Even though the Padres non-tendered right-hander Tyson Ross last week, there’s “mutual interest” in a reunion, general manager A.J. Preller revealed Monday (via AJ Cassavell of MLB.com). Preller added that “a market didn’t develop” for a Ross trade, leading to the non-tender decision, but he did inform the 29-year-old upon cutting him that the team wanted him back – just not for an estimated $9.6MM. Ross has been a front-line starter in the past, but he suffered a shoulder injury on opening day last season and didn’t pitch again in 2016. He underwent thoracic outlet surgery in October and should return to full strength by April. More from the National League: Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton has drawn trade interest – including from the Rangers – but Cincy has a high asking price because it doesn’t believe the 26-year-old has reached his ceiling, a source told Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. Additionally, the Reds realize replacing the baserunning dynamo and defensive ace would be a daunting task. “Billy is an integral part of the defense and pitching,” commented GM Dick Williams.
The Marlins are interested in free agent relievers Brad Ziegler and Koji Uehara as fallback options if they’re unable to reel in Kenley Jansen or Aroldis Chapman, according to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. Miami could sign both Ziegler and Uehara if it loses out on Jansen and Chapman, per Frisaro (Twitter links). Ziegler and Uehara each carry strong track records, though the former is 37 and the latter will turn 42 in April. The pair finished last season in Boston, where Uehara has pitched since 2013. In other Marlins-related bullpen news, the club is “highly unlikely” to re-sign left-hander Mike Dunn, but it continues “monitoring his status,” tweets Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. More bullpen-related rumors: The Nationals offered “at least $10MM less” than the Giants’ winning four-year, $62MM bid for closer Mark Melancon, the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner told MLB Network Radio on Monday (Twitter link). The Tigers are gauging interest in southpaw setup man Justin Wilson and right-handed reliever Shane Greene, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter link). This is the second time Wilson’s name has hit the rumor mill since last week. The 29-year-old impressed with a 9.97 K/9, 2.61 BB/9 and 54.6 ground-ball rate in 58 2/3 innings last season.
Committing an unprecedented sum of money in an attempt to offset unprecedented lapses in performance, the Giants obtained the closer they sought by agreeing to a four-year contract Monday with free-agent right-hander Mark Melancon. In announcing the deal, Giants general manager Bobby Evans did not divulge financial details of Melancon’s contract, which will become official pending the obligatory physical examination.
With several established cogs set to hit free agency after next season, the Royals aren’t in position to stand pat this winter, writes FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. It doesn’t appear the team will do that, as it’s willing to listen to potential trade offers for several of its soon-to-be free agents and a couple players who are under control beyond next season, sources told Rosenthal. First baseman Eric Hosmer is among the prominent Royals who could hit the open market next offseason, though it seems the club will retain the Scott Boras client in hopes of locking him up long term, per Rosenthal. But the expectation is that Kansas City would entertain dealing left-hander Danny Duffy, closer Wade Davis, outfielder Lorenzo Cain, third baseman Mike Moustakas and shortstop Alcides Escobar.
The latest column from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal explores how the luxury tax threshold’s relatively small annual increases as per the new collective bargaining agreement could lead to teams placing an even greater importance on locking their young talent up to long-term extensions. Rosenthal also shares some hot stove buzz… The Padres are “aggressively” shopping Yangervis Solarte. The third baseman has posted solid numbers over the last two seasons, including hitting .286/.341/.467 with 15 homers over 443 plate appearances last year. The 29-year-old Solarte is projected by MLBTR to earn $2.7MM in his first year of arbitration eligibility, and his three years of remaining team control would make him an intriguing trade chip for teams in need of infield help. The Astros are continuing to “pay really close attention” to the Rays’ starting pitchers, according to sources. Houston has made several lineup upgrades (Brian McCann, Josh Reddick and now Carlos Beltran) this offseason but Charlie Morton is the only addition to a rotation that underachieved in 2016. Tampa is widely expected to deal at least one of Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi, Alex Cobb or Drew Smyly this winter. The Astros are known to have interest in Archer, though he would command the highest price of the lot.
Former Commissioner Bud Selig said this week that he’s “superstitious” about his pending candidacy for the National Baseball Hall of Fame. MLB’s ninth Commissioner is one of 10 greats on the ballot under consideration by the 16-person Today’s Game Era Committee.
The Diamondbacks are aiming to improve their bullpen and have reached out to a pair of familiar free agent relievers, Brad Ziegler and Daniel Hudson, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. Ziegler previously spent parts of six seasons with the Diamondbacks, who traded him to Boston in July. New D-backs executive vice president and general manager Mike Hazen was the Red Sox’s GM at the time, of course, so he’s familiar with Ziegler. Hudson, meanwhile, has been with Arizona since 2010. The 29-year-old has recorded a 4.50 ERA, 9.07 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 128 innings as a reliever over the past two seasons.
Free agency has delivered plenty of action at the annual convention over the years. Here’s a look at times when free agency had the biggest impact on the Winter Meetings:
Yesterday was the deadline for teams to decide whether to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players, and they cut loose a number of intriguing players, adding to the free agent market at a number of key positions. Here’s a look at the most important non-tenders. Tyson Ross, Padres. San Diego cut Ross and five other players loose on Friday, adding a big name to a thin starting pitching market. Ross missed most of the 2016 season due to injury and had surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome in October, which figured to require a four- to six-month recovery period. He also wouldn’t have been cheap for 2017, making a projected $9.6MM. Nonetheless, Ross would be an interesting free agent even if there weren’t so little good starting pitching available. In 2015, he pitched 196 innings, with a 3.26 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and an outstanding 9.7 K/9.
Jerseys and bobbleheads galore.