Some stray items from around the league…
- It isn’t yet known if assistant GM John Ricco or special assistant J.P. Ricciardi will remain with the Mets in the front office of new GM Brodie Van Wagenen, though MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo (Twitter link) reports that both Ricco and Ricciardi are expected to join Van Wagenen and Omar Minaya at the GM Meetings this week. The Mets reportedly want to retain both Ricco and Riccardi, though club COO Jeff Wilpon did say prior to Van Wagenen’s appointment that the new general manager would have hiring authority.
- Are Nomar Mazara and Jurickson Profar extension candidates or trade candidates for the Rangers? Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News feels the team should hold off on a Mazara deal at least for now, as Texas would be selling low on a former top prospect who has yet to really display that ability at the big league level (.258/.320/.425 with 60 homers over 1720 career PA, with just 1.5 fWAR over three seasons), plus Mazara is only entering his age-24 season and could still break out as a Rangers cornerstone. Profar was once seen as the best prospect in baseball, yet injuries have stalled his career, making it unlikely that the Rangers would invest in an extension for a player they still don’t know if they can count on as a long-term piece. By that same token, Profar probably doesn’t have a ton of trade value if Texas shops him around to rival teams.
- From that same piece, Grant argues that the Rangers should try to acquire a quality starting pitcher this winter as “seed money” towards a future contender. Grant feels Texas probably won’t be ready to contend until 2021, though since the Rangers have a huge need for pitching right now, the club could acquire a notable starter as something of a “relevancy tax” to help keep fan interest up, and then conceivably trade this pitcher for future assets later.
- With free agency upon us, Eduardo Escobar chose to sidestep the open market entirely by re-signing with the Diamondbacks on a three-year, $21MM contract. Multiple rival executives felt the deal was a good one for the D’Backs, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal writes (subscription required), with one exec speculating that Escobar’s price tag could’ve reached as high as four years and $40MM. As Rosenthal noted, however, the market is crowded with several other infield options, and Escobar could have found himself forced to take the sort of below-market contract that many other free agents had to settle for last offseason. Since Escobar enjoyed his time in Arizona, Rosenthal wonders if other players could prioritize a good situation rather than take the risk of a protracted free agent stint.
- The Orioles will be open to moving any and all veterans as they rebuild, but it doesn’t seem likely that they’ll be able to deal Mark Trumbo this winter, MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko writes. Owed a hefty $13.5MM in 2019, Trumbo was already going to be a tough sell in trade talks, but his season-ending knee surgery at the end of August almost surely ruined his stock for any potential suitors. Trumbo’s surgery isn’t expected to limit him for the start of Spring Training, and the O’s will have to hope that he performs well in the first half of the 2019 season to potentially become a trade candidate by the deadline. Trumbo rebounded from a sub-replacement level season in 2017 to hit a solid .261/.313/.452 with 17 homers over 358 PA in 2018, though he’ll need to significantly top those solid numbers to increase his trade value, given his salary and defensive limitations.