One potential suitor left the Reds’ market on Friday night when the Red Sox acquired closer Craig Kimbrel in a trade with the Padres. Still, the Reds are expecting plenty of interest in closer Aroldis Chapman, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports.
“Kimbrel was a bit of a different animal than Chapman, in terms of club control,” Reds general manager Dick Williams told MLB.com on Saturday. “We didn’t feel like we missed out on a deal with them. There will be other teams that are interested in Chapman.
Indeed, Chapman is entering his third and final year of arbitration eligibility heading into the 2016 season. He’ll be eligible for free agency after the World Series.
Chapman, who turns 28 years old in February, saved 33 games with a 1.63 ERA and a 116/33 K/BB ratio in 66 1/3 innings. Across parts of six seasons, Chapman has a career 2.17 ERA.
Sheldon notes that the Tigers, Diamondbacks, Astros, and Marlins are among the teams with a need for a closer and could potentially negotiate with the Reds for Chapman.
The Diamondbacks opened up a spot in their starting rotation on Saturday afternoon when they traded Jeremy Hellickson to the Phillies. GM Dave Stewart already has an idea who he would like to fill that opening. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the D-Backs are keeping an eye on international pitcher Kenta Maeda.
Maeda, 27, has spent all seven years of his professional career with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp in the Japan Central League. Over 1,509 2/3 innings, the right-hander has a 2.39 ERA with a 1,233/319 K/BB ratio.
Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reported on Monday that Hiroshima isn’t expected to make Maeda available until after the WBSC Premier 12 international tournament concludes on November 21. The Diamondbacks are one of a handful of teams expected to show interest, along with the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, Dodgers, and Giants.
MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reports that the Marlins have reached out to free agent catcher Jeff Mathis about re-signing with the club.
Mathis, who turns 33 in March, doesn’t hit much but he plays above-average defense, calls a good game, handles the pitching staff well, and — as Frisaro notes — is one of the most popular players in the clubhouse. This past season, Mathis hit a meager .161/.214/.290 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 103 plate appearances. He missed nearly two months after fracturing his right ring finger in April.
If he returns to the Marlins, Mathis would be backing up J.T. Realmuto. Mathis earned $1.5 million for the 2015 season and would likely be looking at a similar salary on a one-year pact.
Padres outfielder Carlos Asuaje, one of four players acquired in the Craig Kimbrel trade, will be given an opportunity to compete during spring training and potentially win a spot on the Padres’ 25-man roster, MLB.com’s Corey Brock reports.
Asuaje, 24, got his first taste of Double-A competition this past season and hit .251/.334/.374 with eight home runs and 61 RBI in 570 plate appearances with Portland. He was drafted by the Red Sox in the 11th round of the 2013 draft.
With Justin Upton leaving for free agency, the Padres have an opening in the outfield. 25-year-old Alex Dickerson is currently at the top of the depth chart for the opening.
Shortstop Ian Desmond turned down the Nationals’ $15.8 million qualifying offer on Friday, officially thrusting him into free agency. The Padres have already expressed interest, per Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Desmond, 30, hit a disappointing .233/.290/.384 with 19 home runs and 62 RBI this past season. Prior to that, however, he hit 20-plus homers, 25-plus doubles, and stole 20-plus bases in each of the previous three seasons.
Desmond has draft pick compensation attached to him after receiving and then turning down the qualifying offer. As a result of finishing with one of the ten worst records in baseball in 2015, the Padres’ first-round draft pick is protected, so they would give up a second-round pick instead. Outfielder Justin Upton and starter Ian Kennedy both rejected qualifying offers from the Padres, which means they would be recouping two picks anyway so it may wash out.
The Padres currently don’t have much in the way of shortstop depth. In 2015, they used Alexi Amarista, Clint Barmes, and Jedd Gyorko at the position.