We still have the remainder of the 2014 season to play, but Bruce Levine of 670 The Score in Chicago hears from a source that the White Sox will target Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez in free agency this winter.
Adam Dunn’s contract expires after this season and Paul Konerko is set to retire, so there will be an opening at the DH spot in Chicago. Cots Contracts notes that the White Sox currently have a little over $46 million in salary commitments (not counting raises in arbitration) for next season, so they could afford a big-ticket item, even though they don’t look like contenders in 2015 on the surface. The Tigers figure to make Martinez a qualifying offer at the very least, but assuming the White Sox finish with one of the 10-worst records in the majors (which they currently have), they would only have to surrender a second-round pick to sign him as opposed to a first-rounder.
Martinez turns 36 this winter, but he’s currently enjoying the best season of his 12-year major league career. He entered play this afternoon with a .328/.395/.553 batting line to go along with 26 home runs and 85 RBI and has only struck out 38 times in 522 plate appearances. Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com wrote on Twitter earlier today that Martinez could get a contract in line with Carlos Beltran’s three-year, $45 million deal with the Yankees, but it’s easy to imagine him getting more.
Thursday is September 1, which means rosters expand. As a result, the Nationals plan to promote pitcher Mat Latos to the major league roster, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. Latos had an opt-out clause for Monday, but after discussing the matter with the team, he agreed to stay at Triple-A Syracuse until Thursday.
Latos, 28, put up a 4.62 ERA over 11 starts with the White Sox before being released in mid-June. Nearly two weeks later, he signed a minor league contract with the Nationals.
In the Nationals’ minor league system, Latos has made three starts for the club’s Gulf Coast League team as well as three for Syracuse. In aggregate, the right-hander has yielded six runs (four earned) on 20 hits and 10 walks with 28 strikeouts in 28 innings.
Latos will likely pitch out of a long relief role for the Nationals and can be used as starting rotation insurance as well.
Mark Buehrle hasn’t officially retired, but he hasn’t thrown a pitch in professional baseball since last October. Still, the Blue Jays wouldn’t mind having some insurance, so manager John Gibbons recently texted Buehrle, “You know, rosters expand in September,” Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports.
Buehrle’s response? He texted back a picture of a lake. Sounds like he’s not interested in making a return, at least this year.
Last year, at the age of 36, Buehrle went 15-8 with a 3.81 ERA with a 91/33 K/BB ratio in 198 2/3 innings while leading the league with four complete games. He fell 1 1/3 innings shy of a 15th consecutive 200-inning season. There are many worse ways to end a career.