Friedman outlines Rays' offseason plans

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Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman told Joe Smith of the St. Petersburg Times that the club plans to be active in adding at least one reliever and another catcher to use in tandem with Dioner Navarro.



“We have a list of guys on other teams we have an interest in, and a
list of free agents as well,” Friedman said. “And depending on how the
market evolves on both fronts, it will go a long way toward shaping our
thought process. … We feel like there are a lot of talented names out
there.”




The Rays probably won’t be able to
afford the higher-end relievers like Rafael Soriano or Mike Gonzalez,
however they could have interest in Danys Baez, according to Friedman.
After
missing all of 2008 following Tommy John
surgery, Baez posted a 4.02 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 59 appearances with
the Orioles in 2009. While his strikeout rate fell to a career-low of
5.02 K/9, his
career-high 60.9% groundball rate was among the league-leaders. Baez
previously pitched with the Rays from 2004-2005.




The Rays will likely have to turn to
trades for a catcher since the position is rather thin among the free
agents, however they appear open to continue talks with Gregg Zaun,
despite declining his $2 million option earlier this month.




Some of the juicier tidbits were
buried at the bottom, but probably for good reason. According to Smith, the Rangers and White Sox
have shown interest in B.J. Upton while the Mets and Braves have
inquired about Carl Crawford. The Rays exercised Crawford’s $10 million
option for 2010 earlier this month, and remain interested in discussing
a contract extension.
 


Jose Bautista and the Blue Jays nearing a two-year, $35-40 million deal

Toronto Blue Jays Jose Bautista flips his bat after hitting a three-run homer during seventh inning game 5 American League Division Series baseball action in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
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It was first reported that the Blue Jays and Jose Bautista were close to a deal last night. Now Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is near completion. It will likely a two-year contract in the $35-40 million range.

Bautista had a tough 2016, hitting .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and 69 RBI, and some clubs likely considered a long-term deal for the 36-year-old too risky, this leading to the relative lack of reported interest in Bautista by other clubs. But back-to-back ALCS appearances by the Jays and the success and popularity Bautista has experienced in Toronto make his re-signing there a pretty sensible move for all involved.

The Jays, who already lost Edwin Encarnacion to free agency, get their slugger back on a short term deal. Unlike anyone else, they don’t have to give up the draft pick attached to him via the qualifying offer. Bautista, in turn, will make, on average, more than he would’ve made on the qualifying offer if he would’ve accepted it and a raise over the $14 million he made in 2016.

Padres sign Trevor Cahill

Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Trevor Cahill (53) during the seventh inning of Game 3 in baseball's National League Division Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, Monday, Oct. 12, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
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The Padres have signed Trevor Cahill to a one-year, $1.75 million contract.

As recently as the middle of the 2015 season it looked like Cahill’s career would meet a premature end, but after being released by the Braves and signing with the Cubs in August of that season he has been a remarkably effective reliever. He has posted a 2.61 ERA in 61 games in Chicago and has posted a strikeout rate far above his career norms.

He’s not someone you necessarily want taking the hill when the leverage is high, but in San Diego the leverage won’t be all that high all that often.