In a piece in which he discusses several players whose All-Star participation will be colored by trade rumors, Bob Nightengale of USA Today holds a particularly interesting chat with Padres closer Brad Hand. The lefty has been through the rumor mill before, of course, so he knows what to expect. This time, though, he’s in the first season of a new deal he struck with the organization over the winter. That doesn’t mean that Hand is certain to remain in San Diego, however, and he gave a realistic appraisal of the implications of his extension from a broader perspective. “You can look at it from both sides,” Hand said. “It’s like you signed a long-term deal to stay in San Diego or you just increased your trade value by adding more years of control. Obviously, I have more value now, because instead of teams having control of me for one year, now it’s possibly for three years.” Though he expressed interest in remaining with the Friars, that’s ultimately not in Hand’s control, as his deal does not include trade protection.
Here’s more from the market:
- With relatively few truly compelling rental starters available this summer, we’ve heard a variety of young hurlers mentioned as possible targets. Among them is emerging Rays lefty Blake Snell, who carries a sparkling 2.09 ERA with 10.2 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 through 116 frames this year. It seems, though, that fans pining for Snell will need to adjust their expectations. A National League executive tells Peter Gammons (Twitter link) that there’s no reason whatsoever to think the southpaw is available. The unnamed front office member says his or her club was left with the impression that there’s “no chance” of making a deal for Snell, so much so that any suggestions put out about a possible deal are little more than “fictional garbage.” It always seemed it’d take a major haul to land Snell, who is just 25 years of age and won’t be a free agent until 2023, but this report indicates that even a bold effort may be fruitless to attempt. Frankly, that’s not terribly surprising: though the Rays have spun off many quality pitchers over the years, they have typically done so when those hurlers began to get expensive and close in on free agency.
- The Dodgers have shown some interest in Marlins reliever Brad Ziegler, according to Jon Heyman of Fancred (via Twitter). As Heyman notes, Ziegler has turned things around of late; indeed, since the calendar flipped to June, he has allowed just two earned runs on ten hits while recording a 19:3 K/BB ratio over 21 innings. The wily 38-year-old is earning $9MM this year before hitting the open market, and had struggled previously in a Marlins uniform, so there are some obvious limits to his value. Still, he’s showing now that he can still be effective and could well end up on the move to a contender this summer. Whether it’ll be the Dodges that get him remains to be seen. The Los Angeles club seemingly has opened quite a few potential trade avenues of late, but will likely also be judicious in taking on salary with the luxury tax line representing an important ongoing consideration.
- In other news from Miami, the Marlins are getting some hits on utilityman Derek Dietrich, Heyman also tweets. Soon to turn 29, and controllable for two more years via arbitration after earning $2.9MM this season, the left-handed-hitting Dietrich is another interesting asset for the Fish. He’s slashing a sturdy .287/.353/.452 and can play in the infield or corner outfield. Of course, his defensive flexibility doesn’t really come with a positive reputation for glovework. Among the teams that “could” have interest, per the report, are the Brewers and Cubs. Both of those organizations seem to have more pressing needs and better potential fits elsewhere, though it’s always possible they could make Dietrich a priority if they really believe in his bat.
- Speaking of less-than-perfect fits for the Cubs, Ken Rosenthal and Jayson Stark of The Athletic report (subscription link) that the organization is also considering some other potential outfielders. He cites Adam Jones of the Orioles and Curtis Granderson of the Blue Jays as players that have come up in internal discussions, at least, though neither really seems to be a priority. This report indicates that the driving force is less about roster need than adding a respected veteran, though the above-noted interest in Dietrich perhaps puts a slightly different spin on things. As The Athletic reporters note, bringing in a position player likely wouldn’t happen unless an existing asset is moved in a deal for a quality starter. Whether or not that takes place will surely be the primary factor in whether the Cubs do ultimately add another piece to the lineup.
- In that same post, Rosenthal dedicates significant space to the Mets’ situation. He advises not to be distracted by reports suggesting shifting winds on the team’s stance regarding controllable aces Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. The organization, Rosenthal suggests, must be and is willing to consider offers on either hurler. Of course, there’s also no need to strike a deal and the Mets have little cause to discount hefty sticker prices on both pitchers. This assessment of the circumstances aligns with common sense. After all, if a rival organization dangles a truly compelling trade package, the Mets could certainly face some tough choices. But there’s no reason to forego the opportunity to make those determinations before they’re even presented.