GM: Toronto open to re-signing Scutaro, Barajas

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Last month manager Cito Gaston indicated that catcher Rod Barajas wouldn’t be back in Toronto next season, but new general manager Alex Anthopoulos said yesterday that he’s interested in re-signing both Barajas and fellow free agent Marco Scutaro.
Blue Jays fans are free to interpret that as a sign Gaston himself might not be back in 2010, but it’s worth noting that along with saying “we like both players” and “we’d like to bring them both back” Anthopoulos added “but we can’t make a bad deal.” In other words, there’s a big difference between being open to re-signing a player and being open to re-signing a player at market value.
Re-signing Barajas figures to be the easy part thanks to his .661 OPS, although certainly as a veteran catcher with good power it’s possible that some team will overpay via a multi-year deal. On the other hand there’s little doubt that Scutaro is about to cash in on the open market following a career-year that saw him hit .282/.379/.409 with 12 homers, 35 doubles, 14 steals, and 90 walks while starting 143 games at shortstop.
My guess is that Barajas will only be back in Toronto if he’s willing to accept a modest one-year deal and Scutaro will find his big payday elsewhere, because handing out multi-year contracts to a pair of 34-year-olds likely isn’t how Anthopoulos wants to kick off his tenure as J.P. Ricciardi’s replacement.

Four teams are in on Mike Moustakas

Mike Moustakas
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Free agent third baseman Mike Moustakas is drawing interest from at least four clubs, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported Friday. The Brewers are the presumed frontrunners to land the infielder, but Heyman adds that the Angels may take the inside edge as Moustakas hails from the San Fernando Valley and has invested in charity efforts in California over the last year. The Phillies and Padres, on the other hand, have been involved to a lesser degree as they’re both thought to be in hot pursuit of fellow free agent third baseman/shortstop Manny Machado, though their interest in the veteran Moustakas could ramp right back up should they lose out on Machado in the weeks to come.

Moustakas, 30, declined a $15 million mutual option with the Brewers at the end of the 2018 season, and like many others left on the market, has yet to find a landing spot in advance of spring training. While he’s several years removed from his last All-Star performance, he ran a decent campaign with the Royals and Brewers last year, slashing a combined .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs, a .774 OPS, and 2.4 fWAR across 635 plate appearances.

He certainly appears to be a fit in Anaheim, where he could supplant Zack Cozart at the hot corner and balance out the Angels’ right-heavy lineup alongside Kole Calhoun, Justin Bour, and Tommy La Stella. Even if the Angels have serious interest in the third baseman, however, they’re likely to wait and see what kind of contract Machado (and the as-yet unsigned Bryce Harper) fetches before extending any serious offers of their own. They’re far from the only club to use the four-time All-Star as a litmus test this offseason, which has only fueled a growing unrest among MLB players who believe that more serious action — such as a midseason walk-out or a league-wide strike — will need to be taken over the next few months.