From Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe comes word that the Rays are “expected to be willing” to trade 26-year-old right-hander Wade Davis at some point before the start of the 2012 season.
There were rumblings as this offseason began that Tampa Bay might be willing to unload 29-year-old righty James Shields, who registered a sparkling 2.82 ERA and 225/65 K/BB ratio in 33 starts this year. But those rumors were quickly squashed.
Davis isn’t nearly as dominant as Shields, but he is younger and far cheaper. The former third-round draft pick posted a 4.45 ERA and 1.38 WHIP across 29 starts this season, striking out 105 batters and walking 63. He’s owed just $1.5 million in 2012, $2.8 million in 2013 and $4.8 million in 2014.
With such weak starting pitching options on this year’s free agent market, several teams should be calling.
The Marlins will hold a news conference on Monday, per a team announcement. The exact nature of the conference has not yet been disclosed, but MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro speculates that it is likely to focus on Víctor Víctor Mesa and Víctor Mesa Jr., two brothers and outfield prospects who have been linked to the organization over the last several weeks. CEO Derek Jeter and president of baseball operations Michael Hill are expected to be in attendance.
Víctor Víctor Mesa, 22, stands out as an above-average defender in center field and a premier talent in the international market. According to reports following the brothers’ workout at Marlins Park in early October, Víctor Víctor carries plenty of power potential at the plate, though it’s not yet clear how that will translate to in-game opportunities. The young outfielder produced a lifetime .279/.329/.371 batting line, 11 home runs, 76 stolen bases, and a .701 OPS over six seasons with the Matanzas and Industriales of the Cuban National Series and the Cuban national team during the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
There’s more uncertainty around 17-year-old Víctor Mesa, Jr., who was noted by scouts for his athleticism and above-average arm during the international prospects’ showcase several weeks ago. He previously played for Cuba’s 18U national team and appears to have potential in the outfield as well.
An additional report from Jorge Ebro of El Nuevo Herald clarifies that the Mesa brothers have already been in Miami for the past few days and are thought to have undergone the medical examinations necessary to sign with the team. If that’s the case, the club is in position to announce the signings next week. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez adds that Víctor Víctor Mesa could command a signing bonus upwards of $5 million, while Víctor Mesa Jr. stands to receive something in the ballpark of $1 million.