In today’s column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wonders where James Loney might fit in with the Rays this year. The veteran is currently behind the platoon of Steve Pearce and Logan Morrison at first and he’s also blocked at DH and left field by Corey Dickerson and Desmond Jennings, respectively. With a salary of $8MM, the Rays have been unable to find a taker for Loney via trade, though they are willing to eat some of that money to facilitate a deal.
Here’s more from today’s column:
- The Orioles are still considering a deal for Reds outfielder Jay Bruce as they try to bolster their lineup in March. The O’s are also considering Austin Jackson, but Bruce could be considered the better fit thanks to his power. Bruce will make $12.5MM in 2016, plus a $1MM buyout or a $13MM option in 2017, which isn’t exactly chump change. Also, even though Bruce has some excellent campaigns on his resume, his play over the past two seasons hasn’t been all that strong.
- One NL exec says a few teams have ID’d Red Sox catcher Ryan Hanigan as a possible trade target this summer. Red Sox officials have said that it’s unlikely they would part with Hanigan due to the inexperience of Blake Swihart and fellow youngster Christian Vazquez. However, rival officials aren’t sold on that and believe that Hanigan could be more available than Boston is letting on. Hanigan has a $3.7MM salary for 2016 with an option for 2017.
- Can new Dodgers pitcher Kenta Maeda be effective in his first MLB season? One scout who watched him throw in Japan isn’t so sure. “His stuff isn’t as good as [Masahiro] Tanaka and he’s more a middle to end of the rotation type of guy,” said the scout. “I don’t know how his fastball plays in the big leagues. I think he’s got the secondary pitches, but the quality of hitters he’ll face may be a challenge at first.” The Dodgers will be without Brett Anderson for the next three to five months, so they are certainly hoping that Maeda can hit the ground running.
- Agent Randy Rowley tells Cafardo that Justin Masterson will throw a bullpen session for several teams towards the end of March.
- The trade sending John Ryan Murphy to the Twins in exchange for outfielder Aaron Hicks was “the best pure baseball deal of the offseason,” in the opinion of one official who spoke with Cafardo. That official, Cafardo notes, was not involved in the swap in any way. Hicks, a defensive specialist, posted a .256/.323/.398 batting line in 2015 and added 13 steals, numbers that made him a little more attractive to the Bombers. The Twins, meanwhile, got themselves an upgrade behind the plate in the wake of Kurt Suzuki’s struggles.
- Free agent outfielder Grady Sizemore hasn’t received much interest to date. The veteran spent the second half of last season with the Rays.