Ichiro Suzuki’s agent, John Boggs, tells Barry Bloom of MLB.com that he’s still holding out hope that the 44-year-old will land an offer from a big league club this offseason rather than return to Japan. Boggs had talks with both the Mariners and Padres, but neither of those now looks likely to come to fruition. He also notes that he’d spoken to the Mets before they signed Jay Bruce, as well as the Reds when they were more heavily exploring the market for Billy Hamilton. Boggs tells Bloom that there are still a half-dozen teams that continue to tell him to check back later in the winter once it’s clearer how the market will play out, but it remains unclear whether Ichiro will have a legitimate opportunity to return for an 18th Major League season.
A few other notes as another quiet week of free agency nears its conclusion…
- Though the stagnant offseason has been frustrating across the board, it may be particularly exhausting for Orioles fans, as the club is known to be looking for two or three starters, an outfielder, a utility infielder and some catching depth. Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com writes that all of that is still in the works, and he spoke with manager Buck Showalter about the team’s offseason pursuits at length. Showalter suggests that the O’s are “down the road real deep on a lot of guys,” adding that GM Dan Duquette has discussed “offers and physicals” with one particular right field target. Showalter adds that a Chris Tillman reunion remains possible. The free agent has been working out at the Orioles’ spring complex in Sarasota, Fla. — a favor granted by the team to their longtime rotation stalwart.
- Royals left-hander Danny Duffy has pleaded guilty to driving under the influence after initially filing a plea of not guilty upon being cited for a DUI last August, according to the Kansas City Star’s Rustin Dodd. The 29-year-old has been placed on probation and must refrain from drinking and using illegal drugs over the course of a one-year term. He’ll be subject to random breath, blood and urine tests as part of his probation, Dodd adds.
- The Twins have hired three-time All-Star Jim Kaat as a special assistant in their front office, the team announced. The 79-year-old Kaat enjoyed an excellent 25-year career, starring for the Senators/Twins franchise in 15 of those seasons (3.34 ERA, 133 complete games, 23 shutouts over the life of 3014 1/3 innings). He joins Twins legends Rod Carew, Tony Oliva, Tom Kelly and Kent Hrbek in a role that will see him “engage in various Twins community and business initiatives both in Minnesota as well as Southwest Florida,” per the Twins’ press release announcing the hiring.