Here are the latest rumblings from the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, who’s looking ahead to the offseason:
- The Red Sox will be in the market for a big bat to replace retiring designated hitter David Ortiz, which could lead them to pursue free agents-to-be Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista, Carlos Beltran, Mark Trumbo and Mike Napoli. Boston is quite familiar with all of those players – Encarnacion, Bautista and Trumbo are currently in its division, while Beltran was in the AL East until the Yankees traded him to Texas in July. Napoli, who’s in the midst of a bounce-back year in Cleveland, is the only member of the group with past Red Sox experience. The soon-to-be 35-year-old was with Boston from 2013-15 and was a key part of its latest World Series-winning team in his first season with the club.
- If the Twins shop slugging second baseman Brian Dozier during the winter, they’ll likely want front-line pitching in return, per Cafardo. Dozier, who is one home run shy of joining Rogers Hornsby, Ryne Sandberg and Davey Johnson as the only second basemen to hit 40 in a season, is on an eminently affordable contract over the next two seasons. The 29-year-old power and speed threat is owed a combined $15MM through the 2018 campaign.
- Even though the Blue Jays have undergone a regime change since they tried to acquire first baseman Joey Votto from the Reds last summer, talks could restart if Toronto loses both Encarnacion and Bautista in free agency. Cincinnati would also have to eat some of the $192MM left on Votto’s contract to make a deal possible, according to Cafardo. Votto, a Toronto native, is enjoying yet another brilliant season, having slashed .315/.433/.525 with 23 homers in 589 plate appearances.
- While the White Sox will listen to teams’ proposals for left-handed ace Chris Sale after the season, a deal seems unlikely. “The odds of getting what we feel we need to get are slim. That’s why I think Chris will be with us in 2017,” a White Sox source told Cafardo. That jibes with an earlier report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, who relayed that White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf doesn’t want to move Sale.
- The Brewers and Dodgers are likely to revisit talks centering on outfielders Ryan Braun and Yasiel Puig in the offseason, a Dodgers source told Cafardo. Los Angeles placed Puig on revocable waivers in August, and the Brewers won the claim. The teams then discussed him and Braun, but a deal didn’t come to fruition.