Despite reports that the Indians were done fishing in the free agent pool this offseason, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal hears that the club is still in conversation with several players, including “relievers, corner infielders and corner outfielders […] even Jose Bautista might not be out of the question.” There are a few caveats with this information, the most important of which is that the Indians are supposedly interested in Bautista only if his price tag drops to fit within the team’s budget.
Bautista, 36, remains one of the most viable hitters still on the market, even taking last year’s lackluster production rate into account. He batted .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and an .817 OPS for the Blue Jays in 2016, watching his overall value plummet from a respectable 4.4 fWAR in 2015 to just 1.4 in 2016. There’s no reason to believe that he can’t bounce back in 2017, however, and while the Indians’ outfield situation looks crowded as is, Rosenthal suggests that the veteran slugger could slot in at right field while Lonnie Chisenhall shifts to center.
With the addition of Bautista’s former teammate, designated hitter/first baseman Edwin Encarnacion, the Indians have already relinquished their first round draft pick heading into the 2017 season. To land Bautista, Rosenthal adds, they’ll have to give up their second-round selection, currently the No. 64 overall pick.
John Wisely of the Detroit Free Press reports that current free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez is being sued by his former landlord for damage to the rented property as well as missing artwork. The landlord is asking for $80,000 after having kept Rodriguez’s $15,000 security deposit.
The lawsuit says that Rodriguez damaged a bedroom TV, a crystal floor lamp, glass shelves in the bar, glass tiles in the master bath, and a Moroccan mirror in the powder room. Additionally, the suit claims that the bedding is stained and paint has chipped, as well as other damages. And the piece of art that is allegedly missing, which depicts a tiger, is valued at more than $10,000.
Rodriguez has not yet been served with the suit, but the landlord has been speaking to his managers.
The Nationals released Rodriguez, 35, two weeks ago after having signed him to a minor league contract in late June. He started the season with the Tigers, but struggled to a 7.82 ERA over 25 1/3 innings before being released.
MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that the Rays have acquired first baseman Lucas Duda from the Mets. The Mets will receive pitching prospect Drew Smith in return, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
Duda, 31, is batting .246/.347/.532 with 17 home runs and 37 RBI in 291 plate appearances for the Mets this season. He’ll provide a potent bat in the Rays’ lineup as they attempt to overcome their current 2.5-game deficit in the AL East.
Smith, 23, is the Rays’ No. 30 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He ascended from High-A to Triple-A already this season, posting an aggregate 1.60 ERA with a 40/9 K/BB ratio over 45 innings across four stops with High-A Lakeland (Tigers), High-A Charlotte (Rays), Double-A Montgomery, and Triple-A Durham.