The centerpiece of the trade that sent right-hander James Shields to the Royals will begin the 2013 season in the minor leagues.
The Rays announced this morning that top prospect outfielder Wil Myers was reassigned to minor league camp. The 22-year-old batted .300 (9-for-30) with a triple, three doubles and an RBI in 15 games during Grapefruit League action.
Myers has been expected to begin the season with Triple-A Durham all along. And while Rays fans are anxious to see him, the timing of his major league debut has some major financial implications. Keeping him in the minors for even a few weeks would delay his free agency by a year, similar to how the Nationals handled Bryce Harper last year. If the Rays wait until around mid-June to call him up, it would keep him from being a “Super Two” player and having four years of arbitration eligibility as opposed to the usual three. Of course, his contract situation could be rendered moot if the Rays are somehow able to sign him to a long-term deal similar to Evan Longoria and Matt Moore, but Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times hears that Myers hasn’t been approached with any offers yet.
Myers, 22, batted .314/.387/.600 with 37 home runs and a .987 OPS between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha last year. Baseball America recently ranked him as the No. 4 prospect in the game on their annual Top 100 list.
Nick Cafardo provides this interesting nugget in his Sunday notes column at the Boston Globe …
Hanley Ramirez, 1B-DH, Red Sox — There’s now talk in the front office that Dave Dombrowski is trying to move Ramirez in a deal. The Mariners, Orioles, and Angels seem to be the targets, and all three make sense.
Cafardo notes that “there are huge hurdles to cross” before a trade could happen — like how much of Hanley’s remaining salary the Red Sox would have to eat and what positions the soon-to-be 32-year-old is able to play defensively at this point in his career.
Boston’s higher-ups have asked Ramirez to learn first base and drop 20 pounds this winter. Whatever team is looking to acquire him would probably have to be comfortable with him serving primarily as a designated hitter.
Hanley is owed $68.2 million over the next three seasons and he carries a $22 million vesting option for 2019. He batted just .249/.291/.426 in 105 games this past year.
Ben Zobrist posted a cool .809 OPS (120 OPS+) in 126 games this summer between Oakland and Kansas City while appearing defensively at second base, third base, and both corner outfield positions.
His steady bat and defensive versatility make him a fit for just about every club in Major League Baseball, and the defending National League champions are among the teams in hot pursuit …
It’s a little odd to see the rebuilding Braves listed there given that Zobrist is 34 years old, but Rosenthal says the interest stems from a “desire for him to serve as [a] model for younger players” as the club prepares to open a new ballpark in 2017. Wasn’t that supposed to be Nick Markakis‘ job?
Zobrist and his agent Alan Nero are believed to be seeking a four-year deal.
Hey, the hot stove is finally generating some real fire …
CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Tigers have agreed to terms on a contract with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. It’s a five-year deal worth around $110 million, per Jon Morosi of FOX Sports.
This should have a domino effect on a loaded starting pitching market. David Price, Zack Greinke, Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, and Jeff Samardzija are just a few of the names still out there.
Zimmermann, 29, posted a 3.66 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 164/39 K/BB ratio in 201 2/3 innings this past season for the Nationals. He had a 2.66 ERA in 2014 and threw a no-hitter on the final day of the regular season.
Zimmermann’s free agency is tied to draft pick compensation because he rejected a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from Washington, but the Tigers finished with one of the 10-worst win-loss records in 2015 so their first-round pick in 2016 is protected. Detroit will give up its second-round pick instead.
Here’s a pretty good way to finally break out of that turkey-induced Thanksgiving tryptophan coma.
It’s a compilation of the 10 longest home runs from the 2015 season, with MLB.com’s Statcast technology providing data along the path of each blast …