The Nationals acquired Denard Span from the Twins last offseason to serve as their leadoff man and regular center fielder, but they are already considering making a change.
According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, the Nationals are willing to listen to trade offers for Span. The possible motivation could be the team’s interest in free agent center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury. And given the long history between the Nationals and Scott Boras’ clients, the match shouldn’t be ruled out.
Thanks to a strong second half, Span finished this season with a .279/.327/.380 batting line to go along with four home runs, 47 RBI, and 20 stolen bases over 153 games. The 29-year-old is owed $6.5 million next season while his contract includes a $9 million club option for 2015, so he should have plenty of appeal as a trade chip.
Infielder Brett Lawrie successfully avoided arbitration and signed a one-year contract with the White Sox on Friday, per a team announcement. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman added that the deal was for $3.5 million, significantly lower than the $4.125 million Lawrie was paid by the White Sox in 2016.
The White Sox acquired Lawrie last December in a swap for minor league arms Zack Erwin and J.B. Wendelken. After splitting time at second and third base for the Athletics in 2015, Lawrie slotted in at second base and DH for the White Sox and batted .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs in 384 PA. While it’s strange to see a healthy, fairly productive player receive a salary reduction in arbitration, Lawrie missed nearly half of the season with a strain in his left hamstring, though he’s projected to return at full health by the start of the 2017 season.
Left-hander Brian Duensing signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Cubs on Friday, per a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.
The free agent spent the bulk of his 2016 season with the Orioles after receiving a call-up from Triple-A Norfolk in early June. He underwent elbow surgery several weeks later when a freak bullpen injury revealed cartilage chips and inflammation in his pitching elbow, but recovered to finish the season with a 4.05 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings for the club. The Orioles utilized him for a final out during the AL Wild Card game, during which Duensing recorded a five-pitch strikeout in the ninth inning of their 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays.
The 33-year-old is currently expected to bulk up the Cubs’ left-handed relief corps, with fellow left-hander Mike Montgomery slated for the rotation in 2017.