The Dodgers wrapped up their five-year agreement with Kenley Jansen yesterday and are nearing the completion of a four-year deal with Justin Turner — both ESPN’s Jim Bowden and FanRag’s Jon Heyman have reported today that just small details remain to be worked out — but Doug Padilla of ESPN.com reports that the impending re-signing of Turner doesn’t close the door on a trade for Minnesota’s Brian Dozier. Per Padilla, a trade package for the Twins’ slugging second baseman might have to center around right-hander Jose De Leon or a similar asset, but the Dodgers are reluctant to part with De Leon. A reunion with 2016 second baseman Chase Utley hasn’t been entirely ruled out either, according to Padilla. Utley delivered a solid season on a one-year deal with the Dodgers last year, hitting .252/.319/.396 with 14 homers, but Utley logged a dismal .154/.206/.264 slash in 97 plate appearances against lefties. The Dodgers’ greatest weakness in 2016 may have been their struggles against southpaws — an area where Dozier could provide a significant boost (.282/.353/.613 in 2016, .270/.343/.512 in his career).
A few more notes regarding the offseason trade and free-agent markets…
- FOX’s Ken Rosenthal tweets that with Jansen back in the fold, the Dodgers aren’t planning on offering more than a one-year deal to any free agent relievers. That, he notes, could take them out of the mix for Greg Holland in the event that Holland is still eyeing multi-year deals. Of course, it should be noted that it’s difficult to definitively rule the Dodgers out of making a bargain two-year play later in the offseason. If a pitcher that is widely believed to sign a lucrative two- or three-year pact at present sees his market crumble somewhat and loers his asking price on a two-year pact a few months from now, one can imagine the Dodgers jumping in and making a value play.
- Both the Rangers and Orioles have expressed some level of interest in free-agent slugger Chris Carter, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi (on Twitter). Neither team is especially close to a deal with Carter, however, he cautions. The seriousness of the interest from Texas and Baltimore isn’t clear from Morosi’s brief report, though it’s easy to see how Carter could fit into the plans of either team. The Rangers abruptly lost Prince Fielder this past season when neck issues forced him to retire, while first baseman Mitch Moreland hit free agency and agreed to a deal with the Red Sox. The Orioles, meanwhile, could lose both Mark Trumbo and Pedro Alvarez to free agency, though they’re said to be in talks about retaining Trumbo. There’s certainly an argument that Carter is a similar and more cost-effective alternative to Trumbo, especially if the O’s are planning to use either at DH moving forward. Carter was non-tendered by Milwaukee last month on the heels of a .222/.321/.499 batting line and an NL-best 41 homers (as well as an NL-worst 206 strikeouts).
- Morosi also tweets that the Astros have had some talks with the Tigers regarding left-handed reliever Justin Wilson. Houston joins the Cubs as the most recent team to be linked to Wilson, who pitched to a 4.14 ERA in his first season with Detroit but also recorded career-bests in K/9, BB/9 and ground-ball rate. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz pegs him for a reasonable $2.7MM next year, and Wilson will be controllable through the 2018 season via the arbitration process.
- Speaking of the Cubs, they’re maintaining some interest in right-hander Tyson Ross, reports Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago/670 The Score. Ross was non-tendered by the Padres after undergoing surgery to alleviate thoracic outlet syndrome in October, and while he could well be ready to pitch early in the 2017 campaign, the Padres clearly weren’t comfortable with a projected salary between $9-10MM. Levine spoke to one NL exec who expected Ross to receive an incentive-laden contract that allows Ross to earn nearly as much as he otherwise would have through arbitration with the Padres. The Cubs, according to Levine, have had interest in Ross since the summer of 2015, when they tried to broker a deal that would’ve sent Starlin Castro to the Padres in return. According to Levine, the Rangers are also interested in swinging a deal with Ross now that he’s a free agent, though it’s easy to imagine a wide number of teams showing interest in a short-term commitment to a player with Ross’ upside. The 29-year-old turned in a 3.07 ERA with 9.2 K/9 against 3.5 BB/9 and a strong ground-ball rate in 516 2/3 innings with the Padres from 2013-15.