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.
Matt Hague got a cup of coffee in Toronto this year after winning the International League MVP, but the 30-year-old first baseman/third baseman found a better opportunity in Japan and the Blue Jays have sold him to the Hanshin Tigers.
Hague hit .338 in 136 games at Triple-A this past season and is a career .301 hitter in eight minor-league seasons overall, but his lack of power limits his opportunities in the majors and he’s received a grand total of 91 plate appearances as a big leaguer.
Ben Nicholson-Smith of Toronto Sportnet reports that the sale price for Hague is $300,000, which goes to the Blue Jays. And then Hague will no doubt sign a deal for a lot more than he could have earned at Triple-A and perhaps more than the MLB minimum salary.
The Arizona Diamondbacks just announced that have traded righty Allen Webster to the Pirates for cash considerations.
Webster, who turns 26 in February, was DFA’d by the Dbacks a few days ago. He pitched in nine games, starting five, in 2015, posting a 5.81 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 17/20 (eww) in 31 innings. Before that he pitched 89.1 innings for the Red Sox over two years with numbers not too terribly more impressive than that.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees “have let teams know Ivan Nova is available” in trade.
Nova returned from Tommy John elbow surgery in May to throw 94 innings with a 5.07 ERA and will be a free agent after the 2016 season, so it’s tough to imagine his trade market being particularly robust.
Despite that, Sherman writes that the Yankees “are not selling low” on Nova and might try to package him with other players to bring back a young starting pitcher under team control for multiple seasons. In other words, they’d like to trade Nova for a pitcher who can step into his rotation spot in 2016 and beyond.
Nova has had some good years in New York, but he’s 29 years old with a career 4.33 ERA and just 6.7 strikeouts per nine innings. He’s more middle-of-the-rotation starter than front-line starter and even that might be in question following elbow surgery.
All offseason there have been reports that the Marlins are looking to trade 25-year-old outfielder Marcell Ozuna because he’s fallen out of favor with the organization and specifically owner Jeffrey Loria.
And now Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that the Mariners “are working on a trade” for Ozuna, speculating that they’re offering a starting pitcher such as Nate Karns or Roenis Elias. MLB.com Marlins beat writer Joe Frisaro says “nothing is imminent” with an Ozuna trade but “everything is subject to change.”
Karns or Elias alone would seem like a light return for Ozuna, who’s hit .265 with 36 homers and a .727 OPS through 346 career games as a big leaguer and put up good numbers in the minors. He’s a plus defensive corner outfielder with 25-homer power under team control through 2019. There’s value there, whether Loria likes him or not.
But then again if the Marlins are dead set on parting ways with Ozuna perhaps new Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto is taking advantage by swooping in with a mediocre offer. Or maybe that was the initial proposal and the Marlins are currently holding out for James Paxton or Taijuan Walker?