- Bartolo Colon feels he can play “just one” more season. A return in 2018 would make it 21 seasons in the big leagues for Colon, who turns 45 in May. The veteran has become a fan favorite around baseball thanks to his unlikely late-career revival, though Colon finally started to look his age in 2017, posting a 6.48 ERA over 143 innings with the Twins and Braves. Despite his recent struggles, Colon seems to be a likely candidate to land a low-cost MLB contract with a team next year, given his lengthy track record.
- The Rangers are considering issuing a qualifying offer to Andrew Cashner. This would ensure that Texas received some draft pick compensation if Cashner rejected the QO, though given the Rangers’ need for pitching, they could welcome the chance to bring back Cashner on a one-year deal. Still, since the QO carries a hefty cost of $18.1MM, it is still a little surprising that Texas is considering issuing one to Cashner, who is a decent candidate to accept. MLBTR’s Jeff Todd recently covered Cashner’s interesting offseason case in a Free Agent Stock Watch piece, outlining the many pros and cons suitors face in weighing a Cashner this winter.
- In less-surprising qualifying offer news, the Royals are a virtual lock to extend the QO to Lorenzo Cain but aren’t planning to issue one to Jason Vargas. Tommy John surgery sidelined Vargas for much of his three-year stint in Kansas City, though he was mostly effective (4.16 ERA, 6.7 K/9, 2.31 K/BB rate) over 179 2/3 IP in 2017. Given that TJ surgery and the fact that Vargas turns 35 in February, he’d seem to be a good candidate to accept a qualifying offer, and the Royals probably don’t want an $18.1MM salary on the books as they embark on a possible rebuild.
- There apparently haven’t been any talks between the Angels and Justin Upton about his opt-out clause, which Heyman finds “interesting.” There isn’t any immediate rush, of course, as Upton doesn’t need to make his decision until three days after the World Series is over. “Most see it as a very close call” as to whether Upton will actually opt out of the four years and $88.5MM remaining on his deal given the mutual interest between he and the Angels. The possibility exists that the two sides could work out an extension to tack another year or two beyond the current end of Upton’s deal, though the lack of talks indicates that scenario has yet to be explored.
- The Angels initially tried to acquire Parker Bridwell from the Orioles last year before finally landing the right-hander in April for what Heyman describes as “just a small amount of cash.” This minor deal at the time ended up being a steal for the Halos, as Bridwell delivered a 3.64 ERA over 121 innings, starting 20 of his 21 appearances for Los Angeles.
- According to one Marlins player, the Cardinals reportedly expressed interest in Marcell Ozuna, Dee Gordon and Brad Ziegler this summer, with Ziegler’s name surfacing after Trevor Rosenthal was lost to Tommy John surgery in late August. The Cards’ interest in Ozuna (and other Miami outfielders) is known, though this is the first time Gordon and Ziegler have been linked to St. Louis. It makes sense that the Cards would’ve checked in on Ziegler given their sudden need for relief help after Rosenthal went down, though it remains to be seen if Ziegler would be a trade target this winter as the team looks to bolster its pen. Ziegler has a hefty $9MM salary in 2018, though the Marlins could eat some of that money to make a deal happen. Gordon would be an even pricier addition at $38MM owed through the 2020 season, plus a $14MM vesting option for 2021.