Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto acknowledged to reporters at the GM Meetings that his club has interest in right-hander Shohei Ohtani, though like other GMs, his comments were mostly vague (link via Greg Johns and Joe Frisaro of MLB.com). “We, like 29 other clubs, have scouted him extensively,” said Dipoto. (Johns and Frisaro note that Dipoto and VP of scouting Tom Allison watched Ohtani pitch in Japan this past September.) “…He’s obviously an incredibly talented player and whoever gets him will be quite happy, I’m sure.” Dipoto wouldn’t comment on whether the team is giving serious consideration to a reunion with Ichiro Suzuki, who is now a free agent. While Dipoto suggested that Ichiro’s free agency “opens a door,” he went on to add that he’s “not entirely sure” it’d be a priority, given the team’s needs at first base, in center field and on the pitching staff.
More from the division…
- Fresh off a World Series victory, the Astros would like to supplement their bullpen with a left-handed reliever, reports Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle. Kaplan lists Mike Minor and Jake McGee as two potential targets for the ’Stros, noting that Minor’s frequent outings of more than one inning in 2017 could appeal to Houston. So, too, could the fact that he thrived in his limited time as a closer and has no discernible platoon split, thus giving Houston a possible safety net in the event that Ken Giles’ struggles carry over into the 2018 season.
- The Rangers will let right-hander Matt Bush spend the offseason preparing for a potential rotation spot in 2018, tweets Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Bush, who had shoulder surgery last month but is expected to be ready for Spring Training, turned in strong numbers as a reliever for the Rangers in each of the past two seasons. Overall, he’s worked to a 3.08 ERA with 9.4 K/9 against 2.6 BB/9 with 0.87 HR/9 in 114 innings. The Rangers won’t make a definitive decision on his role for another couple of months, however, Grant adds, which could indicate that Bush’s fate will be somewhat determined by the other additions GM Jon Daniels and his staff are (or aren’t) able to make this offseason.
- The Yankees asked the Athletics for permission to interview manager Bob Melvin for their own managerial opening but were rebuffed, reports Ken Rosenthal (via Twitter). John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that GM David Forst on Monday called Melvin “absolutely the right guy” to be guiding the Athletics’ rising core of young position players. Forst suggested to reporters that the A’s will look to bolster the bullpen and to add a right-handed-hitting corner outfield bat this offseason, noting that a rotation upgrade is a possibility but “not a priority,” Shea continues.
- Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell plead not guilty to assault and disorderly conduct charges on Tuesday, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Maxwell was arrested on Oct. 28 and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct after allegedly waving a gun at a Postmates employee that was making a delivery to his house, per Slusser. There’s no trial date set for now, and a hearing wouldn’t come until sometime in early 2018. MLB will conduct an investigation into the matter, but no announcement of any discipline would come until after a hearing (or a theoretical settlement).