With lots of information flying around the Winter Meetings, let’s check in on a few interesting notes on the pitching market:
- The Yankees have shown interest in Pirates ace Gerrit Cole, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets, but have been left to believe that Cole won’t be moved. Pittsburgh’s intentions for the winter have never really been clear, with a few notable veterans nearing free agency but a core in place that might still contend in the near term. Presumably, the Bucs are still weighing their options. If a Cole deal is considered, it’s not entirely certain whether the team would prioritize long-term prospect value or prefer instead to bring back controllable assets already playing at the MLB level. While the 27-year-old was less than dominant in 2017, he was able to top two hundred frames and averaged a typical 8.7 K/9 with 2.4 BB/9. The asking price, in other words, will likely still be lofty for a pitcher with a front-line reputation. If the Yankees are serious about pursuit, they’d surely have some interesting pieces to dangle.
- The Royals are willing to consider trade scenarios involving closer Kelvin Herrera, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports. Righty Joakim Soria is also available via trade, per a report from ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter). That doesn’t rate as much of a surprise given the team’s relatively hefty payroll and questionable chances of contention. Indeed, recent indications are that some sort of rebuilding effort could be in the works. Herrera is coming off of a middling campaign, but also has a history of late-inning success and is projected to earn a relatively palatable $8.3MM in his final season of arb eligibility. Soria, 33, only carried a 3.70 ERA in his 56 frames in 2017, but did post a healthy 10.3 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9. He’s slated to earn $9MM in 2018 and is also promised a $1MM buyout on a 2019 mutual option.
- Despite some cautionary comments from GM Sandy Alderson yesterday, the Mets are giving indications that they will land at least one reliever over the Winter Meetings, Sherman reports on Twitter. But it’s more likely the team will secure a shorter-term asset than one of the premium setup men they’ve been connected to in the past, he adds. Righty Steve Cishek is one pitcher that has drawn New York’s attention, per Marc Carig of Newsday (via Twitter). The veteran sidearmer finished 2017 with a strong run for the Rays, posting a 1.09 ERA with 9.5 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in his final 24 2/3 innings after coming over from the Mariners over the summer.
- As the Nationals look into possible bullpen additions, the club could consider free agent Hector Rondon, Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post reports on Twitter. Washington was among the teams that spoke with the Cubs about Rondon before he was non-tendered. The Nats and others obviously were not willing to risk an arbitration hearing with a player who projected at $6.2MM, but presumably there’ll be fairly wide interest at a lower price tag. Though he faded a bit in 2017, Rondon still carried 10.8 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 while maintaining his typically robust fastball velocity and also showing career highs in swinging-strike (11.9%) and groundball (48.3%) rates.