Vladimir Guerrero Jr. sits atop Baseball America’s annual preseason edition of its Top 100 Prospect rankings. Guerrero had already moved into the #1 position in BA’s midseason rankings last summer after Shohei Ohtani and Ronald Acuna (the top two players in last spring’s top 100) gained enough big league playing time to lose their prospect status. Guerrero is expected to make his long-awaited debut in the Blue Jays’ lineup at some point early in the 2019 season. Fernando Tatis Jr., Eloy Jimenez, Wander Franco, and Forrest Whitley round out the top five.
Here’s more from around the baseball world…
- Before signing a one-year deal with the Brewers worth $18.25MM in guaranteed money, Yasmani Grandal received multi-year offers from the Angels, Twins, and White Sox, The Athletic’s Robert Murray reports (subscription required). These offers were in addition to the four-year deal reportedly floated by the Mets for Grandal, which he turned down. As Grandal explained, taking the longer-term offers would’ve meant setting what he felt was a bad precedent for free agent catching contracts. “One of my responsibilities as a player is also to respect the guys going through this process before me like Brian McCann, Russell Martin, Yadier Molina…These are guys who have established a market and pay levels for a particular tier of catchers like myself,” Grandal said. “I felt l would be doing a disservice taking some of the deals that were offered even though they were slightly more long term. I wanted to keep the line moving and set a bar for the younger guys coming up. In hopes of them following our footsteps….hopefully, they know what they are worth and would go ahead and get paid what they’re worth.” Grandal can technically achieve a second year on his Brewers deal, a mutual option for 2020 worth $16MM, though it seems unlikely that both he and the team would agree to enact their respective sides of that option.
- The Twins’ offer to Grandal was worth around $13MM per season, 1500 ESPN’s Darren Wolfson tweets, though talks between the two parties “never gained traction.” To use Grandal’s cited examples, $13MM is less in average annual value than McCann, Martin, and Molina each received in long-term deals from the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Cardinals, respectively. (In fact, Molina averaged more than $13MM per year in each of his last two extensions with St. Louis.) While time will tell if Grandal made the right move in turning down more long-term security, he clearly feels comfortable in betting on himself for a big 2019 season, while still picking up a nice one-year payday on a contending team. The Twins’ pursuit of Grandal is interesting in light of recent comments from Derek Falvey and Thad Levine about the team’s rather conservative approach to spending this offseason, though obviously Minnesota (like any club) would be interested in larger multi-year deals if it felt it was getting something of a below-market price.
- Athletics GM David Forst suggests that the door is still open to a long-term deal with slugger Khris Davis after the sides lined up on a 2019 contract for his final season of arbitration eligibility. As Forst told John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle and other reporters, the two sides have “continued that conversation” and could keep negotiating after Opening Day, if Davis is willing. It had seemed possible that the need to hammer out an arb figure would drive talks, but with that already settled (at a hefty $16.5MM), any future-oriented agreement will simply have to reflect a difficult valuation case. Davis is one of the game’s power bats, of course, but he’ll also be 32 on Opening Day 2020 and he doesn’t add value with the glove.