Some notes from around the American League:
- The Red Sox don’t appear to have any intent to move Rafael Devers off third base in 2021, writes Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com. The 24-year-old has been a strong hitter but garnered shaky defensive ratings. By measure of defensive runs saved, Devers has been below-average at the hot corner in each of his four MLB seasons. (Statcast’s outs above average was more bullish on his 2019 work but has pegged him as a negative in three of those years). Since the start of 2017, DRS estimates Devers has been 35 runs worse than the average defensive third baseman, a mark that handily dwarfs the rest of his positional peers for worst in the league. There could be some merit to playing prospect Bobby Dalbec at the hot corner and moving Devers across the diamond. Nevertheless, Cotillo notes that the plan seems to be for Devers to remain at third, with Dalbec the favorite for first base reps.
- The Blue Jays are generally viewed as one of two frontrunners in the race to sign George Springer (the Mets being the other). With that in mind, Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith examines the outfielder’s free agent market. The general expectation entering the offseason had been that Springer would receive a five-year deal in the $100MM – $125MM range. (The MLBTR staff forecasted five years, $125MM). However, Nicholson-Smith feels Springer’s eventual price point may come in well north of those initial estimates. As he points out, Springer’s productivity with the Astros isn’t dissimilar from that of Anthony Rendon with the Nationals. Nearly two years older than Rendon was at this time last year, Springer won’t match the latter’s seven-year term. But Nicholson-Smith speculates that an average annual value approaching Rendon’s $35MM per year salary could be in play for Springer on a five-year contract.
- Should the Twins pursue a long-term extension with outfield prospect Alex Kirilloff? Aaron Gleeman of the Athletic makes the case for that, examining potential contract terms in a piece that figures to be of interest to Twins’ fans. Extensions for players who’ve yet to make their MLB debut are rare but not unheard of. For instance, the White Sox and Mariners pulled off deals last winter with Luis Robert and Evan White, respectively. Kirilloff played in one of Minneosta’s postseason games last year but still has zero MLB service time, having been added to the roster after the regular season concluded. The 23-year-old ranks as the Twins’ best prospect at Baseball America.