Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed optimism about negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement earlier this month, and players’ association executive director Tony Clark did the same Saturday, according to FanRag’s Jon Heyman. “I’ve always been a glass half-full guy. We continue to work. We continue to go through the issues,” said Clark, who didn’t reveal if the draft-pick compensation attached to the qualifying offer will remain the same in the next CBA. In the current agreement that’s set to expire in December, a team receives a first-round pick if it issues a QO to an impending free agent and he then signs elsewhere.
More from Heyman:
- The Orioles are still mulling whether to qualify catcher Matt Wieters, relays Heyman, who notes that the next CBA could affect their decision. Baltimore tendered a QO last year to Wieters, who accepted it and remained with the team on a $15.8MM salary. Wieters then had arguably the worst season of his career, hitting .243/.302/.409 in 464 plate appearances and grading poorly as a defender. In the event the Orioles qualify Wieters again and he accepts, he’ll be on their books for $17.2MM in 2017 – his age-31 season.
- The Rangers are interested in re-signing outfielder Carlos Gomez, reports Heyman. It’s already known that team president and GM Jon Daniels is prioritizing center field, so bringing back Gomez wouldn’t be surprising. The Astros released Gomez in August after a dismal showing dating back to 2015, but he was resurgent down the stretch for a Rangers club that plucked him off the scrapheap. Serving as primarily a corner outfielder while Ian Desmond manned center, Gomez hit .284/.362/.543 with eight home runs in 130 PAs to rebuild some of his stock before free agency. Desmond is also slated to hit the open market, and Daniels observed that he and Gomez “have kind of a similar profile.”
- Blue Jays outfielder Michael Saunders is another qualifying offer candidate, but it could be “tough” for the team to issue him one, Heyman opines. General manager Ross Atkins said earlier this week the Jays were “still working” on what to do with Saunders, whose 2016 was a tale of two halves. Saunders, 30 in November, slashed .298/.372/.551 in 305 PAs before the All-Star break and posted an ugly second-half line of .178/.282/.357 in 185 trips to the plate.
- Cubs bench coach Dave Martinez and Indians first base coach Sandy Alomar Jr. seem likely to interview for the Rockies’ managerial opening after the World Series, per Heyman, who also names a few previously reported candidates in Marlins bench coach Tim Wallach, former Padres manager Bud Black, ex-Astros skipper Brad Mills and Rockies Triple-A manager Glenallen Hill.