Before he signed on with the Reds, righty Alfredo Simon drew interest from some other organizations — which helps explains why Cincinnati ultimately gave him a guaranteed $2MM contract. Simon says that the Blue Jays were one team with interest, as MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon tweets. And the Marlins also reached out, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, though the club wasn’t willing to promise that kind of money to the veteran.
Here’s more on some market situations around the game:
- The Marlins appear unlikely to add Tim Lincecum despite long being said to have interest in the comeback candidate, Jackson adds in the above-linked piece. Miami expects the price will be too steep for him, too. The Fish are not being particularly aggressive in attempting to fill in for injured reliever Carter Capps, Jackson adds.
- Righty Aaron Harang is “not planning to pitch this season,” according to ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick (Twitter link), though he’s also apparently not quite ready to sign his retirement papers. Harang is leaving open the possibility that he’ll change his mind, per the report. That could suggest that the 37-year-old would entertain an appealing opportunity, but he presumably wasn’t interested in taking a minor league offer to compete for a job in camp. Harang had a tough season last year with the Phillies, but is only one campaign removed from posting a 3.57 ERA over 204 1/3 frames for the Braves.
- The Astros are among a few clubs taking a look at out-of-options Blue Jays catcher A.J. Jimenez, the Houston Chronicle’s Jose de Jesus Ortiz reports (via Twitter). Jimenez, 25, hasn’t yet cracked the majors and hasn’t done much at the plate in the upper minors while dealing with a string of injuries. But he’s a former top-30 Baseball America organizational prospect, and is said to be a high-quality defender. Houston, of course, has a need with Max Stassi sidelined by wrist surgery, and Toronto doesn’t appear to have any inclination to put Jimenez onto the active roster.
- Cuban free agent Vladimir Gutierrez has re-established some of his lost sheen with an impressive recent showcase outing, Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports (subscription required and recommended). The 20-year-old has gone unsigned despite his strong prospect pedigree, with Cooper explaining that he’s churned through three agencies while struggling to show the same ability that first drew scouts to him in his homeland. In his most recent outing, Gutierrez touched the mid-90s with his fastball, showed a return to his typically excellent curve, and even demonstrated progress with his change, according to the report. He remains eligible to sign at any time, though he will still be subject to international bonus pools.
- Speaking of international matters, the Padres have long been expected to make some big investments in the coming months. Cuban second baseman Jose Fernandez may well be a leading name that will head to San Diego, according to a recent report from Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com (Twitter link). Fernandez reportedly left the island in search of a major league opportunity, though he has apparently not yet been granted free agency. Of course, recent rule changes could significantly impact his timeline. Fernandez, 27, is viewed as being more or less ready for major league action, and he could constitute a significant near and long-term addition for a Padres organization that lacks much certainty in the infield.