The Marlins sale could yet be more wide open, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. It’s still a “fluid” situation, he says, and it might not just involve the Jeter/Bush and Glavine/Romney bidding groups we’ve read so much about. Per Heyman, at least one other possible team — led by Dana Pawlicki of Stonington Capital Partners — is looking into putting together an alternative (or, perhaps, just joining one of those other groups). That said, an agreement of some kind could still happen in short order, says Heyman, perhaps within two weeks.
- Among organizations taking an early look at possible upgrades, the Rangers are said to be eyeing rotation help — if not also the addition of a bat. No doubt the loss of Cole Hamels for roughly two months will increase the urgency, though it’s also fair to wonder to what extent the team will end up buying at all. As Heyman and others have noted, if the Rangers’ struggles continue, that could free Texas to dangle Yu Darvish and Jonathan Lucroy at the deadline.
- The division-rival Astros, meanwhile, are said to still have interest in acquiring a “front-line starter” — not that there’s any reason to believe that could happen before the summer. Of course, Houston has re-discovered its own ace to some extent, with a resurgent Dallas Keuchel looking good thus far. Heyman notes that the southpaw was approached “last winter and spring” about an extension, with the sides seemingly making some progress before talks fizzed. The possible deal would’ve gone beyond Keuchel’s arbitration eligibility, per the report, though there was no consensus on the specifics surrounding a potential club option. Keuchel’s iffy and injury-filled 2016 season presumably quashed any possibility of a revival of the discussions this past winter, though perhaps that could again become a possibility in the future.
- There are other organizations taking a look around for assistance, though it’s not clear whether any are doing more than eyeing the waiver wire and veterans playing on minors contracts. The Red Sox are looking for rotation help while waiting for David Price, who is said to be nearing a rehab assignment. And the Tigers would like to bolster their beleaguered bullpen. The Diamondbacks will probably wait and see whether they can continue their hot start before deciding how to proceed, but Heyman notes that the club would likely “have some spending money” to work with if additions prove necessary and wise. On the sell side, the White Sox remain willing to deal despite their fairly solid start to the year. But the club isn’t backing down from its offseason asking prices, which is certainly no surprise given its prior stance and the promise of renewed demand at the trade deadline.
- In addition to kicking around some ideas with Kris Bryant, which didn’t seem to gain much traction, the Cubs held some talks over the winter with catcher Willson Contreras, according to Heyman. It seems that the backstop’s reps weren’t keen on Chicago’s ideas, which would’ve included “multiple options” — no surprise, given that Contreras has just 108 days of MLB service under his belt.
- Interestingly, Mets shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera is said to have raised the possibility of an extension with the ballclub. But there wasn’t any interest on the team’s part, per Heyman, with New York preferring to wait and see how things progress. The club already holds an $8.5MM option ($2MM buyout) over the 31-year-old. While that seems likely to be exercised, with Cabrera perhaps moving to second or third to make way for Amed Rosario, the organization understandably did not wish to make a commitment further into the future.