Agents representing some of the top available relievers have been told by the Red Sox that the team is waiting on Craig Kimbrel before deciding on other bullpen options, NBC Sports Boston’s Evan Drellich reports. This would seemingly run counter to other recent reports, as Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski recently stated that the team wasn’t planning to spend big on a closer, while Kimbrel is reportedly looking for the priciest contract ever landed by a relief pitcher. Obviously some gamesmanship could be at work here, as Drellich notes, and he suggests that a shorter-term and potentially backloaded contract with a high average annual value could be a fit for both sides. This would give Kimbrel a big payday while also reloading the Boston bullpen while the club is in a win-now window, as several notable stars are set for free agency in the next year or two.
- In another chat with media today, Dombrowski told Alex Speier of the Boston Globe (Twitter links) and other reporters that was happy with his starting outfielders and his catching mix, and wasn’t looking to make any changes. In regards to the latter position, the Red Sox have received at least some interest in their catchers from the Mets (as per MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo) as New York continues to explore secondary plans if the club can’t land J.T. Realmuto from the Marlins.
- Even after agreeing to a reunion with J.A. Happ today, Yankees GM Brian Cashman told reporters (including Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News) that the team isn’t necessarily done adding starting pitching. The Happ deal “gives me more comfort,” Cashman said, though “It doesn’t mean that we would be out of the market all together….That doesn’t preclude us from being open minded to any other options that develop over time. In the meantime, it does allow us to pivot and focus further on other aspects of our roster, too.” Some of the bigger-name pitchers associated with the Yankees, however, don’t appear to on the radar at the moment. Sources tell Ackert that the Yankees balked at the Indians’ asking price for Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer, while another source describes a trade with the Mets for Noah Syndergaard as “extremely unlikely.”
- In trade talks with the Diamondbacks about Paul Goldschmidt, “the Rays were willing to at least discuss” the possibility of dealing outfield prospect Jesus Sanchez, the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin writes. Preseason prospect rankings had Sanchez as a consensus top-60 minor leaguer in all of baseball, and the now-21-year-old outfielder continues to move up the Rays’ ladder, making his Double-A debut in 2018. Moving such a youngstar even from a deep farm system would’ve been a bold move for just one year of Goldschmidt’s services, yet Topkin believes it could be a sign of how seriously Tampa Bay is prepared to pursue elite talent. This could be a hint towards the Rays’ ventures towards other notable trade targets, such as perhaps Realmuto.
- There still isn’t any solid word about Brandon Hyde as the Orioles’ new manager, as GM Mike Elias didn’t even confirm that Hyde received an offer during today’s session with media (including MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko). “In my position I can’t be out in front of events or the one who’s naming names or specifying timelines in public, obviously. But I think we’re in good shape. I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to have a good hire in due time,” Elias said.