Yankees, Dodgers discussed — then nixed — a Russell Martin trade

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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.

Yoenis Cespedes: “I’m going to play the last year of my career with Oakland”

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Yoenis Cespedes told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he wants to finish his career with the Athletics, according to an exclusive interview released on Friday. The Mets’ 31-year-old outfielder praised Oakland manager Bob Melvin, telling Slusser, “I don’t think there’s a better manager than Melvin” and adding that while he didn’t know if a return to Oakland would be possible, his love for the city had not faded.

Melvin, for his part, said he wasn’t surprised that the slugger wants another go-round with his first major league club, even if only as a final hurrah. Cespedes hit well over two and a half seasons with the A’s, compiling a cumulative .262/.318/.470 batting line from 2012 to 2014 and enjoying two postseason runs with the club before he was traded for Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes in 2014.

There’s been relatively little for Cespedes to complain about since his departure from Oakland, of course: he turned in a career-best performance in 2015, slashing .291/.328/.542 with 35 home runs and 6.7 fWAR in back-to-back gigs with the Tigers and Mets, and netted a whopping three-year, $75 million contract prior to the 2016 season. Still, there’s something special about the A’s, as the slugger relayed to teammate Jerry Blevins:

I told Blevins, ‘I don’t know how many years I’m going to play, but I’m going to play the last year of my career with Oakland.’ I don’t know if that’s possible or not, but that’s my goal.

Whether or not Cespedes gets his wish, it’s unlikely he’ll pursue any kind of deal with the A’s for the time being. He’s still owed $23.75 million in 2017 and 2018 and isn’t scheduled to hit free agency until 2019.

Brewers sell Michael Choice’s contract to the Nexen Heroes

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The Brewers offloaded outfielder Michael Choice’s contract to the Nexen Heroes of the Korea Baseball Organization, per a team announcement on Friday. Choice signed a minor league deal with the Brewers in early May, but did not earn a major league stint in 11 weeks with the team.

It’s been two full years since the 27-year-old outfielder snagged a big league opportunity of any kind. He last appeared with the Rangers in 2015 and played in just one game, striking out in his only at-bat. His production rate sagged through three consecutive minor league assignments with the Indians, Orioles and Brewers and peaked in 2016 after slashing .246/.304/.456 with 14 home runs for the Indians’ Triple-A Columbus. He was off to a decent start this season for the Brewers’ Double-A Biloxi, working a .272/.349/.503 batting line with nine home runs and an .852 OPS through his first 195 PA.

Choice is poised to join several other ex-major leaguers on the Heroes’ roster, including left-hander Andy Van Hekken, right-hander Jake Brigham and infielder/outfielder Danny Dorn.

6:43 PM: Danny Dorn no longer plays for the Nexen Heroes, as he was released to clear roster space for Choice.