Being on the road for six hours of the day, with a bunch of stuff happening later on Sunday and during the multifaceted Red Sox saga, there’s a bunch of interesting rumor bits to make sure and keep on your radar that I haven’t otherwise been able to get to. A little more rapid-fire than usual …
- Mike Petriello wrote about how catcher Yasmani Grandal is poised for a breakout – an article that Peter Gammons shared, noting that he would be “perfect for Cubs.” I’ve written about Grandal is a very interesting target for the Cubs, as well. I’m not sure that Gammons was doing more than speculating, but it was still worth noting – after all, he listed only one team.
- Buster Olney wonders aloud something many folks were wondering: since he worked closely with Miguel Montero last year in Arizona, will the Henry Blanco hire make the Cubs even more interested in Montero? I say … eh. If they’re interested, they’re interested. The only thing the Blanco hire might change is that now they can get even more information on Montero before pulling the trigger on a deal. The Cubs have reportedly talked to the Diamondbacks about Montero, but that may not have been all that recent.
- The A’s picked up first baseman Ike Davis from the Pirates for international slot money. Mostly, it was a matter of Davis being due a raise on his $3.5 million salary in arbitration, and the Pirates not wanting to pay it. I’m surprised it’s the A’s grabbing him, and they may now look to move a first baseman or an outfielder. And, heck, if the A’s can’t make a nice deal in the next couple weeks, they could wind up just non-tendering Davis, having lost a tiny bit of IFA space they probably weren’t going to use anyway.
- The Mariners have reportedly signed third baseman Kyle Seager to a seven-year, $100 million extension. Seager is pretty good, but I don’t know. The M’s had him already for his age 27, 28, and 29 seasons via arbitration. Let’s say that would have cost them about $20 million, total. That means they paid about $20 million per year for his four free agent years (ages 30, 31, 32, and 33). It’s not a bad deal, and if he has another huge year in 2015, then he could have done a lot better. But, I don’t. That’s all I’ve got. No instinct on this one. It’s a lot of money. I just think we’re seeing one example of what the Braves were doing last year: they’d rather bet big on younger guys, even though they’ve already got team control for cheap, than supplement with older players in free agency.
- Nick Cafardo’s Sunday columns this time of year are a must-read, with a bunch of interesting bits. Among them: (1) Cafardo hears that, rather than totally sitting out the top of the market, the Yankees mostly just don’t want to set the market, which implies they’re just lying in wait; (2) the secondary pitching market is developing slowly (per Jason Hammel’s agent Alan Nero, who is also Joe Maddon’s agent) this year (which you might expect, but, given how deep it is, I’m surprised there isn’t a team or two trying to jump the market on the specific guy they want); and (3) the Astros are considering moving switch-hitting center fielder Dexter Fowler, who will make about $9 million in 2015 at age 29 before becoming a free agent (I find Fowler to be an extremely interesting potential target, among other dudes, because I think the price could be relatively low, and, although his defense in center is weak, maybe he could do better as part of a rotation, spending most of his time in left field).
- Discussion from the Washington Post on the possibility that the Nationals could deal one of Jordan Zimmermann or Doug Fister as a prelude to going after Max Scherzer, something about which I speculated last week.
- Remember how the Twins won the bidding for Korean lefty Hyeon-Jong Yang? Well, maybe they didn’t. Maybe the Rangers did. It’s all very confusing. In any case, the winning bid was extremely small, suggesting teams really don’t believe too much in Yang’s skills translating to the bigs.
- One international pitcher who was believed to have skills that would translate to the big leagues might not be coming this year. One report has Chihiro Kaneko not asking his NPB team to post him, which would mean he’s not coming. He can be a full-on free agent next year, so it’s possible that he’s betting he can get a better contract (even a year older, at 32) when he’s not subject to the posting system. It’s also possible he just doesn’t want to come to the States. If he does come next year, the free agent class is likely to be much more crowded.