Now that Prince Fielder is officially a member of the Detroit Tigers, many have assumed that the Rangers will step up their efforts to sign Josh Hamilton to a contract extension.
While contract talks are expected to continue leading into spring training, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said during an appearance yesterday on ESPN 103.3 in Dallas (via Jon Machota of FOX Sports Southwest) that he never viewed things as an either-or situation in regard to Fielder and Hamilton.
“I look at it like we would like to get a deal with Josh — Prince or no Prince,” Daniels said. “We would like to keep Josh here for an extended period of time. It’s got to be a deal that works for both sides. He’s got kind of a unique set of circumstances because of how his career has played out, and he’s going to reach free agency at a different age than where Prince will or even a guy like Elvis [Andrus] will because he got to the big leagues so young.
“Josh, I think rightfully so, is going to look at this as maybe the one time he really hits free agency and how does he factor that in with his family and the different opportunities that he has. We’re talking to them about this, the Rangers organization as a group. We love Josh. We love what he’s about, and we want to keep him here, and we’re going to continue talking to him and hopefully we’ll figure something out.”
These are some refreshing comments by Daniels. We’re so used to hearing canned responses from team officials about how they’d love to keep a player around for a long time without getting into any of the complications involved. Daniels seems to get that fans are much smarter than that, especially in regard to Hamilton’s unique situation.
Setting aside his immense popularity, Hamilton turns 31 years old in May and hasn’t played more than 133 games in a season since 2008. That makes this negotiation pretty tricky. Would a three- or four-year deal (perhaps with a vesting option based on games played) work for the Rangers? Maybe. But they should absolutely draw a line in the sand. And nobody should blame Hamilton if he turns them down and bolts for a big payday this winter. Given his durability issues, it will likely be the only long-term deal of his major-league career.
From Jon Heyman of CBS Sports comes word that the Orioles “like” free agent starter Yovani Gallardo and “have reached out to him” to gauge his interest in coming to Baltimore and what that might cost.
Gallardo rejected a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from the Rangers earlier this month and so his free agency is tied to draft pick compensation, but that shouldn’t hurt his bottom line all that much.
The 29-year-old right-hander posted a solid 3.42 ERA in 184 1/3 innings (33 starts) this past season for Texas and he pitched well in his one ALDS start.
Heyman reported a few weeks ago that the Diamondbacks are interested, and the Cubs, Blue Jays, and Dodgers were tied to him just ahead of the July 31 trade deadline.
David Price has expressed a desire to return to Toronto, where he finished out the 2015 season, but FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal writes Wednesday that the Blue Jays “are not expected to be a major factor in his free agency.”
The teams that should be considered serious suitors, per Rosenthal, are the Cubs, Cardinals, Giants, Dodgers, and Red Sox — all deep-pocketed teams looking to contend in 2016. Money is apparently the issue for the Blue Jays, who are currently owned by Rogers Communications.
Price registered an outstanding 2.45 ERA, 1.076 WHIP, and 225/47 K/BB ratio in 220 1/3 innings (32 starts) this past season between the Tigers and Jays, finishing second in the American League Cy Young Award race behind Dallas Keuchel of the Astros.
The 30-year-old left-hander is probably looking for a six- or seven-year contract worth more than $25 million per season. He is represented by agent Bo McKinnis.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald wrote three weeks ago that the Marlins were probably going to explore an extension this winter with second baseman Dee Gordon. And it sounds like those talks are underway.
Via beat writer Joe Frisaro of MLB.com:
As a guest on MLB Network’s “Hot Stove” show Wednesday morning, Gordon confirmed his camp has been in talks with the Marlins regarding a multiyear deal. A source told MLB.com that the discussions are preliminary and have just recently started.
“My agent is doing the talking,” Gordon said on the show. “They’re just keeping me in the loop. I think it’s going pretty well right now. We’ll see how that goes. I’m just playing the waiting game. We’re going to do the right thing.”
The 27-year-old carries three more seasons of salary arbitration, so there’s no real rush to get something done before next spring. Gordon carries quite a bit of leverage after posting a career-best .333/.359/.418 slash line in 145 games this past season for the Fish. He led all major leaguers in hits (205) and stolen bases (58).
Bud Norris has found a home for his attempt at a bounceback season, signing a one-year deal with the Braves. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com says it’s worth $2.5 million, which is a huge cut from his $8.8 million salary this year.
Norris had established himself as a solid mid-rotation starter from 2009-2014, but had a brutal 2015 season split between the Orioles and Padres with a 6.72 ERA in 83 innings and a late-season move to the bullpen.
In announcing the signing the Braves referred to Norris as a starting pitcher, so joining the rotation for a rebuilding team gives him a chance to get his career back on track with an eye on hitting the open market as a free agent again next offseason. And if he fares well, the Braves could use him to add a prospect or two at the trade deadline.