Most assume the Diamondbacks and shortstop Stephen Drew are breaking up, if not now then in a few months, but GM Kevin Towers said he’s yet to be offered a deal that makes sense for the team, MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert reports.
FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal stated last week that the Pirates, Red Sox and Tigers were interested in Drew, though Buster Olney later tried to debunk the Pirates and Red Sox rumors. Also, the Tigers have since acquired Omar Infante, making the acquisition of another infielder less likely. Oakland would be one obvious destination for Drew, though the A’s may be focusing more on Hanley Ramirez at the moment. The Rays could use some shortstop help, but they’re believed to be aiming lower than Drew and may actually end up acquiring another Diamondbacks infielder, Ryan Roberts.
Another possible fit would be the Nationals. They could use Drew at shortstop until Ian Desmond returns from his oblique injury and then possibly stick him in a utility role afterwards. They’d probably only go for such a deal if the price tag was modest.
Since Drew is still working his way back from last year’s ankle injury and has hit .217 in 17 games since returning to Arizona’s lineup, he’s someone who might clear waivers and get traded next month. In fact, the Diamondbacks might get a better return for him then than they would now, assuming that he starts hitting better with time.
Baltimore’s front office appears to be lining up a run of potential roster additions leading into the beginning of spring training.
We’ve already passed along the reports suggesting they are close to a three-year deal with free agent starter Yovani Gallardo, but now FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler could be next on the Orioles’ target list. It they get those two deals done, the O’s could then chase free agent slugger Pedro Alvarez.
Rosenthal says the Orioles are even eyeing Jay Bruce of the Reds, though the FOX reporter hears the O’s might not have the prospects to pull off that kind of trade.
The focus for the Orioles out of the gate this winter was re-signing Matt Wieters and Chris Davis. Wieters accepted his one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer in November and Davis was locked up to a seven-year, $161 million contract in mid-January.
Now the O’s are spending a little leftover cash on late-offseason additions to improve their position in what should be a tight 2016 American League East race.
In a last-second compromise before a scheduled heading today, first baseman Brandon Belt and the Giants have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $6.2 million deal.
Belt requested $7.5 million and the Giants countered at $5.3 million, so they’ve settled slightly on the team-friendly side of the midpoint. Belt will be arbitration eligible again next season for the final time before hitting the open market as a free agent.
He’s coming off a very good season in which he hit .280 with 18 homers and an .834 OPS in 137 games and Belt has a lifetime .803 OPS through age 27, making him one of MLB’s most underrated all-around first baseman.
Right-hander Dale Thayer and the Orioles have agreed to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training.
Thayer had a rough 2015 season for the Padres, posting a 4.06 ERA and spending time in the minors, but he was a solid part of San Diego’s bullpen from 2012-2014 with a combined 3.02 ERA and 173/50 K/BB ratio in 188 innings.
At age 35 there’s no guarantee that Thayer will look good enough to claim a spot on the Opening Day roster, but he’s got a strong chance to wind up pitching middle relief for Baltimore.
Taylor Featherston, who was designated for assignment by the Angels last week, has been traded to the Phillies for a player to be named later or cash.
Featherston stayed in the majors with the Angels for all of last season due to being a Rule 5 pick from the Rockies organization, but the 25-year-old infielder hit just .162 in 169 plate appearances.
He’s been much better in the minors, but nothing about his track record there screams quality regular and the Phillies are likely viewing him as a defense-first bench option for now.