The following scenario is completely hypothetical and should not be taken as an actual rumor, much less a completed deal.
Rays acquire second baseman Dan Uggla from the Marlins for outfielder B.J. Upton and shortstop Jason Bartlett.
Why it works for Tampa Bay: The Rays finished third in the AL in runs scored last season, but the team was sixth in homers and eighth in slugging percentage. With Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena both potentially leaving in free agency, the team needs to add some power and Uggla hit five more homers last season than anyone on the Rays. He has four straight 30-homer seasons to his credit. Top prospect Desmond Jennings and Reid Brignac can replace Upton and Bartlett, respectively.
Why it works for Florida: The Marlins don’t need to save money in an Uggla deal. In all likelihood, they’d get trouble in with the MLBPA again if they didn’t spend Uggla’s money elsewhere. Upton and Bartlett combined to make $7 million last year, while Uggla came in at $7.8 million. Both newcomers would be due raises in arbitration, but not major ones after down years. Upton would give the team a high-upside center fielder to replace the one they just parted with Saturday. Bartlett could step in at second base for a year and potentially provide a big upgrade on defense.
Why it won’t happen: While I like the idea of Upton for Florida, Bartlett probably isn’t worth his $4 million-$5 million salary, particularly if he’s not playing shortstop. The deal would look a lot better for the Marlins with Brignac included instead, but that’d be too much for the Rays to give up for one year of Uggla, particuarly when Uggla is going to making $10 millon-$12 million and eating up a good portion of the team’s financial flexibility.
Former Tigers infielder Casey McGehee has reportedly signed a one-year deal with the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
It’s the fourth move the corner infielder has made in the last two seasons after seeing short-term stints with the Marlins, Giants and Tigers. He signed a minor league deal with the Tigers prior to the 2016 season, providing the club with some infield depth behind 24-year-old Nick Castellanos. When Castellanos hit the disabled list in August with a broken hand, McGehee was recalled from Triple-A Toledo for a 30-game stint and slashed .228/.260/.239 with one extra-base hit in 96 PA. His career batting line (.258/.317/.384 over eight seasons) isn’t too shabby, but his age and a long history of knee injuries puts a damper on his potential.
McGehee last appeared in the NPB circuit in 2013, when he signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. He spent the bulk of his season at the hot corner, batting an impressive .292/.396/.515 with 28 homers in 590 PA and appearing in the Eagles’ first and only championship run to date.
The deal comes with a club option for 2018, Rosenthal reports, though no figure has been specified.
Free agent left-hander Rich Hill is rumored to be entertaining a three-year, $40+ million offer from the Dodgers, reports Peter Gammons. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo corroborated the report, adding that Hill could receive somewhere between $46 and $48 million from his former team.
Hill, 36, pitched to a 2.12 ERA and 3.91 FIP in back-to-back stints with the Athletics and Dodgers in 2016. While a chronic case of blisters on his pitching hand limited the frequency of his starts, he still figures to be one of the most productive and noteworthy starting pitchers on the market this winter.
The Orioles, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Astros have all been mentioned as potential suitors for the left-hander’s services, though Orioles’ GM Dan Duquette said the club has yet to make a play for Hill and ESPN’s Jim Bowden pointed out that the Red Sox are less involved in trade talks than other interested parties.