As the market for top starter Yu Darvish begins to pick up some steam, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the market for one of the free agency’s top position players may be escalating as well (Twitter links). Lorenzo Cain and his reps at All Bases Covered Sports Management have begun informing some teams that they’re out of the running, per Heyman. It’s not immediately clear whether that means a decision is on the horizon, but Heyman adds that Cain is weighing “a variety of offers” and is even “believed to have received several” offers of four years in length.
[Related: Free Agent Profile — Lorenzo Cain]
The 31-year-old Cain (32 in April) has been linked to several teams this winter, though San Francisco’s acquisition of Andrew McCutchen and the Blue Jays’ acquisition of Randal Grichuk may have eliminated a pair of potential destinations. The Giants have only about $2MM remaining to stay underneath the luxury tax line and are reportedly set on doing so, while the Jays now have an outfield mix consisting of Grichuk, Kevin Pillar, offseason signee Curtis Granderson, Ezequiel Carrera, Steve Pearce and prospects Teoscar Hernandez and Anthony Alford. Fitting Cain into that mix would seem to be a tall order, barring the trade of an outfielder (or multiple outfielders) to add some rotation help.
The Rangers and Brewers have both been prominently linked to Cain over the past month. While Milwaukee is a curious fit at first glance given the Brewers’ own surplus of outfielders, GM David Stearns and his staff are reportedly exploring the potential return for some of the team’s incumbent outfielders. The Brewers reportedly have multiple lines in the water as they’ve been tied to pitchers like Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta and a potential trade for Christian Yelich in addition to their reported interest in Cain. As for the Rangers, it’s worth noting that GM Jon Daniels downplayed the possibility and voiced confidence in Delino DeShields as recently as this past weekend.
Beyond that group, there hasn’t been much in the way of teams that’ve been publicly linked to Cain in recent weeks. The Cubs were loosely tied to him a few weeks ago but have a deep mix of outfielders, and the Mets were said to have interest earlier in the offseason (before the signing of Jay Bruce). Certainly, given Cain’s above-average contributions in center field, at the plate and on the basepaths, there are probably other clubs that have interest in making room to add him to the roster, though the extent to which those clubs are willing to pay full market value for a player that would in many ways more luxury than necessity remains to be seen.