The Yoenis Cespedes saga rages on.
MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported earlier today that the Nationals are “pressing” to get a deal done with Cespedes and are willing to offer somewhere around five years and $100 million. Meanwhile, the division-rival Mets reportedly won’t go beyond three years and have yet to make an official offer.
Cespedes potentially landing in D.C. is the worst-case scenario for Mets fans, but FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal hears that there might be some hope yet:
According to two sources with knowledge of his thinking, he prefers to stay with the Mets.
The lead agent for Cespedes, CAA’s Brodie Van Wagenen, remains in touch with the Mets, and the two sides are scheduled to speak again on Friday, sources said.
The Mets have made it clear that they have no interest in doing a long-term deal for Cespedes. In fact, Rosenthal hears that the club is waiting to hear from Van Wagenen that Cespedes is willing to accept a deal of three years or fewer before even opening official negotiations. Would Cespedes’ desire to stay in New York be enough to pass up a larger guarantee from the Nationals?
As I said on Twitter earlier today, I don’t doubt that that talks between the Nationals and Cespedes are serious, but if there was any way to potentially force the Mets to act, this could be it. The fan response is already overwhelming and Cespedes hasn’t signed with anyone yet. From the opposite side, you have to wonder how much of this “Cespedes prefers Mets” angle is strategic. This could be an effort to try to squeeze more money out of the Nationals. Playing these two NL East clubs off each other could make this mighty interesting.
Hey, remember Austin Jackson? He’s a free agent, yet we haven’t heard a peep about him for the entire offseason. Now that most of the significant names are off the board, it sounds like things could finally be coming together for him.
According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, the Brewers, Angels, and Rangers have all “kicked the tires” on the free agent outfielder. Meanwhile, the Cubs could be open to a reunion at the “right price.”
Jackson, who turns 29 next month, batted .267/.311/.385 with nine home runs, 48 RBI, and 17 stolen bases over 136 games between the Mariners and Cubs. While he could still end up with a starting job somewhere, perhaps with a team like the Brewers, he might be best-suited for part-time duties against left-handed pitching.
While speaking at the Owners’ Meetings in Coral Gables, Florida this afternoon, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced that the non-waiver trade deadline will be moved from July 31 to August 1 for this year. Fittingly enough, the announcement was made on “National Hug Day,” which I was previously unaware with a thing.
This will only be a one-year change, as July 31 falls on a Sunday this year. This potentially creates some logistical issues since the deadline falls at 4 p.m. ET. According to Tom Singer of MLB.com, the change was made in part because the number of day games on that particular Sunday. Meanwhile, August 1 features all night games. We don’t need to see another Wilmer Flores situation, so this makes sense.
With the addition of the second Wild Card, there’s a case to be made that the non-waiver deadline should be moved back further into August when teams might have a better idea if they’ll be able to hang around in the race. Of course, teams can still make waiver deals in August, but it’s just a little more complicated. Perhaps we’ll see a permanent adjustment at some point down the road.
The Angels and right-hander Garrett Richards have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $6.425 million contract, reports Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com.
Richards was arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter. The 27-year-old requested $7.1 million and was offered $5.3 million by the Angels when figures were exchanged last week, so the two sides settled just north of the midpoint.
Coming off knee surgery, Richards logged a career-high 207 1/3 innings last season while posting a 3.65 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 over 32 starts.
With Richards’ deal done, outfielder Kole Calhoun is the lone arbitration case remaining for the Angels.
UPDATE: Bob Nightengale of USA Today updates that the deal is worth $132.75 million over six seasons. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal writes that the deal has an opt-out after the second season, so Upton would have the ability to test free agency again as a 30-year-old.
9:45 p.m. ET: Tigers owner Mike Ilitch strikes again. Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Tigers and Upton have agreed to a six-year contract. It’s expected to be north of $125 million, per FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
Anthony Gose was previously expected to be the Tigers’ primary left fielder for 2016, but the lineup looks a lot more imposing with the addition of Upton. The interesting part is that they are all right-handed outside of the switch-hitting Victor Martinez.
9:36 p.m. ET: FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal hears that the two sides are close to a six-year deal.
9:32 p.m. ET: The Tigers have been mentioned as a possible suitor for free agent Yoenis Cespedes, but another big-name outfielder could be their primary target. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Tigers are in talks with Justin Upton while MLB Network’s Jon Heyman hears that the two sides are “close” to a deal.
Upton was widely-expected to land a deal in excess of $100 million this offseason, but his market has been suspiciously quiet for the most part. Still, he’s just 28 years old, so a team could be paying for his prime seasons. Heyman hears that it is expected to be a long-term deal.
Upton batted .251/.336/.454 with 26 home runs and 81 RBI over 150 games last season with the Padres. He turned down a qualifying offer, so the Tigers would surrender a draft pick to sign him. The Tigers’ first-round pick is protected and the club already gave up their second-round pick to sign right-hander Jordan Zimmermann, so the club will give up their third-rounder for Upton.