MLB Rumors: Latest on David Price, Yankees' Backup Plan for Robinson Cano, More
The Boston Red Sox celebrated their World Series triumph over the St. Louis Cardinals with a championship parade on Saturday. Now, it's time for teams around baseball to begin focusing on offseason moves they can make to dethrone the new champions.
At least on the surface, it's setting up to become quite an interesting winter. Between the trade market and free agents, there are some key pieces available who are capable of swinging the balance on power in the league depending on where they land.
With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the early offseason chatter making the rounds and examine the impact the potential moves would make.
Price has been one of the best starting pitchers in baseball over the past four seasons, a span which includes a Cy Young Award and three All-Star selections. Yet, with two more years of club control, the Tampa Bay Rays may try to maximize their return for him before next season.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports both teams in Los Angeles are showing interest in the ace. As of right now, it would appear the Angels have an easier path to a deal with open rotation spots and hitters they are willing to part with this winter.
Both Los Angeles teams seem to be interested, though the Dodgers appear to have a full house with Clayton Kershaw (who could sign a $300 million deal this offseason), Zack Greinke, Hyun-jin Ryu, Stephen Fife, and comebacking Josh Beckett and Chad Billingsley. The Angels could package Mark Trumbo, power the Rays desperately need, and others for Price. The Angels are also willing to part with Howie Kendrick to make a deal for pitching.
It's basically impossible to rule out the Dodgers in any bidding war at this point. That said, the Angels have a solid lineup, but need to bolster the pitching staff if they are going to bounce back from a disappointing season. Price would move them back into the contender category.
Robinson Cano and Omar Infante
The top priority for the Yankees is making sure Cano stays in pinstripes. George King III and Ken Davidoff of the New York Post report that remains the most likely scenario, but the team is preparing just in case the superstar second baseman gets away.
While the Yankees remain the favorites to retain Robinson Cano, they won’t be caught short if they need to replace the jewel of the free-agent class.
According to industry sources, general manager Brian Cashman has checked on second baseman Omar Infante during the period when teams and players could talk about everything but money.
Who will be the Yankees' Opening Day second baseman?
Cano is one of the best hitters in baseball. If for whatever reason the Yankees aren't able to convince him to stay there's going to be a drop off at second base. They won't be able to replace his .900 OPS and 30 homers at a weak offensive position overall.
That said, they also can't get caught thinking Cano is definitely coming back and end up without at least a serviceable replacement. That's exactly what Infante would be. He hit .318 with 37 extra-base hits in 118 games for the Detroit Tigers in 2013. Not Cano-level numbers, but the Yanks could do much worse.
Ruiz is a solid offensive catcher capable of providing a boost to the bottom of a lineup. The real reason teams will be interested in adding the veteran, however, is his elite defense and terrific ability to handle pitching staffs.
Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports the Colorado Rockies are hoping to add Ruiz to solidify those key roles, which Wilin Rosario hasn't been as quick to pick up. They think keeping Rosario's bat in the lineup at other positions while adding Ruiz would help the entire team.
Ruiz, 34, has multiple suitors, including the Phillies, whose pitchers want him back. He makes sense for the Rockies given his playoff experience, proven ability to handle a pitching staff and steady offense. Colorado has shown a willingness to spend this offseason. It made a six-year, $63 million offer for Cuban slugger Jose Abreu, who accepted a $68 million deal from the White Sox.
Playing at Coors Field, a hitters' haven, obviously doesn't help the Rockies' pitching staff, which finished 28th in ERA. Adding a battle-tested veteran like Ruiz would at least give them a better opportunity to succeed. Colorado will likely face competition for him, though.
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