There’s not much left on the official agenda here in Indianapolis, but none of the fun stuff happens on the official agenda anyway. For what it’s worth:
The Rule 5 draft takes place at 9 A.M. this morning. Even the prospect junkies I’ve talked to here aren’t terribly excited about it. There’s no Josh Hamilton, Johan Santana, Dan Uggla or Joakim Soria in this crowd. Last year 21 players were selected. Only six saw major league playing time. Only three stuck all season with the teams that chose them. The draft is not going to make a tremendous difference for any team this year.
Among the potential pickees this year: Marlins outfielder John Raynor is mildly interesting. Marlins pitcher Arquimedes Caminero is too. D-backs pitcher Hector Ambriz is someone else who has been mentioned. You may have heard of Royals submarine pitcher Chris “Disco” Hayes, but really, his nickname is his biggest claim to fame. While submariners are evidence of all that is right and good in the universe, he’s basically a one-pitch pitcher.
Officially, that’s it. Unofficially, teams and agents will continue to talk about the Roy Halladays and Jason Bays of the world. But maybe not too intensely. Many of the movers and shakers have early flights today (assuming the high winds and frigid temperatures here in Indy don’t cancel them all). As a result, the biggest deals are likely to wait for a later day.
But CTB is still on the job. I’ll be blogging from the Marriott until they kick me out. Aaron and Matthew will be monitoring the interwebs as well. If it happens, we’ll tell you about it. If we miss it, we’ll make it up. If it’s wrong, we’ll blame Jon Heyman.
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.