Following their reported signing of Juan Uribe to a one-year deal, the Indians “seem to be considering” a run at free agent outfielder Austin Jackson, tweets Jon Heyman. Cleveland has a well-documented need in the outfield that has yet to be addressed — as Jeff Todd and I discussed on this week’s MLBTR Podcast. Jackson would add some stability to the picture at a potentially bargain rate at this juncture of the offseason and on the heels of a pair of so-so seasons at the plate. Heyman notes that there are other possibilities for Jackson, though, citing the White Sox, Angels, Brewers and “maybe” the Rangers, noting that Texas may not want to spend the money. It’s unclear whether Heyman was merely speculating on that last grouping of teams, though given the Angels’ reluctance to spend on free agents this winter and Texas GM Jon Daniels’ recent comments suggesting the payroll isn’t likely to grow much more, Jackson could be a stretch for either club.
Here’s more on the AL Central…
- Heyman also tweets that the White Sox appear to be open to one more outfield addition — one that can handle playing some center field. Austin Jackson, of course, would fit the bill in that regard, he notes, as would Dexter Fowler, if the Sox are willing to spend more. Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago/670 The Score also writes that the Sox are interested in adding to their outfield depth and are indeed considering Fowler. However, Fowler is said to be one of Baltimore’s top targets, and the O’s reportedly “expect” that they’ll be able to land both Fowler and free-agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo.
- Left-hander Mike Minor, who inked a two-year contract with the Royals earlier today, will be unavailable for the first six weeks to two months of the regular season, general manager Dayton Moore told reporters, including Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star (Twitter link). That Minor will be sidelined for some time to open the season isn’t unexpected, as the former Braves hurler is recovering from surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder.
- The Tigers are reportedly set on adding relief arms to their Spring Training mix after adding Bobby Parnell on a minor league pact, but MLB.com’s Jason Beck tweets that the team could yet bring in another player on a minor league deal — likely an infielder. The infield market has been largely picked clean, though a few recognizable names such as Alberto Callaspo, Jonathan Herrera and Dan Uggla have yet to sign this offseason.
- Twins skipper Paul Molitor tells reporters, including MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger (Twitter link) that heading into Spring Training, he’s considering Kurt Suzuki his starting catcher and trade acquisition John Ryan Murphy the backup. Of course, it’d be somewhat surprising to see a manager promise a starting role to a just-acquired, inexperienced option with a seasoned veteran in house. Suzuki probably will get the nod on Opening Day, and I can imagine him getting some more time early in the year as Murphy learns a new pitching staff and acclimates to his new organization. However, barring a return to 2014 form for Suzuki, it seems likely that Murphy will at least work his way into a larger role than that of a traditional backup catcher, as Minnesota’s hope is that he can develop into its primary catcher beyond the 2016 campaign. It’s worth noting, too, that Suzuki has a $6MM option that will vest at 485 plate appearances. He’s averaged 491 PAs as the clear No. 1 catcher in the past two seasons, and the Twins probably would prefer to avoid that option vesting — especially if Suzuki’s production more closely resembles 2015 than 2014.