Free agent first baseman Chris Carter has been linked to the Orioles and Rangers, per agent Dave Stewart’s comments to Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette of MLB Network. Stewart has discussed his client with at least four teams since the beginning of the year, with the Athletics being the only notable exception so far.
Carter, 30, set a few personal records in 2016, batting .222/.321/.499 with a career-high 41 home runs and 27 doubles in his first season with the Brewers. He was non-tendered by the team in November, and has struggled to find a landing spot with other power-hitting first basemen still on the market.
Neither the Orioles nor the Rangers have Carter pegged as their first choice, as Baltimore is reportedly pursuing Mark Trumbo and Texas has its eye on Mike Napoli. Should either of those deals fail to come to fruition in the next couple of months, however, Carter could be a viable candidate for either team. For now, Stewart says, he doesn’t anticipate a quick signing process for Carter in the week to come (via FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman).
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that free agent 1B/OF Mark Trumbo recently asked the Orioles for a three-year, $50 million contract. However, he later told the team he would be willing to take a three year deal for slightly less money in the $40-50 million range.
Back in November, Trumbo was reportedly not interested a four-year deal in the $52-55 million range from the Orioles. Though Trumbo has drawn interest from a handful of teams, his market has not developed the way he hoped it would. Along with the Orioles, the Rockies, Rangers, Athletics, Cardinals, and Mariners were in some way interested throughout the offseason.
Trumbo, 30, led the majors with 47 home runs while batting .256/.316/.533 and knocking in 108 runs over 667 plate appearances. Aside from the homers, however, Trumbo doesn’t offer much in the way of value as he’s a poor defender and base runner, and doesn’t play at premium positions such as shortstop or center field. As a result, Trumbo was only worth 1.6 Wins Above Replacement last season, according to Baseball Reference. Comparatively, an average player would put up about 2.0 WAR.
The Orioles haven’t ruled out Mark Trumbo‘s return to Baltimore in 2017, but a recent interview with ESPN’s Jim Bowden suggests that their interests may lie elsewhere. Per Bowden, Baltimore GM Dan Duquette would rather pass on re-signing the 30-year-old slugger in order to net a first-round draft pick, which would be offered to the club in the event that Trumbo signs elsewhere in the league.
Despite Trumbo’s top-tier numbers in 2016 (.256/.316/.533, 47 homers in 667 PA), the market has been slow to develop for the outfielder/DH, perhaps in part, as Bowden suggests, because of the high-end draft pick attached to any potential contract. The Athletics, Mariners, Rangers, Rockies and Indians have all been linked to him at some point this winter, though the Orioles appeared to be closest to signing him until a potential four-year, $50 million deal was nixed in mid-December.
MLB Network’s Jim Duquette added that the Orioles are also interested in adding some veteran pitching depth (including veteran right-hander Jason Hammel) and outfield defense, which could lead their focus away from Trumbo in the months to come.