A bit on the rumor front to discuss …
- The Yankees released outfielder Matt Diaz this weekend, which is interesting. The righty was expected to play a significant role in their outfield – which is loaded with lefties – especially with Curtis Granderson out until May. The Yankees did add Brennan Boesch, a lefty who has a reverse split (he hits lefties better than righties for his career), so that obviously plays a part. But I’d think they would still want some righty power. I’m not going to explicitly connect the dots to Alfonso Soriano – to whom the Yankees have repeatedly been connected – but it’s interesting.
- Speaking of the Yankees, Derrek Lee has officially declined their request to unretire and fill in for them while Mark Teixeira is out with a wrist injury. The Yanks may end up just having to make due with weak internal options to replace Teixeira and Granderson and hope they aren’t already out of it by late May. (UPDATE: Thanks to Julio for pointing out today’s report that Teixeira’s injury may be more serious than the Yankees feared. They’re still hoping he can rehab and be back in 8 to 10 weeks, but season-ending surgery is now apparently on the table.)
- David Ortiz is looking increasingly likely to miss a chunk of time at the start of the season, so it’s fair to wonder whether the Red Sox will start shopping around for a fill-in. Soriano? Eh, probably not. But it’s a reminder that the Soriano market could change rapidly once games start, and injuries pile up. Hopefully Soriano, himself, won’t be one of those injuries.
- More on a possible Soriano connection: Jim Leyland says that the Tigers still need a right-handed hitting outfielder. He even said it’s 99.9% certain that they’ll get one.
- Carlos Marmol says he’s unfazed by trade rumors now, having gone through the almost-Dan-Haren-trade last November. He says he’s letting his agent filter the rumors for him, and he won’t have to deal with anything until it’s actually legitimate.
- The possibility that Kyle Lohse will actually wait to sign until after the June draft (thus untying him from draft pick compensation) is increasing every day. “Several GMs” have told Jim Bowden that they believe Lohse’s value will be higher then than it is today, even if it means his team will have missed out on two and a half months of his production, and he won’t have pitched in a game in eight and a half months. Not only does the draft pick compensation noose fall off at that point, but his market might increase if there have been a number of pitching injuries.
- Then again, if you believe Keith Law’s sources, Lohse would still be unsigned even if he weren’t tied to draft pick compensation, thanks to unrealistic contract demands (again, according to Law).
- He hasn’t been attached to the Cubs for a little while now, but it’s interesting to note that the Padres and Tigers couldn’t match up on a Rick Porcello deal because the Padres refused to part with a “top reliever,” per Ken Rosenthal. That said, no, I don’t think Carlos Marmol obviously fits as a “top reliever” in that context. The Tigers were probably asking for a young, cost-controlled top reliever from the Padres, and Marmol is a 30-year-old free-agent-to-be. If the Cubs and Tigers somehow managed to swap Marmol and Porcello – which, no, I don’t think that’s likely – I think you’d see the Cubs having to include something else, even if Porcello’s perceived value has gotten a bit out of whack because of the frequency with which his name comes up in rumors. (It doesn’t sound like the Tigers are all that itchy to move Porcello right now anyway, which suggests either some concerns about Drew Smyly in the rotation (or a total lack of depth behind him), or tepid trade interest over the past few months.)