The World Champion Washington Nationals are likely to move on from their remaining free agents, save for local institution Ryan Zimmerman and perhaps his first base partner Matt Adams, per MASN’s Mark Zuckerman. That means Daniel Hudson has likely priced himself out of the Nationals’ plans. Fernando Rodney could get another shot on a minor league deal, but GM Mike Rizzo has handed those out rather liberally this winter, and the bullpen barracks are looking pretty full: Javy Guerra, Fernando Abad, and David Hernandez are all competing for bullpen spots on minor league deals while Sean Doolittle, Will Harris, Tanner Rainey, Wander Suero and Roenis Elias look pretty good to secure their seats at the table. Hunter Strickland, and one of Joe Ross, Austin Voth, and Erick Fedde could also very well end up in the bullpen, leaving just a spot or two as truly up for grabs. Brian Dozier, the last of the Nats’ five remaining free agents, is all but gone now that Starlin Castro and Asdrubal Cabrera have been signed.
- The Rays have pretty consistently made themselves a good place for January free agents to take their career to the next level, per John Romano of the Tampa Bay Times. A list of short-term additions late in the free agent season have gone on to produce in Tampa Bay and earn themselves a raise the following winter. The partial list of players who went on to earn bigger paydays after leaving Tampa includes Avisail Garcia, Logan Morrison, C.J. Cron, and Corey Dickerson. The time is now for the Rays, who typically strike about this time of year, and they still have needs to fill. Expect Tampa to add another bat and another catcher before the winter is out.
- The Cubs have lingered in the shadows throughout the winter, and though a Kris Bryant trade has been clearly telegraphed, the star third baseman remains in Chicago due to asking price, per David Kaplan of NBC Sports Chicago. Speaking to people around the game, Kaplan found real skepticism that Bryant remains the foundational superstar he was in 2016. That hasn’t stopped the Cubs from asking for the moon, with the same being true of their asking price for Willson Contreras. Theo Epstein and the Cubs are in a tough place after seeing their championship window slam closed last season, and it’s understandable for the braintrust in Chicago to hold out hope for a franchise-altering return for one of their homegrown stars. But if the return they seek never materializes, it’ll be interesting to see what kind of alternative plan they can cook up to keep these Cubs viable.