6:10 p.m. EDT: Susan Slusser is back with a report that the Blue Jays are trying to acquire Gio Gonzalez. Add them to the list that includes the Diamondbacks, Nationals, Reds and maybe still the Tigers and Yankees.
12:25 p.m. EDT: CBS Sports’ Danny Knobler reports that the Tigers weren’t prepared to pay the price for Gonzalez, which started with top pitching prospect Jacob Turner and had to include more.
Along with the Phillies’ interest, it’s also known that the Diamondbacks are making an effort to land Gonzalez, which is interesting, since the A’s are probably looking for the same kind of return they got when they sent Dan Haren to Arizona (Carlos Gonzalez, Brett Anderson, Chris Carter and more).
FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal adds that the Nationals and Reds are also in the mix.
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser has heard from three different sources that the Tigers have engaged the A’s in talks for left-hander Gio Gonzalez.
The price will surely be high for the left-hander, who is a full four years away from free agency. The word earlier in the day was that the A’s wanted Jesus Montero and either Manny Banuelos or Dellin Betances from the Yankees for Gonzalez.
The Tigers aren’t capable of providing that kind of haul. Any trade would almost surely start with their top pitching prospect, right-hander Jacob Turner, and could also include third baseman Nick Castellanos or left-hander Casey Crosby. The A’s might also have some interest in outfielders Austin Jackson and Andy Dirks. Dirks is more their kind of player, but while Jackson is on-base challenged, his ability to run down balls in center is still pretty attractive.
1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion signed a three-year, $60 million contract with the Indians early last month. The 34-year-old had spent the last seven and a half seasons with the Blue Jays, but his future elsewhere appeared to be written on the wall when the Jays signed Kendrys Morales in November to essentially occupy Encarnacion’s role.
Encarnacion spoke about testing free agency for the first time in his career and the situation that led to him leaving Toronto for Cleveland. Via Jorge L. Ortiz of USA TODAY:
“Toronto was always my first option, but I had never been a free agent, and anybody who gets to free agency wants to find out what’s out there,’’ he said. “I think they got too hasty in making their decision, but now I’m with Cleveland and I’m happy to be here.’’
Encarnacion last season hit .263/.357/.529 with 42 home runs and an AL-best 127 RBI. He’s now on the team that defeated his Blue Jays in the ALCS to advance to the World Series. Encarnacion effectively replaces Mike Napoli, who returned to the Rangers.
I’m on record saying that Sammy Sosa has been rather hosed by baseball history.
The guy did amazing things. Unheard-of things. He was truly astounding at this peak and was incredibly important to both his franchise and Major League Baseball as a whole. His repayment: he’s a pariah. His club won’t claim him and his greatness, by any measure, has not just been overlooked but denied by most who even bother to consider him.
Yes, he had PED associations, but they were extraordinarily vague ones. He’s in the same boat as David Ortiz as far as documented PED evidence against him, but Ortiz will be a first ballot Hall of Famer while Sosa barely clings to the ballot. He hit homers at the same cartoonish rate as Mark McGwire, but while Big Mac has been embraced by baseball and has coached for years, Sosa can’t get into Wrigley Field unless he buys a ticket and even then the Cubs might try to hustle him out of sight. The man has been treated poorly by any measure.
Yet, it’s still possible to overstate the case. Like Sosa did in this interview with Chuck Wasserstrom:
It’s like Jesus Christ when he came to Jerusalem,” Sosa told chuckbloggerstrom.com. “Everybody thought Jesus Christ was a witch (laughing) — and he was our savior. So if they talk (bleep) about Jesus Christ, what about me? Are you kidding me?”
At least he was basically joking about it. Still, it’s a totally unfair and almost offensive comparison.
I mean, anyone who watched Sosa’s career knows that he had trouble laying off breaking stuff low and away. In contrast . . .