Given that the Red Sox are reportedly making another pass at Jason Bay (or Matt Holliday) despite having the outfield seemingly covered with Ellsbury, Drew and Cameron, what does it tell you about their confidence that David Ortiz will be a productive part of the lineup next year? Last season when Big Papi took his giant swoon, they had no one else around, so they had to keep running him out there. Could having Bay or Holliday in the fold mean that they’d rather have one of them — or J.D. Drew — DHing? Whatever the case, I wouldn’t necessarily bet my pension on Ortiz returning to All-Star form, so maybe getting another bat makes sense.
Obligatory alternative theory for Red Sox fanboys: getting Holliday or Bay would free up Ellsbury to be dealt to San Diego as part of a package for Adrian Gonzalez. No, I do not think that will happen, but one of the first comments would likely suggest it, and I wanted to preempt it.
Free agent right-hander Chris Tillman is narrowing his pool of potential suitors, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Returning to the Orioles is one option, of course, but Heyman also mentions another two undisclosed teams who are still in the running. An earlier report from Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun suggests that as many as four teams may be in the mix; either way, a final decision is expected by Monday.
Tillman, 29, has spent the entirety of his major league career in Baltimore. After posting career-high numbers in 2016, his progress was derailed during an injury-plagued 2017 campaign, during which he missed nearly six weeks on the disabled list with recurring right shoulder inflammation. He finished the season with a bloated 7.84 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 4.9 SO/9 over 93 innings.
While the mystery teams have yet to reveal themselves, the Blue Jays, Twins and Tigers have all expressed interest in the veteran right-hander this offseason. Both the Blue Jays and Twins have made big moves to bolster their rotations over the last few days, with the additions of Jaime Garcia and Jake Odorizzi, respectively. That doesn’t mean that Tillman is out of reach, however — if his price is right, he could provide some much-needed depth for pitching staffs that finished 15th and 22nd in the league last year.