The Rays, along with the previously reported Astros and White Sox, have shown interest in free-agent designated hitter Nelson Cruz, per Jon Heyman of Fancred and Jon Morosi of MLB.com. Although Tampa Bay’s not known for throwing money around in free agency, the club currently has cash to play with and a need for a big-hitting presence after designating power hitter C.J. Cron for assignment this past Tuesday. Judging by the offensive prowess Cruz has shown off during his long career, he’d deftly step in for Cron. The 38-year-old Cruz is limited to DH, though, and Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times wrote Saturday that the Rays may want to replace Cron with a player who poses a threat at the plate while also offering some defensive versatility. It’s also unclear whether the Rays would meet Cruz’s potential price (MLBTR predicts he’ll land a two-year, $30MM guarantee), with Topkin noting they might only hand out a one-year, $10MM-plus contract.
Here’s more on a couple other American League teams…
- Despite their need for starting pitching, the Rangers haven’t shown a desire to re-sign free agent Bartolo Colon, according to Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News. Even though he was the majors’ oldest player in 2018, the 45-year-old Colon tallied 146 1/3 innings and recorded the league’s third-lowest BB/9 (1.54) among those who threw 140 or more frames. At the same time, however, the right-hander finished bottom two among qualified starters in ERA (5.78), FIP (5.47) and K/9 (4.98). It was the second straight rough year for Colon, who may struggle to find a contract this offseason as a result.
- Blue Jays prospect Cavan Biggio enjoyed a breakout 2018 at the Double-A level, where he thrived at the plate while seeing extensive action at second, third and first. The Blue Jays, hoping to add to Biggio’s defensive flexibility, then sent the 23-year-old to the Arizona Fall League to garner outfield experience, as John Lott of The Athletic details (subscription required). Biggio, the son of Hall of Famer Craig Biggio, performed well in the grass, per Lott. It’s unclear if the Blue Jays will continue using Biggio in the outfield next year, but as Lott points out, taking on a super-utility role would likely hasten his arrival to the major leagues. Biggio, for his part, seems more than happy to play wherever Toronto wants him to, and director of player development Gil Kim believes “he’s got the athletic ability and the baseball acumen to do that effectively.”