The latest news and notes from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe…
- The Astros have a lot of interest in Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland, though Cafardo doubts a trade is likely given Texas’ lack of first base depth in the wake of Prince Fielder’s retirement. (It would also be very unusual to see a trade between two division rivals in a pennant race, even if Houston has fallen well behind Texas in the AL West.) The Astros already have a left-handed hitting first baseman in rookie A.J. Reed, though Reed is still a work in progress despite some improved hitting over the last couple of weeks. While it doesn’t seem like Texas would deal Moreland, he has cleared trade waivers, so he can freely moved to any other club.
- The Nationals’ trade of Sandy Leon to the Red Sox for cash considerations in March 2015 drew little attention at the time, though it has become an unexpectedly important deal given how Leon has blossomed in Boston. Leon entered the day with a stunning 1.088 OPS over 158 plate appearances this season, completely dwarfing anything he’d done at the major or minor league levels. “I personally signed Sandy Leon when he was 16½ years old…My name is on that one,” Nats GM Mike Rizzo said. “He was a good catch-and-throw kid, and what a kid. He’s one of the greatest young men I’ve ever been around. I’m so happy he’s doing well especially offensively, but I never saw it coming.”
- The Red Sox could fill David Ortiz’s big shoes by DH at pursuing free agents Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista, Carlos Beltran, Mike Napoli or Mark Trumbo this winter, as Cafardo feels the team will look for an external solution. The simplest move would be to move Hanley Ramirez to DH, though that leaves both corner infield spots up in the air given the uncertainty around Pablo Sandoval’s weight, Travis Shaw’s ability to play every day and the development of prospects Yoan Moncada and Sam Travis.
- Carlos Gomez drew interest from several teams before signing with the Rangers, with Cafardo adding the Indians and Blue Jays to the list of clubs already known to have been looking at the veteran outfielder. Gomez likely would’ve served as platoon partner for Tyler Naquin in center for the Tribe, though despite Michael Brantley missing virtually the entire season, Cleveland’s outfield has actually been pretty solid thanks to unexpected contributions from Naquin, Rajai Davis and (when he hasn’t been at third) Jose Ramirez. Gomez could’ve filled in the Jays outfield while Bautista and Kevin Pillar are on the DL, though his role would’ve been rather unclear once both returned.
- Yasiel Puig “is considered toxic at the moment” and it seems unlikely that another team will take him off the Dodgers’ hands. One Dodgers official isn’t entirely closing the door on Puig remaining in L.A., saying “At some point, the talent, the maturity is going to take hold. Someone will benefit from it. We hope it’s us, but it’s hard to envision it right now.”