ESPN’s Scott Lauber joins other reporters in downplaying the possibility of Edwin Encarnacion signing with the Red Sox, noting that Boston is reluctant to give that type of long-term commitment to a DH and also isn’t keen on parting with a draft pick to sign him. Boston has been linked to Carlos Beltran extensively, and a source recently told Lauber that the Red Sox still “want him badly.” Boston has also reached out to Mike Napoli, according to Lauber, although if Napoli is truly seeking a three-year commitment (as was rumored yesterday), then the Sox may not want to wait around for his asking price to drop to a more reasonable level.
A few more notes on the free-agent market…
- Angel Pagan is “definitely” on the Orioles’ radar as they look for help in the corner outfield and atop their lineup, reports Dan Connolly of BaltimoreBaseball.com. Though he’s battled injuries in recent years, the 35-year-old somewhat quietly batted .277/.331/.418 with 12 homers and 15 steals in 543 plate appearances for the Giants last year, and Connolly notes that he’d fit the Orioles’ from an offensive, defensive and financial standpoint. Per Connolly, the Orioles aren’t likely to spend heavily to address their leadoff/right field need. In a separate column, he also writes about the possibility of a reunion between Pedro Alvarez and the O’s, noting that some in the organization feel Alvarez is the likeliest of the team’s free agents to return (over Mark Trumbo and Matt Wieters). Connolly also writes that many of Alvarez’s teammates spoke highly of him as both a teammate and a person.
- The Mets still have no intention of pursuing one of the top three closers on the market, reports MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo (Twitter links). DiComo checked in recently on Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen and Mark Melancon and was informed that there’s “little to no interest” from the Mets on that front. Rather, the team is looking at mid-tier free agents, and DiComo lists Fernando Salas as one example. Salas finished out the year in the Mets’ bullpen and performed brilliantly, firing 17 1/3 innings of 2.08 ERA ball with 19 strikeouts and no walks.
- After enjoying a renaissance in the Cubs’ bullpen, Trevor Cahill is marketing himself as a starting pitcher this winter and has already received three offers, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). Still just 28 years old (29 in March), Cahill turned in a 2.74 ERA with 9.1 K/9, 4.8 BB/9 and a robust 56.6 percent ground-ball rate in 65 2/3 innings with the Cubs. While the walks are a concern, Cahill’s relative youth and the dearth of quality arms on the market make him a fairly intriguing roll of the dice in a rotation role.
- The Angels have had some preliminary talks with free agent second baseman Stephen Drew, reports Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (on Twitter). They haven’t had any sort of advanced talks with Drew’s camp though, and Fletcher characterizes him as one of several possibilities that is under consideration while noting that the Halos aren’t close to anything with any second base option. Drew logged a pair of brutal seasons at the plate in 2014-15 but hit well with the Nationals in 2016 when he batted .266/.339/.524 with eight homers in a very limited role. Drew picked up just 17 plate appearances against lefties last year and received only 165 PAs on the season as a whole.