Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen told reporters (including the Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro) that his team has kept in touch with Fernando Rodney. The veteran reliever was expected to personally attend the Winter Meetings to speak to clubs about a contract, though it isn’t known whether the D’Backs were one of those teams. Rodney signed a one-year, $2.75MM deal with Arizona last winter and turned into a bargain signing for the team, recording 39 saves to go along with a 4.23 ERA, 10.57 K/9 and 52.2% grounder rate.
Some more from around the NL West…
- The Giants have some level of interest in Jay Bruce, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The slugger is known to be on the target list for at least four other teams, though it remains to be seen if the bidding will be high enough for Bruce to land his desired five-year contract. A right-handed bat would be a better fit within San Francisco’s heavily left-handed lineup, though Bruce would check a couple of boxes for the Giants as a power hitter and defensively-capable right fielder.
- From that same Schulman piece, the Giants are impressed enough with prospect Steven Duggar that “it does affect how we view addressing that [center field] need this offseason,” GM Bobby Evans said. “It does give us a mindset more short term.” This would seem to lessen the chance that the Giants acquire names like Lorenzo Cain or Billy Hamilton, who have been both been linked to the team in rumors. Andrew McCutchen has also been mentioned as a possibility for the Giants, yet Schulman writes that “he is not viewed as a priority,” even though the Pirates outfielder is only under contract through the 2018 season and would seem to fit as a short-term answer. Duggar is expected to start the season in Triple-A but would seem to be on pace for a big league debut next year and potentially a regular role by 2019.
- A big bat for third base or the corner outfield is the priority for the Giants at the Winter Meetings, Schulman tweets, and the team may have to sacrifice defense in order to land that type of hitter. San Francisco also wants to address the bullpen, though that will be dealt with later in the offseason.
- The Rockies are interested in re-signing Mark Reynolds, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports (via Twitter). GM Jeff Bridich has suggested that first base (or any type of bat) isn’t necessarily a priority for the team, though that hasn’t stopped the Rox from checking in on the likes of Carlos Santana or Jay Bruce. Reynolds would be a more affordable and familiar option for Colorado at first base, returning for a third year at Coors Field after hitting .274/.354/.471 with 44 homers over 1034 PA in 2016-17. Despite those slightly above-average hitting numbers, however, Reynolds has only been worth a total of 1.0 fWAR over those two seasons due to his strikeouts and lack of defensive or baserunning value.
- It is “fair to say” that the Dodgers’ 2018 payroll will be lower than $237MM, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman told MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick and other media. Exceeding that figure would balloon the team’s luxury tax rate to 95 percent and drop their position in the June amateur draft back by 10 spots. Counting arbitration projections and money owed to players no longer on the roster, the Dodgers’ payroll stands at over $208MM for next season, so they do have some room to make upgrades though it seems unlikely that they’d take on any major salary commitments without first unloading some of their existing big contracts.
- Also from Friedman, the Dodgers are prioritizing bullpen additions. Starting pitching doesn’t seem to be a need, as Friedman likes their current rotation depth and wants to give younger pitchers “a soft landing spot in the big leagues to go through their acclimation process. We have a talented enough group to ride that out a little bit.” As Gurnick notes, this makes it seem unlikely that L.A. would re-sign Yu Darvish. Of course, the Dodgers did make a push for one very notable starter in Shohei Ohtani, though that was a unique circumstance due to Ohtani’s minimal costs.