Ben Badler of Baseball America pegged the Rangers as the most likely landing spot for Cuban slugger Jose Abreu last week, but it sounds like they are going to have plenty of competition.
Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports that the Marlins are “all in” to sign Abreu and were “well represented” as his two-day workout in the Dominican Republic earlier this week. The Marlins project to have a payroll in the $38 million range next season and aren’t expected to be active for established major league free agents this winter, but that isn’t stopping their pursuit of the power-hitting first baseman.
Frisaro notes that blind bids for Abreu are expected to be due today. Many have speculated that it could take $45-60 million to sign him, which would top Yasiel Puig’s $42 million deal with the Dodgers for the richest ever for a Cuban player. For what it’s worth, Frisaro hears from a source that the Giants are the favorites.
The Rays acquired minor league reliever Drew Smith from the Tigers on Friday, per a team announcement. The move will close the loop on the trade the two teams began in January for backup outfielder Mikie Mahtook.
Smith, 23, pitched his first full season in Single-A West Michigan in 2016, turning in a 2.96 ERA, 4.3 BB/9 and 11.5 SO/9 in 48 2/3 innings. The right-hander is still several levels away from making any impact on the Rays’ major league roster, but appears to be progressing steadily in two seasons of pro ball and has delivered two runs, four walks and 12 strikeouts in his first 11 2/3 innings at High-A Lakeland this season. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that he’ll be reassigned to the Rays’ High-A Charlotte this week.
The Yankees have activated shortstop Didi Gregorius from the 10-day disabled list, the club announced on Friday. Infielder Pete Kozma was designated for assignment to clear roster space.
Gregorius, 27, suffered a strained right shoulder while playing in the World Baseball Classic last month. He’s in Friday’s starting lineup, batting sixth against the Orioles.
Last season, Gregorius hit .276/.304/.447 with 20 home runs and 70 RBI in 597 plate appearances.