The Dodgers will certainly do everything they can to retain Zack Greinke this winter, but they also have some alternatives in mind for their rotation.
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Dodgers have identified free agent right-hander Jordan Zimmermann “as one of their top targets.” As opposed to resigning Greinke or bringing someone like David Price or Johnny Cueto into the fold, signing Zimmermann would require giving up a draft pick.
Zimmermann, who turns 30 next May, is coming off a 3.66 ERA and 164/39 K/BB ratio in 201 2/3 innings over 33 starts with the Nationals. While it wasn’t up to his usual excellent standards, he’s expected to land a contract north of $100 million this winter.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Nationals have signed outfielder Chris Heisey to a minor league contract.
Heisey, who turns 31 in December, appeared in 33 games with the Dodgers this past season while batting .182/.347/.327 with two home runs and nine RBI over 72 plate appearances. He spent most of the year at the Triple-A level, including a brief stint with the Blue Jays organization.
Heisey previously played for new Nationals manager Dusty Baker during his time with the Reds and showed some pop in a part-time role. He’ll attempt to make Washington’s Opening Day roster as a fourth outfielder-type.
Luke Gregerson did a fine job in the closer role for the Astros this past season, posting a 3.10 ERA and 59/10 K/BB ratio over 61 innings while going 31-for-37 in save opportunities. He’s still under contract for two more seasons, but the Astros are apparently making it priority No. 1 to upgrade the back-end of their bullpen:
Astros relievers ranked sixth in the majors this season with a 3.27 ERA. However, they weren’t nearly as effective down the stretch and while it’s unfair to single out a specific game as a motivation for anything, they melted down in Game 4 of the ALDS against the Royals. One of the Royals’ big strengths has been the high-velocity back-end of their bullpen, so while the price tag in talent would be significant, a major addition like Aroldis Chapman or Andrew Miller has obvious appeal.
With Chris Davis expected to land a huge contract in free agency, the Orioles continue to look at possible replacements for their lineup. According to FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi, the club has had trade talks with the Reds for outfielder Jay Bruce. However, there’s “no momentum” toward a deal at the moment.
Bruce was a consistent force at the plate from 2010-2013, but he owns a .695 OPS (90 OPS+) over the past two seasons. His struggles in 2014 were likely partially due to his knee, but he only had a .729 OPS this year thanks to a miserable second half. There’s some buy-low appeal here, but it’s unclear what the Reds’ asking price is.
Bruce, who turns 29 in April, is owed $12.5 million in 2016 and his contract includes a $13 million club option or $1 million buyout for 2017.
The Orioles have also reportedly talked to the Pirates about a deal for second baseman Neil Walker.
The Diamondbacks were hoping right-hander Allen Webster would find a home in their rotation when they acquired him from the Red Sox in the Wade Miley deal, but he was designated for assignment on Friday.
Webster, who made top-100 prospect lists during his time with the Dodgers and Red Sox, was acquired along with Rubby De La Rosa last December. While De La Rosa showed flashes of usefulness at times this season, Webster proved to be a major disappointment for Arizona, posting a 5.81 ERA with more walks than strikeouts over five starts and four relief appearances in the majors and an eye-popping 8.18 ERA over 15 starts in Triple-A. He was reported to have some shoulder fatigue in April, so perhaps he just didn’t feel right all year.
Webster was going to be out of options going into spring training, so it makes sense why the Diamondbacks decided to move on. Still, he’s won’t be 26 until February and someone figures to take a chance on getting him back on track.