Ken Rosenthal says that teams are “kicking the tires” on Alfonso Soriano. I can only assume this means that they are kicking in anger, like you might kick the tires of your car when it breaks down on the side of the road. Not like you would when you were considering an investment in a quality used automobile.
Which leads me to ask: what, if anything, does kicking the tires on a car actually do? Is the car supposed to fall over if it’s no good? Is there a certain satisfying sound you’re supposed to get, not unlike when you plunk a melon in the grocery store? Also: if I ask to look under the hood but I know nothing about cars, is there something specific I should pretend to do so the salesman doesn’t take me for the rube I am? So many questions.
Back to Soriano: he’s owed $54 million over the next three years. People say stuff like “if the Cubs were to eat most of his salary …” but, really, even then, who wants Soriano? He’s probably a DH at best now, and even then he’s a bit-of-power/no-OBP skills option.
Which of course means that the Braves will probably get him and stick him in left field. God, why do I bother to think these things through?
Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.
According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.
Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.