J.D. Martinez’s name has been connected more with the D-backs in recent days, though Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic posits that it’s difficult to envision the Diamondbacks finding a way to fit Martinez, Zack Greinke and Paul Goldschmidt all on the same payroll, should the team ultimately extend Goldschmidt beyond his current contract (which runs through 2019). That said, Piecoro notes that Martinez loved his time in Arizona, bonded with teammates and likes the upward trajectory of the team. Piecoro also points out that the D-backs hired one of Martinez’s personal hitting coaches, Robert Van Scoyoc, and appointed him to the newly created position of “hitting strategist” within the organization.
A reunion with the D-backs could be a stretch financially, but FanRag’s Jon Heyman writes that agent Scott Boras has met with D-backs managing partner Ken Kendrick on multiple occasions this offseason. How aggressive Boras can push Kendrick to be remains to be seen; Heyman notes that Arizona has “signaled a willingness” to go to five years and more than $100MM, though John Gambadoro of 98.7 FM Arizona Sports tweets that, to the contrary, the D-backs aren’t willing to go to that length to retain the slugger.
More notes on the woefully slow free-agent market…
- The Brewers’ offer to Yu Darvish was nine figures in total value, Heyman reports in his latest notes column. That’s perhaps not all that surprising, as he’s been expected to sign for more than $100MM all offseason, and any serious proposal to him would figure to top that sum. Heyman further notes that there’s “reason to believe” that neither the Brewers or the Twins are a top choice for Darvish, though, so either team could perhaps need to be more aggressive in order to land him. 1500 ESPN’s Darren Wolfson reported yesterday that Minnesota, too, recently made a formal contract offer to Darvish (which presumably was also worth more than $100MM in total).
- Logan Morrison is on the Red Sox’ radar as a potential backup option should they not sign Martinez, per Heyman. The 30-year-old would be a considerably more affordable source of power to slot into the DH spot in the lineup (presumably with some occasional time at first base to give Mitch Moreland a break, or in the event of a Moreland injury). It’s been fairly quiet on Morrison for much of the offseason despite the fact that he’s run up a 130 wRC+ over his past 900 big league plate appearances. MLBTR’s Connor Byrne recently took a lengthier look at Morrison’s merits.
- FanRag’s Robert Murray reports that the Giants are still looking for bullpen help and made an offer to Seung-hwan Oh before the righty ultimately signed with the Rangers. San Francisco is only about $2.1MM from the $197MM luxury tax threshold, so they don’t have much to spend while remaining under the tax line. Murray suggests a match with Huston Street as a possibility, though his characterization of Street as one of the top remaining options on the relief market seems rather overstated. Now 34 years old, Street was one of the game’s top relievers for the better part of a decade, but he’s pitched just 26 1/3 innings with a 5.47 ERA and a 17-to-13 K/BB ratio in the past two seasons as he’s dealt with oblique, knee, lat and groin injuries in that brief two-year span. That said, he certainly seems like someone that could fit into a limited budget, perhaps even on a minor league deal.
- The Twins have been most prominently linked to rotation help, but they’re also looking to bolster their offensive output against left-handed pitching, writes Dan Hayes of The Athletic. “…[I]f there’s a right fit for our roster from the right side, that’s probably a fair place to say, if we’re going to add on the position player side, that’s the right slot,” chief baseball officer Derek Falvey tells Hayes. Minnesota has been linked to Mike Napoli throughout the offseason, and Hayes runs through some other speculative fits that could bolster the club’s bench and overall output against lefties.
- Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com looks at the Orioles’ pursuit of rotation help and notes that he hasn’t heard any talk of interest in a reunion with Jeremy Hellickson. The O’s tried to gauge Wade Miley’s interest in a one-year deal earlier this winter, and they perhaps unsurprisingly have not shown a “shred” of interest in bringing Ubaldo Jimenez back to Baltimore. The Jimenez deal, Kubatko notes, has led to a refusal on the Orioles’ part to consider offers beyond three years in length this offseason. (ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported a similar sentiment from owner Peter Angelos yesterday.)