Some news and rumblings from around the AL East…
- The Cardinals “are expected to strongly pursue” a trade for Josh Donaldson during the offseason, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports (via Twitter). The Cards’ internal interest in Donaldson was initially reported last July though at that time, no offers had been made. Jedd Gyorko saw the bulk of action at third base for St. Louis last season (with Greg Garcia getting a fair amount of action as a left-handed hitting complement) and Gyorko could be a possible candidate to be headed back to the Blue Jays as part of a deal. The Cardinals have a surplus of both outfielders and multi-positional infielders, so they’re a fit for Toronto’s needs as potential trade partners. Of course, there hasn’t been any indication that the Jays are actually shopping their star third baseman. Donaldson is a free agent after the 2018 season, though with the Jays planning to contend next year, it would take a massive offer to get them to part ways with the former AL MVP.
- J.J. Hardy will “re-evaluate” his 2018 plans once this season is concluded, though the veteran shortstop tells Dan Connolly of BaltimoreBaseball.com that, in terms of considering retirement, “I don’t think I can go there yet.” Hardy’s seventh (and perhaps final) season with the Orioles has been a frustrating one, as he struggled in the first few months and then suffered a fractured wrist in mid-June. The O’s will certainly buy out Hardy for $2MM rather than exercise their $14MM club option on his services for 2018, though Hardy is hopeful of working out a new deal to remain in Baltimore. Given Tim Beckham’s emergence and Hardy’s injury problems and lack of production in recent years, it certainly seems as if Hardy would have to take a reserve role if he did return to the club. I recommend reading the full piece, which is a wide-ranging and at times emotional discussion of Hardy’s career, his Orioles stint and his family.
- In a podcast interview with WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford (transcript link), Xander Bogaerts provides details on the hand injury that curtailed his production over the summer. Bogaerts was hit on the right hand by a pitch on July 6 and simply wasn’t the same afterwards, hitting just .193/.270/.293 over his next 200 plate appearances. “Looking back I probably should have taken a few days off. I thought with the All-Star break coming up I would have been find, home resting it,” Bogaerts said. “But when I came back it never got better….It was a little more serious than I thought.” The Red Sox shortstop received two cortisone shots to treat his injured hand and said he has started to feel like his old self over the last month, as evidenced by his .800 OPS in the month of September. Needless to say, an in-form Bogaerts would provide a big boost to the Sox in the postseason, especially given other injury concerns within Boston’s lineup.