David Ortiz may be 38 years old, but he hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down yet. He is coming off of a season in which he posted a .959 OPS and unfathomably productive during the post-season when he helped the Red Sox win the World Series. Ortiz is also eligible for free agency after the 2014 season. Representatives of the Red Sox have been talking with Ortiz and his agent Fern Cuza of Relativity Baseball about an extension.
Red Sox GM Ben Cherington, appearing on The Hot Stove Show on Thursday, said he expects the organization to continue speaking with Ortiz about his contract situation throughout the season. Via WEEI:
“Probably so,” Cherington said when asked if talks with Ortiz and his agent, Fern Cuza, will be taking place in the coming months. “I can say that because I think there’s always dialogue with David and with Fern. That’s important to me. It’s important to ownership. It’s important to the organization to have open dialogue with our key players and David is certainly one of those. We’ve talked this winter.”
Ortiz signed a two-year, $26 million deal with the Red Sox in November 2012. The contract stipulated a salary of $11 million for 2014, but escalated to $15 million when Ortiz was able to avoid the DL with the Achilles tendon injury that caused him to miss two and a half months between mid-July and the end of the regular season in 2012. Ortiz’s next contract, which could also be his last, is likely to include some slightly more stringent incentives.
Free agent closer Mark Melancon is entertaining at least two offers in the four-year, $60+ million ballpark, reports FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. The teams thought to be in the running are the Giants and Nationals, with the Giants having a slight edge due to their strong interest in him last summer (per ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick).
Crasnick also said that while the Giants are keeping tabs on the top three free agent closers this winter, the other two being Kenley Jansen and Aroldis Chapman, they’re leaning toward Melancon as a (slightly) more affordable option in the ‘pen. It’s worth noting that Melancon would not cost the Giants a draft pick if they decided to sign him.
Melancon had an outstanding season in 2016, nearly reaching career-best numbers with a 1.64 ERA, 2.42 FIP and 5.42 K/BB rate in 71 1/3 innings split between the Pirates and Nationals’ bullpens. The veteran right-hander earned his third career All-Star distinction after stifling opposing hitters with a 1.23 ERA and 7.9 K/9 rate in the first half, and went on to appear in his fourth consecutive playoff run.
Despite the Giants’ apparent lead in the bidding for Melancon, Rosenthal mentioned a third mystery team who might throw their hat in the ring as well. No clubs have been name-dropped as of yet.
Former Tigers infielder Casey McGehee has reportedly signed a one-year deal with the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
It’s the fourth move the corner infielder has made in the last two seasons after seeing short-term stints with the Marlins, Giants and Tigers. He signed a minor league deal with the Tigers prior to the 2016 season, providing the club with some infield depth behind 24-year-old Nick Castellanos. When Castellanos hit the disabled list in August with a broken hand, McGehee was recalled from Triple-A Toledo for a 30-game stint and slashed .228/.260/.239 with one extra-base hit in 96 PA. His career batting line (.258/.317/.384 over eight seasons) isn’t too shabby, but his age and a long history of knee injuries puts a damper on his potential.
McGehee last appeared in the NPB circuit in 2013, when he signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. He spent the bulk of his season at the hot corner, batting an impressive .292/.396/.515 with 28 homers in 590 PA and appearing in the Eagles’ first and only championship run to date.
The deal comes with a club option for 2018, Rosenthal reports, though no figure has been specified.