Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper No. 1, nine Royals on BA’s Top 100 Prospects

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Baseball America put out its annual top 100 prospects list Wednesday, leading off with 2010 first overall pick Bryce Harper as the top prospect in the land. Here’s the top 10:

1. Bryce Harper (OF Nationals)
2. Mike Trout (OF Angels)
3. Jesus Montero (C Yankees)
4. Domonic Brown (OF Phillies)
5. Jeremy Hellickson (RHP Rays)
6. Julio Teheran (RHP Braves)
7. Aroldis Chapman (LHP Reds)
8. Eric Hosmer (1B Royals)
9. Mike Moustakas (3B Royals)
10. Wil Myers (OF Royals)

Six other Royals made the list, including left-handed pitchers John Lamb and Mike Montgomery back-to-back at Nos. 18 and 19. The Rays placed second with seven prospects, while the Braves and Yankees had six apiece.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Brewers placed no players on the list after trading No. 40 prospect Brett Lawrie for Shaun Marcum and No. 69 prospect Jake Odorizzi for Zack Greinke over the winter. The Marlins’ only representitive was Matt Dominguez at No. 81.

Given BA’s reputation for valuing upside, Hellickson as the top pitcher in the rankings is something of a surprise. While there’s a good case for him, he lacks the flash of Teheran or Chapman. That said, he probably is the best bet of the group to win 200 games as a major leaguer.

And as long as I’m throwing opinions around, I’d say BA was too low on the Giants’ Brandon Belt (No. 23), the Orioles’ Zach Britton (No. 28) and the Athletics’ Grant Green (No. 63). Placing too high were the White Sox’s Chris Sale (No. 20), new Ray Chris Archer (No. 27) and Jays catcher Travis d’Arnaud (No. 36).

Matt Wieters could draw interest from Reds

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 15: Matt Wieters #32 of the Baltimore Orioles looks on against the Tampa Bay Rays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 15, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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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.

Red Sox could go to arbitration hearing with Fernando Abad

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 16:  Fernando Abad #58 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the New York Yankees during the ninth inning at Fenway Park on September 16, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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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.