The Blue Jays are not showing any interest in rekindling talks with Jose Bautista, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag reports in his latest notes post. The departure of Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion drew down a big chunk of the team’s right-handed power, which helps explain the interest in some less pricey options, but it had seemed that the club would at least explore returns for both. With Kendrys Morales now on hand, the likelihood seemed reduced, but it’s interesting to hear that the door may nearly be closed on Bautista.
- Encarnacion, meanwhile, is among the players drawing interest from the Yankees, Heyman reports in another post. New York has seemingly cast quite a wide net, it should be noted, with GM Brian Cashman suggesting he could go in any number of directions in bolstering the lineup now that Brian McCann is playing in Houston.
- The Rays are indeed interested in Jason Castro, Heyman adds (and as others have recently suggested could be the case). But it seems there’s rather a robust market forming for the lefty-swinging backstop, which makes it a bit hard to imaging Tampa Bay beating out the competition.
- Jason Heyward’s dreadful first season with the Cubs isn’t likely to result in a change of scenery, Heyman also reports. There has been no mention of the still-youthful outfielder in trade talks this winter, which certainly isn’t surprising give that there’s $169MM left on his contract. Even if Chicago were to desire a trade, it would likely have little choice but to hope that Heyward can find his way at the plate to rebuild some value.
- Some teams are showing interest in Tigers righty Anibal Sanchez, Heyman reports. Though his contract ($21MM owed between 2017 and a 2018 option buyout) is well under water, it could be that the club could save some cash if it’s willing to pay a decent chunk of what’s owed. Sanchez has been tagged with a 5.42 ERA over the last two seasons, with gobs of home runs more than offsetting strikeout and walk numbers that are within his typical range. But plenty of organizations are looking for innings, and might see some bounceback potential in the 32-year-old.
- Teams are always looking for value in their pitching acquisitions, of course, and giving shots to veterans sometimes pans out. One hurler who could draw some looks this winter is Justin Masterson, who Heyman says is believed to be healthy after battling through shoulder issues. While he’s still just 31, Masterson hasn’t been effective in the big leagues since 2013, and managed only a 4.97 ERA with 5.3 K/9 against 4.3 BB/9 with a 1.620 WHIP at Triple-A last year for the Pirates. He did finish his minor-league season on a high note, though, and it seems reasonable to expect that some organization will be intrigued enough by his previously established ceiling to bring him in on a minor-league deal.