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Who will be the mystery team for Jose Reyes?


It’s hard to imagine Jose Reyes joining the Marlins for a relatively light $90 million over six years. Jon Heyman’s proposed $80 million over five years deal from the Mets isn’t all that special either. So, who might yet get involved in the bidding for the shortstop?

Red Sox – Boston may not have as much financial flexibility this year as last, but if new GM Ben Cherington is willing to go with Daniel Bard in the closer’s role, then fitting Reyes into the budget would seem possible. The switch-hitting Reyes would be a terrific fit in between Jacoby Ellsbury and Adrian Gonzalez at the top of the order, and the Red Sox wouldn’t have much problem covering for his injuries with either Marco Scutaro or Jed Lowrie around as a backup (the other would likely be involved in a deal).

Giants – GM Brian Sabean decided to build what will probably be the game’s most expensive bullpen, so it doesn’t look like there’s room for Reyes without the team’s payroll hitting $140 million next year. He’d provide a huge lift at a problem position, though, and give the Giants the leadoff hitter they need.

Tigers – Reyes would be an upgrade over Austin Jackson in the leadoff spot and he’d improve the defense by pushing Jhonny Peralta back to third base, but the Tigers are more interested in adding pitching.

Phillies – There’s little to suggest the Phillies would really consider spurning Jimmy Rollins for a younger but more expensive player.

Angels – It looks like the Angels would prefer to add power, but the idea of signing Reyes and then cashing in Erick Aybar is rather attractive. The Angels got OBPs of .325 and .316 from the top two spots in the order last season.

Nationals – The money is there, but the Nationals probably aren’t going to want to spend it on such an injury-prone player.

Brewers – If the Brewers thought they could get Reyes for $90 million over six years, I think they’d be all over it. The price, though, is likely to be higher than that, and the Brewers aren’t going to want to commit to anything until they’ve ruled out re-signing Prince Fielder.

Cardinals – St. Louis is sort of in the same boat. If Albert Pujols departs, then maybe Reyes would be an option. Reyes, though, may be long gone by the time Pujols makes up his mind. The Brewers are a more likely suitor anyway.

I do believe that one team from this bunch will end up making a big run at Reyes, forcing the Marlins to up their bid if they expect to stay in the running. I’d put Boston first on the list, followed by Detroit.

Orioles interested in Denard Span

Denard Span
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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MASN’s Roch Kubatko is reporting that the Orioles have “some level” of interest in free agent outfielder Denard Span. The Nationals did not make a $15.8 million qualifying offer to Span, which means he doesn’t come attached with draft pick compensation unlike other free agents such as Alex Gordon and Dexter Fowler.

Span, who turns 32 in February, hit a solid .301/.365/.431 with five home runs, 22 RBI, 38 runs scored, and 11 stolen bases, but took only 275 plate appearances due to back and hip injuries. He underwent season-ending hip surgery in September but is expected to be ready to participate in spring training.

The Mets and Royals have also reportedly shown interest in Span’s services.

Blue Jays showing interest in Ryan Madson

Ryan Madson
AP Photo/Orlin Wagner
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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Blue Jays are on the prowl for relievers with closing experience. Ryan Madson is one of the names on their list.

Madson, 35, had a career rebirth with the Royals in 2015. He signed a minor league deal with the club that paid him a salary of $850,000 if he made it back to the majors. Due to a plethora of arm injuries, Madson hadn’t pitched in the majors since Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS against the Cardinals as a member of the Phillies. For the Royals, he wound up becoming a crucial member of the bullpen, finishing with a 2.13 ERA and a 58/14 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings.

While Madson allowed five runs in 8 1/3 post-season innings, he pitched well when it mattered most, as he hurled three scoreless frames in three appearances in the World Series against the Mets.

Madson has closing experience, with 55 career saves. 32 of them came in 2011 when he took over the closer’s role from Brad Lidge.

After signing Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ, and trading for Jesse Chavez, the Jays have bolstered their rotation but it was reported on Saturday that interim GM Tony LaCava is still focused on upgrading the pitching staff.

Trevor Cahill considering the Pirates as a potential destination

Trevor Cahill
AP Photo/Paul Beaty

ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that free agent pitcher Trevor Cahill is looking for a one-year, bounce-back deal. The Pirates are one of the potential teams he is considering.

It’s no surprise that the Pirates are on Cahill’s list. Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage has garnered a reputation as a miracle worker after turning around the careers of a handful of pitchers, including Edinson Volquez, Francisco Liriano, and J.A. Happ. Volquez parlayed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Pirates into a two-year, $20 million deal with the Royals last December. Liriano signed with the Pirates on a one-year, $1 million contract and turned that into a three-year, $39 million deal. Happ, dealt to the Pirates from the Mariners at the most recent trade deadline, just signed a three-year, $39 million contract with the Blue Jays.

Cahill, once a highly-regarded pitching prospect, has scuffled over parts of seven seasons in the majors. The 27-year-old owns a career 4.13 ERA with a 754/427 K/BB ratio in 1,083 2/3 innings. Cahill had some brief success after signing with the Cubs as a free agent in mid-August, compiling a 2.12 ERA in 11 appearances out of the bullpen.

Blue Jays narrow GM search to two candidates: Tony LaCava and Ross Atkins

Tony LaCava
AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Blue Jays have narrowed their search for a new general manager down to two candidates: current interim GM Tony LaCava, and Indians vice president of player personnel Ross Atkins. Former Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos resigned last month.

LaCava was promoted to interim GM on November 2 and has already made a handful of moves along with new president Mark Shapiro. The club acquired Jesse Chavez in a trade and signed pitchers Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ to multi-year deals.

Atkins worked under Shapiro in the Indians organization for 15 seasons, so it is no surprise that he is a finalist for the open GM position.