While the total value of international signings grabs most of the headlines, it’s also interesting to look at the volume, and Ben Badler of Baseball America recently did just that. Over the calendar year of 2015, the Yankees signed more talent from outside the United States — 57 players in all — than any team in baseball. The AL East as a whole was active, per Badler, with the Red Sox and Rays also falling in the top five (but the Blue Jays and Orioles sitting in the bottom ten).
Let’s take a look at the latest out of the division:
- Despite the Yankees’ stockpile of powerful late-inning arms, the club is on the lookout for middle relievers with camp winding down, Jon Heyman of MLB Network tweets. Current options include pitchers such as right-handers Bryan Mitchell, Johnny Barbato, and Branden Pinder and lefties Chasen Shreve, Tyler Olson, and James Pazos — most of whom have quite limited experience in the majors. While it’s easy to imagine these and other arms all spending time at the big league level, it also makes sense for the club to pursue a veteran addition or two.
- Ivan Nova and CC Sabathia are fighting for the final Yankees rotation spot, with the loser likely to open in the pen. As ESPNNewYork.com’s Andrew Marchand reports, the club is giving real consideration to using Sabathia in relief despite his huge contract. But Nova didn’t perform well at all today in his penultimate start, as Chad Jennings of the LoHud Yankees Blog writes.
- The Red Sox’ “stance doesn’t seem to have changed” on Padres righty James Shields, per ESPN.com’s Scott Lauber (via Twitter), with concerns persisting as to whether his flyball-heavy batted ball results would play well at Fenway. That factor played an important role in the club’s decision not to pursue him in free agency, and the Sox appear uninterested in chasing him now via trade. It was reported earlier today that Boston has been in touch with San Diego on pitchers, but there are certainly other names that may have been of greater interest.
- Meanwhile, Red Sox skipper John Farrell says that utilityman Brock Holt could see significant action in the outfield, as Tim Britton of the Providence Journal reports. “There is a chance for him to get a good number of at-bats out in left field,” said Farrell. “How those at-bats in left field are divvied up, that remains to be seen. I’m not going to say it’s a strict platoon, but there are going to be multiple guys getting at-bats out of that position.” Needless to say, that statement represents a signal that Rusney Castillo will need to earn his playing time, as he’ll also face competition from Chris Young. Boston has endeavored to light a fire under several presumed regulars this spring, with other options helping to force the action with strong showings.
- The Orioles not only offered Dexter Fowler $33MM over three years, but would’ve gone as high as $36MM, Heyman tweets. It seemed at one point, of course, that Baltimore was set to sign the outfielder before he would up back in Chicago for one year and $13MM.