UPDATE: Or not. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic asked Towers via text message about the Sponichi report. He replied: “News to me!”
9:06 PM: Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers is apparently doing a lot more than talking to teams about a potential match for Justin Upton.
Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker passes along a report from Sponichi that the D-Backs are prepared to offer Japanese reliever Hiroyuki Kobayashi a two-year, $3 million contract.
While Hisashi Iwakuma and Tsuyoshi Nishioka have had to go through the posting process, the 32-year-old right-hander is a free agent and is able to sign with any MLB team.
Formerly a starting pitcher, Kobayashi moved to the bullpen this past season and posted a 2.21 ERA to go along with 29 saves and a 53/13 K/BB ratio over 61 innings. He has a 3.54 ERA over 11 professional seasons in Japan, all with the Chiba Lotte Marines. On his website NPB Tracker, Newman writes that Kobayashi “doesn’t have a power arm, but attacks the strike zone.”
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.