Even after agreeing to sign standout Korean infielder Ha-Seong Kim on Monday, the Padres aren’t planning to move 2020 NL Rookie of the Year contender Jake Cronenworth away from second base, Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune hears. It’s unclear how the Padres will fit Kim in on a regular basis, then, as they have Cronenworth at second, shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. and third baseman Manny Machado on the left side of their infield, and Eric Hosmer holding down first. But the Padres – like the division-rival Dodgers – are simply looking to stockpile as much talent as possible, per Acee, and will worry about who plays where when the time comes. That strategy has worked for the stacked Dodgers, who have owned the National League West since 2013 and just took home a World Series title during the fall.
- Almost two months into free agency, catcher J.T. Realmuto still hasn’t signed anywhere. However, he remains a priority for the Phillies and their new front office consisting of president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and general manager Sam Fuld, Jon Heyman of MLB Network tweets. The Phillies’ goal of re-signing Realmuto is no surprise, as he continued his run as the majors’ premier catcher in their uniform over the previous two seasons, though it remains unclear how much the team is willing to spend this offseason. Arguably the top position player in free agency, MLBTR projects Realmuto will haul in a five-year, $125MM contract before the 2021 campaign. MLBTR’s Anthony Franco ran down potential fits for Realmuto this past weekend.
- Blake Snell may not be the last high-profile veteran the Rays move in a trade this winter. Center fielder Kevin Kiermaier is now on the block, Bob Nightengale of USA Today suggests. It’s unknown if teams are interested in the soon-to-be 31-year-old Kiermaier, but even if they are, the three-time Gold Glove winner is not going to bring back a big-time return after a third straight below-average offensive season. With a guaranteed $26MM left on his contract (including a $2.5MM buyout for 2023), Kiermaier doesn’t possess a team-friendly deal.
- The Yankees benched catcher Gary Sanchez in five of their seven playoff games during the fall, and he’s not sure of the reason. Sanchez told Marly Rivera of ESPN.com that “they never told me why I was benched. I didn’t know why I wasn’t playing.” Sanchez noted that he continued to support the team despite losing playing time to backup Kyle Higashioka – ace Gerrit Cole’s personal catcher – and he “had a respectful and very positive conversation with [manager Aaron] Boone” after the season. Sanchez was a trade/non-tender candidate earlier in the offseason, though the Yankees and GM Brian Cashman have stuck by him since then and may give the 28-year-old another shot as their starting catcher in 2021. While Sanchez batted a miserable .147/.253/.365 in 178 plate appearances last year, he was among the majors’ most productive offensive backstops as recently as 2019.