To kick things off this Sunday morning, we’ll round up a few odds and ends from the American League.
- The Rays will look to address their offense this offseason, says GM Erik Neander (via Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times). Specifically, Neander singled out catcher as an area the front office will need to address. Travis d’Arnaud was quite effective in Tampa after being acquired in a minor trade with the Dodgers, but he’s now a free agent. The Rays could explore a reunion with d’Arnaud, Topkin adds, although his strong season positions him well among the second tier of catchers on the open market. (MLBTR forecasts a two year, $14MM deal for the veteran backstop). Mike Zunino remains under team control, but his $4.9MM arbitration projection makes for a tough call for an organization with ever-looming payroll limitations.
- Speaking of low-revenue clubs, when is the appropriate time for the Indians to market Francisco Lindor? That question is explored by ESPN’s Buster Olney, who argues that a Lindor trade is a question of ’when,’ not ’if.’ Lindor is unquestionably one of the game’s best talents and its most marketable personalities, but there’s no indication Cleveland believes they’ll keep him in the fold long-term. Lindor will take home hefty arbitration sums each of the next two years; MLBTR’s Matt Swartz projects a $16.7MM award this offseason, with another raise after next year almost certainly to follow. As Olney notes, the Orioles were underwhelmed with the offers they received on their superstar infielder, Manny Machado, when they shopped him in the 2017-18 offseason with one season remaining of team control. Perhaps Cleveland would be better suited to jump the market and trade Lindor while he still has two seasons before reaching free agency, although doing so would obviously be a massive blow to the team’s chances of contending in 2020.
- Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom joined WEEI’s Rob Bradford on the latest episode of the Bradfo Sho podcast. Bloom explained that he’s making progress in getting up to date on the Red Sox’s systems and getting to know key people in the organization, including Mookie Betts, who figures to dominate the rumors circuit until Boston makes a decision on his future. Bloom also addressed the difficulty for front office members in trading away players to whom they’ve developed personal connections, J.D. Martinez’s decision to opt-in to his contract, and the payroll discrepancy between his former employer, the Rays, and the Red Sox in a wide-ranging conversation.