5:01pm: The Rangers have also spoken to the Royals about Cain, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports tweets.
2:48pm: The Royals have told teams they’re willing to listen to offers on Lorenzo Cain, tweets ESPN’s Buster Olney, and Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets that closer Wade Davis is also available and generating plenty of buzz.
Cain, 30, was limited to 103 games by a balky hamstring and also saw his offense take a step back. Set to earn $11.5MM next year before hitting the open market in advance of his age-32 season, Cain batted .287/.339/.408 with nine homers and 14 steals in 434 plate appearances last year. Defensive metrics like Ultimate Zone Rating and Defensive Runs Saved still lauded him for his defensive prowess, however, so the hamstring troubles didn’t adversely impact his ability to play an elite center field. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported this morning that the Cardinals have been keeping tabs on Cain, and Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times tweets that the Dodgers are interested in both Cain and Davis.
In addition to the Dodgers, the Cubs have shown interest in acquiring Davis, tweets MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Chicago hasn’t been heavily linked to the top remaining free agent closers and may prefer to add a shorter-term, more cost effective arm, and Davis would fit that bill. He’s owed $10MM next season before he, too, becomes a free agent. However, Davis also had two different DL stints due to a forearm strain in his right arm and posted some red flags in terms of his K/BB numbers, so while he has plenty of name value there could be some degree of concern when it comes to acquiring him and also parting with premium young talent.
Despite concerns surrounding their payroll, the Royals certainly wouldn’t move either of the two for the sole purpose of cutting payroll. Kansas City would feel the need to acquire some meaningful young talent in return, but the revamped structure of the qualifying offer system also puts the Royals in position to receive a lesser compensatory package by making a QO to Cain and/or Davis next year. As such, there’s plenty of logic to seeing what’s out there.