With Houston apparently giving Miguel Tejada the kiss off yesterday, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says that Tony La Russa may be interested in bringing him in. It’s more of a “personal interest” on La Russa’s part, Strauss says, but that he has been discussed by others in the Cardinals organization.
But as Strauss’ piece makes clear, that — and just about everything else the Cardinals do — is being held hostage by the Matt Holliday situation. You sign him, you let Mark DeRosa dangle, and you pick up Tejada (or someone like him) to play third. Also if you sign him, you look to cheaper options to fill out that fifth starter’s slot. If you don’t, you go harder for DeRosa for third and/or left field and your options to fill out both the lineup and the rotation expand.
La Russa was patient and measured about it all during his press availability yesterday, but it’s obvious that the Cardinals are in a holding pattern. Everything they do for the rest of the offseason is in Matt Holliday’s and Scott Boras’ hands. But everything Scott Boras has ever done suggests that he has no interest in giving the Cardinals anything close to a sense of security on the matter any time soon. When a Scott Boras client is on the market, he is REALLY on the market, and the bidding hasn’t started yet.
St. Louis is not the sort of organization that gambles, and I can’t see them watching their plan Bs, Cs and Ds all get snapped up by other teams while waiting for Matt Holliday and Scott Boras to make up their minds.
The question, then, is how much longer before they officially cut bait?
Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.
Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).
Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.
David Price showed “strength improvements” in his elbow on Saturday, but Red Sox’ manager John Farrell still doesn’t think the left-hander will be ready to throw by the start of the season — or for a few weeks afterward. According to ESPN’s Scott Lauber, the 31-year-old might not be ready to debut until May at the earliest.
Price hasn’t thrown off of a mound this spring after experiencing soreness in his left elbow on March 1. Surgery doesn’t appear to be necessary, but the Red Sox are playing it extra safe with their No. 3 starter in hopes that rest and rehabilitation will return him to full health sometime during the 2017 season. For now, Price has been restricted to short games of catch until he’s cleared to resume a more rigorous throwing program. Via MLB.com’s Ian Browne:
[There were] strength improvements to the point of putting the ball back in his hand a little more consistently,” said manager John Farrell. “Today’s the first step for that. A short game of catch. That’s what he’s going through. Not off a mound but just to get the arm moving with a ball in flight, and he will continue in this phase for a period of time. There’s no set distance and volume yet to the throws.
The lefty is coming off of a lackluster 2016 season, during which he delivered a 3.99 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 230 innings for the Red Sox.