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November 30, 2016

Rumor Roundup

Cespedes Fallout

by Emma Baccellieri


Mariners take interest in Fister

Doug Fister is "a name of interest" to the Mariners, and presumably not because they’re interested in his name’s pun potential. As reported by Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News-Tribune, the team is logically looking to add some rotation depth after dealing Taijuan Walker to Arizona last week. General manager Jerry Dipoto said he’s “still in the market for more veteran-type starting pitching—major-league-established starting pitching—to add to what we have,” which makes perfect sense for a rotation whose backend is presently composed of Ariel Miranda and Nate Karns.

Fister certainly fits the description Dipoto gave there, though the last two seasons have shown him not so much as “major-league-established” as “major-league-tolerated-as-a-warm-body-who-was-once-good.” After his atrocious 2015, he logged more innings than he had in three seasons and rebounded very slightly in 2016 (a 0.0 WARP is far more aesthetically pleasing than a negative number, after all). He’s not a very attractive option, but he’d be a cheap one—having just wrapped a one-year contract for only $7 million—and this free agent market doesn’t have too many pitching options to begin with.

After re-signing Cespedes, Mets look to deal spare outfielder

After locking down Yoenis Cespedes for another four years, the Mets are reportedly looking to thin out their stash of corner outfielders. According to Marc Carig of Newsday, both Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson are on the table, with Michael Conforto unlikely to move but still drawing some interest. While the Mets just picked up Bruce’s $13 million option for next year, that seems to have been more as insurance in case Cespedes went elsewhere rather than a real mark of wanting to invest in Bruce for the future. Where might he go, if he’s the one dealt? The Blue Jays are one interested team, per Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.

It’s not the first time Toronto has been linked to Bruce; back in spring training, they came close to pulling off a three-team deal with the Angels and the Reds that reportedly fell through due to medical concerns regarding the minor-league talent involved. And the Blue Jays’ need for corner-outfield depth is only more pronounced now than it was at the time, with Jose Bautista and Michael Saunders both likely to depart as free agents. Despite an ice-cold second half at the plate last year, Bruce still offers enough power to be a viable choice at filling that void.

Reds are open to ... anything?

It’s no surprise that the rebuilding Reds are focused on the future; it’s maybe a bit of a surprise that this could mean putting all of their present players on the table for trading—including Billy Hamilton. Per ESPN’s Buster Olney, the team is "listening to offers on all their players," and Hamilton is included in that. With three years of team control for that top-notch center field defense and incredible speed (despite the lack of success at the plate), Hamilton could certainly leave a team satisfied so long as the Reds don’t say no to it— but they’d have to be "really, really motivated by an offer" to move him, according to Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Second basemen seeking homes

The Pirates are reportedly looking to add another name to the market for second basemen, albeit a name that not many teams will be interested in: Josh Harrison. According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, Pittsburgh was originally interested in dealing Harrison and re-signing Sean Rodriguez to hold down second base in his stead. Rodriguez has now signed a two-year, $11.5 million deal with the Braves, but the Pirates are still looking to trade Harrison. After a 2016 that regressed from his 2015 that regressed from his breakout 2014, he’s not exactly the most attractive trade bait, with two years and a guaranteed $18.5 million remaining on his contract.

Elsewhere in the pool of talent available at the keystone is free agent Stephen Drew. While the Angels have had "preliminary talks" with him, according to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, “nothing seems close.” Meanwhile, Ian Kinsler and Brian Dozier are other second base names that have been floated as possible trade pieces, though not in anything more notable than run-of-the-mill hot stove gossip.

Emma Baccellieri is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Emma's other articles. You can contact Emma by clicking here

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