Storylines: No shortage of suitors for Scherzer
In this MLB News and Notes segment, I will be giving occasional reports on the latest news and rumors throughout the MLB. I also will try to tweet news and rumors as I see them, so feel free to follow me on Twitter: @AndrewIBI.
Here are the stories from Monday, Dec. 29.
- Count Jon Morosi of FOX Sports among those who don't believe that the Yankees are truly out of the race for Max Scherzer. Morosi saw a parallel between Scherzer's free agency and the free agency of Mark Teixeira six years ago; the Yankees were said to be on the periphery of the market for each Scott Boras client, and in the end, Teixeira wound up spurning division rivals Boston and Baltimore to don Yankee pinstripes. Morosi reminded readers of the words of Red Sox owner John Henry following Teixeira's signing with the Yanks: "There was no mention of the Yankees, but we felt all along that they were going to get the last call. That's what you deal with in working with Scott." Jon Heyman of CBS Sports listed nine possible landing spots for Scherzer based on team need and payroll, with the Red Sox topping his list. Boston is believed to like Scherzer very much, Heyman noted, and the team wouldn't have to surrender its first-round pick due to poor results in 2014. Heyman rounded out his list with the Tigers, Giants, Dodgers, Blue Jays, Cubs, Cardinals, Angels and Yankees. A few of those clubs — the Blue Jays, Cardinals and Angels — feel like a reach, though Heyman does outline his rationale for each suggestion.
News and Notes:
- The Yankees announced on Monday that they sent right-hander Shawn Kelley to the Padres in exchange for minor league righty Johnny Barbato. The 30-year-old Kelley posted a 4.53 ERA in 51 2/3 innings for the Yankees last season, though metrics such as FIP (3.02), xFIP (3.10) and SIERA (2.60) all feel that his whopping 11.6 K/9 rate will result in a lower ERA in the future. Kelley averaged 3.5 walks per nine innings last season — a mark that is more or less commensurate with his career mark of 3.2 — and notched a fairly typical 33.6 percent ground-ball rate. His fly-ball nature is undoubtedly a better fit for San Diego's Petco Park than Yankee Stadium, though homers weren't a significant detriment to Kelley in 2014. Rather, an unusually low 67.8 percent strand rate was Kelley's biggest downfall this past season.
- The Phillies are in clear rebuild mode, having dealt Jimmy Rollins and Antonio Bastardo this offseason, and they appear to have had a third trade in the works before it fell through. Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reported that the Phillies and Reds were close to a trade that would've sent Marlon Byrd to Cincinnati before talks broke down. The other players in the trade are unclear at this point, though Morosi noted that the Reds and Phils could still re-work the deal.
- The Yankees, Royals, Rays and Blue Jays have all kept in touch with Asdrubal Cabrera's camp, according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. Each of those clubs has an existing option at shortstop, meaning Cabrera would likely have to shift to second base to join any of those four teams. The Yankees and Blue Jays present the best hitting environments of those choices, if Cabrera is looking for a one-year deal, but he could simply go to whichever club is willing to offer the largest number of years, as well.
- The Cubs are among the clubs that are showing interest in Stephen Drew, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported. Chicago is somewhat of a surprising team to be linked to Drew, as they have Starlin Castro at shortstop and can use Javier Baez or Luis Valbuena at second base. Valbuena or Drew could also slot in at third base, but that spot figures to be assumed by top prospect Kris Bryant at some point in 2015.
- The Orioles have ongoing dialogue with Colby Rasmus, among other left-handed hitting options, according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. Baltimore has also continued to show interest in Ichiro Suzuki, he added. Rasmus would come with significantly more upside than Suzuki at this point, though the latter would come at a fraction of the price. Rasmus' left-handed bat does appearto be a good fit in Baltimore, as Orioles Park at Camden Yards has favored left-handed hitters even more than Toronto's Rogers Centre over the past few seasons, per Baseball Prospectus.
- Sticking with the Orioles, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com heard that the Birds won't host the 2016 All-Star Game. Baltimore has been believed by some to be a favorite to host the event, with retiring commissioner Bud Selig referring to the Orioles as a "very, very viable candidate" to host the Midsummer Classic.
- The Mariners still have their eye on Padres outfielder Seth Smith, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times wrote. However, it's unclear if San Diego is eager to move Smith. Along with Will Venable, Smith is one of just two left-handed outfielders on San Diego's 40-man roster. While the club is still expected to trade one of them, there remain several factors in play. Divish also heard that offers have been made by Seattle for Smith.
- The Blue Jays have Francisco Rodriguez on their radar but still prefer to fill their ninth-inning void via trade rather than free agency, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Last week, Heyman reported that the Jays were prioritizing the closer position and looking at the trade market to fill the need.
- The Dodgers are nearing a deal with Sergio Santos, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times wrote. Santos, the former White Sox and Blue Jays closer, has fallen on hard times over the past three seasons due largely to injury issues. The converted infielder battled a forearm strain in 2014, a triceps strain in 2013 and underwent surgery in his right shoulder to repair a frayed labrum in 2012.
As for Scherzer.....wonder why the Dodgers aren't in on that? The team has no cash worries and Kershaw, Greinke, Scherzer and Ryu seem like a rotation that is destined for the World Series.
The notes on Swisher is that they could eat some of the money involved.
San Francisco and Baltimore might be two of the teams interested.
How much of this is fact or is it fantasy?