Guillen might be done, so Tigers start shopping

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When the Tigers placed Carlos Guillen on the disabled list last month
with a sore right shoulder manager Jim Leyland expected a quick return,
saying: “Two weeks should do it.”

Three weeks later Guillen admitted that he’d yet to even test the
injured shoulder, the following week he underwent an MRI exam that
reportedly revealed no structural damage, and two weeks after that
Leyland explained that it was “going to be a while” before he was back
in the lineup.

And now Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com–and formerly the Tigers beat writer for the Detroit Free Pressreports
that “Guillen’s season will be in jeopardy if his right shoulder
doesn’t improve soon.” Agent Peter Greenberg told Morosi that Guillen
will likely opt for season-ending surgery if it doesn’t look like he’s
close to returning by some time next month and may need to go under the
knife during the offseason either way.

“He’s trying to do everything he can to avoid surgery, especially
since it’s his throwing shoulder,” Greenberg said. In the second year
of a four-year, $48 million contract extension, Guillen is making $12
million this season and is owed another $13 million for each of the
next two seasons.

When healthy Guillen has been one of the more underrated hitters in
baseball, batting .304/.373/.484 in six seasons with Detroit after a
modest start to his career in Seattle. Of course, he’s also bounced all
over the diamond defensively while missing one-fourth of the Tigers’
games. Still, Detroit is finding it difficult to replace his bat, as
Tigers left fielders rank second-to-last in the league with a .681 OPS.

By making a decision on surgery by the middle of next month Guillen
would give the Tigers enough time to pursue a replacement bat prior to
the July 31 trading deadline and owner Mike Ilitch said yesterday
that he’s willing to increase the team’s payroll if necessary. In other
words, Guillen or not don’t count on seeing Josh Anderson and Ryan
Raburn patrolling left field down the stretch.

Report: The Nationals are still in on Chris Sale and Andrew McCutchen

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 05: Chris Sale #49 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning on September 5, 2016 at U. S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
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The Nationals are trying to go big this offseason, and FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal notes that they are still in trade talks for White Sox’ left-hander Chris Sale and Pirates’ center fielder Andrew McCutchen. Both players figure to command a big return, as Sale delivered another Cy Young-worthy performance in 2016 and, despite a downturn in his production rate, McCutchen is still one of the more coveted sluggers in the National League.

In 2016, Sale led the league in complete games, with six, and turned in a 3.34 ERA and 5.2 fWAR in 226 2/3 innings. While teams have been sniffing around the White Sox’ ace since the trade deadline, the club is expected to maintain a high asking price — so high, said FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, that it may keep the left-hander in Chicago for the foreseeable future.

According to Heyman, four other teams are reportedly in the mix for Sale, including the Red Sox, Astros, Rangers, and Braves, though parts of Rosenthal’s tweet hinted that the Red Sox were maintaining their interest in hopes of striking a more affordable deal. Should the Nationals pursue a deal for Sale, it’s likely that they’d have to move shortstop/center fielder Trea Turner, which they appear reluctant to do.

McCutchen, meanwhile, is also drawing interest around the league after batting .256/.336/.430 with 24 home runs in 675 PA during 2016. He didn’t appear to lose much power in his eighth season with the Pirates, but took considerably fewer walks and struck out at a career-high clip.

The Nationals were said to be in the lead for McCutchen on Thursday, and there was some expectation that the club would wrap up a trade for the center fielder by the non-tender deadline on Friday. FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi pointed out that the Rangers were also talking to the Pirates, however, and no deal has come to fruition as of yet.

Astros sign Carlos Beltran to one-year, $16 million deal

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 9: Carlos Beltran #36 of the Texas Rangers hits an RBI against the Toronto Blue Jays in the first inning during game three of the American League Division Series at Rogers Centre on October 9, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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The Astros have reportedly agreed to terms with free agent DH/outfielder Carlos Beltran for a one-year, $16 million contract, per ESPN’s Buster Olney. The deal includes a complete no-trade clause, according to a report from Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

Beltran elected to return to the Astros after fielding offers from the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Red Sox. He appeared in Houston during the second half of 2004, batting .258/.368/.559 with 23 home runs in 399 PA and making his first postseason run to the tune of a .435 average and eight homers as the Astros battled their way through to a seven-game loss in the Championship Series. Beltran also played with Houston manager A.J. Hinch and bench coach Alex Cora in separate stints with the Royals and Mets, which the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan cited as possible influences in the Astros’ decision to pursue the free agent.

In 2016, Beltran split the season between the Yankees and Rangers after getting dealt at the deadline for a package of right-handed pitching prospects. He was stationed in right field for the majority of his time in New York, but was almost exclusively utilized as a designated hitter over 52 games in Texas. Between the two clubs, he batted an impressive .295/.337/.513 with 29 homers and earned his ninth career All-Star designation to boot.

The veteran slugger is expected to fill a similar role on the Astros, who need a full-time DH but could use some additional support in the outfield corner. Olney envisions a lineup with Beltran in the five-spot, per an earlier report: