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?
Free agent left-hander Rich Hill is rumored to be entertaining a three-year, $40+ million offer from the Dodgers, reports Peter Gammons. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo corroborated the report, adding that Hill could receive somewhere between $46 and $48 million from his former team.
Hill, 36, pitched to a 2.12 ERA and 3.91 FIP in back-to-back stints with the Athletics and Dodgers in 2016. While a chronic case of blisters on his pitching hand limited the frequency of his starts, he still figures to be one of the most productive and noteworthy starting pitchers on the market this winter.
The Orioles, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Astros have all been mentioned as potential suitors for the left-hander’s services, though Orioles’ GM Dan Duquette said the club has yet to make a play for Hill and ESPN’s Jim Bowden pointed out that the Red Sox are less involved in trade talks than other interested parties.
In light of the Astros’ deal for veteran designated hitter Carlos Beltran on Saturday, the Yankees are thought to be intensifying their pursuit of free agent Edwin Encarnacion, reports Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. The Yankees never made an official offer to Beltran, but remain in need of a DH/first baseman to give them a little more power outside of a Tyler Austin–Greg Bird combo in 2017.
The Red Sox, on the other hand, are reportedly withdrawing their interest when it comes to the Encarnacion sweepstakes. According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, they will look for a hitter to beef up their lineup without taking a “big plunge” on the 34-year-old.
Encarnacion enjoyed another All-Star run with the Blue Jays in 2016, hitting at a .263/.357/.529 clip with 42 homers and a league-leading 127 RBI in 702 PA. He’s expected to command a significant contract in free agency, and agent Paul Kinzer said that a potential deal is unlikely to be finalized before the Winter Meetings as Encarnacion is not close to agreeing to any offer. Interested teams include the Blue Jays and the Astros, though Beltran’s signing appears to have effectively taken Houston out of the running for the slugger.