Craig Calcaterra


Aroldis Chapman could be traded by this weekend


In the past several years top free agent relief pitchers who have signed earlier have tended to do better in the market than those who wait. Which suggests that, this year, top relief pitchers will try to sign early as well. Indeed, we’ve heard more rumors about Darren O'Day and Joakim Soria so far than most other players.

The Reds have a top relief pitcher they’d like to trade in Aroldis Chapman. And, given that relief pitcher free agent dynamic, they’d have more potential suitors for him if they act sooner rather than later. And Peter Gammons hears that sooner is definitely in the cards:

Chapman is the most dominant reliever in the game, having struck out 546 batters in 319 career innings. Expect his price to be high.

The Braves’ asking price for Andrelton Simmons is . . . high

Andrelton Simmons

When I saw the Andrelton Simmons rumors last night I reacted like any fan of a team that has literally only one or two reasons to ever watch them, one of which includes Andrelton Simmons‘ defense, might react: I had mini-existential crisis and channeled it into some tweets that seemed funny at the time but were really just sad. I’ll talk with my therapist about that stuff next time I see him. He has come to expect it.

By the light of morning I’m a lot more zen about it all. I realize that there aren’t any decent shortstops available right now, the Braves are going to suck regardless in 2016 and if they can sucker someone like A.J. Preller — for, what, the third time? — then more power to them. All the Braves I’ve rooted for the past several years play on other teams already anyway, so it wouldn’t be that big a change for me.

Today, however, we hear that perhaps the Braves aren’t truly serious about shopping Simmons. Or, at the very least, they’ll only trade him if the other team does something painfully stupid:

Yeah, that ain’t happening. And the Braves know it ain’t happening too, but they suggested it anyway. They suggested it, I suspect, because they realize how funny it is when New Yorkers scoff and get outraged too. “Haha, John, listen. I have it on speaker! Wilpon is going to say ‘fugetaboutit!’ again! This is gold!”

Anyway, it could be the case that the Braves simply don’t want to trade Simmons within the division, asked for something stupid from the Mets and are being more reasonable with other suitors. Suitors who, based on random chatter this morning, include the Padres, Dodgers and Angels. It could be the case that they don’t really plan to trade him at all but are doing some due diligence just in case.

All I know for sure is that if they want to keep asking for silly things from teams for a player they probably don’t really want to trade, I’m cool with it. I won’t panic until they ask for borderline reasonable things from teams for him.

Scott Boras and the Marlins are feuding

Miami Marlins baseball team president David Samson gestures as he answers a question from a reporter during a news conference at Marlins Park in Miami. The Marlins begin their offseason with a front office shakeup and a vacancy in the manager's job.  (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

Scott Boras and the Miami Marlins are already at odds over the Marlins clear manipulation of Ozuna’s service time this past season. To be clear, it’s totally legal service time manipulation. The Marlins can do what they want with their players, after all. But it’s also the case that the club was transparently putting an inferior product on the field in order to save some money on player salaries down the road. Boras, who clearly has a personal interest in Ozuna reaching arbitration and free agency as fast as he can, understandably took issue.

These little disputes happen a lot, but they’re usually not public. And they’re usually not super heated. The team may want to save money where it can, but it has no real interest in antagonizing its players unnecessarily. The agent, for his part, has a strong interest in making sure the player is in a happy place as well as in maximizing the number of clubs who can bid on his client once he does reach free agency. So these things tend to simmer, they don’t tend to boil.

Yesterday the Marlins-Boras dispute boiled. Boras criticized the Marlins over Ozuna’s handling once again and Marlins president David Samson shot back:

“My strong suggestion to Mr. Boras is that instead of resting on his 5 percent that he collects from his stable of players, he write a check and buy a team. Then he would have the opportunity to run a team that he claims to be so able to do. Until that time, he is in no position to comment how any Major League Baseball team is operated.”

Samson went on, talking about Jose Fernandez, who had Tommy John surgery in 2014, and who, like Matt Harvey, has Scott Boras for a client. Boras was involved in the Mets’ decision making process over Harvey’s workload. Will he have input regarding the Marlins use of Fernandez?

“He will not be involved in any discussion as it relates to Jose Fernandez,” Samson said. “We will be in touch with the doctors and Jose as we formulate a plan.”

So that relationship is going well. Good luck in keeping Fernandez around for even a nanosecond after he reaches free agency in 2018, Miami.