Here are highlights from the latest column by FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal:
- Catcher Jonathan Lucroy and the Rangers recently shelved talks about an extension. It’s not entirely clear what happened, but one possibility could be that Lucroy is waiting for a new Yadier Molina deal with the Cardinals, a contract that would help set his value. Molina could receive $17MM to $18MM a season, Rosenthal writes, and Lucroy would probably receive only a bit less.
- An extension for Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor appears unlikely unless the team is willing to pay him at elite rates, Rosenthal opines. Lindor is on track to become a free agent at 28, and he has an endorsement deal with New Balance that provides him with extra funds during these early-career seasons during which his pay is relatively minimal.
- The Diamondbacks do not have shortstop Nick Ahmed on the market, Rosenthal reports. Ahmed has two minor-league options and is therefore useful to a Diamondbacks team that faces a reasonable amount of uncertainty at the shortstop position, where they also have the largely unproven Chris Owings and Ketel Marte. The Yankees, meanwhile, feel they don’t need Ahmed — Didi Gregorius is set to begin the season on the DL with a shoulder injury, but the Yankees prefer to get through the first several weeks of the season with a combination of Ronald Torreyes, Pete Kozma (a somewhat similar player to Ahmed, Rosenthal points out) and Tyler Wade at short.
- The Diamondbacks will keep an eye out for bullpen help as Opening Day approaches, perhaps pursuing players who don’t make other clubs’ 25-man rosters. In the meantime, though, the Snakes like what they see in Tom Wilhelmsen and J.J. Hoover, both of whom they signed to minor-league deals.
- The White Sox do not seem likely to deal Jose Quintana now when interest in him could ramp up at the deadline, but the Astros, with their strong farm system and rotation needs, seem likely to eventually acquire Quintana or another good starter.
- Dodgers lefty Hyun-jin Ryu, who has missed almost all of the past two seasons to injury, looks “like he hasn’t skipped a beat,” in the words of one scout. Ryu is competing for one of the Dodgers’ final two rotation spots.