It’s possible that Shohei Ohtani could make his decision on where to sign “by early next week,” according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). That gives us an idea of a potential timeline, though there’s still plenty of wiggle room.
Here’s more from Heyman on a variety of subjects:
- The Orioles have been receiving calls on third baseman Manny Machado, writes Heyman. While the O’s aren’t shopping Machado and don’t wish to move him, Heyman notes that Baltimore is also willing to at least entertain offers on any of its players, even Machado. Presumably, it’d take a staggeringly high offer to convince the O’s to part with Machado even in spite of the fact that he’s just a year removed from free agency. The Orioles have reportedly been pursuing upgrades in their rotation all winter as they seek to bolster their club for one more run with Machado, closer Zach Britton and center fielder Adam Jones at the forefront of their roster. Heyman notes that the O’s are also having internal discussions about whether to try for a Machado extension, though doing so would likely require a precedent-setting deal for the 25-year-old superstar, as Machado currently projects to hit free agency at the abnormally young age of 26.
- Sticking with the Orioles, Heyman says in his weekly notes post that the Rockies (previously reported) and Cardinals are among the teams that have shown some interest in Britton. It seems reasonable to suspect that Britton is more readily available than is Machado, given that Baltimore went well down the line on a possible deadline deal for the lefty. But that doesn’t mean the team will simply accept the top bid; in all likelihood, prying him loose will mean meeting the O’s asking price.
- Some around the game believe the Cardinals could at least consider trading outfielder Dexter Fowler, Heyman adds. St. Louis would only do so, he suggests, if they were able to move most of the salary. That seems mostly reasonable to expect, given that Fowler posted a sturdy .264/.363/.488 slash with a career-high 18 long balls in his first season with the Cards. As for whether a trade is likely, that seems dubious. Fowler has a no-trade clause and sounds like he is settling in nicely in St. Louis. And president of baseball operations John Mozeliak kicked off the offseason by telling Fowler he wasn’t planning on trading him.
- There’s more indication that the Padres are fairly serious about going after Eric Hosmer, says Heyman. He also reported yesterday that first baseman Wil Myers would be amenable to moving to the outfield to make way for Hosmer to play at first. Of course, whether the Pads are really willing to hand out a big enough contract to get a deal done remains to be seen.
- At shortstop, the Padres have taken a look at Phillies veteran Freddy Galvis, says Heyman. The team is also weighing free agent Alcides Escobar. Either would seemingly make sense as a stop-gap option for the rebuilding club.
- The Angels are looking harder at second basemen and first basemen than they are at the hot corner, says Heyman. It seems, then, that the club feels fairly content with Luis Valbuena taking the bulk of the time at third, though perhaps that could change depending upon what opportunities arise over the winter — and whether or not the team lands Ohtani. At second, the Halos have at last “looked at” Neil Walker, who’s said to be asking for three or four years.
- The Mets have taken looks at free agent first basemen Mitch Moreland and Adam Lind, relays Heyman. With 22-year-old Dominic Smith in place, Heyman suggests the Mets may opt for a short-term first base option with outfield experience. Both Moreland and Lind check those boxes, though Heyman notes that the Mets are unlikely to sign the former.
- Yankees center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury is slated to serve as a reserve yet again next season, but he’d like to remain with the club, per Heyman. Ellsbury’s full no-trade clause and the nearly $70MM left on his contract (including a $5MM buyout in 2021) figure to make dealing the 34-year-old a rather tall order for the Yanks.