The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo does a bang-up job during hot stove season and he has an article today about 2010’s biggest breakout star, Jose Bautista.
Bautista, 30, posted a stellar 995 OPS and 124 RBI this past season while leading all major leaguers with 54 home runs. He’s in line for a big payday this winter via salary arbitration, so it would seem that the Jays might have interest in discussing a long-term contract with the slugger. But, as of now, no such negotiations have taken place.
“Right now, there are no talks about a multiyear contract, but I suppose we may hear something about that in December,” he told Cafardo. “We have a great team and if our players and pitching can take the next step, we’re going to be a team that can go for the AL East title.”
Why no talks? Because the Blue Jays probably have the same concerns that the rest of us have. Bautista never hit more than 16 home runs in a season before this year and batted just .235/.349/.408 in 2009. It’s not all that rare for players to suddenly blossom in their late 20s and early 30s (Ryan Ludwick comes to mind), but Bautista has all the leverage right now because of his impressive 2010 numbers and it’s fair that the Jays have their doubts about his ability to post consistent MVP-like stats.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Rangers have signed outfielder Carlos Gomez to a one-year deal. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that Gomez will earn $11.5 million next season.
Gomez, 31, struggled with the Astros to a .594 OPS before the club released him in mid-August. The Rangers signed him shortly thereafter and were immediately rewarded. Gomez hit .284/.362/.543 with eight home runs and 24 RBI in 130 plate appearances through the end of the regular season.
As presently constructed, Gomez would likely take over in center field with Nomar Mazara handling left and Shin-Soo Choo in right.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Diamondbacks are close to signing free agent reliever Fernando Rodney.
Rodney, 39, has been inconsistent over the past two seasons. This past season, he was lights-out with the Padres, posting a 0.31 ERA in 28 appearances. After the Marlins acquired him at the end of June, he struggled to a 5.89 ERA in 39 appearances.
Brad Ziegler, who closed for the Diamondbacks in the first half last season, went to the Red Sox in a midseason trade and is now a free agent. The Diamondbacks had six other relievers register a save, but only Daniel Hudson and Jake Barrett recorded more than one. Adding Rodney will give the club some stability in the ninth inning.