Here’s the latest hot stove buzz from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal…
- The Dodgers checked in on free agent slugger Chris Carter, though Rosenthal has some doubts that the fit would work for either side. Carter might want too significant a salary for the Dodgers’ liking, as the team is already well over the luxury tax threshold. From Carter’s perspective, he’d likely want more playing time than L.A. could offer him as a part-time first baseman (spelling Adrian Gonzalez against lefty pitching) and receiving an occasional start in left field.
- The Rays were the mystery team who submitted the highest bid for Sergio Romo’s services. Previous reports indicated that the Rays were in the mix for Romo and that the reliever declined a higher offer to stay on the west coast and sign with the Dodgers for a one-year, $3MM deal. With Romo off the board, the Rays are seemingly still in the hunt for another arm to join their bullpen.
- The Rays earn $20MM per year on their current TV contract, which expires after the 2018 season. Club owner Stuart Sternberg recently said negotiations were taking place about a new deal, though nothing was close to fruition.
- Rosenthal’s column takes a broader look at the Rays’ offseason, noting that the team is trying to both save money and stay competitive at the same time. Tampa could even project as an under-the-radar playoff contender if they catch a few breaks, such as better health from key players. Had the club received good offers for Chris Archer or Kevin Kiermaier this winter, however, the Rays would’ve embarked on a full rebuilding process, and they could still take that route next offseason or at the July trade deadline if this year’s roster doesn’t play up to expectations.
- The Twins will release Byung Ho Park if they can’t find a trade partner for the recently-designated first baseman (update: Rosenthal has since corrected this). Minnesota’s decision to DFA Park was already rather unexpected, and it would be even more surprising if the club cut ties entirely, especially since earlier reports had the Twins intending to keep Park in the minors if he cleared waivers. The Twins would be on the hook for the remaining $9.75MM owed to Park through the 2019 season if they released him. Continuing the Tampa-centric theme, Rosenthal reports that the Rays are looking to add a right-handed bat and have Park on their list of targets. Rather than work out a trade, the Rays could wait to see if the Twins do release Park, in which case Tampa Bay could just sign him as a free agent. The Rays would then only owe Park a minimum salary while Minnesota covers the rest of the $9.75MM.