Agent Scott Boras predicted earlier this winter that Matt Wieters would be a January signee, but the clock is running out even on that rather cautious timeline, FanRag’s Jon Heyman writes in his latest notes column. The Nationals and Angels remain the two likeliest landing spots, Heyman adds, though the Washington Post and other D.C. media outlets have continually downplayed the possibility. Boras is said to have recently met with the Angels, he also reports, and the Halos do indeed seem like an on-paper fit with Martin Maldonado penciled in as the presumptive starter at this time.
A few more items of interest…
- The Rangers and Rays are both still in the mix for slugger Chris Carter, though Tampa Bay is looking for a “steep bargain” in its search for a hitter, and the Rangers are still in contact with Mike Napoli’s camp. (Talks there look to have cooled as of late, though Heyman notes that Texas is still Napoli’s most logical landing spot.) Both teams are offering low base salaries, and an incentive-laden deal could be a compromise to further advance talks.
- The Mariners were talking with Jason Hammel before acquiring Yovani Gallardo and Drew Smyly in separate trades with the Orioles and Rays, respectively. Seattle doesn’t seem like a great fit for Hammel following those two additions, and what many expected to be a robust market for his services has proven to be tepid at best. Hammel switched agents late last month (after those talks took place) and is now represented by ACES.
- The Padres offered Jered Weaver more than the $1.75MM that they guaranteed to each of Jhoulys Chacin, Trevor Cahill and Clayton Richard, but whatever sum they offered didn’t get the job done. San Diego still “clearly” is looking for someone to lead an uncertain rotation, though, Heyman writes. As it stands, the starting five for manager Andy Green will be a competition between Richard, Cahill, Chacin, Luis Perdomo, Christian Friedrich, Paul Clemens, Tyrell Jenkins and Cesar Vargas. Jake Peavy would still love to land back in San Diego, per Heyman, though he “may be further down [the Padres’] list.”
- Right-hander Kyle Lohse isn’t giving up on the idea of pitching again in 2017. The 38-year-old pitched just 9 1/3 innings in two starts with Texas last season, allowing 13 earned runs in that time. He also struggled in Triple-A, recording a 5.06 ERA in 58 2/3 innings. Lohse was effective as recently as 2014 and had a quietly excellent stretch from 2011-14, but he’s struggled in consecutive seasons now. He could still fit somewhere as a non-roster invite and bring plenty of insight to some young pitchers in Spring Training, but he’s a long shot to break camp with a big league team.
- The Marlins and Braves are both talking to Jeff Francoeur about a potential reunion, Heyman tweets. “Frenchy” split the 2016 season between Atlanta and Miami, batting a combined .254/.297/.378 with seven home runs. It’s been five years since Francoeur turned in an OBP north of .300, but he’s consistently valued by big league teams for his leadership and clubhouse presence. If the Marlins believe him to be capable of playing some first base, he could pair with Justin Bour as a platoon partner. While that’s just speculation on my behalf, Francoeur is a career .279/.328/.449 hitter against lefties and batted .271/.313/.414 in 133 PAs against southpaws last season.