The latest column from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal explores how the luxury tax threshold’s relatively small annual increases as per the new collective bargaining agreement could lead to teams placing an even greater importance on locking their young talent up to long-term extensions. Rosenthal also shares some hot stove buzz…
- The Padres are “aggressively” shopping Yangervis Solarte. The third baseman has posted solid numbers over the last two seasons, including hitting .286/.341/.467 with 15 homers over 443 plate appearances last year. The 29-year-old Solarte is projected by MLBTR to earn $2.7MM in his first year of arbitration eligibility, and his three years of remaining team control would make him an intriguing trade chip for teams in need of infield help.
- The Astros are continuing to “pay really close attention” to the Rays’ starting pitchers, according to sources. Houston has made several lineup upgrades (Brian McCann, Josh Reddick and now Carlos Beltran) this offseason but Charlie Morton is the only addition to a rotation that underachieved in 2016. Tampa is widely expected to deal at least one of Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi, Alex Cobb or Drew Smyly this winter. The Astros are known to have interest in Archer, though he would command the highest price of the lot.
- Jorge De La Rosa is telling teams that he is willing to pitch as a multi-inning reliever. De La Rosa pitched three games in relief last season, his first bullpen outings since 2009. The veteran southpaw posted a 5.51 ERA, 1.71 K/BB rate and 7.3 K/9 over 134 innings for the Rockies in 2016, so between those lackluster numbers and his age (he turns 36 in April), it isn’t surprising that De La Rosa is willing to be flexible to increase his market.
- Dave Kaval’s new role as the Athletics’ president could potentially lead to some changes in how the A’s do business. With Kaval looking to secure a new ballpark in Oakland and generally trying to change the club’s profile, a “more of the same” deal of a star for prospects (i.e. dealing Sonny Gray) wouldn’t help Kaval’s objectives. That said, Rosenthal writes that “it’s difficult to imagine” the change in management having any impact on how Billy Beane does business.