Here’s the latest from around the AL East…
- Born and raised in Tampa, Denard Span is happy to be playing for the Rays, even if his stint could potentially be a brief one, the outfielder tells Roger Mooney of the Tampa Bay Times. “Nothing would surprise me if I get traded or flipped or whatever the terminology is. I guess until I show up to spring training then it will probably sink in that I’m a Ray,” Span said. “There are so many possibilities, but I definitely would love to put on this hometown uniform. It would be a dream come true. It was something I always imagined.” With Evan Longoria now dealt to the Giants for a four-player package that included Span, the outfielder now has the highest salary on the Rays’ 2018 payroll, which likely makes him a trade chip for the cost-conscious franchise. Still, Span also has some value to the Rays on the field and in the clubhouse, so the team could at least begin the season with Span in a corner outfield role.
- While there is a gap in ability between Eric Hosmer and Mitch Moreland, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe notes that the Red Sox may have found value in re-signing Moreland to a two-year, $13MM deal than in spending over $100MM more to sign Hosmer on what would have been a six- or seven-year contract. As Speier observes, Hosmer is the better hitter overall, though Moreland offers more power and he had a higher xwOBA in 2017. Hosmer could hit more home runs playing in Fenway Park, though Speier argues that the Sox would’ve been risking a lot on Hosmer successfully adjusting his swing from his current grounder-heavy offensive approach. Moreland is also clearly the better defender of the two first basemen, at least per the Defensive Runs Saved and UZR/150 metrics.
- While the Orioles have stated that they will keeping Manny Machado, Dan Connolly of BaltimoreBaseball.com guesses that the star third baseman will be in another uniform before Opening Day. A Machado trade is “still under consideration no matter what words trickle out” since the O’s could easily reverse course if another team meets their asking price. While several complications could certainly prevent a trade from taking place given Machado’s stature, Connolly believes the biggest hurdle was the Orioles’ decision to consider trading Machado whatsoever, and “taking that step tells me that they aren’t going backward.”