The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal suggests teams in need of pitching should take a second look at Diamondbacks ace Zack Greinke. With Arizona set to lose Patrick Corbin and A.J. Pollock to free agency, the Dbacks are, unwittingly maybe, staring down a period of transition. The $34.8MM the 35-year-old Greinke is owed yearly might seem like a bitter pill to swallow, but there are ways of diverting a portion of that cost to make the contract palatable. The Rangers and Diamondbacks, for instance, reportedly discussed a Greinke deal last offseason wherein the Rangers would have offset the AAV by sending Shin-Soo Choo the other way. Another strategy to offset that cost is straight cash. However it’s done, getting Greinke’s AAV down to the range of $20MM to $25MM might make him an attractive, shorter-term alternative to a free agent like Dallas Keuchel on a five-year pact, given that Greinke is now essentially on a three-year deal. So long as he’s priced appropriately, the Diamondbacks could move him. Whether or not they should depends on the cost. Be sure to check out the entire article here (subscription link), but for now, here are more snippets from Rosenthal on high-priced veterans from around the league…
- Unlike the Dbacks with Greinke, the Mariners are likely stuck with their veterans, given the sticker price of right-hander Felix Hernandez, third baseman Kyle Seager and Robinson Cano. In the context of the Greinke conversation, moving Cano almost seems plausible, as he’s only a year older than Greinke and owed almost $15MM less per season, but whereas Greinke isn’t much diminished from peak form, Cano is not long removed from an 80-game suspension, signed for two years longer and likely to move down the defensive hierarchy next season, from second base to either first or designated hitter.
- Rosenthal quotes a rival executive who says the Phillies are “shopping the hell” out of first baseman Carlos Santana. If they could move off the two years and more than $35MM owed to Santana, the Phils would love to move Rhys Hoskins back to first, since he recorded an unsightly -24 DRS in left field last season. Adam Dunn is the only left fielder to record less defensive runs saved in a single season since 2003, when Sports Info Solutions introduced the data. For Santana’s part, he’s been decent defensively at first over the last few seasons with the Indians and Phillies, even managing 1 DRS in 119 innings at third for the Phils last year. Still, he’s probably more of an asset to an American League team where he could cycle in and out of the designated hitter slot.
- The Angels, as well, are looking to shed salary in the form of Kole Calhoun or Blake Parker. Matt Shoemaker, after missing most of last season, is a non-tender candidate as well. The Angels are wary of dipping into their farm system to improve the major-league squad, as they’ve worked hard to rebuild their prospect pool. Still, they have a relatively desperate need for pitching and are, therefore, looking to shed salary where they can.
- Rosenthal quotes an anonymous agent with an interesting take on the Bryce Harper saga in Washington. The agent theorizes that GM Mike Rizzo is largely extricating himself from the process moving forward, instead moving aggressively to fill the Nationals’ other needs and leaving ownership to make the final verdict on Harper. Of course, creating a better baseball situation in Washington surely won’t hurt in the pursuit of Harper either.
- Also in Washington, the Nats could see a boost to their finances if their dispute with the Orioles over rights fees from the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN) is settled, as expected, by MLB’s internal arbitration panel. An appeals process could still be at hand, but baseball officials hope both teams will live with whatever verdict comes down from the Revenue Sharing Definition Committee, which consists of Brewers owner Mark Attanasio, Mariners CEO Kevin Mather and Toronto CEO Mark Shapiro. In dispute is over $200MM in rights fees from 2012 to 2016. If the hearing goes as expected, the Nats will see an influx of cash that should grant them future payroll flexibility. Before you ask – no, the matter will not likely be settled in time to aid in the wooing of Harper.
- For the Orioles part in the above dispute, Rosenthal suggests it wouldn’t be a bad idea for the Orioles’ next front office hires to include someone in good standing with the MLB office. Along with the more explicit organizational issues, Baltimore has also apparently had a poor relationship with the league office as well. A portion of the discord stems from the above dispute with the Nationals over rights fees for the Orioles’ owned MASN, but there’s also suspicions that Camden Yards has somewhat unfairly been passed over for the All-Star game in recent years. Camden Yards was a forerunner for the way modern sports facility are built, but they have not hosted an All-Star game since its second year of existence in 1993. Other organizations have longer droughts in this regard, but the missed opportunity to honor the 25th anniversary of Camden Yards in 2017 still stings.
- As for the free agent market’s other big fish, Rosenthal quotes the Athletic’s Jayson Stark who hears that the Yankees are doing more than their due diligence to get first-hand accounts of Manny Machado’s character. They likely won’t be disappointed by what they hear, as those close to Machado have nothing but good things to say, while recognizing the occasional on-field gaff.