Now that the NBA season has come to a spectacular conclusion, check out Hoops Rumors (the basketball wing of the Trade Rumors family) for all of your hardcourt news during what is sure to be a fascinating NBA offseason. Here are some items from around baseball as we wrap up the weekend…
- The Rays would be interested in talking with Carl Crawford if the veteran was open to returning to his old team, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Crawford can be signed for the league minimum after being released by the Dodgers, as L.A. would be responsible for the rest of the approximately $35MM remaining on the outfielder’s contract. Crawford still put up fairly productive numbers as a Dodger despite a plethora of injuries, so he could be of us to a Rays team that has three outfielders (Kevin Kiermaier, Steven Souza, Brandon Guyer) on the DL.
- From that same item, Topkin looks at some of the major names who could have been Rays had the club drafted differently or kept future stars at earlier stages in their development. Topkin notes that every team in baseball could create a similar “what if?” roster but given how much Tampa relies on cheap young talent via the draft, it’s particularly intriguing to imagine a reality where the likes of Nolan Arenado, Buster Posey or Andrew McCutchen became Rays (especially since the players Tampa Bay drafted ahead of them all became busts).
- The Diamondbacks’ Brandon Drury is a fit as a possible third base target for the Mets, though a source tells John Harper of the New York Daily News that Arizona holds Drury in high value. For Drury, the D’Backs would likely ask the Mets for someone like Zack Wheeler in return, which Harper figures is way too high a price in a one-for-one trade. Drury was actually demoted today by the D’Backs in an effort to give him regular playing time rather than ride the bench on Arizona’s crowded roster. The 23-year-old has a .270/.310/.450 slash line and eight homers over 213 PA for the Snakes, numbers boosted by a huge performance over the first six weeks of the season.
- From that same Harper item, two scouts discussed Cuban superstar Yulieski Gurriel, noting that while Gurriel has looked impressive in the past, they would need a fresh look given Gurriel’s age (32). That age will surely limit the size of Gurriel’s eventual contract, as “even if he looks good in a workout, I wouldn’t give him more than two years,” one scout said, though he did predict an average annual value for Gurriel in the range of $10-$11MM per season. As one former Mets player anonymously told Harper, Gurriel makes a lot of sense for New York to replace the injured David Wright at third base.
- Though the Phillies have very little money tied up in future salary commitments beyond this season, Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer doubts the club will be significant spenders in free agency this winter. The Phils are still comitted to their youth movement, so it doesn’t make much sense to sign a big-ticket veteran at this stage in the rebuilding process. With another year or two to establish the young core, Gelb figures the Phillies could strike in the 2017-18 free agent market or the star-studded 2018-19 market.
- Mark Lowe signed a two-year, $11MM free agent deal with the Tigers last winter but has struggled horribly in Detroit, posting a 10.71 ERA over 21 innings. There isn’t much the Tigers can do with Lowe, MLB.com’s Jason Beck writes, unless they’re willing to eat the remaining money or if Lowe is willing to accept a minor league assignment.