We’re only a few days into free agency, but we have already heard multiple reports of outrageous contract demands. Just to name some recent examples, Josh Hamilton reportedly wants $175 million while Michael Bourn is looking for $100 million and Jeremy Guthrie is seeking $34 million. Well, we can add a new name to the list.
According to Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com, free agent right-hander Anibal Sanchez is seeking a contract in the range of $90 million over six years. This would give him an AAV (average annual value) of $15 million, very close to C.J. Wilson’s $15.5 million AAV as part of his five-year, $77.5 million deal with the Angels last offseason.
Sanchez probably won’t get six years guaranteed or $90 million, but he should do very well as one of the top pitchers available in free agency. While injuries were a factor early in his career, the 28-year-old right-hander has quietly logged at least 195 innings over the past three seasons while posting a 3.70 ERA. He also improved his stock after finishing strong following his trade to the Tigers this July, proving that he can be successful in the American League.
Morosi is hearing that the Tigers, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Rangers and Dodgers are among the teams who have expressed interest in Sanchez so far. The competition should be good news for his asking price and it only takes one team to throw things out of whack, but a deal similar to Wilson’s sounds more reasonable.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.