While the Brian Dozier saga has been a drawn out process, it seems that the Twins and Dodgers have agreed to table talks for the time being. Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press adds a bit more on the talks that never gained enough traction to push a deal across the finish line, reporting that Los Angeles wasn’t willing to part with any of Yadier Alvarez, Walker Buehler or Brock Stewart alongside top prospect Jose De Leon. L.A.’s refusal to deal Alvarez or Buehler has been previously reported, though Stewart’s name hasn’t been previously mentioned as a sticking point. As Berardino also adds in his column, Twins GM Thad Levine discussed the talks on Go 96.3 FM, explaining that a hard deadline in talks was never set. However, he also suggested that the Twins won’t be initiating further talks with the Dodgers. “The reality is there’s going to be a point in time in this offseason where we may stop initiating calls but we’re always going to pick up the phone and hear teams out,” said Levine.
Dozier, too, appeared on the show (audio link) and called the trade drama an “eye-opening experience,” adding that it was interesting to “[dig] deeper into how other clubs value you, how the Twins value you, and that kind of thing.”
A few additional notes from the American League…
- The Twins were somewhat surprisingly connected to free agent Jose Bautista yesterday, but La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune tweets that the Twins don’t have interest in the slugger. The link between the Twins and Bautista was never characterized as a strong one, as MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger reported that the Twins touched base with Bautista’s agent. They may well have done so out of due diligence — chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said yesterday that the club has an idea of a price point at which they’d be interested in every remaining free agent — and simply found that Bautista is still seeking more than they’d care to commit. Of course, the 36-year-old Bautista doesn’t seem like a great on-paper fit for a team in the Twins’ situation anyhow, though a team with a protected first-round pick (like Minnesota) could perhaps gamble on punting its second pick in the hopes of flipping Bautista this July for greater value.
- There’s been no talk of a new contract between the Yankees and Masahiro Tanaka, general manager Brian Cashman tells Mike Mazzeo of the New York Daily News. Tanaka is, of course, technically under contract with the Yankees for another four years, but he also has an opt-out clause in his contract following the 2017 season, which will allow him to re-enter the free agent market if he performs well. “We have a significant contract with Masahiro Tanaka,” said Cashman. “…I think he pitched like a Cy Young award candidate last year, and I certainly hope he does so again this year. But at this point we’ve had no discussions internally to pursue any kind of extension.” Tanaka is just one of three Yankees starters that is set to hit free agency next winter, as lefty CC Sabathia and righty Michael Pineda will also see their contracts expire.
- Mazzeo adds that Cashman said he’s “not in active trade talks at all” regarding veteran Yankees like Brett Gardner, Chase Headley or any of his position players. That comes as little surprise, as Cashman has quite recently suggested that the roster, as currently constructed, is the likely roster that the team will take into Spring Training. While both seemed like on-paper trade candidates entering the offseason, neither Gardner nor Headley ever surfaced all that much on the rumor circuit.
- Tigers GM Al Avila appeared on 97.1 FM The Ticket in Detroit and discussed the team’s needs in center field, and CBS Detroit’s Will Burchfield has highlights from the interview. Avila acknowledged that the Tigers are keeping tabs on the free agent market, but also cautioned, “…if you look at what you’re going to get in production, you have to evaluate that compared to what you already have in-house.” Avila listed usual candidates Tyler Collins, Anthony Gose and JaCoby Jones as options and also twice mentioned non-roster invite Alex Presley without being prompted (per MLive.com’s Evan Woodbery, on Twitter).
- In a full column on Avila’s interview, Woodbery notes that the GM said he’s fielded calls about left-handed reliever Justin Wilson this winter but decided there’s more value to Wilson opening the year in the bullpen. Wilson, as Woodbery notes, could boost his value with improved results this season and become a more appealing trade chip this summer. As I noted when previewing the Tigers’ offseason in October, Wilson’s bottom-line results were rather pedestrian, but his secondary stats suggest that he should see a rebound from 2016’s lackluster 4.14 ERA.