There was a lot of talk about the Reds’ courtship of Grady Sizemore (note to our younger readers: he used to play major league baseball), but now that’s over. Straight from the GM’s mouth:
Given Sizemore’s long absence from both the game and from good health, one has to assume it wasn’t a financial demand that was the deal breaker. One possibility, and this is just speculation: another team is offering him an actual major league deal or a minor league deal with an invite to major league camp when the Reds are unwilling to. Another speculative point, but one which I hope is not the case: his health is still a question mark.
Whatever the reasons, if Sizemore is going to continue his big league career, it will be outside of the state of Ohio.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.
Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.
Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.