Free agent utilityman Eduardo Nunez “hasn’t lost contact with the Red Sox,” Chad Jennings of the Boston Herald writes. With Dustin Pedroia set to miss the early portion of the year as he recovers from knee surgery, re-signing Nunez would give Boston a clear Opening Day second baseman. However, Nunez would obviously lose playing time upon Pedroia’s return, and the Red Sox are also set at his other positions – third base, shortstop and the corner outfield. All of those factors, not to mention interest from other clubs, could prevent Nunez’s return to the Red Sox. The 30-year-old joined the Sox via trade with the Giants last summer and thrived, hitting a stellar .321/.353/.539 in 173 plate appearances.
Here’s more from the American League:
- As their search for starting pitchers continues, the Orioles remain interested in re-signing free agent right-hander Chris Tillman, while fellow righties Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn are still too expensive, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports. Kubatko also adds a new name to the mix, 27-year-old righty Drew Hutchison, who’s on Baltimore’s radar. The Orioles are familiar with Hutchison from his run with AL East rival Toronto from 2012-16. Hutchison had his moments across 406 1/3 innings as a Blue Jay, with whom he pitched to a 4.92 ERA/4.23 FIP and posted 8.28 K/9 against 2.94 BB/9. However, he only threw 24 big league frames between Toronto and Pittsburgh in 2016, and he’s now coming off a year spent exclusively in the minors. With the Pirates’ Triple-A affiliate last season, Hutchison logged a 3.56 ERA/4.13 FIP with 7.0 K/9 and 3.22 BB/9 over 159 1/3 innings.
- When the Royals acquired outfielder Jorge Soler from the Cubs last year for closer Wade Davis, their hope was that the former top prospect would develop into a long-term building block. Soler, 25, still has a chance to do that, but Year 1 with the Royals saw him limp to a .144/.245/.258 showing in 110 PAs and, according to Maria Torres of the Kansas City Star, begin to believe that his major league career was over. Reflecting on 2017, most of which he spent in the minors, Soler told Torres: “I had an awful season. Things went fine in the minor leagues but not in the big leagues. Obviously there were things I was doing wrong. I needed to make adjustments. … I don’t know how it’ll translate to the field but in the cage there’s an incredible change. I’ve never felt this way.” Hoping to avoid a repeat this year, Soler has spent the offseason reshaping himself mentally and physically, having lost 20 pounds, and revamping his swing, as Torres details. Since October, Soler has been in Miami working with Dodgers international scout Mike Tosar, who helped Yonder Alonso break out last season. The results of their sessions have encouraged not only Soler and Tosar, but also members of Royals’ front office. General manager Dayton Moore suggested that Soler will be an everyday player for the Royals this year, adding that “the talent is there” and “we believe in him a great deal.”
- White Sox outfielder Eloy Jimenez, one of the game’s best prospects, has only racked up 73 PAs above the Single-A level. Nevertheless, there’s optimism the 21-year-old will make his major league debut in 2018, per Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago. Jimenez told Levine “he’s close to getting to the big leagues,” while GM Rick Hahn noted that “it is not going to shock me if over the summer Eloy forces our hand a bit.” Levine’s piece is worth checking out in full for more quotes on Jimenez from Hahn and White Sox hitting coach Todd Steverson.