Here’s a few Hot Stove items of note as we eagerly await 12:01 am on Friday:
– Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com thinks that if the Tigers aim to cut payroll, they should consider trading Miguel
Cabrera to the Red Sox. Likewise, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe thinks Cabrera should be on Boston’s short-list of possible middle-of-the-order bats. Cabrera, 26, is owed $126 million over the next six seasons.
– Todd Zolecki of MLB.com writes that the Phillies reportedly have interest in Fernando Rodney, but he might not be an option since he will want to close. In a related story, Brad Lidge “should be ready at or near the very beginning of spring training” following elbow surgery, says his agent Rex Gary.
– Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes that the Pirates won’t be major players in free agency yet again,
but they could have interest in lower-tier free agents like Rick
Ankiel, Jamey Wright, Mark Hendrickson and Japanese pitcher Ryota
– Roch Kubato of the MASNSports.com wonders if the Orioles will consider signing Braden Looper, Jon Garland or Matt Treanor since the club was connected to them last winter.
– Jesse Spector of the New York Daily News takes a look some of the top set-up men available on the free agent market, and how arbitration and draft pick compensation may impact where they end up.
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.