Free agent first baseman Chris Carter has been linked to the Orioles and Rangers, per agent Dave Stewart’s comments to Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette of MLB Network. Stewart has discussed his client with at least four teams since the beginning of the year, with the Athletics being the only notable exception so far.
Carter, 30, set a few personal records in 2016, batting .222/.321/.499 with a career-high 41 home runs and 27 doubles in his first season with the Brewers. He was non-tendered by the team in November, and has struggled to find a landing spot with other power-hitting first basemen still on the market.
Neither the Orioles nor the Rangers have Carter pegged as their first choice, as Baltimore is reportedly pursuing Mark Trumbo and Texas has its eye on Mike Napoli. Should either of those deals fail to come to fruition in the next couple of months, however, Carter could be a viable candidate for either team. For now, Stewart says, he doesn’t anticipate a quick signing process for Carter in the week to come (via FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman).
Despite reports that the Indians were done fishing in the free agent pool this offseason, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal hears that the club is still in conversation with several players, including “relievers, corner infielders and corner outfielders […] even Jose Bautista might not be out of the question.” There are a few caveats with this information, the most important of which is that the Indians are supposedly interested in Bautista only if his price tag drops to fit within the team’s budget.
Bautista, 36, remains one of the most viable hitters still on the market, even taking last year’s lackluster production rate into account. He batted .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and an .817 OPS for the Blue Jays in 2016, watching his overall value plummet from a respectable 4.4 fWAR in 2015 to just 1.4 in 2016. There’s no reason to believe that he can’t bounce back in 2017, however, and while the Indians’ outfield situation looks crowded as is, Rosenthal suggests that the veteran slugger could slot in at right field while Lonnie Chisenhall shifts to center.
With the addition of Bautista’s former teammate, designated hitter/first baseman Edwin Encarnacion, the Indians have already relinquished their first round draft pick heading into the 2017 season. To land Bautista, Rosenthal adds, they’ll have to give up their second-round selection, currently the No. 64 overall pick.
The Indians and starter Trevor Bauer have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a $3.55 million salary for the 2017 season, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports.
Bauer, 25, was eligible for arbitration in the first of four years. This past season, the right-hander compiled a 4.26 ERA with a 168/70 K/BB ratio across 190 innings spanning 28 starts and seven relief appearances. Bauer began the year in the bullpen but moved to the rotation in late April.
Though Bauer had a lackluster postseason performance, yielding eight runs in 13 2/3 innings, he’s poised to pitch out of the back of the Indians’ rotation to begin the upcoming season.