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 Associated Press is reporting that the spring training schedule will be shortened by two days starting in 2018. That change comes as part of the new collective bargaining agreement, which was agreed to last month.
Specifically, the voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers, and injured players has been changed to 43 days before the start of the regular season, down from 45. For the rest of the players, the reporting date is 38 days before the start of the regular season, down from 40.
The change goes hand-in-hand with allowing teams 187 days, rather than 183, to complete their 162-game regular season schedule.
While just about everyone seems to be in agreement that the spring training exhibition schedule is too long, team owners are likely very hesitant to shorten that part of the spring schedule because it would cost them money. So they’re just allowing players to arrive to camp a couple of days later.
Update (7:05 PM EST): The Rays and Dodgers have both announced the trade.
Update (6:57 PM EST): That was fast. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports the two sides have agreed to the trade. Forsythe for De Leon. An announcement is expected shortly.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that the Dodgers and Rays are “deep into discussions” on a trade involving second baseman Logan Forsythe. Passan adds that the two sides have discussed pitcher Jose De Leon — the Dodgers’ top pitching prospect — as part of the return for Forsythe, but it’s unclear if he’s in the deal currently being discussed.
Forsythe, 30, hit a productive .264/.333/.444 with 20 home runs and 52 RBI in 567 plate appearances in 2016. He was even better the year before, finishing with an .804 OPS. Forsythe can fill the Dodgers’ obvious need at second base, but he also has experience playing third base, first base, shortstop, and corner outfield.
Forsythe is entering the second year of his two-year, $10.25 million contract extension with the Rays. He’ll earn $5.75 million in 2017 and his controlling team has an $8.5 million club option with a $1 million buyout for the 2018 season.