The Rangers were rumored yesterday to have interest in Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton, and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that Texas also asked the Reds about right-hander Dan Straily. Nothing is close on either front, he notes, but Straily would give Texas a controllable option for the back-end of the rotation. A waiver claim by the Reds last spring, Straily had a nice season in the Cincinnati rotation, tossing a career-high 191 1/3 innings with a 3.76 ERA, 7.6 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9. However, Straily also posted just a 32 percent ground-ball rate and was very homer-prone, yielding an average of 1.5 big flies per nine innings pitch, which could give interested parties some pause.
A few more notes on the trade market…
- Rosenthal also notes in the above-linked tweet that the Reds are trying to move both Brandon Phillips and Zack Cozart in separate deals. Moving one or both would allow the Reds to open some playing time for younger middle infield options like Jose Peraza and Dilson Herrera, each of whom has been acquired via trade in the past calendar year. Phillips has full no-trade protection but has been said this winter to be more open to waiving that protection than he was in recent years. Cozart has been linked to the Mariners on multiple occasions and would give any team an affordable one-year stopgap at shortstop that can provide premium offense and a bit of pop before hitting free agency next winter.
- Giants GM Bobby Evans tells John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle that he checked in with the Pirates on Andrew McCutchen, but Evans didn’t imply that there was anything more than due diligence behind the call. “When you invest heavily in your rotation and you invest heavily in your bullpen and you invest heavily in your first baseman, your shortstop, your catcher, your right fielder, your center fielder, at some point, you need your farm system to raise up,” Evans tells Shea. “…Ultimately, you can’t lose sight of the fact your farm system is there for a reason. Successful organizations give their farm systems a chance to produce, and some of that production doesn’t get realized until it’s at the big-league level.” The Pirates’ reported asking price for McCutchen has been lofty, and based on Evans’ comments, it doesn’t seem that San Francisco would be interested in gutting its minor league ranks to insert McCutchen into its lineup.
- The Rays are “almost certain” to deal a starting pitcher, tweets Yahoo’s Jeff Passan, and interest in right-hander Alex Cobb and left-hander Drew Smyly has been “strong,” Passan hears. ESPN’s Buster Olney, meanwhile, spoke to an exec who called Tampa Bay’s asking price on Chris Archer “beyond prohibitive,” prompting Olney to call Cobb and Smyly considerably likelier candidates to be traded (Insider subscription required and recommended). As Passan further notes, the Rays don’t necessarily feel like the return on Archer right now will be drastically superior to the return for Archer two years from now (when he still has three years of control remaining), so there’s little urgency to deal him unless they’re bowled over.
- The Twins are seeking controllable starting pitching in all of their trade talks, tweets Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Minnesota has reportedly received a number of inquiries on slugging second baseman Brian Dozier, and other logical trade candidates on their roster (in my view) include right-hander Ervin Santana and reliever Brandon Kintzler. Dozier is controlled through 2018 for a total of $15MM, while Santana is guaranteed $28MM through 2018 and has a club option for the 2019 campaign as well. Kintzler quietly had a rebound season in the Minnesota ’pen last year and can be a free agent next winter.
- Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News tweets that the Rangers asked the Tigers about southpaw Justin Wilson, though he characterizes the scenario as a long shot. Wilson, though, would give the Rangers a couple of years of control over a quality southpaw reliever and give the team flexibility to make further roster alterations.
- The Mets inquired wih the Royals about closer Wade Davis, reports SNY’s Andy Martino (on Twitter), but he also notes that it’s hard to see the two sides lining up on a deal given the fact that Davis will command a $10MM salary next season and would also require the Mets to surrender with upper-echelon prospects. Were Davis controlled for multiple years, perhaps it’d be more appealing to the Mets, but the Kansas City relief ace is set to hit the open market next winter.