Hot Stove: Five teams to watch
Everyone catch their breath? Good. More free-agent signings are coming. And yes, more trades.
In fact, this week’s flurry of activity around baseball has created new trade possibilities and increased the chances of other deals occurring.
Here are five teams to watch:
• New York Mets — All signs point to a trade of National League Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey. The Mets have made little progress in their attempt to sign Dickey to an extension, and the right-hander’s $5 million salary for next season looks more attractive by the day.
The Texas Rangers are among the clubs interested in Dickey, sources say, but the price remains high. The Mets are telling clubs that they have an acceptable trade offer for Dickey, but they are trying to get an even better package, one source says.
• Los Angeles Dodgers — They began shopping right-hander Aaron Harang and lefty Chris Capuano at the winter meetings, anticipating that they would add at least other two starting pitchers.
Righty Zack Greinke and lefty Ryu Hyun-jin turned out to be those two starters, and now Harang and Capuano are even more in play. The Pirates, Mariners, Twins, Blue Jays and Indians are among the teams checking in, major-league sources tell FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi.
• Los Angeles Angels — Hello, Josh Hamilton. Goodbye to another outfielder, or perhaps designated hitter Kendrys Morales.
Center fielder Peter Bourjos or left fielder Mark Trumbo could bring a starting pitcher; Bourjos, a less accomplished hitter but gifted defender, would appear more likely to be moved. But the Angels, according to a source, “will be as opportunistic as possible without ruling anything out.”
One rival executive predicts that the Angels will keep Bourjos and Trumbo and move Vernon Wells, who holds a no-trade clause and is owed $21 million in each of the next two seasons. Wells, however, probably could not bring the Angels the pitcher they need.
• Pittsburgh Pirates — The re-signing of right-handed setup man Jason Grilli gives the Pirates the option to trade closer Joel Hanrahan, who likely will make $7 million in arbitration next season before becoming a free agent.
Hanrahan has been linked to both the Tigers and Dodgers, but both clubs are wary of his salary, sources say. The Tigers’ agreement with free-agent right-hander Anibal Sanchez on a five-year, $80 million contract could be their last big move — or not, if owner Mike Ilitch decides that he wants a proven closer.
• Cleveland Indians — Their four-player return for right fielder Shin-Soo Choo and infielder Jason Donald will not deter the team from moving right-hander Justin Masterson, shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera or closer Chris Perez in the right deal, according to a source.
The Indians, rival teams say, insisted upon major leaguers or major-league ready pieces for Choo; right-hander Trevor Bauer, center fielder Drew Stubbs and relievers Bryan Shaw and Matt Albers qualified.
Presumably, they would seek to make the same type of deals with their other veterans.