What you missed while in a tryptophan and pie-induced coma.
- Wally Backman goes on about how he thought he should have gotten the Mets job. In the process he says that there’s no difference between managing A-ball players and major leaguers. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that (a) fear that he’d talk out of school about this kind of stuff; and (b) delusions about what it takes to manage major leaguers are a couple of the reasons he didn’t get the Mets job.
- Ever wonder what will happen to your local ballpark when the Zombie Apocalypse hits? Wonder no more!
- The Marlins sign Javier Vazquez. If he pitches poorly, this may be the last chance he ever gets. If he pitches well, the people who like to slam on the National League and pump up the AL East will become positively insufferable.
- Billy Beane “was a little baffled” when news of the A’s offer for Adrian Beltre came out. Between its use by Jeter’s agent to describe the Yankees’ negotiating strategy and this, “baffled” is easily the top word this offseason.
- Ohio State beat Michigan for the seventh consecutive time, rendering Rich Rodriguez a dead man walking. Some said that the Buckeyes’ dominance has rendered the rivalry uninteresting. I beg to differ. I believe it would only be enhanced by continued Ohio State dominance. Indeed, it will take at least another 15-20 straight wins before it becomes old for me, I believe. I may be a little biased about this, however.
One week to go until the Winter Meetings start. Here’s hoping every free agent signs between now and Friday. That way I can spend more time riding the Teacup Ride and Space Mountain down at Disney World next week instead of eavesdropping on conversations in the hotel bar while pretending to mess with my phone!
In light of the Astros’ deal for veteran designated hitter Carlos Beltran on Saturday, the Yankees are thought to be intensifying their pursuit of free agent Edwin Encarnacion, reports Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. The Yankees never made an official offer to Beltran, but remain in need of a DH/first baseman to give them a little more power outside of a Tyler Austin–Greg Bird combo in 2017.
The Red Sox, on the other hand, are reportedly withdrawing their interest when it comes to the Encarnacion sweepstakes. According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, they will look for a hitter to beef up their lineup without taking a “big plunge” on the 34-year-old.
Encarnacion enjoyed another All-Star run with the Blue Jays in 2016, hitting at a .263/.357/.529 clip with 42 homers and a league-leading 127 RBI in 702 PA. He’s expected to command a significant contract in free agency, and agent Paul Kinzer said that a potential deal is unlikely to be finalized before the Winter Meetings as Encarnacion is not close to agreeing to any offer. Interested teams include the Blue Jays and the Astros, though Beltran’s signing appears to have effectively taken Houston out of the running for the slugger.
The Nationals are trying to go big this offseason, and FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal notes that they are still in trade talks for White Sox’ left-hander Chris Sale and Pirates’ center fielder Andrew McCutchen. Both players figure to command a big return, as Sale delivered another Cy Young-worthy performance in 2016 and, despite a downturn in his production rate, McCutchen is still one of the more coveted sluggers in the National League.
In 2016, Sale led the league in complete games, with six, and turned in a 3.34 ERA and 5.2 fWAR in 226 2/3 innings. While teams have been sniffing around the White Sox’ ace since the trade deadline, the club is expected to maintain a high asking price — so high, said FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, that it may keep the left-hander in Chicago for the foreseeable future.
According to Heyman, four other teams are reportedly in the mix for Sale, including the Red Sox, Astros, Rangers, and Braves, though parts of Rosenthal’s tweet hinted that the Red Sox were maintaining their interest in hopes of striking a more affordable deal. Should the Nationals pursue a deal for Sale, it’s likely that they’d have to move shortstop/center fielder Trea Turner, which they appear reluctant to do.
McCutchen, meanwhile, is also drawing interest around the league after batting .256/.336/.430 with 24 home runs in 675 PA during 2016. He didn’t appear to lose much power in his eighth season with the Pirates, but took considerably fewer walks and struck out at a career-high clip.
The Nationals were said to be in the lead for McCutchen on Thursday, and there was some expectation that the club would wrap up a trade for the center fielder by the non-tender deadline on Friday. FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi pointed out that the Rangers were also talking to the Pirates, however, and no deal has come to fruition as of yet.