As we all look forward to Game 5 of the World Series, let’s run through some noteworthy items from around the baseball world…
- Should Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez elect to opt out of the three years and $62.5MM remaining on his deal, the White Sox look like the “consensus” top suitor for the 32-year-old’s services, Rob Bradford of WEEI relays. At this juncture, it seems unlikely that NL teams would enter the Martinez sweepstakes given his shortcomings as a defensive outfielder. Of course, the lack of an NL market severely restricts the potential market for Martinez, a factor that he’ll surely consider as he weighs whether to enter free agency. What’s more: if he does, he’ll come with a qualifying offer attached, meaning that a signing team would have to surrender a draft pick to sign him. All those things make it markedly more difficult to identify realistic landing spots for the hitting virtuoso, though the White Sox may stand above the rest.
- As the Rays prepare to embark on the offseason, they’ll have to evaluate Travis d’Arnaud’s role in their 2020 catching situation, writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. The ex-Met emerged as a surprising offensive contributor after he was acquired in a nondescript May trade, ending the season with a .782 OPS for the Rays. Fellow catcher Mike Zunino’s fate might depend on what happens with d’Arnaud, who has a chance to earn a two-year deal at a $6MM or $7MM AAV. If the Rays choose to keep him around at that price, Zunino may become expendable after a disappointing offensive season. Meanwhile, letting d’Arnaud walk would put pressure on Zunino to improve on the dreadful .544 OPS he posted in his first season with the Rays. Otherwise, the team could once again turn to external options.
- When it’s all said and done, the 2011 first-year player draft may go down as one of the best in baseball history, writes Dan Connolly of The Athletic. It’s a timely retrospective, with the stars of the class on full display in this year’s World Series: the Astros’ George Springer and Gerrit Cole, as well as the Nationals’ Anthony Rendon, all came from the 2011 first round (Cole and Rendon, it’s worth noting, will also be the offseason’s two most sought-after free agents). Trea Turner, meanwhile, was a 20th-round choice the same year. And that’s not to mention the bevy of stars that play elsewhere in the Majors: Mookie Betts, Trevor Bauer, Francisco Lindor, and Javier Báez all come from the ranks of the 2011 draft, which also featured “what-if” stories like Dylan Bundy and the late José Fernández. Connolly also considers the pivotal selection of Danny Hultzen by the Mariners, which could have had a profound effect on the rest of the draft had they instead opted for Rendon, their second choice. The 2011 draft has already earned its place among the all-time great draft classes, which is doubly impressive considering that it’s collectively still in its prime years.