Despite some early talks with Eric Hosmer, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale believes the Royals could wait until the season ends before “seriously” entering negotiations with free agents Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas or Alcides Escobar. The Royals could be “curious to see what teams are willing to pay after a suppressed free-agent market last winter, as a similarly down market in the 2017-18 offseason might allow K.C. to re-evaluate their plans to bring any of these players back (though re-signing all four isn’t feasible). As Nightengale notes, the Royals let Alex Gordon test the market last winter before eventually re-signing the long-time outfielder.
More from the Central divisions:
- The Cardinals gave Cuban outfielder Jose Adolis Garcia an invitation to big league camp when they reeled him in with a $2.5MM bonus on Friday, but he’s unlikely to reach the majors before the summer, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Garcia still has to return to Haiti, where he lived after defecting from Cuba, to acquire a work visa to play in games. That could be a two-week process, notes Goold. The 23-year-old is the latest of five international players the Cardinals have added for at least $1.5MM over the past eight months, and they’re now targeting another Cuban outfielder, the highly touted Luis Robert. General manager John Mozeliak acknowledges that the international spending limitations teams like the Cubs, Dodgers and Red Sox are facing has helped the Cardinals. “Our strategy all along was when we looked at who were the players in the international market at the time the big-spenders were out,” he informed Goold. “We saw this as a window where we could be more competitive relative to other years. Where Adolis fits in for us is a.) not taxed, and b.) I like the idea of being able to go to a high level quickly.”
- Although he ranked among Baseball America’s top 25 prospects as an outfielder in 2007, Jordan Schafer hasn’t acquitted himself well as a major leaguer, having hit .228/.308/.307 in 1,472 plate appearances. As a result, he transitioned to the mound in the Dodgers’ minor league system last year and is now trying to make the Cardinals as a hybrid player. Pitching is nothing new for Schafer, who thought someone would draft him as a hurler out of high school, details Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com. However, pitching “was really never spoke of again” after the Braves selected him in the third round of the 2005 draft, Schafer told Langosch. The 30-year-old left-hander now possesses a 91 to 94 mph fastball, which he believes he can improve on, and is also working on a slider, sinker and changeup to go with his heater and curveball. Schafer “looks good” as a pitcher so far, per Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. On Schafer’s versatility, Mozeliak observed: “It’s just such a creative tool to have in your toolbox, if it works. I think it’s really interesting. I hope the manager thinks it’s equally as fun. The biggest question is, ’Will it be effective?'”
- The Indians announced that left-hander Tim Cooney has a strained flexor in his mid-forearm and will miss 10 to 12 weeks. Injuries have beset Cooney since an excellent debut in 2015, when he fired 31 1/3 innings of 3.16 ERA ball over six starts in St. Louis, as he missed all of last season after undergoing shoulder surgery. The Redbirds jettisoned Cooney in November, leading the Indians to claim him off waivers.