Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times reports that the Yankees and Dodgers had serious discussions about a Russell Martin-for-Francisco Cervelli trade last night. It got to the point where the teams were exchanging medical information and everything, but it fell through. It’s unclear if Martin’s health — he’s had issues with his hip — was a factor, but ultimately talks broke off and Martin was non-tendered. Though nothing happened, we can glean a couple of things from this non-trade.
- First, the Yankees really have no intention of letting Posada behind the dish that much. If they did, they’d be fine in letting him be the fallback position if Jesus Montero can’t hack it. Going for someone like Martin shows they’re not fine with that.
- Second, it shows that they likewise only see Francisco Cervelli as a backup. Yeah, he had some moments last year and yes, there is a certain brand of Yankees fan who thinks he’s all that, but the Yankees clearly don’t.
- Finally, it suggests that Martin’s health may still be a problem. This is just speculation on my part — and Martin’s agent said last night that Martin’s hip is fine — but it’s not likely that this trade was derailed by three component players, cash and a player to be named later.
In other news, between Dunn, Rivera, A.J. Pierzynski, Jose Lopez and the other assorted rumors, I think more stuff happened between 4PM and midnight last night than happened in the two weeks leading up to last year’s Winter Meetings. There’s definitely a thaw in baseball transactions this year compared to years past, so fasten your seat belts these next couple of weeks.
With the Braves on the cusp of formalizing their one-year deal with Kurt Suzuki, the market for free agent catcher Matt Wieters is dwindling. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick references an inside source that lists the Angels, Rockies and Reds as potential suitors for the 30-year-old’s services.
Wieters is coming off of an eight-year career with the Orioles. In 2016, he played through his first full year after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2014 and batted .243/.302/.409 with 17 home runs and a .711 OPS in 464 PA. A return to Baltimore in 2017 isn’t out of the question, Crasnick writes, citing some within the team that would be open to Wieters stepping into a DH role and catching platoon with Wellington Castillo. However, he also points out that the front office appears divided on the veteran catcher, and sees the Orioles as a long shot for the foreseeable future.
The Angels have already been tied to Wieters this offseason, while the Rockies and Reds don’t appear to have made any formal inquiries so far. Both could use a veteran presence behind the dish, as the Rockies are planning to platoon rookie catcher Tom Murphy with 24-year-old Tony Wolters in the spring. The Reds, meanwhile, are banking on a quick recovery for 28-year-old Devin Mesoraco, who missed most of the 2016 season after undergoing shoulder and hip surgery and forced the club to rely almost exclusively on back-up backstop Tucker Barnhart.
The Red Sox are expecting to go to an arbitration hearing with left-handed reliever Fernando Abad, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski said there was a “decent chance” a hearing would be necessary after countering Abad’s $2.7 million request with $2 million.
Abad, 31, pitched just 12 2/3 innings for Boston after the club acquired him from Minnesota at the trade deadline last season. The lefty earned a cumulative 3.66 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.9 SO/9 for the two teams in 2016. He received $1.25 million in 2016 and will remain under club control (through arbitration) in 2017. A $2.7 million salary would be a hefty increase for the veteran reliever, who has seen a significant decline since he put up a 1.57 ERA for the Athletics in 2014 and who has not amassed more than 0.6 fWAR in any single season to date.
While the Red Sox aren’t close to settling with Abad, Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports that they may be closing in on a settlement with left-handed starter Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz filed at $5.7 million, while the Sox felt more comfortable at $3.6 million. The two are expected to meet somewhere in the middle to avoid an arbitration hearing later this winter.