Despite Christian Yelich’s unhappiness with the Marlins’ direction and the recent comments from his agent to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick indicating that the relationship between team and player is “irretrievably broken,” the Marlins maintain an understandably high asking price on the 26-year-old. MLB Network’s Peter Gammons uses the Braves as an example of that lofty asking price (video link), reporting that the Marlins at one point informed Atlanta that they’d be willing to talk about a multi-player package that would send Yelich to the Braves if and only if top prospect Ronald Acuna was the headliner of the deal. (Braves fans will undoubtedly scoff at the very notion, though it’s hardly a surprise to see the Marlins pushing for any team’s top-ranked prospect when peddling five years of Yelich at a maximum total of $58.25MM.)
Unsurprisingly, Gammons quickly adds, “That’s one guy the Braves are not going to trade,” in reference to Acuna. Despite the drama surrounding Yelich and teammate J.T. Realmuto, Gammons notes that the Marlins aren’t locks to deal the pair, with Yelich being especially difficult to pry away given the affordable half-decade of control he has on his contract.
More from the division…
- At today’s press conference to reintroduce Jay Bruce, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson suggested to reporters that his team likely has the budget to make one more notable addition (link via Ken Davidoff of the New York Post). Alderson confirmed recent reports that his preference would be to sign a free agent rather than make a trade. “If we were to try to improve in that area, I think we prefer to sign a free agent, only because it doesn’t require us to give up talent,” the GM said. Alderson acknowledged a trade as a possibility, adding that while his farm isn’t as strong as it once was, the Mets do still have players that have drawn interest from other clubs. There have been suggestions that young outfielder Brandon Nimmo could be on the table if the Mets and Pirates discuss a Josh Harrison trade, though the Post’s Mike Puma tweeted today that the Mets “aren’t particularly enthusiastic” about the idea of trading Nimmo for Harrison.
- Nick Williams has been working out alongside free agent Jake Arrieta for much of the offseason in Austin, he tells Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia, and the young outfielder has talked up Philadelphia in an effort to sell Arrieta on joining the Phillies. “He has told me he likes working with young guys,” said Williams. “I’m like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I’m not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I’m not really in his position.” While Williams’ pitch to his workout buddy should hardly be characterized as a legitimate connection between the Phils and Arrieta, Salisbury notes that the team is still actively trying to add to the rotation. If the price tag for Arrieta or another top starter comes down to a shorter length — Salisbury suggests three years, though it’s tough to see Arrieta dropping to that point — the Phillies’ interest could be piqued.
- Though much of the attention in Washington D.C. is placed on the fact that 2018 is Bryce Harper’s final year before free agency, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale points out that Nationals GM Mike Rizzo is also entering the last year of his deal. The two sides haven’t spoken about an extension yet, per Nightengale — owner Mark Lerner tells Nightengale a new deal will be discussed “in the normal course of business” — but Rizzo hopes to remain beyond the ’18 season. Rizzo is wrapping up a five-year, $10MM deal, per Nightengale, and the GM somewhat candidly suggested that he feels he’s earned a deal more commensurate with the top executives in the league. “I just think I deserve to be treated like some of the best GMs in the game are, too,” he said.