Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik went on the radio in Seattle last week and said that the team made a legit shot at signing Josh Hamilton. This followed a couple weeks of reports that, yes indeed, the Mariners had been working hard to get him. There was apparently the framework of a deal in place, awaiting only the Rangers to make a move or not before the M’s could swoop in. But then the Angels swooped, rendering it all rather academic.
Not so, says Josh Hamilton. Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times reports:
This one may never get entirely resolved, but for what it’s worth, Josh Hamilton went on the syndicated radio and TV program The Dan Patrick Show on Friday and gave an interview in which he was asked about the process that led to his signing a five-year, $125 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels. Towards the 10-minute, 30-second mark, he was asked by Patrick whether the Mariners had made “a strong play” for him.
“No, not really,” Hamilton said. “I mean, they were just like some other teams. You hear about Seattle but other teams, you didn’t hear about.”
Academic, I suppose. Except, if the Mariners truly did make a strong offer and push to sign Hamilton and he’s now saying they didn’t, it’s not exactly fair to Seattle, which is trying to overcome a perception that it’s no place a superstar wants to be.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.