- Zack Greinke might not be dealt until the trade deadline, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets, as the Diamondbacks feel they could get more for the ace right-hander in July than they could now, with so many other starters available on the market. Those other pitchers also don’t come with Greinke’s hefty $95.5MM contract attached, making it difficult for the D’Backs to find a trade partner at the moment.
- With the Padres hunting for a utility infielder, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (Twitter link) suggests a few options with ties to the organization. The Rangers’ Jurickson Profar or the Diamondbacks’ Nick Ahmed would make sense as trade targets, as GM A.J. Preller is very familiar with Profar from their time together with the Rangers, and Ahmed was a “favorite” of manager Andy Green when Green was on Arizona’s coaching staff. Veteran free agent Daniel Descalso could also be a fit.
10:07pm: Rob Bradford of WEEI passes along different information, tweeting that the D-backs are not targeting Bradley.
There’s a clear connection to Bradley in Arizona, whose general manager, Mike Hazen, worked in Boston’s front office before taking the helm of the Diamondbacks in 2016. The 28-year-old Bradley’s also familiar with Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo from his time on the Red Sox’s coaching staff. And the world champion Red Sox are reportedly taking offers on Bradley and other veterans, perhaps making a JBJ trade a realistic possibility. It’s worth noting the Red Sox would still be loaded in the outfield even without Bradley, which could make him expendable in the team’s estimation.
Arizona’s need for a center fielder is obvious, on the other hand, as previous starter A.J. Pollock is now a free agent and is sure to price himself out of the desert. Bradley, meanwhile, has two years of arbitration eligibility remaining and is projected to make a reasonable $7.9MM next season. Bradley’s coming off his third straight campaign with at least 2.2 fWAR, having totaled 2.8 as he combined passable offense (.234/.314/.403 with 13 home runs and 17 steals in 535 plate appearances) with another year of plus defense.
Diamondbacks infielder Ketel Marte has hired Wasseman Media Group, according to Robert Murray of The Athletic (Twitter link). He’ll be joined there by Yankees pitching prospect Domingo Acevedo, with both moves now reflected in MLBTR’s Agency Database.
Marte’s move comes less than a year after he inked a new deal with the Diamondbacks. He’s under control in Arizona through at least 2022, for a promised $24MM in overall salary. The contract also includes a pair of options and some available incentives.
While the 25-year-old Marte likely won’t have much contract work for his new reps to handle for some time, he’ll increasingly feature as a prominent player on a still-evolving Arizona roster, perhaps bringing additional promotional earning opportunities. It seems the organization sees him not only as a regular performer, but also as a candidate to shift into center field.
As for Acevedo, he’s considered one of the Yankees’ top prospects but is still waiting for his first shot at the majors after spending most of the past two seasons at the Double-A level. Acevedo is best known for his sizzling fastball; whether he’ll make it to the Bronx as a starter or reliever remains to be seen.
The Marlins are downplaying rumors of a potential 3-team swap that would send catcher J.T. Realmuto to the Mets, per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (via Twitter). The Yankees would also be included in this hypothetical blockbuster, but the Marlins aren’t lending much credence to the idea. They do plan to move Realmuto, it seems, and with only three teams reportedly in the mix, the Marlins could be narrowing in on the market. Still, the rumor mill shifts every few moments when it comes to Realmuto, and it would seem prudent to temper expectations of a deal until word comes from Marlins camp directly. Elsewhere in player rumors…
- First baseman Adrian Gonzalez hopes to continue his playing career in 2019, and he’s improved his conditioning to do so, per ESPN’s Buster Olney (via Twitter). It’s an unforgiving market for inflexible corner infield types, however, and Gonzalez has not seen a lot of traction since he last saw the playing field with the Mets early in 2018. Still, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets the Diamondbacks could have interest in signing the veteran bat. Gonzalez, 36, has played for the Rangers, Padres, Red Sox, Dodgers and Mets across a long and storied career, but his opportunity to see significant playing time would seem to have passed. The Diamondbacks are a curious fit, if only because Gonzalez is unlikely to develop into much of a trade chip, given the current market interest, and playing time at first base is likely committed to restoring the value of Jake Lamb, a much higher-upside potential asset. Still, adding Gonzalez as a clubhouse veteran and lefty bat off the bench isn’t wholly unreasonable for a transitioning team like Arizona, especially given the exodus of so many veteran leaders. Speculatively speaking, Gonzalez could fit the mold of a been-there, seen-that veteran leader the Cubs are reportedly seeking, and their recent trade of Tommy La Stella did open a roster spot that’s been held by a lefty bat used more-or-less exclusively as a pinch-hitter. At this stage of his career, however, with his slugging numbers cratering in his last two campaigns, Gonzalez is unlikely to be a primary target anywhere, and he may have to earn a spot on a major league team as a non-roster invitee.
- Tanner Roark’s name is being floated in trade circles as someone the Nationals would be willing to surrender, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter). This jives with earlier reports that the Nationals continue to seek rotation reinforcements, even after the signing of Patrick Corbin. Roark, 32, has been a steady rotation presence for the past three seasons, though he has yet to recapture the magic of a 2016 that saw him post a 16-10 record with a 2.83 ERA over 210 innings. The last two seasons seem more in line with expectations moving forward, as Roark has averaged 30 starts, 181 innings, and a 4.50 ERA (4.20 FIP) over that span. His 2019 salary is projected around $9.8MM, making him a relatively affordable one-year option as he enters his last year of arbitration, though depending on the assets being asked in return, a free agent flyer, in the ilk of Tyson Ross’s recent $5.75MM deal with Detroit, may be just as (if not more) attractive to teams looking to fill out the back end of their rotation. For the Nationals, it’s a little surprising to see them shopping Roark given their lack of established depth in the upper levels of the minors. It’s not surprising that they’d want to upgrade the rotation behind Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Corbin, but to do so at the cost of Roark feels unnecessarily Sisyphean. After dealing Jefry Rodriguez to the Indians in the Yan Gomes deal, top in-house rotation candidates beyond Roark include Joe Ross, 25, Erick Fedde, 25, and Kyle McGowin, 27 – none of whom would necessarily be considered “established” rotation pieces.
Though earlier reports suggested the Mets’ pursuit of catcher J.T. Realmuto was a “long shot,” MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro tweets that the team is “considered” one of only three teams (with the other two not yet known) “in the mix” for the 27-year-old. The whirlwind of activity surrounding the star backstop, at this point, seems matched only by the Mets’ frantic pursuit of blockbuster deals in all directions, so the potential intersection of the two remains a fascinating watch indeed. Frisaro does, however, downplay the plausibility of the rumored three-team deal that would also include the Yankees.
In other news from around the Senior Circuit . . .
- Per Jon Heyman of Fancred, none of the Dodgers’ glut of outfielders are unavailable in trades, including 2017 NL Rookie of the Year Cody Bellinger. He does imply, though, that 23-year-old Bellinger would be most difficult to get; other options, like Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson, and youngster Alex Verdugo have most often found their names circulating in the swirling winds of trade season, though Chris Taylor, who’s averaged nearly 4.0 fWAR over the last two seasons, is apparently on the table as well. One of Pederson or Verdugo would, as quality lefty bats capable of handling center field, seem the most logical candidate to be moved, but the notoriously coy Andrew Friedman, long a sucker for homegrown talent, may be setting his sights elsewhere. Pederson, for one, has a value difficult to gauge precisely – his frightening platoon splits (129 career wRC+ vs RHP, 61 wRC+ vs left) at times mask a steadily productive output (10.1 fWAR since ’15) in the four years since his debut. LA, of course, is thought to be seeking upgrades at the front of the rotation.
- The Diamondbacks, who earlier today indicated to blood-smelling clubs that they aren’t interested in a full rebuild, may react to core departures by shuffling current regulars to different spots across the diamond. Indeed, as GM Mike Hazen indicated to MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert this morning, current third baseman Jake Lamb may shift to first, while incumbent second baseman and sometimes shortstop Ketel Marte could see time in center field. The club is still exploring trade-market upgrades in center, and hasn’t completely given up on resigning A.J. Pollock, but Hazen explicitly pinpointed Marte as a legitimate, “full-time” option at the position in 2019. Marte, who signed a 5-year, $24MM extension just days prior to last season, put together a solid, 2.5 fWAR season for the Snakes last year, slashing .260/.332/.437 (104 wRC+) in nearly a full season’s worth of time.
- The Cardinals appear to be comfortable with outfielder Dexter Fowler opening the 2019 season as the starter in right field, per President of Baseball Ops John Mozeliak via MLB.com’s Jennifer Langosch. Fowler, of course, is owed nearly $50MM over the next three seasons, and just completed a dreadful, injury-marred ’18 campaign with the Redbirds. His -1.2 fWAR, muffled by a career-worst .118 ISO, was among the worst in baseball last season, though the 32-year-old had been above-league-average offensively in each of the seven seasons prior to last. With left field still manned by Marcell Ozuna, and center earmarked for the burgeoning Harrison Bader, outfield additions seem to have been put on the St. Louis back burner for the time being.
Before the Phillies traded Carlos Santana to the Mariners as part of the Jean Segura deal, Rockies GM Jeff Bridich told reporters (including The Athletic’s Nick Groke and Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post) that his team had also been in talks about the veteran first baseman. We heard this morning that Colorado was likely to be an interested party if and when the Mariners explore flipping Santana as part of their ongoing fire sale. In other first base news, Bridich also said the Rockies checked in with the Diamondbacks about Paul Goldschmidt prior to Goldschmidt being dealt to the Cardinals. It seems like it may have been a short conversation, as the D’Backs “made it clear” that Goldschmidt wouldn’t be dealt to the Rockies.
Two weeks after tabbing Mike Elias as their new GM, the Orioles are finally making reported progress on hiring a manager. Baltimore parted with previous skipper Buck Showalter nearly two months ago, but the slow-moving GM search that eventually led the team to Elias has left it as the majors’ last club without a manager. Appointing Showalter’s successor will be one of the first noteworthy decisions Elias makes atop the Orioles’ front office, but given that the O’s are in the early stages of a full rebuild, win-loss record certainly won’t be the main focus when judging their manager in 2019.
Here’s a look at where the Orioles’ search stands thus far:
Latest Updates (Dec.10)
- Speaking with MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko (Twitter links) and other reporters today, Elias said that he won’t be meeting with any more candidates beyond the six initial names, and there may not be a second round of interviews. Elias said he hopes to have the new manager in place before the end of the month.
- Former Indians and Nationals manager Manny Acta is another candidate for the Orioles’ job, according to Fancred Sports’ Jon Heyman (via Twitter). Acta oversaw rebuilding efforts in his previous two managerial jobs, leading to an unimpressive 372-518 record but doing little to harm Acta’s reputation as an analytically-open manager who works well with young players. Acta has worked as the Mariners’ third base coach for the last three seasons.
- Astros bench coach Joe Espada won’t be interviewing for the Orioles’ job, MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko reports. Espada was a popular candidate for managerial openings this offseason, and his past connection with Elias in Houston made him an interesting fit for the O’s on paper.
- Rockies bench coach Mike Redmond has interviewed for the job, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports (Twitter link). Redmond posted a 155-207 record as the Marlins’ skipper from 2013 to May 2015, shepherding the team through one of its many rebuilding periods and then getting fired after a slow start in 2015, as then-owner Jeffrey Loria had playoff aspirations after adding talent that winter. Redmond has been Colorado’s bench coach for the last two seasons, and he was also mentioned as a candidate for managerial openings with the Tigers and Phillies last offseason.
- The Orioles will interview at least six candidates in person, including Nationals bench coach Chip Hale, Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde and Royals catching/quality control coach Pedro Grifol, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets. The 54-year-old Hale has previous managerial experience, which the O’s are thought to prefer, according to Rosenthal, though he suggests it isn’t a dealbreaker. A former major league infielder, Hale managed the Diamondbacks to a combined 148-176 mark from 2015-16. Hale has since served on the staffs of the A’s and Nats, and he drew managerial interest from the Phillies and Mets a year ago.
- Hyde, 45, was on the radars of the Blue Jays, Twins and Angels when they were seeking managers earlier in the fall. He comes with plenty of coaching experience, having worked as a minor league manager with the Marlins from 2005-09 before functioning as their bench coach from 2010-12. Hyde has been on the Cubs’ coaching staff since 2013.
- The 49-year-old Grifol has been in his present position since 2014. The former minor league catcher brings experience as a major league hitting coach (Royals, 2013-14) and a minors manager (with low-level Mariners affiliates from 2003-05 and in 2012).
- Diamondbacks director of player development Mike Bell will interview, Peter Gammons reports. He’s the son of former major league manager Buddy Bell and brother of rookie Reds skipper David Bell. Mike Bell, 43, garnered interest from the Rangers during their managerial search after the season. He’s a former professional third baseman who, prior to landing his current gig, coached and managed in the Diamondbacks’ minor league system.
- Teams who have called the Diamondbacks about Robbie Ray say that the left-hander isn’t available in trade talks, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets. That tracks with reports from earlier today, which stated that the D’Backs had put a very high price tag on Ray, even if the southpaw isn’t entirely untouchable. Ray is controlled for the next two seasons at fairly reasonable arbitration costs, giving Arizona less incentive to him than a player entering his last year under contract (the already-dealt Paul Goldschmidt) or a player taking up a massive chunk of the payroll (i.e. Zack Greinke). The D’Backs are telling teams they aren’t entering into a complete rebuild, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (via Twitter).
Entering the Winter Meetings with a wide variety of potential moves under consideration, the Dodgers will “in all likelihood” move an existing starter via trade, ESPN.com’s Alden Gonzalez writes. Just what the might look like isn’t yet clear, but the club’s numerous options will surely hold appeal to rivals. To be sure, the Dodgers have found ways on numerous occasions in the recent past to juggle seeming roster overloads, but Gonzalez says that the ability to utilize a player such as Kenta Maeda as a trade piece (while improving in other areas) will likely prod a deal of some kind.
- The Dodgers, meanwhile, are “showing continued interest” in second bagger DJ LeMahieu, per MLB.com’s Jon Morosi (via Twitter). Certainly, the club has seen plenty of the 30-year-old over his career, virtually all of which has taken place with the division-rival Rockies. LeMahieu would presumably be seen as a near-everyday piece at second base in Los Angeles, though it’d hardly be surprising to see a lefty hitting platoon mate utilized to some degree if he’s added. Beyond the team’s general predilection for such arrangements, LeMahieu has been 80 OPS points better against left-handed pitching in his career.
- Giants first baseman Brandon Belt is drawing calls from “several” other teams, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). Belt is still owed a hefty $48MM over the next three seasons and also can block deals to ten teams. His worrisome concussion history also poses a clear concern. And, of course, the market has not been particularly kind to first basemen of late. Certainly, Belt’s OBP-heavy bat would promise to improve quite a few lineups around the game, but it’s unclear as yet exactly what kind of trade scenarios might be under consideration.
- As the Diamondbacks weigh their next move, they are finding Zack Greinke’s partial no-trade rights a “major impediment,” according to Jon Heyman of Fancred (Twitter link). Numerous potential landing spots for Greinke appear among the 15 clubs to which he can block a deal, which leaves the veteran no small amount of leverage and complicates things for the Arizona organization. It is not clear whether the D-Backs have engaged with Greinke and his reps about his willingness to green-light a deal to certain destinations, but obviously the clause adds a notable variable to an already-tricky situation. While he’s still a high-level performer, Greinke is already 35 years of age and is entitled to a hefty $104.5MM ($95.5MM of salary, the remainder signing bonus) over the next three seasons.
Although the Diamondbacks traded first baseman Paul Goldschmidt last week, his departure isn’t necessarily a sign that a full-scale teardown is coming, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic hears. While Piecoro doesn’t rule out other deals involving notable D-backs veterans (e.g., Zack Greinke and Robbie Ray), he writes that they “seem comfortable standing pat” and addressing holes on their roster. If Arizona does part with Ray, it would take a lot to acquire him, as a source tells Piecoro the team has set a “really high bar” on a return for the left-handed strikeout artist. Ray, 27, is controllable for the next two seasons, including for a projected $6.1MM in 2019.