Two weeks into free agency and Major League Baseball’s Hot Stove season and we’ve yet to see a major signing or move. However, the shortage of activity isn’t due to a lack of banner names on the market.
For starters, the freely spending Los Angeles Dodgers have reportedly put All-Star outfielder Matt Kemp on the trading block, along with the six years and $128 million left on his contract.
Fox Sports was the first to report that the Seattle Mariners, a squad that has ranked no higher than 12th in the American League in runs scored since 2008, are interested in Kemp.
Wiping Kemp’s contract off the books could certainly help the Dodgers chase another starter or some help in the bullpen, and relieve them of a player that’s missed 145 games over the last two seasons with various injuries. However, Kemp is only two years removed from his 2011 season that saw him finish second in MVP voting with 39 home runs, 136 RBIs, 353 total bases, and a .324 batting average.
Blessed with a glut of talented hitters in the outfield, L.A. is also reportedly listening to offers for Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford.
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In other news the New York Yankees are taking a forward-thinking approach when it comes to Alex Rodriguez’s future, and are reportedly looking for a third baseman as a precaution. Similar to last winter, the free agent market continues to be thin for the hot corner so the Yankees have reportedly discussed a deal with reigning NL champion St. Louis for David Freese.
According to the New York Daily News, St. Louis’s asking price might be relatively cheap since Freese notched a poor 2013 after battling injuries. Yanks GM Brian Cashman turned down a chance to comment on Freese, and it’s also not the first time New York has shown interest. In 2007, they nearly acquired Freese from the San Diego Padres for pitcher Kei Igawa.
Rodriguez’s legal issues aside, any help at third base should be welcome by the Bombers. Rookie utility man David Adams and Kevin Youkilis hit .193 and .219 respectively last season for 21 combined RBIs and 74 strikeouts.
It was also suggested by the News that the Cards are looking to move Freese so as to shift Matt Carpenter to third and place prospect Kolten Wong at second.
Keeping the Band Together
Just two weeks removed from their third World Series title in nine seasons, the Boston Red Sox are starting negotiations for free agent outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury. Tops on the team in runs scored and first in all of the majors with 52 stolen bases, Ellsbury and his agent Scott Boras are likely searching for a monster pay day somewhere in the range of $140 million over seven years.
Ellsbury is reportedly seeking a similar deal to the one Boston gave to Crawford in 2010, according to CBS Sports. The Red Sox are still very much in contention for Ellsbury, but the Mariners, Washington Nationals, and Yankees are also interested. CBS also named the Dodgers, Cards, and Chicago Cubs as good fits.
New Mr. October?
Much of St. Louis’s success in the postseason came off the bat of veteran Carlos Beltran, but he turned down their $14.1 million qualifying offer on Monday, and now has seven to 10 teams vying for his time, as reported MLB.com.
Any of the interested teams (Yankees, Royals, Red Sox) are banking on the 36-year-old to continue his hot October streak. In consecutive seasons Beltran guided St. Louis through deep postseason runs with five home runs and 21 RBIs off 29 hits. Beltran is also fifth amongst active players with 16 career postseason home runs.