Bob Nightengale of USA Today sat down for a candid interview with Arte Moreno. Who, aside from not liking the fact that he gets an earful from fans when he tries to go to his favorite bar, is taking a more zen approach to the Angels’ struggles than you might expect.
He still defends picking up Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton in the past two seasons, saying that on paper they looked like great acquisitions. He is baffled by Hamilton’s struggles but has told him that he’s going to be around for five years so he shouldn’t try to fix all of his problems with one swing. He thinks that GM Jerry Dipoto’s system needs more time to work. He has faith in Mike Scioscia and still considers him the best manager in baseball. The upshot: nothing drastic is going to happen now. All decisions involving personnel and management will wait until after the season is over.
Overall: you gotta kinda like Moreno after reading this interview. He’s not enjoying losing, but he’s well-aware of how lucky he is and how overall Anaheim’s financial and ballpark situation is pretty advantageous to him. You feel like he likes baseball a lot and that he’s just as gobsmacked as any Angels fan that things aren’t working out well on the field right now.
Free agent left-hander Rich Hill is rumored to be entertaining a three-year, $40+ million offer from the Dodgers, reports Peter Gammons. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo corroborated the report, adding that Hill could receive somewhere between $46 and $48 million from his former team.
Hill, 36, pitched to a 2.12 ERA and 3.91 FIP in back-to-back stints with the Athletics and Dodgers in 2016. While a chronic case of blisters on his pitching hand limited the frequency of his starts, he still figures to be one of the most productive and noteworthy starting pitchers on the market this winter.
The Orioles, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Astros have all been mentioned as potential suitors for the left-hander’s services, though Orioles’ GM Dan Duquette said the club has yet to make a play for Hill and ESPN’s Jim Bowden pointed out that the Red Sox are less involved in trade talks than other interested parties.
In light of the Astros’ deal for veteran designated hitter Carlos Beltran on Saturday, the Yankees are thought to be intensifying their pursuit of free agent Edwin Encarnacion, reports Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. The Yankees never made an official offer to Beltran, but remain in need of a DH/first baseman to give them a little more power outside of a Tyler Austin–Greg Bird combo in 2017.
The Red Sox, on the other hand, are reportedly withdrawing their interest when it comes to the Encarnacion sweepstakes. According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, they will look for a hitter to beef up their lineup without taking a “big plunge” on the 34-year-old.
Encarnacion enjoyed another All-Star run with the Blue Jays in 2016, hitting at a .263/.357/.529 clip with 42 homers and a league-leading 127 RBI in 702 PA. He’s expected to command a significant contract in free agency, and agent Paul Kinzer said that a potential deal is unlikely to be finalized before the Winter Meetings as Encarnacion is not close to agreeing to any offer. Interested teams include the Blue Jays and the Astros, though Beltran’s signing appears to have effectively taken Houston out of the running for the slugger.