The Nationals, Astros, Red Sox, Rangers and Braves are at the forefront of the Chris Sale market, reports FanRag’s Jon Heyman in his latest notes column. However, an exec with one of those clubs that spoke to Heyman still said he’s not sure that Sale is moved at all due to the exorbitant nature of the White Sox’ asking price. The Nationals, for instance, have been asked for Trea Turner as part of the package but have balked at the idea, Heyman notes, with one Washington source calling the budding star “too valuable” to part with. It’s similarly difficult to envision a player like Alex Bregman or Dansby Swanson being moved for Sale as well. The White Sox do like Dodgers prospect Cody Bellinger, writes Heyman, but L.A. has yet to show a significant inclination to pursue Sale, he adds. (And, from my vantage point, the Dodgers would need to add quite a bit more than Bellinger to a Sale package anyhow.)
A few more highlights…
- The Yankees, Astros and Blue Jays all remain in the mix for Edwin Encarnacion, but Heyman joins others in writing that Twitter reports of a deal between Houston and Encarnacion were premature. The Astros are being aggressive on Encarnacion, according to Heyman, though agent Paul Kinzer told him that there are “a couple” of other teams in the mix beyond this group as well. Perhaps signaling their desire to add an impact bat, the Astros made a legitimate run at Yoenis Cespedes both this offseason and last winter, Heyman adds, noting that last winter’s pursuit flew largely under the radar.
- One general manager who has spoken to the Tigers about a J.D. Martinez trade tells Heyman that he believes Martinez is “all but certain” to be traded. Detroit, Heyman points out, is now the somewhat surprising MLB payroll leader with several Dodgers hitting free agency and with the Yankees trading Brian McCann.
- The Mets would like to add not one but two left-handed relievers to their bullpen, Heyman writes. They’re interested in a reunion with southpaw Jerry Blevins, who spent the past two seasons in the organization, but other reports have indicated that Blevins is likely to receive a multi-year deal that will exceed the Mets’ comfort zone. The Mets might also consider adding catching help, though that’s not characterized as a priority in this report, which also notes that the team considers Michael Conforto to be close to untouchable in trade talks.
- The Yankees have spoken to other teams about third baseman Chase Headley and outfielder Brett Gardner but received minimal interest in that pair. Headley has $26MM in guaranteed money remaining on his deal and quietly rebounded from a disastrous start to post a solid overall season in the Bronx last year, while Gardner is owed a similar $25MM through 2018 and also has a club option for the 2019 season on his deal. Gardner would seem to have more trade value to me, and perhaps teams would show more interest later in the winter once some of the free-agent options in the outfield have come off the board.
- There’s been no formal extension offer made by the Rockies to Carlos Gonzalez, who said last week that the team has expressed interest in an extension. According to Heyman, that could be due to the fact that initial suggestions were deemed “too low” by Gonzalez’s camp to even merit an official offer. CarGo is just one year away from free agency and could be an appealing trade piece for the Rox this summer if the team doesn’t contend in 2017.