The Dodgers intend to pursue reunions with at least four prominent free agents, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag. Excellent third baseman Justin Turner, relief ace Kenley Jansen, late-breaking lefty Rich Hill, and veteran second baseman Chase Utley would all hold interest to Los Angeles, per the report, though age considerations and the presence of internal alternatives could limit the club’s willingness to top the market for those players. The 28-year-old Jansen may be the highest priority among this group, Heyman suggests. While the Dodgers haven’t exactly broken the bank on relief arms under president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, it seems Jansen could warrant an exception given his unbelievable performance level. All said, Heyman suggests it would be surprising if L.A. doesn’t bring back at least two of those four players.
Here are some more of Heyman’s latest notes, from his weekly column:
- The Braves and Yankees have tabled any talks pertaining to catcher Brian McCann until the offseason, which may not bode well for New York’s chances to trade him to Atlanta. Heyman writes that the Braves have interest in Matt Wieters, Jason Castro and top free agent catcher Wilson Ramos, whom they’d love to snatch away from the division-rival Nationals. Atlanta is willing to pay half of the remaining $34MM McCann is owed from 2017-18. They’re also looking to add a rotation piece for 2017 and beyond, if not two, as a number of their top-ranked minor league arms are still a ways off from the Majors (which, of course, could make them appealing trade chips in an offseason where the free agent market is devoid of talented starters).
- Mike Napoli, who is enjoying a rebound season at the plate with the Indians, has said he’d like to remain in Cleveland, though the two sides aren’t engaged in talks. Napoli’s defense and baserunning have torpedoed his WAR totals, but he’s batted a well-above-average .259/.345/.494 with 29 home runs in his first season with Cleveland. His bat should draw plenty of interest this winter despite the fact that he’ll turn 35 on Halloween.
- Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki hopes to play again in 2017 and would like to stay in Miami, per the report. With his club option valued at only $2MM, that may be a fairly easy pick-up for the organization. Playing in his age-42 season in 2016, Ichiro has compiled a useful .294/.365/.366 batting line over 296 plate appearances, continues to rate as an average or better fielder and overall baserunner, and has even cracked double-digit stolen bases for the 16th-straight season.
- Another aging veteran who intends to continue his career, says Heyman, is Mets righty Bartolo Colon. It’s not yet clear how his market will develop — we don’t know what level of interest New York will have, or whether the 43-year-old will be looking for multiple years — but there certainly ought to be ample interest given that Colon has provided 158 2/3 innings of 3.35 ERA pitching thus far in 2016. Even if the peripherals don’t quite line up with those bottom-line results, he’ll be among the more durable and effective pitchers available on a forthcoming seller’s market for starters.
- There’s no sense that the Reds are interested in making a change at manager, Heyman says. Skipper Bryan Price’s contract does expire after the year, but with some positive signs in the second half — excluding a current four-game skid, at least — it seems he could be retained.