The Blue Jays are the favorites to sign 15-year-old Dominican shortstop Orelvis Martinez, who scouts expect will receive the highest bonus of any player signed in next year’s July 2 international signing market, Baseball America’s Ben Badler writes (BA subscription required and recommended). Badler recently attended an MLB showcase for Dominican players and provides brief scouting breakdowns on some of the talents involved, plus the teams already connected to them in signing rumors. Besides Toronto and Martinez, the Giants, Tigers, Mariners, Rays, Indians, Royals, and Cubs were also linked to the seven other prospects featured in Badler’s report.
- Extensions could be a major element of the Twins’ offseason, as Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press writes that the club could look to gain cost certainty over one or more of their young players with a multi-year agreement. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine were often part of extension talks in their past jobs with the Indians and Rangers; Berardino gets some interesting quotes from Ian Kinsler about his dealings with Levine in working out his two extensions with Texas. for a lower-payroll team like Minnesota, though it’s worth noting that the Twins have no money at all on the books after the 2019 season. Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, and Eddie Rosario are all a season away from arbitration eligibility, while Jose Berrios and other possible cornerstone players still have multiple pre-arb years remaining.
- The White Sox have hired Omar Vizquel as the manager of their A-ball affiliate in Winston-Salem, according to Venezuelan reporter Efrain Zavarace on Twitter (hat tip to MLive.com’s Evan Woodbery). This will be Vizquel’s first managerial assignment after four seasons as the Tigers’ first base coach and one year as an infield coach with the Angels. He has often been mentioned as a potential managerial candidate in the big leagues, and Vizquel interviewed for the Tigers’ dugout vacancy earlier this offseason.
- There is “widespread interest” in free agent right-hander Tyler Chatwood, Jon Morosi of MLB Network tweets. As a result, it’s “probable” Chatwood will land a multi-year contract, a source informed Morosi. MLBTR forecasts a three-year, $20MM contract for Chatwood, who spent the previous five seasons with the Rockies organization. Chatwood combined for 60 appearances (52 starts) from 2016-17 and recorded a 4.27 ERA, with 6.98 K/9 against 4.33 BB/9, across 305 2/3 innings. His age (28 in December), high velocity and penchant for inducing grounders (57.6 percent over the prior two seasons) are surely helping his cause on the open market.
- After almost two years of trying, the Nationals aren’t close to selling the naming rights to Nationals Park, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports. If the Nats can eventually find a deal, it would create a short-term revenue bump for a club that has extensive short-term financial commitments and doesn’t seem any closer to resolving their ongoing TV rights dispute with the Orioles. (Janes also provides an update on the latest development between the Nats and O’s in that court case.)