Here’s a fun question: Which of these is the most likely to change in a meaningful fashion first?
- Jose Quintana’s trade market
- David Robertson’s trade market
- Brett Lawrie’s availability
The last seems like the best bet. However, Lawrie’s leg ailment is still making recurring appearances despite the absence of the orthotic shoe inserts that supposedly caused it, and when you line it up with the rest of his injury-marred history, one can never be certain.
Here’s how he’s explaining it:
"It's nothing that's grabbing at me or anything like that," Lawrie said. "I think it's just how everything is sitting and needs to be aligned, that's all.
"Not completely where I want to be and I want to be right where I want to be in order to get out on the field. This last part has just been tough but I'm just continuing to push through and I want to be out on the field and be 100 percent and just have to worry about baseball and not have to worry about this. Before I get out there I just want to make sure that everything is cleared up."
I don’t exactly know what that means, and my guesses don’t feel all that precise, either.
As for the other two, Bruce Levine says the interest in Quintana is “as robust as ever,” but that sentiment rings hollower than ever when written in the super-passive voice:
The Astros, Cardinals, Pirates and Yankees are teams believed to be dug into the sweepstakes for the 28-year-old Quintana, who’s on the trade block as the White Sox have embarked on a rebuild.
Just the same, the Nationals are still supposedly interested in David Robertson according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo:
There’s belief that the Nationals could still make a deal for Robertson, even after talks broke down. With the Wieters addition, the Nats now have four catchers in Derek Norris, Jose Lobaton, and prospect Pedro Severino. If Rizzo elects to give up Severino, that deal could regain traction. The Nats really need an established closer.
In a departure from the Quintana cycle, the landscape here has changed some, as the Nationals signed Matt Wieters last week. How that affects potential interest in Robertson I’m not sure. Earlier reports out of Washington had ownership asking for the White Sox to pick up some of Robertson’s contract, and not just to sweeten the pot, so the Wieters signing either demolishes that posturing, or it makes them even less likely to want to take on Robertson’s contract.
And that’s even before discussing the potential return. If you ignore Severino’s MLB success in a very small exposure (34 plate appearances) and judge him by his minor-league career, he wouldn’t stand out from the other catchers the White Sox recently acquired, Alfredo Gonzalez and Roberto Pena. He made more sense when the White Sox didn’t have Geovany Soto and thus had more use for Severino’s limited big-league experience, but as long as Soto is healthy, there’s already a developing logjam for playing time at Charlotte, and Severino is only a year younger than the crowd. (Pena also had a nice Cactus League debut on Sunday, going 2-for-2 with two good throws, for whatever that’s worth.)
There’s a chance Severino is a cut above the Sox’ third catcher options, because they’re all relatively new arrivals on my radar. The Nationals talked up his game after his late-season emergence, and he was even floated as a No. 1 catching option by more optimistic members of the Washington media.
I’m inclined to take those words lightly, though, especially after the Nationals’ offseason actions. In most scenarios, a team would probably go out of the way to bolster a rookie catcher’s confidence in September and October when he’s the best option left. If they were truly bullish about Severino’s sustainability, they probably wouldn’t have buried him under Norris and Wieters. If the Nationals are the only suitor left for Robertson, and Severino is the best-looking player offered, I’d wait for a new market.