Royals’ center fielder Lorenzo Cain isn’t looking forward to hitting free agency after the 2017 season. Comments made to MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan suggest that he’d rather sign another extension with the club, preferably one that will keep him in Kansas City on a long-term basis.
While the Royals have prioritized negotiations with infielders Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer this offseason, no long-term arrangement appears to be on the table for Cain just yet. By this time last year, the outfielder had already netted a two-year extension with the team, albeit under wildly different circumstances. The Royals were fresh off of a World Series championship and a career-best year from Cain, who amassed a team-leading 6.4 fWAR during the regular season.
In 2016, the 30-year-old saw a significant dip in his production value after sustaining a wrist sprain that kept him sidelined through most of the second half of the season. He batted .287/.339/.408 with nine home runs and 2.4 fWAR in 434 PA, well down from the marks that earned him an All-Star nomination and MVP bid the year before.
One lackluster year shouldn’t sour the team’s opinion of their star center fielder, however, especially given Cain’s relative health and steady value over the past six seasons. Although he claims to have worked his way back up to full strength this spring, the team doesn’t appear in any rush to make a commitment past the 2017 season, and time is running out to negotiate a deal before Opening Day.
Jon Morosi of MLB Network said yesterday that the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs have been engaged in trade talks involving starting pitcher Justin Verlander and catcher Alex Avila. Morosi also noted that the Los Angeles Dodgers have shown interest in Verlander as well. Whether this is idyl chitchatting of serious dispute is unclear, of course. Everything is unclear in the leadup to the deadline.
The veteran right-hander is carrying a 4.50 with a 120/57 K/BB ratio over 124 innings. Verlander impressed last year, finishing second in AL Cy Young Award balloting, but he has fallen back to Earth in 2017. His velocity remains high, however, and it’s not hard to imagine him going on a solid run in a way that could help a contender. He is owed $56 million over the next two seasons, however, and has a $22 million option that could vest for 2020, so negotiations for him could be tough. If the Tigers want talent back, they’ll have to eat salary.
Verlander got an ovation from a Detroit crowd last night which seemed to sense that, yes, it’s possible he pitched his last game for the Tigers. Given that he has 10/5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade, that decision is ultimately up to him. It’s not hard to imagine him accepting a trade to a contender, however.
We wait see.
The Dodgers beat the Twins last night thanks to a Cody Bellinger three-run homer. But Bellinger was not the only Dodgers rookie who had a notable game. A far more unconventional one is worth mentioning as well.
That rookie is reliever Edward Paredes, who made his big league debut last night. What makes him unconventional: he’s 30. Turns 31 in September, actually. Paredes pitched professionally for 12 years before making it to The Show. Most of that time was in the affiliated minors in the Mariners, Indians, Angels and Dodgers organizations. He spent time in the independent Atlantic League in 2013-15 as well.
Paredes did not do anything heroic last night. It was more of a right place/right time kind of appearance, retiring the side in order with a fly out, line out and a ground out and remaining the pitcher of record while Bellinger hit that three-run homer. That’s enough for a W, though. A W that Paredes waited a lot longer for than most pitchers who notch one in the bigs.