Nature abhors a vacuum and apparently baseball writers abhor a lack of news:
Mauer still has more leverage than Pat Williams on a teeter-totter,
but as negotiations have lagged, Mauer’s hesitancy to accept a
record-setting contract offer from his hometown team has made his
signing less than a sure thing and raised this previously unthinkable
“Won’t the Twins have to trade him if he refuses their best offer?” . . .
. . . a combination of modern baseball logic and Twins history
suggests that if the Twins’ decision-makers can’t sign Mauer, they will
be obligated to trade him . . . A trade could yield a closer to replace Joe Nathan and would protect
the franchise in the future from having one player on their roster
consuming 20 to 25 percent of their payroll, a formula that rarely
works in baseball.
Joe Mauer for a closer? Well, you drive a hard bargain, Twins, but I suppose Theo Epstein may bite the bullet and trade, say, Jonathan Papelbon for him. OK, Papelbon and a second or third tier minor league catcher to fill your organizational needs, but that’s his final offer.
Back here in the real world, the only thing trading Joe Mauer will “protect” the Twins from is from having to make ushers wipe down the upper deck seats before home games, what with the fact that no fans will ever show up to sit there.
The Twins are almost certainly going to sign Joe Mauer. If they don’t, they’d be better off simply letting him walk while engaging in kabuki theater to make everyone think that he was the bad guy than shipping him out for what, at this point, wouldn’t be quite the haul everyone thinks it might be.
From Jon Heyman of CBS Sports comes word that the Orioles “like” free agent starter Yovani Gallardo and “have reached out to him” to gauge his interest in coming to Baltimore and what that might cost.
Gallardo rejected a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from the Rangers earlier this month and so his free agency is tied to draft pick compensation, but that shouldn’t hurt his bottom line all that much.
The 29-year-old right-hander posted a solid 3.42 ERA in 184 1/3 innings (33 starts) this past season for Texas and he pitched well in his one ALDS start.
Heyman reported a few weeks ago that the Diamondbacks are interested, and the Cubs, Blue Jays, and Dodgers were tied to him just ahead of the July 31 trade deadline.
David Price has expressed a desire to return to Toronto, where he finished out the 2015 season, but FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal writes Wednesday that the Blue Jays “are not expected to be a major factor in his free agency.”
The teams that should be considered serious suitors, per Rosenthal, are the Cubs, Cardinals, Giants, Dodgers, and Red Sox — all deep-pocketed teams looking to contend in 2016. Money is apparently the issue for the Blue Jays, who are currently owned by Rogers Communications.
Price registered an outstanding 2.45 ERA, 1.076 WHIP, and 225/47 K/BB ratio in 220 1/3 innings (32 starts) this past season between the Tigers and Jays, finishing second in the American League Cy Young Award race behind Dallas Keuchel of the Astros.
The 30-year-old left-hander is probably looking for a six- or seven-year contract worth more than $25 million per season. He is represented by agent Bo McKinnis.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald wrote three weeks ago that the Marlins were probably going to explore an extension this winter with second baseman Dee Gordon. And it sounds like those talks are underway.
Via beat writer Joe Frisaro of MLB.com:
As a guest on MLB Network’s “Hot Stove” show Wednesday morning, Gordon confirmed his camp has been in talks with the Marlins regarding a multiyear deal. A source told MLB.com that the discussions are preliminary and have just recently started.
“My agent is doing the talking,” Gordon said on the show. “They’re just keeping me in the loop. I think it’s going pretty well right now. We’ll see how that goes. I’m just playing the waiting game. We’re going to do the right thing.”
The 27-year-old carries three more seasons of salary arbitration, so there’s no real rush to get something done before next spring. Gordon carries quite a bit of leverage after posting a career-best .333/.359/.418 slash line in 145 games this past season for the Fish. He led all major leaguers in hits (205) and stolen bases (58).
Bud Norris has found a home for his attempt at a bounceback season, signing a one-year deal with the Braves. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com says it’s worth $2.5 million, which is a huge cut from his $8.8 million salary this year.
Norris had established himself as a solid mid-rotation starter from 2009-2014, but had a brutal 2015 season split between the Orioles and Padres with a 6.72 ERA in 83 innings and a late-season move to the bullpen.
In announcing the signing the Braves referred to Norris as a starting pitcher, so joining the rotation for a rebuilding team gives him a chance to get his career back on track with an eye on hitting the open market as a free agent again next offseason. And if he fares well, the Braves could use him to add a prospect or two at the trade deadline.