When the Blue Jays took back Juan Rivera and Mike Napoli as the price for shedding Vernon Wells’ deal in a trade with the Angels, it was with the idea of sending both elsewhere before the season started. It worked out fine with Napoli, who was moved on to Texas for Frank Francisco, but the Jays never could find a taker for Rivera and they designated him for assignment following Sunday’s game.
With a .243/.305/.360 line, six homers and 28 RBI in 248 at-bats this season, Rivera hadn’t done anything since Opening Day to enhance his trade value. He was hitting .327 in 55 at-bats against lefties, but versus righties, he came in at .219. Considering that he’s making $5.25 million and he has no defensive value at all, no team was too interested in adding him to its bench. Perhaps that will change if he gets his release and a club will only have to pay him the minimum.
Getting another chance in Toronto is 23-year-old Travis Snider. Snider was sent down after hitting .184/.276/.264 with one homer in 87 at-bats to begin the season, but he had come in at .333/.403/.488 in 201 at-bats for Triple-A Las Vegas. There is a huge caveat there: Las Vegas is a premier offensive environment in the already hitter friendly PCL. However, Snider hit .380/.449/.570 in his 19 road games while playing with the 51s.
What isn’t so impressive was that Snider had just two homers. He did have 21 doubles and two triples, but for the year now, he has just three homers in 288 at-bats between the majors and minors. That’s a far cry from what was expected from the 14th overall pick in the 2006 draft.
Snider is still plenty young, but he really needs to seize this latest chance the Blue Jays are giving him. He’ll likely be pretty much an everyday outfielder with Jose Bautista back at third. If he fails again, he might turn into offseason trade bait for the club.
From Jon Heyman of CBS Sports comes word that the Orioles “like” free agent starter Yovani Gallardo and “have reached out to him” to gauge his interest in coming to Baltimore and what that might cost.
Gallardo rejected a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from the Rangers earlier this month and so his free agency is tied to draft pick compensation, but that shouldn’t hurt his bottom line all that much.
The 29-year-old right-hander posted a solid 3.42 ERA in 184 1/3 innings (33 starts) this past season for Texas and he pitched well in his one ALDS start.
Heyman reported a few weeks ago that the Diamondbacks are interested, and the Cubs, Blue Jays, and Dodgers were tied to him just ahead of the July 31 trade deadline.
David Price has expressed a desire to return to Toronto, where he finished out the 2015 season, but FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal writes Wednesday that the Blue Jays “are not expected to be a major factor in his free agency.”
The teams that should be considered serious suitors, per Rosenthal, are the Cubs, Cardinals, Giants, Dodgers, and Red Sox — all deep-pocketed teams looking to contend in 2016. Money is apparently the issue for the Blue Jays, who are currently owned by Rogers Communications.
Price registered an outstanding 2.45 ERA, 1.076 WHIP, and 225/47 K/BB ratio in 220 1/3 innings (32 starts) this past season between the Tigers and Jays, finishing second in the American League Cy Young Award race behind Dallas Keuchel of the Astros.
The 30-year-old left-hander is probably looking for a six- or seven-year contract worth more than $25 million per season. He is represented by agent Bo McKinnis.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald wrote three weeks ago that the Marlins were probably going to explore an extension this winter with second baseman Dee Gordon. And it sounds like those talks are underway.
Via beat writer Joe Frisaro of MLB.com:
As a guest on MLB Network’s “Hot Stove” show Wednesday morning, Gordon confirmed his camp has been in talks with the Marlins regarding a multiyear deal. A source told MLB.com that the discussions are preliminary and have just recently started.
“My agent is doing the talking,” Gordon said on the show. “They’re just keeping me in the loop. I think it’s going pretty well right now. We’ll see how that goes. I’m just playing the waiting game. We’re going to do the right thing.”
The 27-year-old carries three more seasons of salary arbitration, so there’s no real rush to get something done before next spring. Gordon carries quite a bit of leverage after posting a career-best .333/.359/.418 slash line in 145 games this past season for the Fish. He led all major leaguers in hits (205) and stolen bases (58).
Bud Norris has found a home for his attempt at a bounceback season, signing a one-year deal with the Braves. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com says it’s worth $2.5 million, which is a huge cut from his $8.8 million salary this year.
Norris had established himself as a solid mid-rotation starter from 2009-2014, but had a brutal 2015 season split between the Orioles and Padres with a 6.72 ERA in 83 innings and a late-season move to the bullpen.
In announcing the signing the Braves referred to Norris as a starting pitcher, so joining the rotation for a rebuilding team gives him a chance to get his career back on track with an eye on hitting the open market as a free agent again next offseason. And if he fares well, the Braves could use him to add a prospect or two at the trade deadline.