Here’s the latest from around the AL East…
- It could make sense for the Blue Jays to pursue extensions with Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman this spring, Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi opines. Locking up young pitching is obviously a logical tactic, and if nothing else, the Jays could gain some cost certainty on both starters through their arbitration years. Sanchez will be arb-eligible for the first time next winter, while Stroman is going through the arbitration process for the first of four trips (as a Super Two player) this offseason, to the point of going to a hearing to determine his 2017 salary. On the other hand, since both players have so many years of control ahead of them, the Jays could wait at least one more season to see what they really have in either starter before discussing a long-term agreement.
- Dalton Pompey will need a big Spring Training to break into the Blue Jays’ planned Melvin Upton Jr./Ezequiel Carrera platoon in left field, MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm writes. The Jays want Pompey to play every day, so if he does make the big league roster, it won’t be in a bench role. A good spring performance, however, will put Pompey in line for a promotion should one or both or Upton or Carrera get off to a slow start. Elsewhere in the mailbag piece, Chisholm notes that it may be hard for any prospects to find a spot on Toronto’s Opening Day roster, and highly-touted Cuban signing Lourdes Gurriel Jr. isn’t likely to be a viable roster candidate until 2018.
- Blake Swihart’s eventual role with the Red Sox could be serving a multi-positional threat who can catch 90 games while also contributing at first, third, DH and the outfield, Peter Gammons writes in his latest piece at GammonsDaily.com. Boston moved Swihart to left field last season due to defensive issues behind the plate, though Swihart is intent on carving out a niche for himself as a catcher. Since Sandy Leon and Christian Vazquez both have their own question marks, Swihart could still emerge as a catching option for the Sox in 2017. As Gammons and Sox bullpen coach Dana LeVangie both mention, Swihart doesn’t have all that much actual catching experience in his career, and got precious little time as a catcher last year due to the position switch and the ankle injury that shortened his season.
- Re-signing Matt Wieters “would be sentimental, but not practical” for the Orioles, MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli opines. There have been whispers that Baltimore could bring back Wieters as a part-time DH and in a timeshare behind the plate with Welington Castillo, since Wieters could be had at a lowered price given his long stay in free agency. Signing veterans at a relative bargain price is a Dan Duquette specialty, Ghiroli notes, though the O’s aren’t actively pursuing Wieters. It could also be hard for Baltimore to offer Wieters enough playing time, given Castillo’s presence and the likelihood that Mark Trumbo will get more DH at-bats this season.
- For more out of Baltimore, check out this set of Orioles Notes from earlier today on MLBTR.