The big ticket free agents aren’t always the most important offseason additions, writes AJ Cassavell of MLB.com. Using the Steamer projection system, Cassavell takes a look at the six players he thinks will most affect their respective divisions. Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman and Cubs center fielder Jason Heyward are obvious picks. Surprisingly, Cassavell finds Mike Napoli to be the big name in the AL Central while Wade Miley’s move to Seattle could be sneaky important.
Here are a few more notes from around the league:
- Cuban veterans Alexei Bell and Yordanis Linares will hold workouts on February 15 and 16 in Baja California, tweets Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com. Bell, 32, was reported to have left Cuba on January 13 and could fit as a right fielder. Linares’ defection was reported last summer. The 26-year-old doesn’t have enough professional experience in the Serie Nacional to avoid international spending restrictions. Bell, however, can be signed by any team.
- The White Sox should target Yasiel Puig, opines Scott Merkin of MLB.com. Chicago has shown curiosity about the Dodgers outfield depth and could obviously stand to improve in the outfield. Rumors have tied them to veteran lefty Andre Ethier who could provide a useful platoon bat. However, Puig represents a more definitive upgrade with a star ceiling. Unfortunately, young talent comes with a price. Merkin lists pitchers Carson Fulmer, Spencer Adams, and shortstop Tim Anderson as possible targets for the Dodgers. Trading any of that trio would be a bitter pill to swallow.
- The Indians could be a fit for free agent outfielder Austin Jackson, suggest Paul Hoynes of Cleveland.com. Center field depth would be useful considering that Michael Brantley will start the season on the disabled list. Lonnie Chisenhall, Rajai Davis, and Abraham Almonte figure to form the Opening Day outfield, and it’s not hard to see a way to improve upon that trio. At the very least, additional depth in case of injury would be valuable.
- The Rays should consider three more offseason moves, writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. The bullpen could use additional depth – perhaps Tyler Clippard or Tommy Hunter. Either Desmond Jennings or Brandon Guyer can be traded. The team is deepest with them on the roster, but they may be expendable. Jennings’ health may make a trade difficult. Lastly, Ian Desmond looks more and more attractive as a buy low option. The Rays have to be willing to discard their 13th overall selection in the draft if they’re to sign Desmond.