The majority of MLB teams have contacted the Rangers about reliever Jose Leclerc’s availability, Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram reports. Vast interest in Leclerc is hardly surprising, considering the soon-to-be 25-year-old right-hander was spectacular in 2018 and won’t even be eligible for arbitration until after next season. Texas isn’t necessarily looking to deal Leclerc or other appealing major leaguers such as left-hander Mike Minor and outfielder Nomar Mazara, Wilson notes, but with the Rangers in a rebuild, any of them could end up on the move if a team offers the right package of prospects.
And now a few updates from the AL Central…
- Although the White Sox have been connected to Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, the top free agents on the board, don’t expect any haphazard, short-term spending from the team if it loses out on elite FAs. General manager Rick Hahn said this week (via James Fegan of The Athletic; subscription required) that Chicago’s not going to “scurry around and look for short-term fixes to get modest improvements” this offseason. Meanwhile, the White Sox seem unlikely to sell low on first baseman Jose Abreu as he enters a contract year, Fegan suggests. Abreu’s aging (32 in January), projected to make $16MM in 2019 and coming off a mediocre season, but Hahn lauded the respected slugger’s on- and off-field contributions and added, “Although he is going into the last year of his contract, that does by no means preclude him from being a part of our future.”
- Having already addressed two needs this offseason with the additions of first baseman C.J. Cron and second baseman Jonathan Schoop, the Twins’ heavy lifting may already be done in advance of the Winter Meetings, La Velle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune observes. The club will look to bolster its bullpen, Neal relays, though it’s satisfied with most of its starting rotation and will only pick up a full-time designated hitter (e.g., Nelson Cruz) if the price is palatable. The Twins are content to use multiple DHs next year, per Neal, and they wouldn’t be able to do that with Cruz in the fold.
- The Royals expect to be “active” in Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft, according to general manager Dayton Moore (via Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com). Kansas City, which is set to pick second in the draft, is only a year removed from striking gold on a Rule 5 selection. During the 2017 edition, the Royals acquired right-hander Brad Keller, whom the Reds chose fifth overall. The 23-year-old ended up turning in a surprisingly strong season in KC, where he pitched to a 3.08 ERA/3.55 FIP with 2.5 fWAR in 140 1/3 innings.
Signing Harper or Machado would add a bit of urgency to the Sox’s rebuilding process. Other than that, I don’t see the need to do anything different right now.
I don’t consider CJ Cron or Jonathan Schoop to be “heavy lifting” and it’s kind of concerning if the twins do. They definitely have some holes to be filled if their objective is to be anything but mediocre. Doesn’t mean they need to go out and try to get Bryce Harper, but they need to make a play for an ace a several bullpen pieces if they want to contend.
I agree. Even if by chance they made it to a playoff spot, competing with the AL east (and perhaps the A’s if they have a repeat performance) will stop them in their tracks without more significant upgrades
Tell me about it, the Twins had a chance to be the favorites to win the division, but instead sign Schoop and Cron (can’t score runs if you can’t get on base). Guess that means the FO isn’t trying to win in 2019, which is fair (I guess), but at least be transparent with your fan base.
Schoop and cron could be significant upgrades over what you played there in 2018. Morrison/Mauer was a horrible platoon and dozier didn’t perform. If cron matches his production from last year that’s already a significant upgrade. And Schoop was a top tier 2B in 2017. If you see more of that you made two nice signings. The twins are in a tough spot because if you don’t see sano, Kepler, and Buxton play up to their ceilings this team has no shot. The bullpen is bad and the rotation outside of Berrios and Gibson is suspect.
Cron and Schoop May hit more HRs that Morrison/Mauer and Dozier but don’t seem to be any significant upgrade. With the money coming off the books and the lack of impact players in the minors, I think the Twins either need to go for it now and hope Buxton and Sano perform or scuttle the ship. I’m not sure the FO has a coherent plan.
Lack of impact players in the minors?? What about Lewis and Kirilloff? I would sctually argue that this is one of the best twins fsrm systems we have seen
The Twins chances of contending depend on a rapid turnaround of Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton and Max Kepler. Right now, based on last year, the front office has no idea what they have. Why add expensive pieces to a puzzle that could have 2 or 3 giant missing pieces? 2019 should be all about making sure those three players fulfill their potentials. If they don’t, then they are looking at 2021 at the earliest to contend.
The twins have payroll to spare right now. They cant sit back and pray for the best for THREE guys. In addition to the pitching needs they should probably sign someone to fill at least one of those spots too, and if one of those guys comes back and you have someone to spare, then you have a trade chip to bolster another need even more.
That’s how rebuilding works, you have to let your young players develop. Not everyone is Juan Soto and dominates upon arrival
If they were in rebuilding mode that would be fine.
But they’re not advertising themselves as being in rebuilding mode.
Sano, Buxton, and Kepler appear to be the magic beans……
If one or more get any good, then they’re simply trade bait for high-level prospects. Rosario as well (as his salary climbs and he approaches free agency).
The Twins need to build a core group of young, cheap, controlled players before doing anything fancy. So far they have Jose Berrios. An ace pitcher is an excellent start.
Mazara seems like a good target for the Braves if the M’s and D’backs really are gonna hold on to Haniger and Peralta. Especially since they tendered Duval, seems like a natural platoon.
What a disappointment to go from Haniger/Peralta to Mazara. Guy is really overrated. Culberson had 2x higher WAR than Mazara in just over half the plate appearances. Why not just field him out there and save the prospects Jon Daniels will want for him while trying to get you to focus on his 3 consecutive seasons of 20 HR?
True, but he’s only 23 and has room to improve. I’d take Nomar over Markakis.
It’s completely arguable that the Braves should target somebody more stable, but I wouldn’t write off Mazara as a bust or anything. He is basically still prospect-age, and Steamer at least is pretty bullish on him taking that offensive leap next year. I think he’s pretty clearly better than Culberson.
I also find it difficult to believe Arizona’s dead set on holding Peralta, though, and think the Braves should be all over him. AZ keeping him makes no sense given his age and their new timetable for contention.
As a Ranger fan we keep waiting for Mazara to turn the corner but he doesn’t seem to be getting any better. I was thinking this past year was going to be the year that it happened and then he would be a good trade piece this off season. Be interesting to see how new coaching changes any of that. A lot of guys regressed under Banister and his team. A good coach for the outfield is imperative after you see how the work Tony Beasley (only good coach under Banister) did with several years ago with Andrus and this past year with Odor. The lack of progress in Maz, Deshieids regressions, and not being able to have any of the guys stick in right has me thinking it is much more about coaching. And yes I also understand and believe in the mantra that it is on the player but a good coach can find a way to get through to a player who has a stubbornness rightfully built on the confidence of them getting to the majors.
But I would be afraid of any trade with Maz now as it would be selling low. Only trade I would be ok with would be him and Leclerc to the Braves (or any team) for one of their young SP stud prospects but this is a very homer trade and I would be against it if I was a Braves fan. It just doesn’t make sense to trade him at only 23 when in another 4 years he could be 27 and right in his prime right at the same time we could be contending. He could also stay as he is. I would really hate to trade low for what becomes a back end rotation guy and see him turn into top 10 RF type. I think that fear alone keeps me from trading him.
Why would Harper or Machado come to the White Sox? Contending teams have money too.
Live in Chicago. Be the star on an up and coming team in the worst division in baseball. White Sox could lock down the ALC starting in 2020 while everyone else is rebuilding or having to retool (CLE).
Radiohead, the simple answer is to crush our enemies, to see them driven before us, and to hear the lamentations of their women.
A.J. Preller needs to give his old boss a call on a package for RP Jose Leclerc and 3B/SS Jurickson Profar.
Texas needs pitching in the worst way, the Padres need a third baseman and why not take a young controllable closer while their at it? Profar is controlled until 2020, he could hold down 3B until Hudson Potts is ready. The switch hitting former number 1 overall prospect could provide quality infield depth and insurance until prospects are ready. Leclerc allows the team to move older controllable guys like Yates, Stammen, Stock, etc for other help.
A package of C Austin Allen, SP Cal Quantrill plus SP Luis Perdomo could be of interest to Texas. It gives them a catcher who is ML ready and a couple of SP’s who can figure into the rotation plans for the next 5 seasons at minimum.
I think Texas could do way better. Perdomo’s interesting but not particularly good, Allen’s probably not a catcher, and Quantrill’s stock has dropped like a rock, at least publicly.
The match is definitely there, not sure about who SD sends to TEX though.
Yeah I think they make a ton of sense on Profar, and the Preller connection is an easy one. The Leclerc fit is a little tougher for me. They’re probably not contending next year, and, while Leclerc’s controllable and coming off an elite season, one-inning relievers with control issues aren’t the stablest long-term assets. I think he makes more sense for an obvious 2019 contender (Cle, LAD, NYM, to name a few).
Just thinking out loud but it would seem to me that a relievers trade value is much higher mid season than now. Wouldn’t the Rangers get more from a contending team in July for Leclerc than now when desperation plays into the equation?
Twins fan here.
Sano, Buxton, Kepler, etc. – additions of Cron and Schoop …
Nothing to get excited about.
Sad to go into a season with so little to root for.
I hope I’m wrong, naturally.
Please trade with Farhan. Bumgarner + Smith to MIN and you guys become division contenders. Giants could use some of your OF depth.
Become division contenders for one year while gutting the farm, great suggestion if you’re a fan of the other 4 franchises in the AL central
I completely agree! Plenty of outfielders to spare.
It’s not that I think Cron and Schoop are bad players, Im just skeptical of their recent performances, and there ability to sustain it/rebound. And if our plan at the beginning of the offseason was to bring in a placeholder for Lewis, Gordon, Rooker, etc, why not sign Cruz and Lowrie??? Or trade for C. Santana?? Then we would’ve at least had a fighting chance at winning the division.
At least we’re setting ourselves up for a big returns next summer at the trade deadline, with Gibson, Odorizzi, Pineda, Schoop, Cron, and Reed all being FA next offseason.
Your last paragraph is good – except that so many rebuilding teams are now positioning for the trading deadline that the sheer number of available players will drive down their trade value.
Short of 2 Indians starters and one of Lindor or Rameriz going down with season ending injuries in April, the Twins or any AL Central team has no realistic chance of beating out the Indians in 2018.
The Twins have been in a silent rebuild since the front office turned over a few years ago. They’ve gotten the large veterans contracts off the books. Next come 2 inconsistent, overpaid #3/4 starters – Gibson and Odorizzi.
I would look to your farm system. All teams – especially small and mid market teams – have to develop a core of young players….through the farm system, savvy trades, Rule 5 draft, and below the radar free agent signings. Thus far I’m underwhelmed with Derek Falvey and Thad Levine. But they’ve only been there a few years, and just got their manager in place (not impressed with him, but he needs 2-3 years of a shot); who knows about areas such as scouting and development.
In short, the infrastructure of the organization is coming together, with more adjustments to come. They all deserve a chance to do their jobs as well as to form synergy with one another. To get bent out of shape over the 2018 Twins roster is silly. Suggest people watch what is going on at the lower levels, and how young players are – or are not – developing.
“2019” (in a few spots)
Twins must have the most variance in what they could do next year of any team in the MLB. They could have 90 wins if everything goes right or 60 wins if everything goes wrong
Leclerc is the real deal. Give him another season and a half to rack up 50-60 saves and his value will be higher and you get a year and a half of a premium closer.. Just bc you are rebuilding doesn’t mean you have to trade everybody immediately.. smh..
Relief pitchers are very volatile. He hasnt shown sustained ability, if youre in a rebuild sell high and get what you can. Have to think they could get a premium sp prospect from the braves
I doubt the Braves would do that straight up but the Rangers would have to be all over that if that was the case.
Twins, or Rays for that matter, could have Morales from the Jays for their worst prospect in low A ball at half the cost and still it doesn’t get done!! Why?!?!?!
I think the opposite about the Twins. They filled 2 needs with low risk high reward players at fairly bargain rates. Now they still have a ton of payroll space for arms, DH, and depth. I don’t feel they are near done.
I love what Falvey and Levine bring to the organization (Rocco too), but I agree, what they’ve done so far has been underwhelming. That being said, if they’re not gonna sign Cruz, Lowrie, etc, I’m hoping they can at least (finally) get rid of Gibson, along with finding a taker for Odorizzi, so that young arms like Romero/Mejia/Stewart/Thorpe/and maybe even Graterol can get plenty of chances to prove themselves in 2019.
And because the Eovaldi trade worked out so well for the Sox last season, indirectly the Twins could (possibly) reap the benefits of their success and net a couple B prospects for Pineda at the deadline next year. Same could be said for Schoop, as he could possibly net us a better return than what Orioles got him. And with Castro/Cron/and Reed making up rest of the expiring assets, depending on their performances, the Twins could possibly end 2019 with one of the best farm systems in baseball.
The problem is Gibson isn’t all that expensive and is just as good as what they are likely to get. The young pitching talent doesn’t impress me much. Berrios seems to be the best by far and he can’t seem to avoid giving up big hits despite his talent. He’s got a tiny body and is likely to have a big injury soon. They need to build on solid to great defense and the moves so far have made the defense worse. The BP still sucks and they need an ace.