Some rumblings from around baseball in the latest column from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe…
- The Royals could have interest in Pedro Alvarez. The free agent would essentially replace Kendrys Morales in Kansas City’s lineup, providing the Royals with some left-handed hitting thump from the DH spot. The Rays and Red Sox have both shown interest in Alvarez this offseason, though he has been most heavily linked to a return to Baltimore, perhaps as a possible fallback option for the Orioles if they can’t re-sign Mark Trumbo.
- A utilityman, a reliever and a low-cost starting pitcher are the remaining items on the Royals’ shopping list. Cafardo suggests that Jason Hammel is a potential candidate for that rotation need, as the Royals “could wait out” a market that has seen around 10 teams (including the Marlins and Yankees) express some interest in the veteran hurler. Cafardo feels K.C. is probably done trading impending free agents after the Wade Davis deal, so Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas will all play one more season and then test the market next winter.
- The White Sox have received some “due diligence” calls about Todd Frazier, though Jose Abreu is receiving more attention. Abreu is controllable for three seasons while Frazier can be a free agent after 2017, so the differing levels of interest aren’t a surprise. Frazier hit a career-best 40 homers in his first season in Chicago, though his overall hitting numbers (.225/.302/.464, 102 wRC+) rated him as providing just slightly above-average offensive production. A .236 BABIP could’ve contributed to that downturn, not to mention the fact that it was Frazier’s first year in a new league, though it’s worth noting that Frazier has delivered just a .306 OBP over his last two seasons. Frazier turns 31 in February and MLBTR projects him to earn $13.5MM in 2017, his last season of arbitration eligibility. The Dodgers reportedly had interest in Frazier earlier this winter, though that was before L.A. re-signed Justin Turner as its regular third baseman.
- Cafardo doesn’t get why the Blue Jays, Red Sox and Orioles all seem to have reservations against signing Jose Bautista, arguing that Bautista can be a huge lineup upgrade for all three teams. In regards to Bautista’s injury-plagued 2016 season, Cafardo notes that the slugger still posted good numbers amidst his injuries “and has a chip on his shoulder” to re-establish himself after that down year.