Though Greg Holland turned down his $15MM player option and will also reject his $17.4MM qualifying offer, it’s not yet a foregone conclusion that his Denver days are in the past, writes FanRag’s Jon Heyman. The Rockies “believe that Holland is the right leader” for their young pitching staff and will seek to re-sign him to a more lucrative multi-year offer, per Heyman. They will, of course, face a fair bit of competition in that pursuit. Heyman lists the Cubs and Cardinals as teams that will possibly be in the market for Holland this offseason as well.
A few more early notes on the free agent market…
- Jay Bruce’s camp is reportedly setting its sights high and asking for a five-year deal worth $80-90MM, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported yesterday. High asking price notwithstanding, Heyman reports today in his weekly notes column that the Blue Jays, Giants, Mariners and Cardinals are four potential landing spots for Bruce in free agency. Heyman notes that Bruce should be able to comfortably land a three-year commitment that could price him out of the comfort zones of the Mets and the Indians.
- Free agent first baseman Logan Morrison told Jon Morosi and Jim Duquette in an appearance on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM today that playing for his hometown Royals “would be a dream come true.” (Twitter link, with audio) Morrison fondly recalls trips to Kauffman Stadium with his father as a child and says it would be “amazing” to be able to have his grandmother come to the park and watch him play regularly in 2018. “All of that stuff would be fun,” said Morrison, “but we’ll see what happens.” The 30-year-old Morrison, meanwhile, hit .246/.353/.516 with a career-high 38 home runs in a breakout campaign with Tampa Bay this past season. Despite that huge year, he didn’t receive a qualifying offer from the Rays and therefore won’t be tied to draft pick compensation. Kansas City will have a void at first base if Eric Hosmer leaves elsewhere, though Heyman notes in the aforementioned notes column that Hosmer is still the Royals’ top priority (at least among their own impending free agents). If he signs elsewhere, the Royals would recoup a draft pick — likely at the end of the first round.
- Right-hander Brandon Morrow also appeared on MLB Network Radio today, stating that “all things being equal,” he’d prefer to return to the Dodgers (Twitter link, with audio). Morrow specified that at age 33, he’d prefer to sign with a contending team, noting that he doesn’t necessarily care about pitching as a closer versus pitching in a setup capacity. Morrow raved about the young talent and clubhouse on the Dodgers, noting that the team is poised to be a contender for years to come — a highly appealing factor to him (and other free agents). Though perhaps we shouldn’t read too much into his comments, Morrow did note that “to be able to hopefully in that for three to four years … it’s definitely an attractive situation.” Morrow does indeed seem to have a strong case for a multi-year deal after a return to prominence in L.A. this past season. We pegged him for a three-year, $24MM contract on last week’s ranking of the game’s top 50 free agents.
- Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Ichiro Suzuki’s agent, John Boggs, has already reached out to the Athletics to try to pitch his client’s services. Slusser the chat between the two sides as “brief,” noting that it was based on Ichiro’s relationship with A’s manager Bob Melvin, who managed Ichiro more than a decade ago. There does not appear to be a fit, she notes, though Boggs tells Slusser that Ichiro “has the ultimate desire to play” in 2018. Heyman noted in the aforementioned notes column that the Marlins did not make an offer to the 44-year-old Ichiro before declining his $2MM option.