The Blue Jays and Rangers “appear” to be among teams with interest in Marlins center fielder Christian Yelich, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Yelich has landed on several clubs’ radars this offseason, owing to his impressive track record, long-term affordability and age (26), but he may end up sticking with the Marlins. Miami understandably wants an enormous return for Yelich, presumably in the form of prospects, so it’s worth noting that Toronto is ninth and Texas 21st in Baseball America’s most recent farm system rankings (subscription required and recommended).
More from Cafardo on Toronto and a couple other clubs:
- The Blue Jays are also interested in free agent center fielder Lorenzo Cain, though they’d move him to right field, per Cafardo. While Cain does have some experience in right, he has spent the vast majority of his career in center and thrived there. Toronto has an excellent center fielder in Kevin Pillar, who’d form two-thirds of a great defensive outfield with Cain, but whether the latter would be willing to give up his typical position is unclear.
- Unlike Pillar and Cain, free agent outfielder J.D. Martinez is not a defensive asset. As such, the Red Sox will mostly use Martinez as a designated hitter if they sign him, Cafardo relays. With three better defensive outfielders in the fold in Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi, deploying the big-hitting Martinez at DH would be logical. There are a couple potential complications, however, with Martinez reportedly preferring to remain an outfielder and the presence of DH Hanley Ramirez in Boston. The Sox may attempt to trade Ramirez if they add Martinez, though it could be difficult to find a taker; after all, Ramirez is expensive ($22MM in 2018 and, if he reaches 497 plate appearances this year and then passes a physical, another $22MM in 2019), aging (34) and coming off a poor season.
- The rebuilding Tigers have gotten inquiries about third baseman/outfielder Nicholas Castellanos from “a few teams,” Cafardo writes. Castellanos is under control for the next two years, including at a projected $7.6MM in 2018. The Tigers tried earlier this offseason to lock him up for the long haul with an extension, but those talks didn’t lead to a deal. Castellanos, who will turn 26 in March, was a bright spot for Detroit’s offense last season. Not only did he slash .272/.320/.490 with 26 home runs in 665 PAs, but Castellanos was something of a Statcast darling, evidenced by a .366 xwoBA (compared to a .347 wOBA) and the majors’ 10th-most barrels.