No writer packs more valuable information into a Sunday notes column like the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. He’s at it again today with details on a variety of big time free agent and trade options. Let’s review:
- Though he’s unlikely to be moved this winter or even next summer, so far the White Sox, Cubs, Orioles, Nationals and Red Sox have shown trade interest in San Diego first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. The 28-year-old hit .298/.393/.511 with 31 homers in 2010 and is entering the final year of his tenure with the Padres.
- Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton has been dangled on the trade market this winter and is drawing interest from the the Mariners, Blue Jays, Marlins, Red Sox and Royals. It’s going to take a serious package of prospects to lure him away from Arizona’s grasp, but enough clubs are intrigued and it’s quite possible that he is moved this offseason.
- The Dodgers have a bunch of holes to fill this winter but are seeking one major thing: leadership. That could come in the form of veterans like Juan Uribe, Johnny Damon and A.J. Pierzynski.
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin has set a deadline for extension talks with first baseman Prince Fielder. If talks don’t progress by the end of spring training, the big man is likely to be on the trade market next summer.
- Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett is drawing trade interest from the Giants, Orioles and Nationals. Bartlett was a disappointment in 2010, and Tampa is prepared to go with Reid Brignac at short.
- The Angels have already engaged in serious talks with free agent outfielder Carl Crawford and appear to be the front-runner for his services. He’s thought to be seeking a contract worth north of $100 million.
- The Brewers and Nationals are moving “swiftly” on free agent starter Carl Pavano. He registered a 3.75 ERA and 1.19 WHIP over 32 starts this year for the Twins.
- Three teams are interested in signing Mark Prior, but he’s not totally set on a comeback. That decision should come soon.
The Kansas City Star has covered the death of Yordano Ventura and its aftermath in a thorough, thoughtful, respectful and admirable fashion and it has all been compelling to read, even if it’s often been difficult to read. Their latest story may be the most difficult, though it is nonetheless essential.
It covers the final year of Ventura’s life which, sadly, was tumultuous. He had become estranged from his family. He was married to a woman who, at the time of the ceremony, was still married to her first husband and whose family, allegedly, later made threats against Ventura that we’re only now learning about. This includes allegations of armed men accosting Ventura at his home near the Royals spring training facility a year ago. An incident which led to him missing time due to “flulike symptoms,” but which, in reality, caused him considerable mental distress. He was again threatened, it is claimed, in Kansas City during the season. There is also an allegation that Ventura attempted suicide via an overdose of Benadryl, though that is disputed.
Beyond that, there is an arc to the end of Ventura’s life which sounds unfortunately familiar. It’s a story of a young man whose life changed dramatically in a very, very short period of time and who struggled at times to process the changes. Were it not for a fateful drive on a dark and winding road one night in late January, they all could’ve been things that, as his career matured, he could look back on as learning experiences. Now that he’s gone, however, they form the final, tragic chapter.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.