For about three years now, the Red Sox have alternated between showing interest in Ryan Spilborghs and Chris Iannetta from the Rockies. Maybe they’ll actually get one of the two this time.
A NL source confirmed to CSNNE.com’s Sean McAdam that Boston is again interested in Spilborghs and that the Rockies have a scout at Fenway Park tonight. That last part doesn’t make a whole lot of sense — it’s hard to see the Red Sox dealing someone from the current major league roster for Spilborghs — but who really knows?
Spilborghs’ trade value is as low as it’s ever been. He’s hit just .223/.303/.324 with three homers in 179 at-bats this season, and he’s at a totally unacceptable .135/.196/.202 in 89 at-bats away from Coors Field.
Still, the 31-year-old Spilborghs has turned in a few excellent seasons as a part-timer. He finished with OPSs of .848 in 2007, .875 in 2008 and .797 last year while averaging about 270 at-bats per season. He’s used most often against lefties, but he hit righties just fine, too, with a career .751 OPS (.811 versus southpaws).
If the Red Sox get him, it would like to be serve as a right fielder against left-handers. Both Josh Reddick and J.D. Drew are left-handed hitters and Darnell McDonald has been a pretty big bust in his chances to face lefties this season, though he has picked it up of late.
The Red Sox, though, wouldn’t give up much for him. While Spilborghs is under control for next year, he’ll cost a bit more than $2 million in arbitation, so he would be a non-tender candidate. The Rockies would have been far more likely to get a legitimate prospect for him had they moved him last year.
Update: McAdam added some clarification on his previous tweet:
Should have made clear: Rockies scout at Fenway not looking for return on a Spilborghs deal. Would be mid-level prospect only on exchange
Last summer we posted about Rafael Palmeiro coming out of retirement to play for the independent league Sugar Land Skeeters. The reason: to play a game with his boy Patrick. In that game the elder Palmeiro went 2-for-4 with an RBI, a walk, and a run scored. His son, who is now 26, went 2-for-4 with a grand slam.
Did that serve as an audition for Patrick? Possibly, as Jon Meloi of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles just signed him to a minor league deal.
As Meloi notes, it’s certainly just an organizational depth move, as Patrick is no prospect. And it’s actually likely something of a coincidence that it’s the Orioles who signed him, as Palmeiro doesn’t have any real contacts with the Orioles baseball operations people, all of whom are different folks now than back in his day.
This may not be the last of the Palmeiros, by the way. Peter Gammons tweeted this morning that Patrick’s younger brother, Preston, is a first baseman at North Carolina State who could be drafted this june. Gammons says he has a swing “remarkably similar to dad.”
Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports that the Diamondbacks and outfielder A.J. Pollock have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year extension. The deal is worth $10.25 million, per ESPN’s Buster Olney.
Pollock was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. The 28-year-old requested $3.9 million and was offered $3.65 million by the Diamondbacks when figures were exchanged on January 15. It wasn’t much of a gap, but the two sides were ultimately able to find common ground on a multi-year deal. Pollock will still be under team control for one more year after this new deal expires.
Pollock is coming off a breakout 2015 where he batted .315/.367/.498 with 20 home runs, 76 RBI, and 39 stolen bases over 157 games. He ranked sixth among position players with 7.4 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), according to Baseball Reference.
The Blue Jays and 2015 American League Most Valuable Player Josh Donaldson have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $29 million contract, reports Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca.
Donaldson was arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter. He filed for $11.8 million and was offered $11.35 million by the Blue Jays when figures were exchanged last month. It wasn’t a big gap, but since the Blue Jays are a “file and trial” team, they bring these cases to an arbitration hearing unless a multi-year deal can be worked out. As opposed to last winter, they were able to avoid a hearing this time around. Donaldson was originally a Super Two player, so he’ll still have one year of arbitration-eligibility once this two-year deal is completed.
The 30-year-old Donaldson is coming off a monster first season in Toronto where he batted .297/.371/.568 with 41 homers while leading the American League with 123 RBI.
Brandon Belt filed for $7.5 million and was offered $5.3 million by the Giants when arbitration figures were exchanged last month. That’s a pretty sizable gap. While there’s still a chance that an agreement will be worked out at the last minute, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that an arbitration hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.
The Giants haven’t gone to an arbitration hearing since 2004, when they lost to catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Schulman hears from one person involved that because of the gap between Belt and the Giants, there’s a real chance this will break that string and require a hearing.
Belt batted .280/.356/.478 with 18 home runs and 68 RBI over 137 games in 2015, but he dealt with concussion symptoms for the second straight season. An arbitration hearing could bring some unpleasant conversation to the surface.