– The Nationals are talking to free agent Jon Garland, says ESPN.com’s Peter Gammons in his blog.
Garland is surely hoping for some multiyear security this time around after settling for a one-year deal last winter. There’d be little reason for him to take a short-term deal with the Nats when there will probably a contender or two interested in him as a fourth starter.
– Yahoo! Sports’ Steve Henson report the Dodgers are exploring a three-team deal involving Juan Pierre that would net them a starter with a similarly bad deal.
He goes on to say that the Braves and Derek Lowe are not involved. Would the Dodgers take on a contract as bad as Carlos Silva’s to get rid of Pierre? It seems unlikely.
– Sources told FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi that the Rays and Reds have inquired about the Rangers’ Nelson Cruz.
Several other teams likely have as well, but there’s very little reason to think the Rangers would deal Cruz. They’re looking to add right-handed power, not subtract it.
– While Tracy Ringolsby thinks it’s a done deal, the Denver Post’s Troy Renck believes Rafael Betancourt is still weighing whether to take arbitration from the Rockies.
Betancourt likely will accept the offer, as his status as a Type A free agent has really cut into his market. Rafael Soriano appears to be the only other free agent considering accepting arbitration.
– Newsday’s Ken Davidoff tweets that it’s a forgone conclusion that the Yankees will non-tender Chien-Ming Wang and that the Mets are considering Rod Barajas as an alternative to Bengie Molina behind the plate.
Davidoff thinks the Dodgers will be after Wang once he hits the market, but given that he’s unlikely to be ready for Opening Day, Wang probably won’t sign anytime soon.
The Red Sox have more or less withdrawn from the Edwin Encarnacion sweepstakes, with Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald noting that much of their reluctance hinges on the likelihood that they’d exceed the new $195 million luxury tax threshold by locking the DH into a lucrative deal. That doesn’t leave them without options, however, and FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported that the club could be interested in 29-year-old corner infielder Pedro Alvarez, as well as fellow free agents Mike Napoli and Matt Holliday.
After playing just 10 games at DH from 2010 to 2015, Alvarez suited up as the Orioles’ primary designated hitter and part-time third baseman in 2016. His defense is sub-par, to say the least, but he batted .249/.322/.504 with 22 home runs for Baltimore in 2016.
According to Heyman, the Red Sox envision using Alvarez in much the same way the Orioles did. He’d have a place as the team’s DH with the occasional infield start, while Hanley Ramirez would keep his post at first base. Whether the Red Sox make offers to Napoli, Holliday or Alvarez, they’re expected to pursue a short-term deal in order to stay under budget.
The Braves signed left-handed reliever Jacob Lindgren to a one-year deal, according to a team announcement on Sunday.
Lindgren, the Yankees’ top draft pick in 2014, was nicknamed “The Strikeout Factory” after blowing through four levels of New York’s farm system in 2014. He started the 2015 season in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and was called up for his major league debut only two months into the 2015 season. The 22-year-old lasted seven innings with the club before succumbing to bone chips in his elbow, and underwent bone spur surgery in June before trying his luck again during spring training in 2016.
In August, the Yankees shut Lindgren down for the remainder of the season so the lefty could undergo Tommy John surgery. With a projected return date of 2018, Lindgren was non-tendered by the Yankees on Friday.
While the Braves won’t get the benefit of Lindgren’s top prospect skill set in their bullpen anytime soon, he will remain under club control if they keep him on their 40-man roster beyond the 2017 season (per ESPN’s Keith Law).