The Reds were among the teams in contact with reliever Daniel Hudson before he agreed to join NL Central rival Pittsburgh on a two-year, $11MM deal Monday, Cincinnati general manager Dick Williams told Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. Due diligence has been a theme for the rebuilding club this offseason as it looks to upgrade a bullpen that was utterly disastrous in 2016. “I think we’ve talked to pretty much everybody out there, even the ones that appear not to be in our price range,” Williams said regarding available relievers. “You still want to have conversations because things change, people’s markets change. We offer opportunity, not just money. It’s important to convey to every available pitcher what the opportunity might be.” The likelihood is that the Reds will wait until closer to spring training to add to their bullpen, writes Sheldon, with Williams noting that he’s targeting “value plays.”
More from around the majors:
- Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto has made 32 trades in just 14 months on the job, and he explained to Greg Johns of MLB.com why he prefers that route to free agency. “With trades, you’re acquiring players that fit your roster,” Dipoto said. “It gives you the ability to fit a puzzle piece in with some degree of precision, because you identify the pieces and move forward. With free agents, you’re in the market competing with 29 other teams. You have to fit the puzzle piece, but also sell your team, stadium, manager, city, the money. Each step gets more complicated.” Given the Mariners’ desire to improve their rotation, not to mention reports connecting them to other teams’ starters, a 33rd Dipoto trade could be on the way. The GM also wants to pick up another reliever, but odds are that will come via free agency, per Johns.
- Catcher Jason Castro’s pitch-framing prowess played a significant role in the Twins’ decision to sign the ex-Astro to a three-year, $24.5MM contract last month, writes Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com. Both StatCorner and Baseball Prospectus have ranked Castro among the game’s premier framers over the past three seasons. If that keeps up, it should help a pitching staff that previously worked with a subpar framer, Kurt Suzuki, and tied for the majors’ worst ERA last season (5.09). “The whole idea of signing Jason Castro, a lot of it was measured on the impact of catching on a staff,” manager Paul Molitor told Bollinger. “As we’ve learned more about how to quantify that, it’s probably been a little bit of an undervalued position for guys that handle some of those types of things better than others. We thought that was a big piece in trying to at least start off a way of trying to figure out a way to pitch better.” On the subject of framing, Castro commented, “It’s something over the last couple years I’ve tried to refine as much as possible. I don’t know if ’enlightenment’ is the right word, but there was a focus on this new topic of pitch framing. I tried to get a better understanding of what works, what doesn’t.”
- Free agent right-hander Anthony Bass spent last season in Japan, but he could be on his way back to the majors. The 29-year-old, a former Padre, Astro and Ranger, has received multiple offers this winter and might land a major league deal, according to Chris Cotillo of SB Nation (Twitter link). Bass saw extensive big league action in 2015, when he amassed 64 innings with Texas and logged a 4.50 ERA, 6.33 K/9 and 2.81 BB/9. Those numbers are closely in line with Bass’ career totals across 278 1/3 frames (4.40 ERA, 6.05 K/9 and 3.46 BB/9).
- Like Bass, fellow righty reliever Todd Coffey is looking for a major league opportunity. Coffey hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012, having since spent time in the Pacific Coast League, the Mexican League and the independent Atlantic League, but he told MLBTR’s Jeff Todd earlier this month that his fastball still sits in the mid-90s. The 36-year-old owns a lifetime 4.10 ERA, 6.75 K/9, 2.83 BB/9 and 51.4 percent ground-ball rate in a combined 438 2/3 innings with four teams.