- Appearing at a team-sponsored event, GM Alex Anthopoulos discussed the status of the team’s roster-building efforts, as attendee and SB Nation contributor Stacy Marlow documented (Twitter links). Unsurprisingly, he did not divulge much in the way of specifics, but did provide some worthwhile snippets. Anthopoulos suggested the team was not heavily engaged on a “quiet” catching market, but would not rule out a move if the right opportunity comes along. He also seemingly reiterated a familiar stance on free agent outfielder Nick Markakis, indicating that the sides are still keeping an open line and weighing a reunion.
- The Braves relief unit is certainly an area of potential improvement, but Anthopoulos’s comments suggest he has been lying in wait in hopes of securing good value in that area. He says that he only just spoke with a free agent reliever for the first time recently, indicating that the club has not been in on the quality pitchers that have already signed — many of them for fairly hefty salaries. Anthopoulos added that his expectation is that contract demands will begin to drop as Spring Training approaches. As we’ve often discussed over the past two years, teams are exhibiting much greater patience in free agency. Whether players and their agents can match that discipline and regain some leverage remains to be seen.
- Most tantalizing, however, were Anthopoulos’s comments regarding one possible swap that’s evidently in the works. “There’s one trade concept right now that 70% of the deal we would agree to, the 30% is probably where we are going back and forth,” he said. “I don’t know if we are going to get it done, but the main piece of the deal I think we ultimately would be ok, it’s the add on.” Certainly, this not-yet-completed arrangement could involve any number of possible players, but it’s at least notable to learn that there could soon be some action.
- One significant factor in the development of the offseason for the Braves, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription link), is the team’s hesitation to part with a draft selection to sign a player who declined a qualifying offer. There were six such players, only two of whom have signed to this point. Several are at least hypothetical targets for Atlanta, with the team reportedly showing real interest in outfielder A.J. Pollock. Rosenthal writes that the Braves are worried about the draft compensation that would be required to land Pollock — in their case, a second-round pick that’ll end up being sixty-something overall. Specifically, he says, the Braves “value the selection more than most clubs” because of the amateur talent penalties the team was slapped with in late 2017. If that is indeed a position the team itself holds, it’s somewhat less than compelling. The Braves certainly aren’t alone in valuing draft selections. Like their competitors, they must consider the future talent pipeline. It’s especially tough to see the club as uniquely situated when it still possesses a bounty of young talent at the major and minor league levels.
- One possibility that’s seemingly still on the table for the Braves is a move to land Sonny Gray of the Yankees. Gabriel Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently discussed the concept, on the heels of a report from Jon Heyman of Fancred (Twitter link) that suggested the Braves could still be pursuer as the New York org again tries to make a deal on the veteran righty. As Burns explains, it’s not exactly a perfect fit, given Gray’s recent struggles and the Braves’ own needs, but it’s possible to imagine a match and the org has clearly shown prior interest. What’s most interesting, perhaps, is what a hypothetical acquisition of Gray would mean for Julio Teheran — another still-youthful, not-inexpensive starter who is looking to regain his prior form. Understandably, the Braves do not appear to view the rotation as the first order of business. The opening in right field no doubt remains the top priority, with some of the other possibilities discussed above arguably also rating as greater needs. All said, there’s still quite a bit of work to do this winter for Anthopoulos and co.
The pitching market continues to proceed at a steady but unhurried pace, with today’s reunion between the Giants and Derek Holland marking the latest signing of note. Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle was among those to cover the news from the team’s perspective. While the organization has undergone front office changes since Holland wrapped up a solid performance on a one-year deal in 2018, new president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi still made the call to bring back the southpaw. That was due in no small part to the club’s positive experience with him last year, both on and off the field. Zaidi emphasized that the team still wants to find more rotation depth this winter, though it’s far from clear that any further MLB signings will be pursued. It certainly seems possible that the club will add plausible rotation pieces via trade or on minor-league deals.
Here’s the latest on the pitching market:
- Talks surrounding Sonny Gray have “ramped up” since Yankees’ lefty CC Sabathia was cleared to resume baseball activities last week, Fancred’s Jon Heyman tweets. The Yankees are discussing Gray with six teams, including the Reds, per Heyman, though previous reports had indicated that Cincinnati’s interest had cooled off since adding Alex Wood and Tanner Roark. Gray agreed to a $7.5MM salary over the weekend, falling shy of MLBTR’s $9.1MM projection and perhaps making him a bit more appealing to clubs who’ve already added a fair bit of payroll this offseason.
- The Rangers are maintaining interest in adding some free-agent arms to their bullpen and have been in recent contact with the representatives for right-handers Adam Ottavino and Cody Allen, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (Twitter links). However, the likelier route is that the Rangers will add multiple lower-cost relievers rather than one higher-end piece. Rosenthal adds Adam Warren to the list of potential Texas targets and notes that the Rangers are also still looking to add an infielder. Meanwhile, La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes that the Twins still have interest in Allen. Minnesota was connected to Allen earlier this winter and has since signed Blake Parker, though they’re still in the market for additional relief help. Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey knows Allen quite well from his days in the Indians’ front office.
- Free-agent lefty Marc Rzepczynski is hosting a showcase for big league teams tomorrow, tweets Fancred’s Jon Heyman. The 33-year-old southpaw struggled tremendously in 2018 both at the Majors and in Triple-A, and he’ll look to audition for clubs on what figures to be a minor league deal with a chance to reestablish himself as a credible option. “Scrabble” has worked as a lefty specialist for the bulk of his career, as he hasn’t topped 50 innings since 2011 despite averaging 64 MLB appearances per season from 2012-17. In his career, he’s held lefties to an awful .225/.296/.305 batting line through 857 plate appearances.
The deadline for players and teams to exchange arbitration figures passed at 1pm ET yesterday, meaning over the next few hours, there will be a landslide of settlements on one-year deals to avoid an arbitration hearing. We’ll track today’s minor settlements from the American League in this post. Once all of the day’s settlements have filtered in, I’ll organize them by division to make them a bit easier to parse.
It’s worth mentioning that the vast majority of teams have adopted a “file and trial” approach to arbitration, meaning that once arbitration figures are exchanged with a player, negotiations on a one-year deal will cease. The two parties may still discuss a multi-year deal after that point, but the majority of players who exchange figures with their team today will head to an arbitration hearing.
- Yankees 1B Greg Bird will make $1.2 MM next season, per Bob Nightengale on Twitter.
- The controversial Roberto Osuna will make $6.5MM next season, per Feinsand. Teammate Jake Marisnick, who again scuffled in ’18 after a promising 2017, will make $2.2125MM.
- Per Mark Feinsand on Twitter, A’s lefty Sean Manaea $3.15MM in what’s sure to be an injury-marred 2019.
- Hard-throwing reliever Mychal Givens will make $2.15MM, per Eduardo A. Encina of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter), with additional incentives for making the All-Star team or placing in the Top-3 for the Rivera/Hoffman Reliever of the Year Awards, added MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter).
- The Mariners agreed on a $1.95MM deal with outfielder Domingo Santana, per MLB.com’s Greg Johns (via Twitter). Santana is the second and last of the Mariners’ arbitration-eligible players.
- The Angels agreed to contracts with a pair of players yesterday, per Maria Torres of the LA Times (via Twitter). Reliever Hansel Robles signed for $1.4MM. Robles threw 36 1/3 innings of 2.97 ERA baseball after the Angels claimed him off waivers from the Mets in June. Luis Garcia, acquired via trade from the Phillies this winter, signed for $1.675MM.
- The Tigers and reliever Shane Greene settled on $4MM, per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (via Twitter).
- The Yankees reached an agreement with Sonny Gray for $7.5MM, per Nightengale. Gray, of course, has been involved trade rumors most of the winter, but for the time being, he stands to play a role in the Yankee pen while providing insurance for the rotation.
- Didi Gregorius has also come to an agreement with the Yankees on a one-year, $11.75MM deal in his final season before free agency, per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (Twitter links).
- New Yankee James Paxton signed for $8.575, per Nightengale (via Twitter). Paxton is under contract for the 2020 season as well.
- The Houston Astros came to an agreement with Collin McHugh for $5.8MM, per Nightengale (via Twitter). McHugh could be moving back into the rotation after a stellar season in the pen, either way this will be his final season of arb eligibility before hitting the open market.
- Jonathan Villar comes away with $4.825MM for what will be his first full season in Baltimore, per Nightengale (via Twitter).
Let’s catch up on a few market notes from around the game after a busy day on the arbitration front …
- The Angels are evidently a team to watch on Giants southpaws Will Smith and Tony Watson, as Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic reports that the teams “have been in constant contact this winter” regarding both pitchers (subscription link). It’s not surprising to see the Halos chasing lefties, as their current staff is quite thin in that area. Whether or not the club will offer up enough to entice the Giants remains to be seen. The San Francisco org is surely willing to deal either or both of these veteran relievers, each of whom is coming off of a strong season with an appealing contract situation, but there figures to be ample interest from other teams as well. With many of the best free agent relievers already off the board, now may be the time for new Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi to market his southpaws in earnest.
- The Reds are still looking to add another starter, per MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon. He ticks through some possibilities, though it’s not clear that any particular pitcher is especially likely at this point. Among the potential targets, the Reds are still pursuing Yankees starter Sonny Gray, per Jon Heyman of Fancred (via Twitter). While the New York club made clear at the outset of the winter that Gray was on the block, recent indications are that there’s some consideration of hanging on to him. If nothing else, the Yanks are still trying to get value back. Heyman says that GM Brian Cashman is asking for more than one pitching prospect in return. While it’s doubtful he expects to land a premium arm, the veteran exec is said to be seeking “multiple … upper level guys with a chance.”
- Likewise, the White Sox are still interested in filling out their rotation, GM Rick Hahn told reporters including Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com (Twitter link). While the veteran exec emphasized that the organization still sees Manny Banuelos and Dylan Covey as possibilities, he indicated that depth remains a consideration. Needless to say, neither of those pitchers has established himself as a reliable MLB starter to this point, so it’s unsurprising to hear that the South Siders are still flipping through some external targets.
- Veteran first baseman Adrian Gonzalez is readying for a showcase in the coming days, Jon Heyman of Fancred reports on Twitter. He’s said to be in “excellent shape,” though teams will surely remain a bit skeptical after two consecutive unproductive campaigns. The 36-year-old Gonzalez was long one of the game’s most respected hitters, of course, but it’s tough to imagine him securing a MLB roster spot on the open market at this stage. Still, there should be some teams with bench bat needs that would be glad to give Gonzalez a shot to show what he’s got left in camp.
The Yankees began the offseason with GM Brian Cashman openly stating that the team was going to shop Sonny Gray in trade talks this winter. As Cashman said to MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch (Twitter links) and other reporters today, plans haven’t exactly changed on this front, as the Yankees’ “intention is to move Sonny Gray and relocate him.” However, Cashman isn’t under any rush to move the right-hander, saying that the Yankees will only trade Gray “when we get the proper return, in our estimation. It’ll happen this winter, it’ll happen in the spring or it’ll happen sometime during the season.”
Notably, Cashman cited C.C. Sabathia’s recent angioplasty as a reason for why Gray could still be in the pinstripes come Opening Day. While Sabathia wasn’t expected to face any complications from the procedure and was still expected to be ready to pitch this coming season, Cashman said the situation “has given us pause” about dealing Gray. Given the understandable concern attached to any type of heart surgery, it could be that the team simply wants to make sure that Sabathia is fully healthy before going ahead and shipping off another rotation member.
The Yankees had already worked to fill Gray’s spot in the pitching staff this winter, between acquiring James Paxton in a blockbuster deal with the Mariners and re-signing Sabathia and J.A. Happ. That trio joins Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka in what should be a very solid starting five, and it doesn’t leave any room for Gray unless an injury develops or Sabathia needs more recovery time.
There has been so much interest in Gray this winter that there hasn’t been much exploration about what the Yankees might do if they couldn’t find a trade partner for the right-hander. This is just my speculation, but New York begin the year by making Gray something of a de facto sixth starter, only using him in road starts as a nod to his much-superior numbers outside of Yankee Stadium. With a sixth starter and multiple off-days in April, this scenario allows the Yankees to ease their starters (all veterans, and most with significant injury histories) into the new campaign. Gray could also be used out of the bullpen, though one would think the Yankees would want to keep him stretched out as a starter to appeal more to trade suitors.
Assuming a clean bill of health for Sabathia, it still seems quite likely that Gray begins the season on another roster, even if a trade doesn’t come until February or March. Obviously Cashman isn’t going to deal Gray just for the sake of dumping him, though it could be that the team might have to lower its very high asking price in order to accommodate a deal at some point. Waiting to deal Gray could give teams a chance to address its pitching needs in free agent signings or other trades, though conversely, a team could face a rotation injury in Spring Training injury and suddenly have a greater need for Gray’s services.
It’s too soon to count out a reunion between Bryce Harper and the Nationals, ESPN.com’s Jeff Passan writes in his latest column, as “Harper has met multiple times with representatives” from the team. In a rather surprisingly open interview last month, Nats managing principal owner Mark Lerner said his organization wasn’t willing to go beyond the ten-year, $300MM extension it offered Harper after the season, though rumors have continued to swirl that Washington is still at least monitoring Harper’s market. It could still be some time before we have an answer about Harper’s 2019 destination, as the outfielder (like many Scott Boras clients) is in no rush to sign a contract that doesn’t meet his satisfaction. The Phillies and White Sox, Passan reports, are willing to guarantee Harper at least a ten-year deal, indicating that the two teams have at least made some progress in their pursuit of the free agent outfielder, though obviously the gigantic dollar figure Harper is demanding is still a very notable obstacle.
Some more hot stove items from Passan….
- Before the Rangers dealt Jurickson Profar to the Athletics as part of a three-team trade with the Rays, Texas also explored another three-team scenario involving the Yankees and Braves. “There was traction, at one point,” Passan writes about a deal that would have seen the Yankees get Profar, the Braves get Sonny Gray, and Texas would have received a prospect (presumably from Atlanta’s farm system).
- The Diamondbacks would only consider trading Robbie Ray for a very big return, with Passan noting that Arizona would want more for Ray than the Mariners received from the Yankees for James Paxton back in November. While both Ray and Paxton are front-of-the-rotation southpaws with two remaining years of team control, Ray is almost three full years younger than Paxton, which would explain Arizona’s higher asking price. That deal saw Seattle land an MLB-ready pitching prospect (Justus Sheffield), another young arm on the brink of the majors (Erik Swanson) and a promising lower-level position player (outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams). It’s a steep price tag, though at least two teams with a lot of minor league depth have been linked to Ray in trade rumors.
- News broke last week that Yasmani Grandal turned down a four-year, $60MM offer from the Mets, though Passan says that such an offer was “never officially presented,” and that the terms were “characterized by sources on both sides as more of a discussion.” Grandal’s market seems a little uncertain right now, due to the number of catcher-needy teams who have already found other backstops, and the looming presence of J.T. Realmuto on the trade market. With draft pick compensation via the qualifying offer hanging over Grandal’s services, there is some threat of Grandal becoming (in the words of one executive) “this year’s version of Mike Moustakas,” i.e. a QO free agent whose market thins to the point that he is forced to accept a one-year contract. Grandal accepting a one-year deal “remains unlikely but not out of question,” as per Passan, though the catcher and his camp are reportedly “staying patient” that a satisfactory multi-year deal will eventually surface.
- A.J. Pollock is one of many big-name free agents whose markets may not get moving until Harper and/or Manny Machado sign new contracts. As Passan notes, Pollock is a good fit for both the Phillies and White Sox, though those teams are more likely to focus on Harper and Machado before turning to backup plans. Three executive tell Passan that Pollock’s situation bears similarity to Lorenzo Cain last winter, who had to wait until late January to find a new contract, though his market quickly heated up to the point that he was able to land a hefty five-year, $80MM deal from the Brewers.
- We heard during the Winter Meetings about the Reds’ interest in Braves center fielder Ender Inciarte, though Passan writes that “talks stagnated” between the two sides, and Cincinnati then pivoted to acquire outfield help in the form of Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp. Neither of those two are viable center field options, of course, so the Reds remain on the hunt for a replacement for Billy Hamilton.
Yankees right-hander and trade candidate Sonny Gray has been connected to the Padres, among many other teams, since the offseason began in earnest last month. The New Year is now around the corner and Gray remains a member of the Yankees, though the Padres are still “very much” involved in discussions centering on the 29-year-old, AJ Cassavell of MLB.com reports.
General manager Brian Cashman telegraphed that the Yankees would trade Gray this winter after the Red Sox bounced them from the playoffs in October, when he admitted it would make sense to send him elsewhere. Nevertheless, various reports have suggested the Yankees’ asking price has been too lofty for a hurler who struggled in 2018 and only has one year of control left (at a projected $9.1MM).
As MLBTR has written seemingly ad infinitum over the past couple months, Gray’s coming off a season in which he registered a horrid 4.90 ERA and a personal-worst 3.94 BB/9 across 130 1/3 innings, leading the Yankees to pull him from their rotation. However, Gray maintained his velocity and offered appealing results away from Yankee Stadium, as he posted a 3.17 ERA/2.65 FIP on the road. There is no question other teams are well aware of Gray’s success outside of the Bronx, given that double-digit clubs have shown some level of interest in him since Cashman announced he was for sale.
Based on both the road numbers he put up in last season and his productive stint in Oakland, where he pitched from 2013-17, Gray would be a much-needed upgrade for the Padres. In 2018, San Diego’s eighth straight sub-.500 season, its starters ranked 27th in the majors in ERA and 28th in fWAR. Of the 12 starters the Padres trotted out, only Joey Lucchesi enjoyed a decent amount of success over a large sample size.
As a result of the adversity their rotation experienced in 2018, the Padres have been scouring the market for help, having shown reported interest in Gray, the Indians’ Corey Kluber, the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard, the Blue Jays’ Marcus Stroman, the Mariners’ Mike Leake, and free agents Dallas Keuchel and Yusei Kikuchi. Among that group, Gray may be the most realistic target for the Padres. Acquiring Kluber, Syndergaard or Stroman would presumably force the Padres to take a sizable bite out of their top-ranked farm system; Leake, meanwhile, has a no-trade clause and still has a significant amount of guaranteed money left on his contract; and both Keuchel and Kikuchi are in line for high-paying deals.
In the event the Padres do land Gray, he could either help them return to relevance (if he rebounds) or end up as a midseason trade chip. Should San Diego fall out of the race by the summer, which has been an all-too-common occurrence in franchise history, it could further bolster its system by shipping Gray to a contender.
Yankees right-hander Sonny Gray has been on the trade block all offseason, but the club hasn’t found an offer to its liking for the 29-year-old. There’s at least one serious suitor for Gray, though, as Jon Morosi of MLB.com tweets that the Brewers are still prominently in the mix for him. Meanwhile, the NL Central rival Reds are fading in the race, Morosi adds.
A slew of teams have kicked the tires on Gray this winter, but despite his difficulties in 2018, the Yankees reportedly want “high-end” big leaguers in exchange for him. They apparently haven’t been able to find that type of offer for Gray, who’s coming off a season to forget and only under control through 2019 (at a projected $9.1MM). Gray struggled to a 4.90 ERA with a career-worst 3.94 BB/9 in 130 1/3 innings last season, and even lost his place in the Yankees’ rotation. However, the former Athletic’s 2018 issues were essentially limited to the hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium, as evidenced by his 3.17 ERA/2.65 FIP in 71 innings away from the Bronx. Gray has historically been an effective starter, having logged a 3.66 ERA/3.74 FIP in 900 2/3 frames since debuting in the majors in 2013.
While Gray’s a candidate to bounce back in 2019, it doesn’t appear it’ll happen in New York. Since general manager Brian Cashman admitted in mid-October that Gray would likely be better off elsewhere, the executive has acquired left-hander James Paxton from the Mariners and re-signed fellow southpaws J.A. Happ and CC Sabathia in free agency. With those three set to join righties Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka, the Yankees already have a capable five-man rotation heading into 2019.
The Brewers, meanwhile, don’t look to be as fortunate as the Yankees when it comes to current starting options. Although Milwaukee came within a game of a World Series berth in 2018, its success came without a great-looking rotation, and the unit has since seen Wade Miley and Gio Gonzalez become free agents. It’s now down to Jhoulys Chacin, Chase Anderson, Zach Davies, Brandon Woodruff and the rehabbing Jimmy Nelson, among others, set to vie for starting roles. There’s an argument that Gray has a better overall track record than any of the Brewers’ starters, and it’s worth pointing out that GM David Stearns has been chasing him for a while. Before the A’s traded Gray to the Yankees in July 2017, the Brewers were among the teams with interest in him.
Like the Yankees, the Reds have already addressed their rotation in multiple ways this offseason. In separate trades this month, the club has acquired righty Tanner Roark from the Nationals and lefty Alex Wood from the Dodgers. As things stand, they’ll join righties Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani and Tyler Mahle in the Reds’ 2019 rotation. But it does seem the Reds will pick up yet another starter before the offseason’s out, so perhaps it would be unwise to rule out a Gray acquisition. Notably, Gray and Reds pitching coach Derek Johnson have familiarity from their time together at Vanderbilt, where the former was a star hurler and the latter one of the Commodores’ coaches.
Third base help is reportedly atop the Padres’ wish list, and the Yankees’ Miguel Andujar is among their targets, according to Jon Heyman of Fancred. The Padres “love” the 23-year-old, per Heyman, but it’s unclear whether they’ve made a legitimate attempt to acquire him. Although he turned in a near-AL Rookie of the Year season in 2018, in which he slashed .297/.328/.527 with 27 home runs in 606 plate appearances, Andujar struggled mightily as a defender. While Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has consistently praised Andujar and brushed off concerns about his defense, the player has nonetheless been a prominent part of the rumor mill this winter. If the Yankees do move Andujar, whom they could replace with free-agent superstar Manny Machado, it’s fair to surmise it’ll be for a player(s) capable of immediately upgrading the title contenders’ roster.
Here’s more from Heyman’s latest smorgasbord of notes:
- Free-agent closer Craig Kimbrel was reportedly seeking a $100MM-plus contract as of earlier this month, though it’s “believed” he has dropped his price, Heyman writes. According to Heyman, the 30-year-old Kimbrel has gone down to $86MM – the same value of the five-year deal the Yankees gave Aroldis Chapman in 2016. Chapman’s contract remains the richest ever for a reliever, and given Kimbrel’s production to date, it’s unsurprising he’s aiming to match or exceed it. Also unsurprising: Kimbrel’s price is still too rich for the Red Sox’s blood, Heyman hears, suggesting they may be willing to go to four years and $60MM to $70MM.
- The Reds made right-hander Lance Lynn an offer when he was on the market, Heyman relays. However, they didn’t come close to signing Lynn, who joined the Rangers on a three-year, $30MM guarantee on Dec. 18. The Reds addressed their rotation prior to then by acquiring Tanner Roark from the Nationals and did so again Friday, picking up Alex Wood from the Dodgers. The club has also pursued Yankees righty Sonny Gray this offseason, but New York’s seeking Double-A and Triple-A pitchers Cincinnati doesn’t want to trade, per Heyman. Meanwhile, in Cincy’s talks with Miami regarding star catcher J.T. Realmuto, Heyman writes that the Marlins’ focus has been on Nick Senzel, Taylor Trammell, Hunter Greene and Jonathan India – the Reds’ top four prospects at MLB.com.
- Mets righty Seth Lugo has changed representation and hired the Ballengee Group, Heyman reports. The 29-year-old Lugo, who won’t be eligible for arbitration until next winter, was a rare bright spot for the Mets’ bullpen in 2018. Across 101 1/3 innings (78 1/3 in relief), Lugo managed a 2.66 ERA with 9.15 K/9, 2.49 BB/9 and a 46.5 percent groundball rate.
We checked in on the American League earlier Thursday evening. Here’s even more from the Junior Circuit:
- Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto pulled off his latest blockbuster trade Thursday, though he did it from a hospital bed. It turns out Dipoto was dealing with “severe chest pains” stemming from blood clots in his lungs, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports. Fortunately, Dipoto was released from a Las Vegas-area hospital Thursday afternoon and cleared to fly back to Seattle. “It was pretty scary and quite painful stuff,” Dipoto told Johns via text. “I’m thankful to know there’s an issue while we can manage it.” MLBTR joins those around the game in wishing the always entertaining Dipoto a speedy recovery.
- Along with the previously reported Adam Ottavino, the Yankees met with free-agent reliever Andrew Miller’s camp during the Winter Meetings, according to Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News. In his previous trip to free agency, back in 2014, Miller signed with the Yankees on a four-year, $36MM contract. Miller then proceeded to dominate out of New York’s bullpen until the team traded him to Cleveland in July 2016. While Miller continued to post elite production through 2017, he looked like a mere mortal last season during an injury-shortened campaign. Still, MLBTR expects the 33-year-old to pull in another lofty payday this winter. Perhaps he’ll return to his old stomping grounds in the Bronx to get it.
- The Athletics and free-agent catcher Jonathan Lucroy “appear to be at a salary impasse,” Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. Lucroy spent last season in Oakland after inking a one-year, $6.5MM deal in mid-March, and though the former star drew rave reviews from his teammates, he didn’t acquit himself well statistically. The 32-year-old batted a career-worst .241/.291/.325 (70 wRC+) in 454 plate appearances and, among hitters with at least 450 PAs, recorded the majors’ fifth-lowest ISO (.084). The once-marvelous defender also struggled behind the plate.
- Turning to the Athletics’ pursuit of rotation help, Slusser hears that they’re “bottom feeders” on the pitching market, though she points out that they’re known for exercising patience and finding diamonds in the rough. The team’s not averse to doling out multiyear deals for free-agent pitchers, per GM David Forst. On the trade front, Slusser casts doubt on a potential Sonny Gray-Athletics reunion, reporting that the Yankees’ asking price for him is currently too lofty for the A’s liking.
- Reliever Joe Kelly agreed to a three-year, $25MM deal with the Dodgers on Thursday, but his previous employer in Boston didn’t make a particularly competitive offer to retain him, Rob Bradford of WEEI suggests. Not only did the Red Sox only propose a two-year contract, but the average annual value likely didn’t match what the Dodgers will give Kelly, according to Bradford. That jibes with a previous report suggesting the Red Sox are waiting for relievers’ prices to drop before committing to anyone.