Here’s the latest from around the American League…
- Money could prevent a reunion between Rajai Davis and the Indians, Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. The Tribe would like to bring back the veteran outfielder, though there isn’t any payroll space after Cleveland went above and beyond their financial comfort zone to land Edwin Encarnacion. Pluto thinks Davis could only come back to the Tribe if he fails to drum up enough interest from other teams, though that seems unlikely given his still-excellent baserunning. It’s worth noting that the Orioles are the only team known to have interest in Davis’ services this winter, so if his market continues to be quiet, it wouldn’t seem to be out of the question that Davis returns to Cleveland next year.
- In a recent piece about the Blue Jays and Jose Bautista, Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star cites Brett Gardner as one of multiple “trade avenues to explore” for the Jays before they would considering re-signing Bautista. The Yankees are known to have received some interest in Gardner this winter, and this is the first time Toronto has been linked to the veteran, though Griffin’s comment could imply more a due-diligence type of a check-in on the Blue Jays’ part rather than a solid interest. Gardner’s overall hitting numbers declined in 2016, though he still checks a lot of boxes for the Jays as a good on-base threat and leadoff man, a left-handed hitter and an excellent baserunner and defensive left fielder. The 33-year-old is owed $25MM in guaranteed salary over the next two seasons. A complicating factor, of course, could be the fact that the two teams are division rivals — the Blue Jays and Yankees haven’t collaborated on a trade since 2002.
- The Twins have some leverage in shopping Brian Dozier since, as the slugging second baseman is under contract for two more affordable years, Minnesota can simply keep Dozier in the fold if it can’t find an acceptable trade offer for him this winter. In his latest subscription-only column, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney warns that waiting to find a perfect deal for Dozier is something of a risk for the Twins, as Dozier’s value may never be higher than it is right now. Dozier is prone to extended slumps (he hit very poorly in the last two months of the 2015 season and in the first two months of the 2016 season) that could lower his trade value if he gets off to another slow start.
- Also from Olney, he opines that “it seems inevitable” that the Red Sox will be looking for (ironically) a Clay Buchholz-like pitcher in trade talks, if not necessarily re-acquiring Buchholz himself from the Phillies. Boston dealt Buchholz two weeks ago in order to get his salary off the books for luxury tax purposes and to alleviate a seeming rotation surplus. With Eduardo Rodriguez suffering another (apparently minor) injury to his surgically-repaired right knee and Steven Wright and Drew Pomeranz also carrying injury concerns from last year, there are certainly some questions about the last two spots in the Red Sox rotation.