Report: Blue Jays have “checked on” free agent Alfonso Soriano

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In search of offense amid the injuries to Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind, and Brett Lawrie, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Blue Jays have “checked on” free agent Alfonso Soriano. Meanwhile, the 38-year-old is said to be “weighing his options.” Retirement could be one of them.

Soriano was released by the Yankees earlier this month after he batted just .221/.244/.367 with six home runs and 23 RBI over 67 games this season. His .611 OPS is 13th-lowest among players with at least 230 plate appearances. Still, he’s just one year removed from hitting 34 home runs, so perhaps Toronto could catch some lightening in a bottle. They would only have to pay a prorated portion of the MLB minimum salary in order to bring him aboard.

While signing Soriano is one possibility, the Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos also figures to be active in trade discussions leading up to the July 31 non-waiver deadline.

Rays’ Erik Neander named Executive of the Year

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At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.

Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.

The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.

At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).