The Nationals have had a pair of “brief” meetings with Josh Harrison’s representatives at MSM Sports, tweets Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post. While there’s mutual interest, Dougherty reports that Harrison’s camp is also looking “closely” at other landing spots as well. Whether that’s due to what the Nats would be willing to offer, how they’d plan to use Harrison or another factor remains to be seen. The Nats have some uncertainty at second base, where Wilmer Difo and Howie Kendrick (who missed most of 2018 due to a ruptured Achilles) currently sit atop the depth chart. Top prospect Carter Kieboom may not be far from the big leagues, but adding a stable short-term option still makes plenty of sense for Washington. The Nats have been connected to Harrison several times over the past couple of weeks, but the versatile 31-year-old surely has other teams interested in his services. He’s been tied to the Yankees and Reds at various points this winter.
A few more notes on the free-agent market…
- Craig Kimbrel’s lofty asking price — a reported six years and $100MM — and the lack of big-market clubs currently willing to spend on a late-inning reliever could present the right-hander with a difficult market this winter, Buster Olney of ESPN.com writes. Olney likens the situation to last year’s tepid market for J.D. Martinez — a similarly elite player for his position (designated hitter) who lingered on the open market until landing in Boston in late February — a match that long seemed inevitable. The Red Sox may be the best bet for Kimbrel, too, Olney opines, especially given the plethora of more affordable options for smaller and mid-market clubs to pursue even if they do want to bolster the back end of their bullpens.
- The Marlins are one of several teams that has reached out to free-agent right-hander Bud Norris, tweets Craig Mish of SiriusXM. Miami has thinned out its bullpen this offseason by trading Kyle Barraclough (to Washington), and there’s a definitive lack of experienced arms at the back end of the organization’s bullpen. At present, Drew Steckenrider is the presumptive favorite to close games for skipper Don Mattingly, although the right-hander struggled down the stretch in 2019. Even as the Marlins rebuild the organization, there’s still an obvious opportunity to add some low-cost bullpen options to help take the stress off younger arms and, potentially, to be traded for further minor league talent down the line. The 33-year-old Norris has a 3.91 ERA with 10.6 K/9, 3.6 BB/9 and 47 saves over the past two seasons — the most recent of which was spent with the Cardinals.
- The Angels’ best offer to J.A. Happ topped out at two years and a total of $28MM, reports Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (via Twitter). That checks in $6MM shy of the two-year total that Happ received to return to the Yankees, so it’s hardly surprising that Happ opted for the familiarity of an organization he already knew and a greater guarantee. Both offers contained vesting options, Fletcher notes. With Happ, Patrick Corbin, Nathan Eovaldi, Charlie Morton and Lance Lynn all off the board, the Halos have begun to see some of their free-agent options dwindle. Dallas Keuchel and Yusei Kikuchi are the top two starters from MLBTR’s Top 50 free agent list remaining, though as can be seen in our Free Agent Tracker, there are plenty of available options beyond that pairing. And, of course, the trade market will offer various options for the Angels, whose rejuvenated farm system should appeal to many clubs with pitching to spare.