Here’s the latest from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, via his weekly Full Count video…
- Carlos Beltran wants to keep playing beyond this season and there’s a chance he could return to the Royals in 2017. Kansas City will have a vacancy at DH next season since Kendrys Morales is a free agent, and the Royals made a push to sign Beltran in the 2013-14 offseason before the Yankees boosted their offer to include a third guaranteed year. Beltran, who turns 39 tomorrow, is still swinging a strong bat, and it’s possible he could better preserve himself in a regular DH role — Alex Rodriguez’s presence in New York has kept Beltran mostly in right field as a Yankee.
- Aside from Ian Kennedy, the Royals also targeted free agent hurlers Zack Greinke, Wei-Yin Chen and Mike Leake as good fits for their rotation last winter. “All throw changeups, all field their positions well and, most importantly, all command their fastballs,” Rosenthal noted, and GM Dayton Moore told him that pitchers who tend to fall behind in the count didn’t mesh with the Royals’ style. K.C. ended up signing Kennedy to a five-year, $70MM contract, which was less than the five years/$80MM Leake and Chen respectively received from the Cardinals and Marlins and obviously well below Greinke’s $206.5MM megadeal with the Diamondbacks. (Leake, unlike the other three, didn’t have qualifying offer draft compensation to his services.) In the early going, Kennedy has been outstanding as a Royal, posting a 1.35 ERA over his first three starts.
- The Athletics’ good start will make it less likely that Sonny Gray is traded, though Rosenthal notes that even if Gray was shopped and a team was willing to give up “a ton” for the star righty, the A’s would still face a tough decision about pulling the trigger on a deal. Gray will become eligible for arbitration next winter, and though his arb costs may eventually price him out of Oakland’s comfort zone, Gray would still certainly be “affordable” for the A’s in 2017 (and really a bargain if he continues to post ace-type numbers).
- In another video from Rosenthal, he notes that the Astros might eventually need to make a trade to add some velocity to their rotation. Houston’s starters entered today with the lowest average velocity (87.8 mph) of any club in baseball, with the Orioles next to last at 90.1 mph. The rotation woes are just one of many problems plaguing the Astros right now as the team is off to a rough 5-12 start.