Who’s the most valuable trade asset in baseball? Not to spoil the ending of Jonah Keri’s MLB Trade Value rankings for Grantland (Part 1 here, Part 2 here), but it’s almost certainly Angels outfielder Mike Trout, who posted over ten wins above replacement for the second straight season while making barely more than the league minimum. Not only is he the best player in the game, but even without a long-term deal, the Angels have him locked up for the next four years as below-market salaries. Figuring out who else ought to go in the top ten, based on their age, contract status and all-around performance, is a fun exercise.
Free-agent outfielder Curtis Granderson wants four years and $64MM, Newsday’s Marc Carig reports. The Mets are interested in Granderson, but they don’t want to offer a fourth year. Mike Puma of the New York Post, meanwhile, tweets that Granderson and the Mets probably won’t be able to work out a deal tonight. Here are more notes from New York. The Mets were interested in Brewers outfielder Norichika Aoki, reports FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal (on Twitter). The Brewers, however, liked pitcher Will Smith more than a player like Mets first baseman Ike Davis, so they shipped Aoki to the Royals instead
Brian McCann’s presence behind the plate, in the middle of the batting order and on the mound for all conversations clearly makes the Yankees a more formidable foe.
Milwaukee’s trade of Norichika Aoki to the Royals makes sense for the Brewers and for Aoki himself, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy writes. Khris Davis’ emergence late last season means there won’t be room for Aoki as a full-time player now that Ryan Braun’s suspension is over, as the Brewers will go with an outfield of Davis, Carlos Gomez and Braun. Aoki’s path to playing time will be clearer in Kansas City. “Everybody was on board with it,” says Aoki’s agent, Nez Balelo. “[Kansas City] was the best viable option.
Reds first baseman Joey Votto publicly launched the Joey Votto Foundation on Thursday with a clear vision — to help military veterans and active service members in Cincinnati and his hometown of Toronto who cope with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The Rangers have signed right-handers Jose Contreras and Nate Adcock as well as outfielder Bryan Petersen to minor league deals with invitations to Spring Training, the team announced via press release. The 42-year-old Contreras pitched just five innings for the Pirates in 2013, yielding five runs in that time. The Cuban-born veteran missed the early part of the season recovering from 2012 elbow surgery and would end up pitching 33 innings of 3.00 ERA ball between the Pirates and Red Sox’ minor league affiliates. He last enjoyed sustained big league success as a member of the Phillies’ bullpen in 2010 when he posted a 3.34 ERA in 56 2/3 innings. Adcock, 25, enjoyed a strong season with the Royals in 2012 but saw the wheels come off in 2013 when he posted a disastrous 6.67 ERA with a 69-to-50 K/BB ratio in 113 1/3 innings between the Triple-A affiliates for the Royals and Diamondbacks. Petersen, 27, is a career .220/.303/.305 hitter with a pair of homers and 15 steals in 539 Major League plate appearances — all coming with the Marlins. He spent last year with Miami’s Triple-A club, posting a solid .275/.363/.407 slash line in 579 plate appearances
Rick Renteria has called or reached out via text to all of the players on the Cubs’ roster. He’s been doodling some potential lineup combinations. He’s still doing rehab following right hip replacement surgery. On Thursday, he was finally at Wrigley Field to meet with the Chicago media for his first formal introduction as the new Cubs manager.
Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball have reached a “basic agreement” on a proposed $20 million limit on posting bids for NPB stars.
Hall of Famer Dave Winfield joined the Major League Baseball Players Association on Thursday as a special assistant to new executive director Tony Clark.
The Phillies announced Thursday afternoon they have signed catcher Wil Nieves to a one-year contract. He is expected to back up Carlos Ruiz.