Left-handed reliever Fernando Abad has changed agencies and is now represented by Octagon, FanRag’s Robert Murray reports (on Twitter). Abad’s shift in representation is particularly notable, as Abad is set to become a free agent once the playoffs come to a close. The 31-year-old lefty (32 in December) enjoyed a solid season out of the Boston bullpen, working to a 3.30 ERA with 7.6 K/9 against 2.9 BB/9 with a 45 percent ground-ball rate in 43 2/3 innings. Abad was shelled in 12 2/3 frames with the Red Sox in 2016 after being acquired in a trade with the Twins, but his 2017 numbers bear a strong resemblance to his quality work in 34 innings with Minnesota prior to the trade. In all, lefties have posted a putrid .186/.240/.304 batting line against Abad in 150 plate appearances across the past two seasons. His change in representation has been reflected in MLBTR’s Agency Database, which contains info on more than 2,500 Major League and Minor League players.
A few more notes on the upcoming free-agent market…
- The Cardinals are expected to pursue right-hander Greg Holland in free agency once he formally declines his player option, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets. It’s hardly a surprise to see the two sides linked, as the bullpen is known to be a focal point for the Cardinals and president of baseball operations John Mozeliak this offseason. Nightengale notes that the Cards “plan to pounce” on Holland once he’s actually a free agent, though certainly the intensity of their pursuit will be tied to the asking price of Holland and agent Scott Boras. Holland had a dreary second half, perhaps in part due to fatigue in his first year back from Tommy John surgery, but he did rack up 41 saves and average 11 strikeouts per nine innings with a 3.61 ERA. Then again, he also averaged 4.1 walks per nine and posted a 1.1 HR/9 mark that doubles his career level of 0.55.
- Despite whiffing on free-agent investments to starting pitchers in recent years (most notably Ricky Nolasco), Twins owner Jim Pohlad tells Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press that he won’t be afraid to add starters via free agency if that’s what his front office recommends to him. “There’s no question we have to work on the pitching,” said Pohlad. “It’s absolutely obvious.” Asked specifically about free agency in the wake of some deals that haven’t panned out, Pohlad stated: “Not everything works. … You can’t be afraid to try.” Those decisions, of course, will be largely up to chief baseball officer Derek Falvey, general manager Thad Levine and the rest of the Twins’ front office. Minnesota figures to be a bit more aggressive in adding pieces this offseason than last now that the team has greater expectations of contending on the heels of a Wild Card berth.
- Right-hander Seung-hwan Oh told reporters in Korea this week that he hopes to return to the Majors for a third season in 2018 (link via Jee-ho Yoo of South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency). While Oh stated that he’ll be open to “all possibilities” in free agency, suggesting that he wouldn’t completely rule out a return to the Korea Baseball Organization or Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, he was clear that MLB is his preference. “Pitching in the major leagues was my childhood dream, and I was able to play two years without any serious injury,” said Oh. “I wouldn’t say I am completely satisfied with myself, but I’d still like to give myself a high score. If I have another opportunity to play in the majors, then I’d like to return my fans’ support with a better performance.” While his second season in the Majors didn’t match his first, Oh’s two seasons in St. Louis resulted in a composite 2.85 ERA with 10.2 K/9, 2.1 BB/9 and a 34.3 percent ground-ball rate.