The Washington Post’s Barry Svrluga spoke to a number of GMs to get their takes on how draft pick compensation for his latest piece on Ian Desmond and other players that have been burdened by the qualifying offer. As Svrluga notes, former National Denard Span was able to secure a three-year deal despite playing in just 61 games last season and undergoing hip surgery late in the year. “Whether that pick is there or not is huge,” said Giants GM Bobby Evans, who signed Span to the aforementioned three-year, $31MM contract. “It just comes down to cost vs. benefit: How will that free agent benefit your club in the coming year and years ahead vs. the cost — which is not only financial now. It’s also a prospect. In that way, you have to think of it like a trade.” Svrluga also spoke to Padres GM A.J. Preller, White Sox GM Rick Hahn and Angels GM Billy Eppler, the latter of whom explained that while each club values draft picks slightly differently, every team assigns a monetary value to draft selections and stressed the importance of draft picks.
Some more notes on the infield market…
- With the possibility of a Jose Reyes suspension looming, Rockies prospect Trevor Story has put himself in a position to potentially break camp with the club, writes Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. While service time considerations are often a factor when determining the timing of a player’s promotion to the Majors, GM Jeff Bridich tells Saunders that won’t factor into the team’s decision with Story. “That’s not really a consideration,” said Bridich. “I haven’t thought about that one second. I hope he, and every player, makes all of these decisions difficult.” As Saunders notes, with Story, Daniel Descalso, Christian Adames and Rafael Ynoa all serving as options, the Rox are content with their internal options.
- MLB.com’s Thomas Harding further pumps the brakes on any Desmond/Rockies connection, tweeting that the Rockies haven’t really discussed pursuing a veteran option as an alternative to Reyes, and contact with Desmond’s camp has been minimal, despite prior reports.
- The Mariners are checking in with veteran infielders that could potentially make the club and see some time at shortstop as a backup to Ketel Marte, reports Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune. Seattle briefly reached out to Jimmy Rollins prior to his deal with the White Sox, Dutton adds. While the Mariners have Luis Sardinas and Chris Taylor as backup options to Marte, neither has much Major League experience, nor does Marte himself, although Marte was somewhat quietly excellent in his rookie season last year.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post feels that the Yankees are making a mistake by relying on Starlin Castro and Rob Refsnyder as backup options to Chase Headley at third base. Neither player has much in the way of experience at the position, he notes, and while Chase Headley played in 156 games last season, he’s played through a herniated disk in his back and would probably be better-suited to play something closer to 130 games per year, in Sherman’s opinion. Sherman lists some options that the Yankees could keep an eye on in Spring Training as teams evaluate players on the fringe of their 25-man rosters. Interestingly, he notes that New York made a minor league offer to Juan Uribe as well before Uribe took a big league offer to serve as Cleveland’s primary third baseman.
- Pedro Alvarez will seemingly wait to if any additional opportunities present themselves during Spring Training before signing, as ESPN’s Buster Olney wrote in yesterday’s blog post (Insider required). Olney texted agent Scott Boras about his client and was met with the following reply: “Waiting for the best situation. As with all valued players the demand increases as spring training begins.” Interest in the defensively challenged Alvarez has been tepid thus far, but spring injuries often do create opportunities for players seeking a home. An injury to a club’s designated hitter or first baseman could create a suitor for Alvarez that doesn’t presently exist.
- The Angels never presented David Freese with a formal offer when the two sides were discussing a potential reunion earlier this winter, reports MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez. Rather, the Angels shifted focus on picked up Yunel Escobar, whose fairly modest $7MM salary was a key to his acquisition, writes Gonzalez. Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun expressed some bewilderment that his former teammate hasn’t hooked on with a club yet, praising Freese as a positive not only on the field but in the clubhouse as well. “I don’t really know what’s going on,” Calhoun told Gonzalez. “It’s kind of crazy. … Good player, great in the clubhouse. It’s as surprising to me as it is to anyone around baseball.”