Denard Span

Nationals have talked to Twins about outfielder Denard Span

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Amanda Comak of the Washington Times reports that Twins center fielder Denard Span “is high on the Nationals’ list of targets” and Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com adds further that the two sides “have talked.”

Minnesota is deep in outfielders throughout the organization and have Ben Revere as a potential replacement in center field, but he’s struggled filling in recently and the whole situation is complicated by the fact that Span has missed the past two months with a concussion.

Span is expected to rejoin the lineup soon, but may be on the disabled list past Sunday’s trade deadline. That doesn’t rule out Span being traded by July 31, however, and Rosenthal notes that Ian Desmond and Tyler Clippard could address the Twins’ need for both a shortstop and late-inning relief help.

However, he also writes that the Nationals are “reluctant” to include Clippard and presumably the Twins won’t accept a package built around Desmond (I say presumably because last year at this time they traded Wilson Ramos for Matt Capps, so no terrible move is out of the question when Bill Smith starts talking to Mike Rizzo).

Prior to the concussion Span was the Twins’ most valuable player, hitting .294 with a .361 on-base percentage and very good defense in center field. He’s also signed for reasonable salaries through 2015, so the Nationals’ interest makes plenty of sense. As a Twins fan I’m hoping they’re only willing to deal Span for big-time value and not just looking to swap him for the best return they can.

Are the Cardinals about to go on a free agent binge?

John Mozeliak AP
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The Cardinals have always emphasized building from within. In the 2016-17 offseason, however, they may end up being one of the bigger free agent buyers. At least according to some informed speculation.

St. Louis is already in agreement with Dexter Fowler. But Derrick Goold and Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch write today that the Cardinals “could become more aggressive than previously believed,” with Mark Trumbo and Edwin Encarnacion as “possible pursuits.” Worth noting that separate reports alleged some interest on the part of the Cards front office in free agent third baseman Justin Turner.

The Cardinals are already losing their first round pick due to the Fowler signing, so any other top free agent won’t cost them more than the money he’s owed. And as far as money goes, the Cardinals have a great deal of it, despite being a small market team. They have a billion dollar TV deal coming online and Matt Holliday and Jaime Garcia are off the payroll now. Spending big on a free agent or three would not cripple them or anything.

Encarnacion or Trumbo would be first baseman, which wold fly in the face of the Cards’ move of Matt Carpenter to first base (and, at least as far as Encarnacion goes, would fly in the face of good defense). Getting either of them would push Carpenter back to second, displacing Kolten Wong, or over to third, displacing Jhonny Peralta. If you’re going to do that, I’d say that Turner would make more sense, but what do I know?

Either way, the Cardinals may be entering a pretty interesting phase of their offseason now. And an unfamiliar one as, quite possibly, the top free agent buyer on the market.

 

Bobby Valentine on short list to be U.S. Ambassador to Japan

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Former MLB player Bobby Valentine attends Annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI at BGC Partners, INC on September 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
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There is literally nothing you could tell me that the incoming administration is considering which would shock me anymore. As such, I saw this story when I woke up this morning, blinked once, took a sip of coffee, closed the browser window and just went on with my morning, as desensitized as a wisdom tooth about to be yanked.

Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that Former Red Sox, Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine is on a short-list of candidates for the job of United States Ambassador to Japan:

The 66-year-old, who currently serves as Sacred Heart University’s athletics director, has engaged in preliminary discussions with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team regarding the position.

When contacted Thursday night, Valentine refused comment.

Huh. Given his history, I’d have assumed Valentine would be a better choice for the CIA, but what do I know?

Valentine managed the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons, leading the team to a championship in 2005. He also knows the current prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, as both went to USC. Assuming championship teams meet the country’s leader in Japan like they do in the United States, Valentine has at least twice the amount of experience with top political leaders than does, say, Ned Yost, so that’s something.

The former manager, more importantly, is friends with Donald Trump’s brother, with the two of them going way back. Which, given how this transition is going, seems like a far more important set of qualifications than anything else on this list.