It doesn’t look like the Indians will reach any extensions with Francisco Lindor or Trevor Bauer before the season begins, though the team did at least explore the possibility of long-term deals with both players, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. It isn’t any surprise that the Tribe looked into gaining some cost certainty on either man even though Bauer is already controlled through the 2020 season and Lindor through 2021. In the latter’s case, Lindor is still a year away from salary arbitration, though one wonders if Lindor may feel confident enough in his abilities to forego guaranteed money now and wait until free agency to chase an even bigger contract. He already turned down an extension offer reportedly worth around $100MM last offseason, and his stock has only risen after a superb 2017 campaign.
Here’s more from around the baseball world as we enter the offseason’s final day…
- The Rangers seems to be done their offseason shopping, as GM Jon Daniels stated to MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan and other reporters. “I couldn’t be more clear, I don’t expect any more significant acquisitions. There is not a lot going on from our standpoint in the free-agent market,” Daniels said. This also seems to include a pursuit of Greg Holland, as Daniels reiterated that Texas plans to be flexible with the ninth-inning role and allow a closer to emerge from several candidates. Adrian Beltre, for one, still feels that a more established arm is needed, as he feels the end-game plan is “an area that’s going to be a question mark. Normally, when you have really good teams, you have [a closer.] You have closers out there in the free-agent market. … Ideally for me, you get a closer, put him in there and use him.”
- Ichiro Suzuki may begin the season on the DL to give him more time to fully recover from a right calf strain, with Mariners manager Scott Servais telling the Associated Press and other media that a decision will be made tomorrow when the team sees how Suzuki is feeling after playing seven innings today. Utilityman Taylor Motter looks to make the Opening Day roster if Ichiro isn’t available.
- The Pirates’ interest in Korean shortstop prospect Ji-Hwan Bae dates back almost two years, Elizabeth Bloom of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes, and the team was finally able to land the 18-year-old after he was made a free agent following the Braves’ international signing scandal. Given a second chance at the signing, Pittsburgh again made a push, and Bae said (via an interpreter) that he chose them over other suitors because the “Pirates were the most active team approaching” about a contract. The Pirates thought enough of Bae to give him $1.25MM, the second-largest bonus the franchise has ever given to an international prospect, and GM Neal Huntington feels Bae can stick at shortstop over the long term.
- Brad Boxberger has been named the Diamondbacks’ closer, the Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro and others reported. Boxberger posted a league-best 41 saves in his first season as the Rays’ closer back in 2015, though injuries both cost him the job and limited him to 53 2/3 total innings in 2016-17. Now healthy, Boxberger could again blossom into an effective late-game weapon for Arizona, though Piecoro notes that the larger factor in the Diamondbacks’ decision might’ve been the team’s preference to keep Archie Bradley as a fireman rather than in a strict ninth-inning role. For updates on every team’s closing situation, be sure to follow MLBTR’s sister Twitter feed @CloserNews.