Updating the Prince Fielder market: Cubs, Nats, Jays

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Newsday‘s Ken Davidoff has some fresh insight on the eerily silent Prince Fielder sweepstakes.

Fielder “wanted the Cubs” because he has superb career numbers at Wrigley Field, and the two Chicago airports provide easy access (i.e. direct flights) to his Florida home. But, as we’ve addressed already on this blog, the Northsiders are in full rebuilding mode under new president Theo Epstein.

The Nationals had some interest, and might still be lingering, but they’ve turned “a little gun-shy” after dishing out a seven-year, $126 million contract last offseason to overall disappointment Jayson Werth.

Many have suggested that the Blue Jays might be the darkhorse, but they “won’t commit beyond five years.”

In other words, it’s anyone’s guess as to where Fielder will ultimately end up. But it’s now January 2012, and it’s probably closing in on crunch time for super-agent Scott Boras and his big fish client.

Fielder, 27, owns a .929 career OPS and slugged 38 home runs alongside a .299/.415/.566 slash line last year for Milwaukee. He’s thought to be seeking a deal similar to what Albert Pujols got from the Angels.

Report: Yankees, Reds finalizing trade for Sonny Gray

Sonny Gray
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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.