact to keep runners off the bases. He’s under club control for four more seasons.
- While outsiders often consider January to be a slow baseball month, Beane maintains that it can be very productive. The A’s are still trying to improve the club via trade. It’s also possible a free agent or two could slip through the cracks.
- The Mets had interest in signing Denard Span before he agreed to terms with the Giants, writes John Harper of the New York Daily News. Per GM Sandy Alderson, payroll wasn’t a deterrent. “The biggest issue for us was the injury.” The Mets have not had a splashy offseason, but the additions of Neil Walker, Alejandro De Aza, and Asdrubal Cabrera feel similar to those of Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe during the season. While Johnson and Uribe were just role players, their arrival on the roster coincided with a surge in the standings. In particular, the addition of De Aza gives the club flexibility to take advantage of any free agents looking for a pillow contract with a contender – perhaps like crowd favorite Yoenis Cespedes.