From Nick Cafardo’s Sunday notebook in the Boston Globe:
It looks more and more like [Howie] Kendrick will be involved in a deal that would land the Angels some pitching or prospects. The Royals seem like a good fit as they attempt to solve their second base issue, and Kendrick would be a nice bat in that lineup. But what would the Royals give up? The Orioles are another possible fit with Brian Roberts’s tenure possibly ending soon. The Orioles haven’t decided to cut ties with the free agent, but they certainly wouldn’t re-sign Roberts for more than one season with his injury problems.
The Angels shopped Kendrick at this year’s July 31 trade deadline and received interest from multiple teams, but obviously no move was made.
Kendrick is owed $9.35 million next season and $9.5 million in 2015 — reasonable salaries for a consistently productive second baseman. Anaheim badly needs an influx of reliable starting pitching — young or old — and there aren’t going to be many good options for improvement on the free agent market this winter.
Kendrick, 30, batted .297/.335/.439 with 13 home runs, six stolen bases, 55 runs scored and 54 RBI in 122 games this year. He hit .287/.325/.400 with eight homers, 14 steals and 67 RBI in 147 games in 2012.
Free agent right-hander Jeff Manship has reportedly signed with the NC Dinos of the Korea Baseball Organization, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The righty was non-tendered by the Indians in December.
Manship, 32, completed his second season with Cleveland in 2016. He delivered a 3.12 ERA, 4.6 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 rate over 43 1/3 innings, a slight decline after posting an 0.92 ERA with the club the year before. During eight years in the major leagues, Manship carries a 4.82 career ERA, 3.6 BB/9 and 6.4 SO/9 in multiple stints with the Twins, Rockies, Phillies and Indians.
The right-hander will be joined by fellow MLB transplants Eric Hacker and Xavier Scruggs, each of whom took one-year deals with the Dinos last month. Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors notes that each KBO team is allowed up to three foreign players, so Manship will round out the trio when he joins the roster. Any salary terms have yet to be disclosed.
With the Braves on the cusp of formalizing their one-year deal with Kurt Suzuki, the market for free agent catcher Matt Wieters is dwindling. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick references an inside source that lists the Angels, Rockies and Reds as potential suitors for the 30-year-old’s services.
Wieters is coming off of an eight-year career with the Orioles. In 2016, he played through his first full year after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2014 and batted .243/.302/.409 with 17 home runs and a .711 OPS in 464 PA. A return to Baltimore in 2017 isn’t out of the question, Crasnick writes, citing some within the team that would be open to Wieters stepping into a DH role and catching platoon with Wellington Castillo. However, he also points out that the front office appears divided on the veteran catcher, and sees the Orioles as a long shot for the foreseeable future.
The Angels have already been tied to Wieters this offseason, while the Rockies and Reds don’t appear to have made any formal inquiries so far. Both could use a veteran presence behind the dish, as the Rockies are planning to platoon rookie catcher Tom Murphy with 24-year-old Tony Wolters in the spring. The Reds, meanwhile, are banking on a quick recovery for 28-year-old Devin Mesoraco, who missed most of the 2016 season after undergoing shoulder and hip surgery and forced the club to rely almost exclusively on back-up backstop Tucker Barnhart.