Now that the Super Bowl is over, it can finally be said that we’ve turned into the home stretch for Spring Training. With eight days left until teams start reporting to camp, this weird offseason has to catch fire sometime.
Right? I mean, it’s gotta…
As the first cracks of the bats grow ever nearer, we take a look at some of the latest scuttlebutt from the weekend, including some of the big Kansas City free agents, as well as one of the game’s top utility men.
This is the Rumor Roundup.
Royals monitoring Hosmer
Eric Hosmer entered the winter as one of the premier free agents in baseball, but has been a victim of the stagnant offseason—not to mention a divide between old-school baseball people and statheads as to what he’s actually worth.
The market has been so slow that Hosmer’s most recent employers, the Kansas City Royals, are not out of the discussion despite. Royals GM Dayton Moore told a local radio station on Monday, “We’ve had a lot of discussion over the past week. I can’t say we’ve made much progress but whenever you’re talking that’s not a bad thing.”
Hosmer was expected to draw a bunch of interest this winter and has been one of the hardest hit by the lack of activity in the free agent market. He’s gotten seven-year offers from both the Royals and San Diego Padres, but neither was likely the kind of deal that would please his agent, Scott Boras. At the rate things are going he may need to give one of these offers more serious consideration if he wants to have a contract in place and be ready for Opening Day.
Moose market shrinks
Hosmer’s Royals teammate, Mike Moustakas, continues to see the market for him shrink. The New York Mets filled their third-base hole with Todd Frazier on Monday, leaving few conceivable landing spots for him.
One other team that might be in need for a third baseman is likely out of the running. According to Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the St. Louis Cardinals will not be a destination for Moustakas unless he gives an unexpected discount as the offseason draws to a close. The Cards appear content to let Jedd Gyorko and Matt Carpenter split duties in the hot corner to begin the season.
That leaves very few places for Moustakas to go. The Royals are one potential spot, but in the same interview in which he dished on Hosmer Dayton Moore made it clear that, while the door is not closed on a return, Hosmer is the team’s priority and the team won’t work on their record home run hitter until Hosmer’s situation is resolved.
AL East race for Nunes?
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, three-fifths of the AL East are monitoring the situation of free-agent utilityman Eduardo Nunez. The New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and Tampa Bay Rays have all inquired as to his services. The rebuilding Rays need right-handed bats, but the offers from the top of the division may be more tempting.
Re-signing Nunez would make a lot of sense for the Red Sox, who will be without second baseman Dustin Pedroia for the first four to six weeks of the season as he recovers from an October knee operation. But once Pedroia returns, Nunez would have very little space in the team, as the infield and corner outfield spots at this point seem to be covered. An agreement would come down to his accepting the role as a super-backup at Fenway.
The Yankees have more infield questions that Nunez could potentially answer, especially at third base. Top prospect Miguel Andujar may get the chance to earn that job in the spring, but has to definitively answer questions about his defense. If he needs more seasoning, Nunez might serve as a reasonable stop-gap, and his price shouldn’t throw a wrench into the team’s plans to reset their luxury tax status for next winter. If he’s still unsigned as Spring Training begins and neither Andujar or Gleyber Torres are showing themselves as ready, he may become a more attractive target for a return to the Bronx.
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