With the Dodgers in payroll-trimming mode, they’re probably not legitimate threats to sign free agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, observes FanRag’s Jon Heyman, who lists the Giants and Nationals as likelier landing spots (Twitter link). The Giants are known to be in the market for an outfielder, having discussed J.D. Martinez with the Tigers, and the Nats tried to sign Cespedes last offseason before he re-upped with the Mets. Executives around the majors expect big moves from Washington this winter, and signing Cespedes – MLBTR’s top-ranked free agent – would clearly qualify as a significant splash.
Elsewhere around the majors…
- Having acquired shortstop Jean Segura and outfielder Mitch Haniger from the Diamondbacks on Wednesday, Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto is content with his team’s group of position players, he told MLB Network Radio on Sunday (Twitter links). Dipoto had to give up right-hander Taijuan Walker in the deal, though, so he’s now looking to pick up a replacement. “We would like to find one more starting pitcher,” said Dipoto. Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma and James Paxton are shoo-ins for jobs next year, meaning the addition of another starter could push Nate Karns or Ariel Miranda out of the rotation.
- Walker’s numbers over 134 1/3 innings in 2016 were respectable (4.22 ERA, 7.97 K/9 and 2.48 BB/9), but the highly talented 24-year-old hasn’t yet emerged as a top-of-the-rotation starter. Mariners pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. expects that to change. “There’s so much upside in this guy,” Stottlemyre told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. “I know a lot of people have waited for him to kind of come around and put things together. I think he was starting to do that this last month.” After a disastrous Sept. 3 start in which he allowed five earned runs and recorded only two outs, Walker – with Stottlemyre’s help – made changes to his delivery. He then logged five more September starts and recorded a 2.93 ERA with 27 strikeouts against 13 walks in 30 2/3 innings. “When he can find himself, he’s got a chance to be a beast,” Stottlemyre said. “Until then, like all young players, he’s going to have some ups and downs. But I’m convinced he’s headed in the right direction and he can move forward now with his game plan and his approach.”
- The next collective bargaining agreement could feature an international draft, but significantly raising bonus pool allotments and giving every team the same spending limit would make more sense, writes Ben Badler of Baseball America. If that were to happen, all 30 clubs would be on the same financial footing and the prospects would be able to negotiate freely with as many teams as they want. Additionally, Badler argues that his plan would make CBA negotiations easier because it would give the union one fewer gripe and take away the need for the owners to make a major concession elsewhere.