The Braves are known to have trade interest in Dylan Cease, and given the team’s penchant for signing players to long-term extensions, locking up a Georgia native like Cease would seem like a logical next step if a deal can be worked out to obtain the righty from the White Sox. However, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal points out a possible obstacle — Cease is represented by Scott Boras, who traditionally advises his clients to test free agency rather than sign long-term extensions.
Enough high-profile Boras clients have signed extensions that this isn’t at all a hard-and-fast rule, since as Rosenthal notes, Boras will ultimately operate according to his client’s demands. But it is perhaps noteworthy for this particular scenario, since Atlanta president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos rarely acquires Boras Corporations clients, even though both Anthopoulos and Boras have denied any lack of communication or lack of connection between the two sides. Trading for and extending Cease would be a way of putting this narrative to bed, though it remains to be seen if Atlanta will instead opt for another frontline pitcher besides Cease as the Braves continue to look for rotation help.
More from the National League…
- Not much has changed in the Lerner family’s attempts to sell the Nationals, as the search is now approaching two full years since news first broke of the Lerners’ explorations about a sale. The Washington Post’s Chelsea Janes provides something of an update on the situation, though Ted Leonsis remains the top suitor but still seems unwilling to meet the Lerners’ desired price of around $2.4 billion. Leonsis’ last offer topped the $2 billion mark, but the Lerners don’t appear in any hurry to make a sale unless Leonsis or another bidder ups the ante. The seemingly neverending dispute with the Orioles about MASN broadcasting revenues also still remains a sticking point in any ownership discussions. In terms of how this translates to the on-field product, Janes notes that the Nationals’ low payroll has more to do with the team’s rebuild strategy than it does a concerted effort to cut costs in advance of a potential sale.
- The Diamondbacks had some interest in Garrett Hampson before the utilityman signed with the Royals earlier this week, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports. The versatile Hampton would’ve been a backup at several positions off the bench, and in particularly been a right-handed hitting complement to Alek Thomas or Geraldo Perdomo at center field or shortstop, respectively. Right-handed hitting is a priority for the D’Backs in general, and Piecoro suggests that J.D. Martinez might be a candidate for a return to Arizona, based off GM Mike Hazen’s recent comments about how the Diamondbacks could be open to a DH-centric player who swings from the right side. Arizona has already landed one notable right-handed bat this offseason in acquiring Eugenio Suarez from the Mariners.
- Sticking with the National League champs, the Diamondbacks named Shaun Larkin as their new director of player development earlier this week. Larkin has spent the last three seasons as the Dodgers’ field coordinator as part of an eight-year tenure in L.A., and he previously had a long history as a minor league player, coach, and manager in Cleveland’s farm system. Larkin’s hiring is the latest move in a D’Backs offseason that has seen quite a bit of turnover in the front office and coaching ranks, though as Hazen told Piecoro, “we 100 percent expected it. This is what happens when you have a successful season….Bringing some outside perspectives into the organization in terms of what’s going on in scouting and player development around the game, I think is important.”