Here are some hot stove items from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe…
- The Royals and Phillies are among the teams looking at Braves outfielder Nick Markakis. “The money is an issue there, especially with the Royals,” Cafardo writes; Markakis is owed $10.5MM in each of the next two seasons and roughly $7.25MM remaining on his 2016 salary. Markakis entered Sunday hitting .252/.362/.348 in 185 PA, and his near-total power dropoff over the last two seasons has surely hurt his trade value, as MLBTR’s Connor Byrne pointed out earlier today. While both K.C. and the Phils could use help in right field, Markakis has delivered only replacement-level production this season, with an even 0.0 fWAR.
- The Reds’ Jay Bruce is another target for the Royals and other teams looking for a left-handed hitting outfielder. Bruce’s terrible defensive metrics (-9 Defensive Runs Saved, -34 UZR/150) have his overall value at below replacement level (-0.2 fWAR) though he’s enjoying a good year at the plate, hitting .270/.327/.518 with eight homers through 156 PA. Bruce is under contract only through the 2016 season, owed approximately $8.1MM more in remaining salary plus a $1MM buyout of a $13MM club option for his services in 2017. Cincinnati has been shopping Bruce for months, including one proposed offseason trade that nearly saw him get shipped to the Blue Jays.
- Jason McLeod, the Cubs’ senior VP of player development and amateur scouting, would eventually like to run his own front office but is content to remain with Chicago, having already turned down interviews with the Mariners and Padres in recent years. McLeod figures to be one of the game’s most sought-after GM candidates should he decide to pursue a general managing position. Between his stints running the scouting departments for the Cubs, Padres and Red Sox, several well-regarded young prospects and currently stars were drafted on McLeod’s watch.
- Cuban infielder Jose Miguel Fernandez is eligible to sign at any time, though he could possibly have to wait until the offseason simply due to awkward timing. Though Fernandez is 28, an eight-year veteran in Cuba’s top league and is pitched by his agent Alan Nero as a Ben Zobrist or Dustin Pedroia type of player, he won’t be able to immediately help an MLB club. Fernandez hasn’t played since 2014 so he’ll need some minor league time to get back into game shape.
- As per “a couple of GMs” and at least one AL talent evaluator, Tim Lincecum made a mistake in coming to the American League to sign the Angels. “I just don’t see his style of pitching at this juncture in his career working in the AL,” the evaluator said. “The designated hitter makes a big difference, and when you have a guy who relies on having to be pinpoint, that makes it a tough league to succeed.” Lincecum was known to prefer pitching for a West Coast team so his choices were somewhat limited in that sense, especially given that the two-time Cy Young Award winner also wanted to start.
- As of last week, Josh Reddick told Cafardo that there wasn’t any progress towards an extension with the Athletics. Much has changed, of course, since Reddick’s chat with Cafardo, as the outfielder suffered a fractured left thumb and will miss several weeks of action.