When the rumor about the Red Sox’ interest in Jose Abreu popped up at the end of November, it struck me as superficially plausible but ultimately unlikely. There are too many free-agent first basemen around, and they keep a team from getting carried away with packaging prospects. On the other side, the White Sox would need more than a top-100 prospect/Addison Reed-type deal to convince them to deal their cornerstone.
Sure enough, that story hadn’t advanced at all over the last week, and now here comes Ken Rosenthal to douse it:
Barring an unexpected turn, the Chicago White Sox are unlikely to trade first baseman Jose Abreu to the Boston Red Sox or any other club. The White Sox, knowing Abreu’s importance in the clubhouse as an example for their young players, figure to value him more than prospective suitors who see only his on-field performance.
At this point, Abreu strikes me as a low-key Adrian Beltre. The Rangers have had up-and-down seasons during which Beltre was theoretically available, but he never really could be had. Avisail Garcia seems like the one legitimately in play, but the Giancarlo Stanton situation lingers over everything for corner outfielders, as the teams most starved for production are the ones most involved.
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Speaking of Stanton, the scope on that story has changed. Stanton had reportedly met with the Giants and Cardinals, both of whom had tentative deals in place with the Marlins. However, Stanton seems most interested in landing with a major-market team already in contention, so he still may not pick San Francisco or St. Louis. The MLB Trade Rumors piece pulls everything together, but Rosenthal says if the Cardinals or Giants give up on Stanton, attention will then turn to the Dodgers and Yankees, both of whom will require the Marlins to kick in far more money.
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Speaking of the Marlins, they were able to unload non-Stanton salary to the Mariners by trading Dee Gordon and the three years and $38 million left on his contract. With Robinson Cano anchoring second base, the Mariners are going to try Gordon in the outfield.
The Mariners traded three prospects described by Lookout Landing as “their best starting pitcher prospect and their best shortstop prospect” along with a “middling” pitching prospect in the deal. That’s not necessarily a high price since the Mariners’ farm system lacks depth, although it’s higher than I anticipated given the Marlins’ alleged financial crunch.
But lo! The Marlins also included $1 million of international pool money, something which has great appeal to Seattle. Jerry Dipoto has now added $2.5 million of international money over the last couple weeks. He acquired $500,000 from the White Sox for hard-throwing relief prospect Thyago Vieira, and he acquired $1 million in pool money from Minnesota for catching prospect David Banuelos on Wednesday.
The Twins also dealt $1 million to the Angels for outfielder Jacob Pearson, an over-slot third-round pick from the 2017 draft, so they’re moving on from Shohei Ohtani quite nicely.
The Mariners and Angels, on the other hand, are going balls-to-the-wall for Ohtani. It’s said the Japanese phenom doesn’t care about money, and that’s true to a certain extent since he’s not waiting until turning 25 to make the jump. Neither team is counting on Ohtani being entirely altruistic, though. In fact, Seattle just overtook Texas for the maximum offer:
Aaaaand the @Mariners take the lead in the international pool money race among #Ohtani finalists!— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) December 7, 2017
$3,557,500 - #Mariners
$3,535,000 - #Rangers
$2,315,000 - #Angels
$300,000 cap - #Cubs, #Dodgers, #Padres, #SFGiants
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Baseball America posted the first version of its Rule 5 draft preview, and J.J. Cooper compiled profiles for 85 prospects. Jordan Guerrero isn’t in Cooper’s top-five draft candidates, but he is one of seven pitchers listed under the popular draft category “back end starters.”
Guerrero is a crafty lefty with an excellent changeup and enough fastball velocity (90-93 mph) to keep hitters from sitting on his changeup. His breaking ball has never reached the level of his changeup. He could serve as a back-of-the-rotation starter or a multi-inning reliever.
He also lists Connor Walsh as a “flamethrower with work to do.” His draft eligibility was a reason the White Sox put him on the Arizona Fall League roster, but if the results are any indication, his performance probably didn’t change many minds.