- Prior to tearing his ACL, Wilson Ramos was aiming at a $100MM contract in free agency. It’s an eye-popping number, as Joe Mauer ($184MM from the Twins) and Buster Posey ($167MM) are the only catchers to crack the nine-figure threshold. Both of those deals were extensions rather than free agent contracts, and both Mauer and Posey had more consistent track records than Ramos. It’s quite common for a player and his representatives to aim high with an initial asking price, of course, especially when that player is the top free agent at his position. Injury notwithstanding, Ramos is still expected to receive significant interest, to the point that he is still looking for four or five years on the open market.
- The Mets will indeed tender a contract to first baseman Lucas Duda. MLBTR projects Duda to earn $6.7MM in arbitration this winter, following a rough year that saw Duda spend much of the season on the DL due to a stress fracture in his lower back. He hit just .229/.302/.412 with seven homers over 172 PA in 2016, though given the first baseman’s strong production in previous seasons, the Mets are surely counting on a bounce-back next year when Duda is healthy.
- “Nothing’s close” on a reunion between the Mets and Bartolo Colon, though the team has interest in bringing the veteran back and “no one would be surprised” if the two sides work out another contract.
- “It would be an upset” if the Diamondbacks hire anyone other than Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo as their new manager, Heyman writes. Lovullo has been widely connected to the Arizona job from virtually the moment former Boston GM Mike Hazen took over as the D’Backs’ new general manager. Hazen does plan to interview between 5-7 candidates as part of a managerial search, and as of last Tuesday, the D’Backs hadn’t yet asked the Sox for permission to speak with Lovullo.
- One executive suggests Dexter Fowler should accept the Cubs’ qualifying offer, though Heyman believes the center fielder can top the one-year, $17.2MM offer in free agency. I agree with Heyman; while the QO limited Fowler’s market last winter, his outstanding season for the NL champions should easily net him a nice multi-year deal this offseason.
- Assuming Fowler leaves, Heyman notes that the Cubs face an “interesting” outfield situation with Kyle Schwarber, Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward all best suited to playing the corners. It should be noted that Chicago faced a similar scenario last winter prior to Fowler’s unexpected return, as the Cubs had Schwarber and Jorge Soler lined up for the corner outfield spots and Heyward was going to play center. Heyward has posted excellent defensive metrics over his brief (404 innings) time as a center fielder during his career, though since Heyward is arguably the best defensive right fielder in the game, any lessening of his value could be a problem given how badly Heyward fell off at the plate this year. The versatile Zobrist is now locked into outfield duty with Javier Baez’s emergence at second while Soler and Albert Almora are also in the outfield mix, so the Cubs are fully stocked with outfield options.
- The Blue Jays have parted ways with scout Ed Lynch. Best known as the Cubs’ GM from 1994 to 2000, Lynch had been working as a scout for the Jays since 2010.