George A. King III of the New York Post heard last month that the Yankees might look to deal a catcher before they head back north for Opening Day.
That catcher could be Francisco Cervelli.
According to Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish, the 28-year-old Cervelli is drawing “lots of trade interest” from front offices around the league. Cotillo says the White Sox are “among many teams” that have been monitoring Cervelli this spring in Yankees camp.
Cervelli is out of minor league options and the Bombers seem comfortable going with 25-year-old former Top 100 prospect Austin Romine as the backup to new starting catcher Brian McCann. So they might as well deal from a surplus and attempt to address an area of need (key word: attempt).
Cervelli is a .271/.343/.367 career hitter in 623 major league plate appearances.
He probably won’t fetch a high-impact return.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Blue Jays have signed lefty Brett Oberholtzer. Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi reports that it’s a minor league pact and it includes an invitation to spring training, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo.
Oberholtzer, 27, began the season with the Phillies after the club acquired him in the Ken Giles trade last offseason. He struggled to a 4.83 ERA and a 38/20 K/BB ratio in 50 1/3 innings. The Angels claimed him off waivers in August and he put up an 8.55 ERA over 20 innings in the new uniform.
Given Oberholtzer’s experience as a starter, he can provide depth for the Blue Jays whether that means starting the season at Triple-A or operating as a swingman. He’ll be under team control through the 2020 season.
OXON HILL, MD — Edwin Encarnacion began the offseason as, arguably, the second most desirable free agent on the market. As the Winter Meetings approach their end, however, he is a man without a team. And may not have a team any time soon.
Many teams have been rumored to be checking in on Encarnacion, but the defining trait of his free agency thus far has been clubs taking a pass. The most recent one being the Rangers, who are reported to simply not have the money to sign him, despite him filling a clear offensive need in Texas. Maybe the Rangers would be more competitive on the free agent market if they had a new stadium. Who knows?
The Blue Jays, for whom he most recently played, offered him a four-year, $80 million deal that most figured was a lowball, and when he rejected it, they moved on to Kendrys Morales. The Red Sox acquired Mitch Moreland. The Yankees are reported to be passing. The most recent team linked to Encarnacion is the Indians, who are reported to have an offer out to him, but at this point it’s likely far lower than what most free agent watchers thought he might get a few weeks ago. A four-year, $90 million deal did not seem crazy for him in October. In December, there is speculation that he could be had for $60 million over that same term which, frankly, would be a bargain. That’s less than Mark Melancon, the third best closer on the market, got from the Giants.
There have been a lot of remarkable things that have happened in the past few weeks, but one of the most unexpected things would be one of the top bats in the game getting second-tier closer money.