While the Marlins have reportedly been holding talks regarding catcher J.T. Realmuto and outfielder Christian Yelich, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic says that four rival general managers expressed doubt” that a trade will actually take place involving these young assets. Whether that opinion is based on the reportedly astronomical asking prices or other factors isn’t immediately clear. There’s some suggestion from some of Rosenthal’s sources, though, that the Fish are concerned with perception and won’t make a deal unless it seems the offer was overwhelming. That seems largely unlikely, but the already less-than-rosy returns on the initial months of the new ownership have been marred further by reports from the Miami Herald about the incoming plans. Most recently, Barry Jackson reported that CEO Derek Jeter stands to receive a $5MM salary with multi-million-dollar bonuses if he can deliver profitability to the ownership group (of which he is a part). PR considerations aside, there’s certainly a compelling case to deal Realmuto and Yelich rather than take the risk of holding them. Rosenthal argues the organization ought to simply follow through on the rebuilding steps it has taken already, using this offseason as the time to cash in both of those quality young players.
Here are some more market notes:
- The Mets are said to be checking in on the market for third basemen, per MLB.com’s Jon Morosi. The report suggests that the New York organization is positioning itself as a landing spot for Mike Moustakas or Todd Frazier if they reduce their current asking prices. Similarly, the club has checked in on backstop Jonathan Lucroy as well as left-handed-hitting first basemen Adam Lind and Logan Morrison. (Those two potential first base options, of course, occupy quite different market segments given the former’s age and the latter’s breakout 2017 season.) All told, it still seems the Mets are broadly canvassing the market for possible upgrades, but looking to do so with relatively limited financial resources still available.
- Jon Heyman of Fan Rag has a variety of interesting notes in a look at the top remaining free agents and other notes from around the game. Free agent righty Alex Cobb is “willing” to take a four-year deal at a $70MM guarantee, says Heyman. Of course, that’s also a significant amount more than MLBTR, at least, projected he’d earn on the open market. It would appear there’s still some market development left to go between Cobb and his suitors. Of course, there are also a few higher-regarded starters left whose own situations may need to be resolved first. Meanwhile, fellow free agent righty Andrew Cashner is reportedly angling for a three-year pact. While the 31-year-old did manage a 3.40 ERA in 166 2/3 innings in 2017, teams will be wary given that he carried only a meager 4.6 K/9 on the year.
- Years are also at issue for J.D. Martinez, Heyman explains. Red Sox president of baseball ops Dave Dombrowski is not interested in offering more than five years, but Heyman suggests that agent Scott Boras could yet try to make his case at the ownership level. The “word is there are other five-year offers,” Heyman adds, though it remains hard to imagine which other reportedly interested club would be able to compete financially with the Sox for Martinez.
- Heyman also checks in on the closer market. The Astros, he notes, remain interested in adding a high-end, late-inning arm. It’s not entirely clear if they are a realistic suitor for Greg Holland, but in theory he’d be an option. Holland is said to have set out in search of five years in free agency. That never really seemed likely, as he’s 32 years of age and had at least a few late-season stumbles in his first campaign back from Tommy John surgery. Of course, Holland is still expected to secure a significant contract, though a three-year arrangement may be likeliest at this point.
- Though the Reds continue to engage in discussions regarding center fielder Billy Hamilton, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick notes on Twitter that there’s one major potential roadblock. Club owner Bob Castellini is quite hesitant to part with Hamilton, it seems. While there’s no indication that the switch-hitting speed demon is completely off limits, the stance may make it harder to get a deal done.
- As the Royals weigh their options at short, it seems the team is targeting some veterans that figure to be available on lower-cost deals. Incumbent Alcides Escobar remains an option, says Heyman, while Kansas City is also said to be favorably disposed toward Ryan Goins.