Since opening the season at .396/.431/.604 through April 18, Sam Fuld has hit .145/.232/.210 in 62 at-bats over this last 15 games. He’s 3-for-41 in his last 10 games.
And this is closer to what should have expected from Fuld. The 29-year-old was a career .278/.368/.400 hitter in 230 Triple-A games. No one ever thought of him as more than a fourth outfielder, and really, he’ll be fortuante to last four or five seasons as a reserve.
So maybe it’s time for the Rays to try Desmond Jennings, the top prospect many hoped they’d call up after Manny Ramirez retired. Jennings is hitting .273/.397/.414 in 99 at-bats in Triple-A. That he’s struck out 24 times already is worthy of concern. But Jennings is an excellent defensive outfielder, and he’s 8-for-8 stealing bases.
Since Jennings spent last September on the Rays roster accruing service time, the team would need to wait until July to call him up in order to guarantee that wouldn’t be a super-two arbitration-eligible player after 2013. That’s too long to go, though. Jennings should provide an immediate upgrade over Fuld once the Rays make the switch, and it might happen within the next few weeks.
Free agent left-hander Rich Hill is rumored to be entertaining a three-year, $40+ million offer from the Dodgers, reports Peter Gammons. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo corroborated the report, adding that Hill could receive somewhere between $46 and $48 million from his former team.
Hill, 36, pitched to a 2.12 ERA and 3.91 FIP in back-to-back stints with the Athletics and Dodgers in 2016. While a chronic case of blisters on his pitching hand limited the frequency of his starts, he still figures to be one of the most productive and noteworthy starting pitchers on the market this winter.
The Orioles, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Astros have all been mentioned as potential suitors for the left-hander’s services, though Orioles’ GM Dan Duquette said the club has yet to make a play for Hill and ESPN’s Jim Bowden pointed out that the Red Sox are less involved in trade talks than other interested parties.
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.