Let’s round out this lovely February evening by checking in on some rumors and transactions from around the league.
- Joel Sherman (New York Post) writes that the Yankees made Starlin Castro available in trade this offseason. According to the report, the Yankees stopped short of “shopping” Castro, and instead just relayed his availability to a handful of teams, but at that point, we’re just mincing words. And either way, his availability was apparently not met with much interest, so he’ll likely stay put for now.
- With at least $31 million still owed to Castro through the 2019 season (with a $16 million club option for 2020) and a certain up-and-coming Gleyber Torres, this isn’t the first we’ve heard of Castro’s potential availability. Depending on how both he and the Yankees perform early in the season, he might be a name to watch around the Trade Deadline.
- Sticking with the Yankees, Jon Heyman is hearing some rumblings on another former Chicago Cub:
Yanks have checked in on travis wood, but don't necessarily seem at forefront of talks at moment.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 7, 2017
- The Cubs have been connected to their former lefty in the recent past, but given that he’s reportedly looking for a good starting opportunity, Wood may be a better fit on another team where a clearer rotation path exists:
Sources: Multiple teams are offering free-agent LHP Travis Wood the chance to start, if that is the route he chooses.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 4, 2017
- But we’re not done with the Yankees just yet. The Yankees agreed to terms on a one-year, $3 million deal with slugger Chris Carter. But Jeff Passan is wondering if and how they’ll manage to find playing time for the powerful righty:
Greg Bird slated to be the full-time 1B. Yankees paid Matt Holliday 4x as much to be DH. Best-case scenario, Carter platoons vs. LHP at 1B?
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 7, 2017
- It’s been discussed a lot lately, but if there’s ever an example of the game’s evolving priorities, Chris Carter’s (and his 41 home runs) inability to secure even a two-year deal (or a pricier one-year pact) is it. For what it’s worth, Joel Sherman suggests that the Yankees considered the value of Carter at his currently depressed rate exceeded the upside of one of the remaining, fading relievers.
- According to the recently released PECTOA projections, the Tampa Bay Rays (84-78) project to finish in second place of the AL East, just ahead of those Yankees. At Fox Sports, Ken Rosenthal suggests that the Rays may be surprise contender, if everything goes right. According to Rosenthal, a “deep and promising” rotation plus a healthy year from all of their position players can carry them a long way.
- Moreover, the additions of Colby Rasmus, Wilson Ramos, and Matt Duffy (2016) should provide some additional fuel to the fire, and their roster may not even be complete just yet. Indeed, according to Rosenthal, the Rays are still looking to add a late-inning reliever (they reportedly just missed out on Sergio Romo, despite offering the largest contract), and another right-handed hitter via trade or free agency. The Cubs are scheduled to play the Rays in a two-game set beginning on the Fourth of July.
- Just yesterday, we learned that the Cubs were among the 16 or so teams scouting reliever Seth Maness, and I was relatively intrigued given the Cubs recent track record:
The Cubs pursuit of Maness (along w/ B. Anderson & W. Perez) continues streak of targeting high GB% guys to pair w/ stellar infield defense. https://t.co/mHSI4ITp1x
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) February 6, 2017
- But there’s more to Maness’ story than his stats. More specifically, he’s attempting to return to baseball while sidestepping the traditional Tommy John surgery with an alternative procedure.
- According to Derrick Goold (St. Louis Post-Dispatch), if successful, Maness will become the first established Major League pitcher to have “primary repair” and make his return. According to Goold, although his fastball velocity was quite low (81-84 MPH), some scouts didn’t even have their radar guns up, because health was the primary focus. The Cubs were once again mentioned as one of the possible suitors for his services, so this might be a late-offseason target on which to keep an eye.
- And finally, some details on the deal former Cubs reliever Joe Smith signed with the Blue Jays:
Joe Smith's deal with the Jays: a $3 million base with $500K in performance bonuses.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) February 7, 2017
- Smith, 32, tossed 14.1 innings of relief for the Cubs from August on last season, earning a 2.51 ERA in the process. The Cubs were never strongly expected to bring Smith back, so this is mostly an informative update, even if Smith was impressive after he returned in September from a hamstring injury.
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