<span class="vcard">Bill Baer</span>

Yoenis Cespedes
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Tigers are waiting for Yoenis Cespedes to lower his asking price


Update (6:30 PM EST): Changed some phrasing used in the title and in the body of this post.


Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is one of a handful of elite free agents remaining as the new year approaches, and the Tigers appear to be waiting for him to lower his asking price, according to Bob Nightegale of USA TODAY.

The Tigers have had a busy offseason, adding Jordan Zimmermann, Francisco Rodriguez, Mark Lowe, Mike Pelfrey, and Cameron Maybin. Anthony Gose would man left field if the season were to start today, so Cespedes would be a nice upgrade to complement J.D. Martinez in right and Maybin in center.

Cespedes, 30, hit .293/.323/.506 with 18 home runs and 61 RBI in 427 plate appearances with the Tigers before they traded him to the Mets at the trade deadline earlier this year.

Other free agent outfielders left include Justin Upton, Alex Gordon, and Dexter Fowler.

Report: Kenta Maeda was at Dodger Stadium on Thursday

Kenta Maeda
AP Photo/Ben Margot

Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register, citing a Japanese media source, reports that Kenta Maeda was at Dodger Stadium on Thursday, Christmas Eve. As he notes, the deadline for Maeda to sign is January 8.

The Dodgers have yet to bolster a starting rotation that lost Zack Greinke. They appeared to sign Hisashi Iwakuma, but backed out of a deal after seeing the results of his physical. Iwakuma then signed back with the Mariners. Maeda, no doubt, would be a useful addition. The Dodgers would have to pay the Hiroshima Carp — Maeda’s team — $20 million for the right to negotiate, and then they would have to come to terms on a contract. If Maeda and the Dodgers aren’t able to reach an agreement, the Dodgers would get their $20 million back.

Maeda, 27, has spent all eight seasons with Hiroshima in the Japan Central League. He has a career 2.39 ERA with 1,233 strikeouts and 319 walks in 1,509 2/3 innings. Though the numbers are impressive, the competition in Japan isn’t nearly as good as it is in the majors. Per the Davenport Translations, Maeda’s 2.09 ERA and 175/41 K/BB ratio over 206 1/3 innings last season comes out to 4.09 and 110/51 in the majors.

Along with Maeda, the Dodgers have expressed interest in free agent lefties Scott Kazmir and Wei-Yin Chen.

Dan Haren, Tom Koehler refute notion that Marlins openly rooted for Jose Fernandez to fail

Jose Fernandez
AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

The relationship between pitcher Jose Fernandez and the Marlins is tenuous, as we learned last month in a report by Miami radio show host Andy Slater. The Marlins have taken issue with the right-hander’s attitude towards ownership and the involvement of agent Scott Boras as Fernandez makes his way back from Tommy John surgery. Boras is hopeful to put Fernandez on a similar pitch limit as Matt Harvey‘s with the Mets.

Slater also reported that Fernandez’s teammates were openly rooting for the young Cuban pitcher to fail at the expense of the team. Dan Haren, who pitched for the Marlins through July before being traded and retiring at season’s end, and current teammate Tom Koehler refuted that notion as Scott Miller details at Bleacher Report:

“No way,” Haren told Bleacher Report. “No way. A lot of those things in [Slater’s] article were actually right. But at least from a pitcher’s standpoint, there’s no way anybody was on the bench rooting for Jose to get hit.”

Haren then extended that to include position players as well.

“There’s no way,” he said. “You can be frustrated with a person on and off the field, but I would say there are very few instances [where it reaches that point]. There are people I hate, too. People I don’t get along with, and who don’t like me. But I find it hard to believe in a team sport like baseball, where you need the guy to your left and right to succeed, that people are rooting against someone.”

Marlins starter Tom Koehler echoed Haren.

“That’s ridiculous,” Koehler told Bleacher Report. “Why would you want your teammate to do poorly? It reflects on everybody. You play to win. If you root for your best pitcher to lose? It doesn’t make sense.”

Fernandez, 23, is under team control through 2018 before becoming eligible for free agency. He earned $651,000 in 2015 but will get progressively more expensive, which will be a major factor in the Marlins’ decision to eventually move him. Though he has made only 47 starts over his first three seasons in the majors, Fernandez owns a stellar 2.40 ERA with 336 strikeouts and 85 walks over 289 innings.

The Dodgers were the team most recently linked to the Marlins in trade rumors, but they were only in the discussions phase as Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reported earlier this week. The Giants and Diamondbacks also had interest before making other pitching acquisitions.

Orioles’ Kevin Gausman is “off limits”

Kevin Gausman
AP Photo/Jim Mone

In a column published on Saturday, MASN’s Roch Kubatko noted that the Orioles are always receiving inquiries on Kevin Gausman, but the club’s young pitcher is “off limits”.

Gausman, 24, was taken by the Orioles in the first round — fourth overall — in the 2012 draft. He has yet to live up to expectations, as he has a career 4.21 ERA with 240 strikeouts and 80 walks across 273 1/3 major league innings. However, the upside still remains and he will be under team control through 2019.

Gausman was juggled up and down between the majors and Triple-A Norfolk last season. At times, he dazzled, including an eight-inning, 10-strikeout performance in his final start of the season. Gausman was inconsistent though, allowing four-plus runs in seven of his 17 starts.

Rangers drawing interest in Jurickson Profar

Jurickson Profar
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

Per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Rangers have been drawing interest in infielder Jurickson Profar, but they prefer to hold on to him at the moment.

Profar, 22, was rated the #1 overall prospect in baseball heading into the 2013 season according to both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus. He underwent surgery in February to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder but should be ready for spring training.

SportsDayDFW.com reported that Rangers GM Jon Daniels feels very positive about Profar’s progress from his surgery:

All signs are positive right now. His throwing program’s great, he’s absolutely killing it with the bat in the Fall League…he doesn’t have any concerns about the shoulder. He’s attempted a number of stolen bases. He’s diving head first into bags, and he feels 100 percent. We’re just being extremely cautious because of how rough the last two years have been. He’s playing with that smile, infectious energy…it’s hard to watch him and not expect him to have success next year – as long as that shoulder holds up.

In 341 career major league plate appearances, Profar has hit .231/.301/.343 with seven home runs, 28 RBI, and 32 runs scored. Already, he has played second base, third base, shortstop, and left field for the Rangers.