The Dodgers indicated at season’s end that they’d likely go into 2013 with Hanley Ramirez at shortstop and Luis Cruz at third. They’d also have the option of going back to former top prospect Dee Gordon at short and shifting Ramirez to third.
As it turns out, though, baseball’s new richest team may go in an entirely different direction at third base. FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal reports that they’re considering making a bid for free agent Kevin Youkilis.
The Dodgers would be making another addition even though they currently have eight players on their 40-man roster able to play short and/or third base:
Ramirez: $15.5 million
Juan Uribe: $7 million
Jerry Hairston Jr.: $3.75 million
Nick Punto: $1.5 million
And then Cruz, Gordon, Justin Sellers and Elian Herrera all making close to the minimum.
Obviously, not all of those guys will be around next year. Gordon, Sellers and Herrera figure to head to Triple-A if they’re still in the organization. Uribe will likely be released or traded for another bad contract. Hairston can play the outfield, too, so he’ll stick around. If Cruz starts, then Punto can stick as a reserve. If Cruz is pushed into a utility role, then Punto might be released or traded.
Youkilis is also being looked at by the White Sox and Phillies, sources tell Rosenthal. Still, one imagines that if the Dodgers decide they want him, they won’t be outbid.
My thought is that they’re better off making defense the priority and putting Hanley at third. Cruz is a better shortstop than Ramirez anyway, and he and Gordon can battle it out for a starting job.
Fernando Rodney left a Caribbean Series game with leg tightness
Per MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez, new Padres reliever Fernando Rodney was taken out of a Caribbean Series game on Thursday due to tightness in his leg. It’s unfortunate timing, as the club’s one-year, $1.6 million contract with the right-hander was also finalized on Thursday.
According to MLB.com, Rodney has logged 2 2/3 innings for the Dominican Republic, allowing three runs (one earned) on three hits and a walk with five strikeouts.
Rodney, who turns 39 in March, posted a combined 4.74 ERA with 58 strikeouts and 29 walks across 62 2/3 innings with the Mariners and Cubs this past season. Most of his struggles came with the Mariners, as he compiled a minuscule 0.75 ERA in 12 innings with the Cubs, but pitched in mostly lower-leverage situations.
Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart said on Thursday that while he hadn’t spoken with the representatives for free agent reliever Tyler Clippard, he would likely check in. It didn’t take long for him to act, as Jack Magruder of Fanragsports.com reports that the two sides have been in touch.
Despite his long track record of success as a late-inning reliever, Clippard’s market has been rather quiet this offseason. The soon-to-be 31-year-old posted a 2.92 ERA over 69 appearances last season between the Athletics and Mets, but he was shaky as the year moved along and saw his strikeout percentage fall by over eight percent from 2014. His velocity also continues to decline. Considering those warning signs and the late stage of the offseason, a multi-year deal is likely a stretch.
It was reported on Friday that the Rays are considering Clippard among other free agent relievers.
In a move which will surely lead to some speculation about John Gibbons’ future, the Blue Jays have hired former Indians and Mariners manager Eric Wedge as player development advisor.
John Lott of Vice Sports notes that the hiring has been rumored for a while, as Wedge knows new team president Mark Shapiro and general manager Ross Atkins well from when he managed in Cleveland. According to an announcement from the team, Wedge will work closely with the front office and new player development director Gil Kim “on strategies to enhance the Player Development system.”
Gibbons is a holdover from the previous front office, so as these situations often go, it’s not hard to imagine Shapiro and Atkins wanting to put in their own guy if the team disappoints.
When Pete Rose’s application for reinstatement was denied in December, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred wrote that the all-time hit king had done nothing to change his habits from when he violated Rule 21, baseball’s anti-gambling rule. In a stunning lack of self-awareness, Rose informed Manfred during their meeting that he continues to bet on baseball where it is legal. Now that his banishment from MLB has been upheld, Rose has apparently decided to double down on his reputation.
In a commercial that will air locally in Las Vegas during the Super Bowl, Rose helps promote the William Hill sports betting app. Former Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman is also featured. As you’ll see below, Rose’s ban for betting on baseball is used as the punchline.
It’s a clever spot. Rose is free to make a living, so if he wants to own his reputation at this point, that’s cool. No judgment here. While Manfred’s ruling seemingly left the door open for the Hall of Fame to make their own determination about his status, Rose might feel that he has nothing left to lose.
Rose has often used not being in the Hall of Fame as a form of self-promotion. We posted the commercial here, so it accomplished exactly what it was supposed to accomplish for all involved. But Rose also can’t act shocked why he continues to stand outside the gates. We’re all in on the joke, whether he wants to admit it or not.