Last offseason the Rays signed Johnny Damon and Casey Kotchman to one-year deals and got good value out of both players, but rather than simply let them walk as free agents Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Tribune writes that they “remain interested in” re-signing both hitters.
“They are very prominent in our discussions right now as we’re going through things,” executive vice president Andrew Friedman told Smith. “I expect that will continue.”
Most likely the Rays will only be interested in re-signing Damon and Kotchman if the market for them is weak enough to create another bargain situation.
Damon hit .261 with a .743 OPS in 150 games, which is hardly top notch production from a corner outfielder/designated hitter, and at age 38 even maintaining that performance will be tough. Kotchman was much better, hitting .306 with an .800 OPS, but prior to signing with the Rays he’d been terrible for three straight seasons.
Bill Whitehead of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that the Braves have signed reliever David Hernandez to a minor league contract on Sunday. He’ll report to spring training as a non-roster invitee.
Hernandez, who turns 32 years old in May, signed a minor league contract with the Giants in February. He requested and was granted his release on Friday when he learned he wasn’t making the team’s 25-man roster to open the season.
Hernandez pitched for the Phillies last year. He compiled a 3.84 ERA with an 80/32 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.
Scott Kazmir won’t begin the regular season in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Manager Dave Roberts said after Kazmir’s Cactus League outing on Sunday that it “doesn’t make sense” for the ailing Kazmir to break camp in the rotation, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. The lefty will instead rehab some more and join the rotation at a later time.
Kazmir has been battling a hip issue which has caused his mechanics to suffer. He was clocked in the low 80’s 10 days ago and wasn’t much better on Sunday afternoon.
Last season with the Dodgers, Kazmir posted a 4.56 ERA with a 134/52 K/BB ratio in 136 1/3 innings, his worst numbers since returning to the majors in 2013.