The Reds were keen on retaining Matt Harvey entering the offseason and held talks with him right up until he agreed to join the Angels on a one-year deal yesterday, Cincinnati GM Nick Krall tells Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer (Twitter links). However, the Reds simply weren’t comfortable matching the $11MM guarantee promised by the Halos. That said, Krall made clear that the Reds still hope to add another starting pitcher, be it via free agency or trade, and the GM also added that his club is pursuing another outfielder and some bullpen help. “We need to improve this club, and we know that,” said Krall, whose largest offseason move to date has been acquiring Tanner Roark. While the durable Roark certainly helps to shore up the back of the Reds’ rotation, there’s still plenty of question marks in the mix of in-house rotation options.
A few notes from around the National League on a quiet Wednesday evening…
- The Nationals have had “ongoing conversations” with Anibal Sanchez’s agent, Gene Mato, since the Winter Meetings, tweets Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post. That said, there are still multiple teams interested in Sanchez, who enjoyed a career renaissance with the Braves in 2018, as he pitched to a 2.83 ERA with 8.9 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a 45 percent ground-ball rate. There’s no shortage of skeptics with regard to Sanchez’s resurgence, though the substantial increase in his usage of a cut-fastball and the fact that he allowed less hard contact than any qualified pitcher in baseball last season (per Statcast) should pique the interest of some clubs. Mato told MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes last week that teams interested in Sanchez “realize it wasn’t luck” that fueled his 2018 rebound.
- Robert Murray of The Athletic writes that the Brewers sent three representatives to watch Troy Tulowitzki’s audition for MLB clubs yesterday (subscription required). Murray spoke to multiple scouts in attendance who had positive things to say about how Tulo looked on that given day, though obviously the primary question isn’t whether the 34-year-old is healthy right now, but whether he’ll be able to hold up over the course of a full season. The Brewers could utilize Tulowitzki at either third base or second base, with Travis Shaw manning the other spot. Given Shaw’s experience (and proficiency) at the hot corner, second base would be Tulowitzki’s likeliest position in Milwaukee. There were at least 11 other clubs on hand at yesterday’s showcase, however, so Milwaukee is but one of many possible landing spots for the former Rockies star. Any team that signs Tulowitzki would only owe him the league minimum of $555K in 2019.
- Cubs right-hander Yu Darvish went through his second day of a throwing program as he works his way back from an arthroscopic debridement procedure in his right elbow (Instagram link). The Chicago organization said at the time Darvish’s surgery was announced that the right-hander is expected to be ready for Spring Training 2019, and the fact that he’s throwing in mid-December is an encouraging sign in that regard. Injuries limited Darvish to just 40 innings with the Cubs in a disappointing first season with the team. The six-year, $126MM contract for Darvish looks all the more problematic for the Cubs in light of reports that the team has extremely limited financial resources at its disposal this offseason. The fact that the Cubs spent a combined $186MM on Darvish, Tyler Chatwood and Brandon Morrow last winter, then acquired the second season of Brandon Kintlzer’s contract at the deadline this summer, only to now be handcuffed by payroll issues is undoubtedly a bitter pill for Cubs fans to swallow.