Okay, so imagine yourself as the general manager of a team that is
currently seven games out of the division lead (behind four other
teams) and eight-and-a-half games out of the wild card (behind eight
other teams). Might be time to wise up and cut bait on expensive
veterans, right? Not if you are Reds general manager Walt Jocketty.
According to Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com, the Reds are discussing a trade for third baseman Scott Rolen:
The Reds, who have lost five straight games, are widely expected to
sell at the deadline. But acquiring Rolen would give the team a head
start on planning for 2010, since Rolen is already under contract for
next year at $11 million.
The sides are still trying to determine which players would head to
Toronto in the deal, but the source said that third baseman Edwin
Encarnacion would be included.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that the Reds would be better
off with Edwin Encarnacion manning third base. They wouldn’t. He’s
awful over there. One of the worst in the sport, even. And Rolen has
been a great comeback story this season, putting together an awesome
.316/.371/.467 line. But why take the $11 million risk for a player in
his mid-30s, who isn’t the Gold Glover he used to be, and with a
well-documented injury history to boot? Well, Jocketty is a fan of
Rolen from their days together in St. Louis; the veteran third baseman
fits the bill as the righty bat the Reds have been seeking.
Wouldn’t you know it, Encarnacion is also right-handed and under the
organization’s control through 2012. He will make just $4.7 million in
2010. If the Reds are truly that unhappy with Encarnacion’s defense,
they would be better served to move him to a corner outfield spot. They
shouldn’t give up on a relatively inexpensive 26-year-old with real
30-homer potential who is showing some tangible progress in his
approach (15.7% walk rate this season) at the plate.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.