MLB: Tidbits and Rumblings
As we enter Thanksgiving week, lets take a look at some rumblings around the world of baseball.
While the top free agent pitcher on the market, Zach Greinke, doesn’t appear to be close to signing a contract, it does indeed seem as if the Los Angeles Dodgers are the favorites to land the former Cy Young winner. The Dodgers of course, have unlimited resources, but there were questions on whether they would be willing to sign a pitcher to a long-term, big money deal. While the belief among many, including myself was that the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim would re-sign Greinke, this scenario seems more and more less likely as time goes by, especially considering that the Dodgers do appear willing to flex their financial muscles on a pitcher.
If Greinke does sign with the Dodgers, then you can expect the Angels to heavily court veteran Hiroki Kuroda. The catch with Kuroda is his age, as he’ll be 38 in February and the fact that signing Kuroda will cost a draft pick. That being said, Kuroda is willing to sign another one-year deal and pound for pound is the second best starting pitcher on the market in the short term. Kuroda is still a legitimate number two starter and was perhaps the New York Yankees most consistent starter last season. It also appears as if Kuroda would prefer pitching in Southern California as his daughters’ go to school their.
The NL East has been very much in the headlines thus far in the offseason, mainly the Miami Marlins and their recent blockbuster trade and New York Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey winning the Cy Young award. The other three clubs in the division are fighting over the top free agent outfielders. The Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals are all interested in B.J. Upton and Michael Bourn. If I had to guess, I’d say, the Phillies end up with Upton and the Nationals bring in Bourn.
The top free agent outfielder available in terms of pure talent of course is Josh Hamilton. That being said, for many teams, Hamilton is a back up plan. The risk is that Hamilton has had injury concerns and past addiction issues. Not many, if any teams are willing to commit long-term, big dollars to the former AL MVP, despite his amazing talent. At the end of the day, I see the Baltimore Orioles making a big push for Hamilton. The Orioles, fresh off their first postseason appearance in years, need to continue adding pieces to compete with the likes of the Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays in the AL East.
Japanese free agent closer Kyuji Fujikawa has received offers from ten teams and also has met with five clubs. Those clubs are the Angels, Dodgers, Orioles, Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago Cubs. Fujikawa, 32, has been the top closer in Japan and is seeking a multiyear deal.
The Diamondbacks have been looking for an upgrade at shortstop and have set their sights on Japanese free agent, Hiroyuki Nakajima. The 30-year-old had a batting line of .311/.382/.451 along with 13 home runs last season, playing for the Seibu Lions in Japan. The Diamondbacks are also still listening on outfielder Justin Upton, but as has been mentioned many times, Upton will only be moved if they get great value in return.