Giants GM Bobby Evans tells Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle that Mike Morse was the one to reach out to the team about a possible minor league contract, and not vice versa. As Schulman notes, Morse spent much of the 2016 season in apparent retirement after being cut loose by the Pirates, but it seems he’s not quite ready to call it quits just yet. Morse is somewhat of a long shot to make the roster in Spring Training, and Schulman writes that Evans did not receive an indication of whether Morse would be willing to go to Triple-A if he doesn’t make the Opening Day roster. As it stands, he’ll compete with Jarrett Parker and Mac Williamson for an outfield role. The Giants make plenty of sense as a landing spot for a corner outfielder right now, but Evans suggested to Schulman that he doesn’t plan to sign a big bat for the outfield. San Francisco will monitor what is a buyers’ market for corner outfielders in the months leading up to Spring Training, though, Schulman adds.
A few more notes from around the National League…
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson tells Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News that he doesn’t envision beginning extension talks with any of the team’s young rotation arms until Spring Training begins. “We’re not thinking about it now, it really hasn’t been our focus,” said Alderson. “It’s probably not something that is going to happen before we head to spring training.” Among Mets starters, Matt Harvey is in his second year of arbitration and is controlled through 2018, while Jacob deGrom is in his first trip through arbitration (as a Super Two player) and is controlled through 2020. However, both pitchers underwent season-ending surgery in 2016 — thoracic outlet syndrome for Harvey and an ulnar nerve repair for deGrom — so the Mets may want to see how they rebound from a medical perspective before engaging in talks. Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz both stand out as logical extension candidates as well, as neither has reached arbitration yet, which could give a bit of extra incentive to talk long-term. Both pitchers are controlled through the 2021 season.
- MLB.com’s Thomas Harding runs down a number of roster questions for the Rockies in his later Inbox column, noting within that he still expects GM Jeff Bridich to add another reliever either via trade or free agency. Harding also writes that Bridich is considering the possibility of adding a veteran catcher prior to Spring Training as well. The Rox have been asking for potential front-of-the-rotation pitchers in trade talks for Charlie Blackmon, Harding adds, which explains to some degree why the Rockies don’t appear to have had much in the way of advanced trade talks regarding Blackmon. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects a $9MM salary for Blackmon next year. He’s controlled through 2018 via arbitration and is fresh off a career year in which he slashed .324/.381/.552 with 29 homers and 17 steals.
- While some Cardinals fans were frustrated that the team didn’t make a big play for Edwin Encarnacion, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch dispels the notion that St. Louis’ lack of a push for Encarnacion was due to financial reasons. Goold reports that the Cardinals’ upcoming increase in television revenue — the team agreed to a $1.1 billion television contract in July 2015 — will give the team about $20MM more in rights fees in 2018 than it will earn in 2017. The column provides an excellent breakdown of the Cardinals’ payroll, noting that just under $46MM is coming off the books from 2016 while just over $47MM has been added to the 2017 ledger. The Cardinals certainly have the capacity to increase spending, Goold writes, but in the case of Encarnacion they simply weren’t all that interested in him as a player (at least not at his price tag). Per Goold, St. Louis’ interest in Encarnacion was only “mild.” (It doesn’t seem that the Cards are abandoning the idea of adding some right-handed pop to the lineup, though, as they were rumored to be “very much” in the mix for Twins second Brian Dozier earlier this afternoon.)