Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that the Pirates have been shopping second baseman Neil Walker. The Orioles are among the teams with which the Pirates have had discussions.
Walker, 30, is entering his fourth and final year of arbitration eligibility after earning $8 million this past season. As Passan notes, Walker could earn upwards of $10 million in arbitration. He becomes eligible for free agency after the 2016 season.
This past season, Walker batted .269/.328/.427 with 16 home runs and 71 RBI, which are above-average numbers, particularly for a second baseman. However, by his lofty standards, it was a down year for him. By adjusted OPS (also known as OPS+), which accounts for league and park factors and sets 100 as the average, his 107 graded out as a career-low since he began playing regularly in 2010.
Add the Athletics to the list of teams with reported interest in free agent reliever Darren O'Day, per a report from Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Other teams interested in the right-hander include the Mets, Royals, Dodgers, Tigers, Nationals and Red Sox. The Braves were also reportedly interested but that quickly “evaporated” when they learned of his asking price.
O’Day has ranked among the game’s best relievers over the last four seasons. In that span of time, he has a 1.92 ERA with a 283/62 K/BB ratio over 263 innings. Among relievers who have racked up at least 200 innings since the start of the 2012 season, only Wade Davis, Craig Kimbrel, Koji Uehara, and Aroldis Chapman have posted a better earned run average.
However, O’Day is 33 years old and, according to Slusser, is projected to get a deal worth as much as $36 million on a multi-year deal. There will be some risk involved and that may be too much for the relatively small-market A’s.
The Rockies designated relievers John Axford, Rex Brothers, and Tommy Kahnle as well as catcher Wilin Rosario for assignment on Friday, Nick Groke of the Denver Post reports. This created space on the 40-man roster, so the Rockies added Trevor Story, Raimel Tapia, Carlos Estevez, and Antonio Senzatela.
The roster maneuvering will save them a good deal of money. Axford in particular is entering into his fourth and final year of arbitration eligibility after earning $2.6 million in 2015. He functioned as the club’s reliever, saving 25 games while compiling a 4.20 ERA and a 62/32 K/BB ratio over 55 2/3 innings.
Though the 32-year-old has battled inconsistency since a stellar 2011 campaign, Axford will likely garner some interest as a free agent this winter.
Having traded closer Francisco Rodriguez earlier this week, first baseman Adam Lind could be the next out the Brewers’ door, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The club is getting “lots of activity” on the slugger, according to Rosenthal’s source.
Lind, 32, hit a productive .277/.360/.460 with 20 home runs and 87 RBI for the Brewers this past season. He has a career .797 OPS, but played in fewer than 100 games in the three seasons between 2012-14.
The Brewers picked up Lind’s $8 million club option for the 2016 season earlier this month. He can become a free agent after the season.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Blue Jays have acquired pitcher Jesse Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for pitcher Liam Hendriks.
Chavez, 32, pitched 157 innings almost entirely out of the rotation for the A’s this past season, finishing with a 4.16 ERA and a 136/48 K/BB ratio. He made 21 starts and 11 relief appearances in 2014, and operated entirely out of the bullpen in 2013, so he can fill multiple roles for the Jays if necessary.
Chavez is entering his third and final year of arbitration eligibility after earning $2.15 million this past season.
Hendriks, 26, broke out in his fifth season in the majors, compiling a 2.92 ERA with a 71/11 K/BB ratio over 64 2/3 innings out of the bullpen for the Blue Jays. He had an ERA above 5.00 in each of his previous four seasons. The right-hander won’t become eligible for arbitration until after the 2016 season and won’t be eligible for free agency until after the 2019 season.