I and others suspected that the Cardinals were bidding against themselves in the Matt Holliday negotiations. Ken Rosenthal suggested yesterday that they had some help via some Boras bluffing:
Would Scott Boras have pulled an Adrian Beltre with Matt
taking a one-year deal in search of a better free-agent
The Cardinals believed the answer was yes, and their fear of
Holliday prompted them to award him a seven-year contract,
to a source with knowledge of the club’s thinking.
Rosenthal says that the fear was that the Yankees or someone would give Holliday $20 million or something on a one year deal. He quotes an anonymous baseball executive who is really dubious that Holliday would take such a deal, however, as he is on the record saying that he wants to put down roots for his family.
I think the bluff is doubly silly. Sure, Holliday may not have taken such a deal, but what makes the Cardinals think that such a deal would even develop? The Yankees may or may not be satisfied with Brett Gardner in left, but even if they go in a different direction, is it really plausible to think that they’d make a one-and-done knock-your-socks-off offer to Holliday? And who else could make such an offer?
Yes, I suppose anything is possible, and yes, it’s way easier to throw barbs from the sidelines than it is to actually sit across the table from Boras, but as far as bluffs go, Matt Holliday taking a one year deal to make his market at age 30 seems like one that’s worth calling.
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.