Jacoby Ellsbury’s name was mentioned in trade talks between the Yankees and Diamondbacks, NJ Advance Media’s Brendan Kuty reports, and though “nothing is believed to be off the table,” Arizona didn’t have much interest in the veteran outfielder due to his big price tag. Ellsbury is owed over $63.3MM through the 2020 season, plus a $5MM of $21MM club option for 2021. He no longer has a starting job in the crowded New York outfield due to his underwhelming .261/.331/.372 slash line over the last three seasons, and it seems like the Yankees would surely have to eat some money to facilitate a trade, particularly with the D’Backs. Ellsbury can also block any deal due to his no-trade clause, though he does own a home in Arizona and he has a past relationship with D’Backs GM Mike Hazen from their time in the Red Sox organization.
Some more buzz from around the AL East…
- The Blue Jays are one of the teams who have spoken to the White Sox about outfielder Avisail Garcia, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports (Twitter link). Chicago doesn’t seem to be close to a deal, however. Garcia would be a solid answer for the Jays’ hole in right field, as the 26-year-old is coming off an All-Star season that saw him hit .330/.380/.506 with 18 homers over 561 PA. This success has led the Sox to put a high asking price on his services, though the Jays and other clubs will have to weigh that against Garcia’s .392 BABIP and lack of production prior to 2017.
- It was a pretty quiet Winter Meetings for the Blue Jays, though GM Ross Atkins tells Sportsnet.ca’s Ben Nicholson-Smith and other reporters that “it just feels like there’s momentum” towards some significant moves after some productive talks with other teams. Nicholson-Smith wonders if the rising prices in the free agent relief market could help Toronto, as the Jays have several much less-expensive middle relievers that could be available in trades. Joe Biagini figures to have received some interest from other teams, Nicholson-Smith speculates, though there hasn’t been any indication that the Jays would be looking to move the right-hander.
- There is considerable interest in how many years J.D. Martinez will land in his next contract, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe writes. Many in the industry feel Martinez will easily net a five-year deal, though going beyond that for a player who just turned 30 last August could test the comfort zone of several teams, including the Red Sox. (MLBTR, for the record, predicted Martinez for a six-year, $150MM deal.) Scott Boras, Martinez’s agent, set an early asking price of seven years and $210MM for his client, which seems like a very optimistic number now but Boras has a penchant for waiting under deeper in the offseason until he can find his clients an acceptable deal. This has made Boston’s pursuit of Martinez feel like “a staring contest” between Boras and Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, ESPN.com’s Scott Lauber writes, as Dombrowski is traditionally more aggressive in quickly landing his desired targets.
- The Orioles were again aggressive with Rule 5 selections, taking three players (left-hander Nestor Cortes and righties Pedro Araujo and Jose Mesa) in this morning’s draft, though they’ll now face a bit of a roster crunch, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun writes. With the O’s in need of southpaws in the pen, Cortes is the likeliest of the trio to actually spend the whole season on the team’s 25-man roster, which is required for Rule 5 picks to fully become property of their new teams. Araujo and Mesa are longer shots to take up valuable 25-man spots, though it’s possible Baltimore could work out trades with their original teams (the Cubs and Yankees, respectively) to officially acquire their rights.