Free agent left-hander Derek Holland has been in contact with the Reds, tweets MLB Network’s J.P. Morosi. After a resurgent season with the Giants, which came after signing a minor league contract late last offseason, Holland appears poised to reel in a far more valuable big league contract for the 2019 season. At the outset of the offseason, MLBTR pegged him to receive a two-year contract worth $15MM. The 32-year-old Holland has thus far been tied to the Rangers as a potential suitor; he previously played in parts of eight seasons with Texas after debuting with the club in 2009. The Reds, meanwhile, have made it clear that they intend to play more competitive baseball in the coming season, with much of that improvement tied to the starting rotation. Having already acquired Tanner Roark and Alex Wood, the Reds would still like to add another arm to join the two newcomers, budding star Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle. Though the Reds have been linked to big names such as Dallas Keuchel and Corey Kluber, those avenues appear unlikely; Sonny Gray remains a potential trade target for Cincinnati, and Holland’s name is now being thrown in the hat as a more affordable option to fill out the team’s starting staff.
Some other notes from around the major leagues…
- Though the Mariners have been perhaps the offseason’s busiest club to date, the team likely has more moves yet to come. Greg Johns of MLB.com lists a number of trade candidates that general manager Jerry Dipoto may still move. Though it hasn’t yet been a month since Edwin Encarnacion was traded from Cleveland to Seattle, Dipoto seems intent on finding a trade partner for the veteran slugger. With Nelson Cruz now off the market, a team like the Rays, who at a time appeared to be in position to acquire Encarnacion, could move to fill their DH spot with a right-handed impact bat. Johns also names veteran right-hander Mike Leake, as well as infielders Dee Gordon and Kyle Seager, as other Mariners on the block. However, Gordon and Seager each seem less likely to find suitors, given that both turned in underwhelming 2018 seasons and are still owed significant dollar values over multiple years. As for Leake, many teams would certainly be interested in adding a durable, consistent (if unspectacular) innings-eater like Leake, who has now pitched upwards of 175 innings in each of the last seven seasons.
- In other news out of Seattle, TJ Cotterill of The News Tribune writes that the Mariners have leveled their own allegations against former employee Lorena Martin, who in November accused team leadership of racism and gender discrimination. In addition to stating that Martin’s allegations are false, the Mariners claim that they received multiple complaints that Martin “created a hostile work environment” and that she “misrepresented herself as a medical doctor.” According to Cotterill, the Mariners have received reports that Martin implemented her own practices for treating injured players in place of doctors’ orders. In their defense of Martin’s lawsuit against the Mariners, the team is seeking to void the remainder of Martin’s contract, as well as damages for her accusations on social media that team officials made discriminatory remarks about Latino players. An investigation into Martin’s accusations was launched by MLB, which has yet to make public its findings.
- Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com offers his outlook on the Royals’ remaining plans for the offseason, suggesting first and foremost that the team would like to add a pair of inexpensive free-agent relievers before Spring Training. While they won’t be targeting any of the marquee bullpen arms that have yet to sign, Flanagan proposes that, due to limited payroll flexibility, general manager Dayton Moore will take a more patient approach to the market, pursuing bargain veterans whose demands have lowered late in the offseason. The bullpen, of course, is a glaring need for the team that finished with baseball’s second-worst record in 2018. And while the Royals have yet to make any significant additions in that area, Flanagan also notes that the club expects to have a surplus of candidates vying for a rotation spot, and those who fail to make the cut will likely shift to a bullpen role. This depth could make for some natural improvement, even if the Royals cannot invest big money in improving the unit.