When Vladimir Guerrero agreed to terms with the Rangers on Saturday
night, it dealt a heavy blow to the market for free agent outfielder
Jermaine Dye. The Rangers maintained dialogue with Dye even as
they negotiated with Guerrero, offering both similar base salaries in
the area of the $3-5 million. According to Evan Grant of the Dallas
Morning News, manager Ron Washington met with Dye in California as recently as Friday.
Dye, who turns 36 later this month, now finds himself in a free agent
market with few remaining opportunities. Let’s take a quick look at a couple
Yankees: The World Champions
have denied interest in the past and Dye wouldn’t really fit in their
outfield — he’s only played 27 games in left field in his career and
rates as one of the worst defensive outfielders in the major leagues — but he
would come at half the price of Johnny Damon and projects as a powerful
right-handed bat off the bench or insurance for the oft-injured Nick
Johnson. That said, the versatile Jerry Hairston
Jr. would probably be a better fit for the team’s needs.
Giants: Probably the most
logical destination for the California-native, the Giants may be
willing to live with his shoddy defense if it means he can add some
punch to their lineup. There are a lot of moving parts in San
Francisco, as Mark DeRosa could possibly play third base with Pablo
Sandoval sliding over to first base and the recently re-signed Juan
Uribe returning to a super utility role. As it stands right now, the
Giants are still trying to sign a first baseman (they’ve been linked to
Adam LaRoche), a plan that would likely send DeRosa to the
Braves: It’s a sentimental
choice since Dye was originally drafted by the Braves in 1993, but
don’t count on it happening. His addition would not only cripple their
defense, but it would make their lineup too right-handed. It would also
block top prospect Jason Heyward, who has primarily played right field
in the minor leagues.
As you can see, not much out there. Dye’s value couldn’t be much lower
after his second-half collapse, but remember that he has hit at least
24 home runs in six out of the last seven seasons. Someone will take a
chance on a rebound.
It was only a matter of time before Mike Trout courted another all-time record, and on Saturday, he found himself in elite company with his 25th and 26th home runs of the season. He put the Angels on the board with a 429-foot blast in the first inning, depositing an 0-1 fastball from the Orioles’ Kevin Gausman into the left field bleachers:
In the third inning, with the Angels up 2-1, Trout returned to tack on another insurance run. He targeted Gausman’s slider for his second solo shot of the evening and cleared the center field fence with a 418-footer to bring his total to 26 home runs on the year.
Trout has mashed at a staggering .339/.471/.596 clip since his return from the disabled list last month, and Saturday’s totals helped mark his sixth consecutive season with at least 25 home runs. That’s a record few have matched before their age-26 season; in fact, only Hall of Fame sluggers Eddie Mathews and Frank Robinson have ever pulled it off.
Assuming he continues to rake in hits and plate appearances over the last six weeks of the regular season — and there’s nothing to indicate that he won’t — Trout is in line to join elite company of a different kind. The 26-year-old entered Saturday’s game with a 206 OPS+ (park-adjusted on-base plus slugging). According to MLB.com’s Matt Kelly, that means Trout’s hitting at a better clip than the average Major League player by a full 106 percent. Should he finish the year with a 200 OPS+ and 502 plate appearances or better, he’ll be the first player to do so since Barry Bonds obliterated the competition with his 263 OPS+ in 2004.
The Blue Jays acquired right-hander Tom Koehler from the Marlins in exchange for minor league right-hander Osman Gutierrez and cash considerations, the clubs announced Saturday. Koehler is in his sixth year with the Marlins and stands to make $5.75 million in 2017. He’ll be arbitration eligible in 2018 and is set to enter free agency by 2019.
The 31-year-old right-hander struggled to a 7.92 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 7.1 SO/9 over 55 2/3 innings with Miami in 2017. He was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans in late July, where he rebounded with a 1-1 record in seven starts and whittled his ERA down to a 1.67 mark. The Blue Jays have yet to establish Koehler’s role within their organization, but are hoping to see a turnaround from the righty when he breaks back into the big leagues.
Gutierrez, 22, was assigned to Single-A Greensboro on Saturday. He has yet to find his footing in the minors, and exited a 78-inning stint with Single-A Lansing after racking up a career-worst 7.85 ERA and 8.2 SO/9. His lack of control is particularly alarming, with a 6.2 BB/9 that dwarfs the 2.0+ BB/9 of seasons past, but he still has plenty of time to figure out his mechanics before reaching the Show.